This picture is not even one hour old but so worth the quick post.
Those two guys totally made my day.
After the sunny Sunday yesterday, Saint Maxime by the way, today was pretty grizzly. Of course I got sunburned and I caught a cold (same procedure as every year), which kind of messed up my usual Monday off. Around five in the evening I chose to head towards the Jardin des Plantes, just a few streets from home in order to leave my place at least for a little hour before sunset.
Just the camera, me and my pockets full of handkerchiefs.
I caught myself thinking "wow, are you really so out of creativity that you're going to picture flowers now?" because on a funny illustration I have seen once, the flower photography is considered as Level -1 (excepting for macro-photography) - "all the flowers I shoot are beautiful pictures, I should turn photographer" because flowers are obviously and by evident proof beautiful and it doesn't require much talent to end up with some nice pictures.
I wondered if this year I would be able to topmy favorite picture taken at Houston Airport in summer 2011 because since a few months I find myself doing "nice" series of places and things but nothing really fulfilling my heart.
After an hour of intensive flower shooting I was about to leave the garden when I crossed a bunch of kids. Usually I totally avoid them but the guy on the right caught my attention. Probably because he continuously had his thumb in his mouth, which is an important childhood memory to me because this was indispensable in order to fall asleep at night. I think I only stopped at the late age of sixteen when I went to sleep over at my first boyfriends place. (OK, now you know the biggest secret in the collection of Maxime Willems, Life Behind My Lens).
Only after a few pictures of the sitting kid I understood that just next to him was standing his older brother, wearing the same sweater, who just like him could not get his fingers out of his mouth. It wasn't easy to picture them as many people crossed the footway between us but this one totally fulfilled my heart and I left missing my own brother and finding out that my former boyfriends always had brothers and no sisters.
Don't be astonished if you never get to see the flower pictures, they are for the trash.
Over the last few months, many friends were on a vist in Paris. Besides being their host my main role is to show them around, take them to good restaurants and make them feel comfortable aka the tour guide. Sounds like a lot of fun (just kidding) on your free weekend consisting in "Paris tour, session number 23".
The iron lady, the Louvre, the Place Vendôme, the Opéra ... NOT. Not with me. We did it all my way. And I am definitely not a fan of the Parisian classics crowded with tourists. Oh, before I forget, no Galleries Lafayette; an absolute no go.
This is already the third time I am living in Paris. Well, you can't really call my first 4 months back in 2006 living in Paris. It comes closer to surviving an internship coupled with metro boulot dodo.Bref, I foremost saw the insides of a luxury hotel, the underground and my blankets. My second stay was not that much fun for many reasons, a regret I have and that's why this time I chose to live Paris. Now I never take the malodorous metro and as previously mentioned I don't reduce Paris to its classics (excepting the baguette).
This city has so much more to offer. So many streets to get lost in, so much culture, so many book stores, a lot of window shopping, so many restaurants for my notebook*, amazing hidden courtyards and infinite eye candy to feed my eyes behind the lens.
Since my arrival in Paris about 18 months ago, Monday is, instead of Saturday, my day off. I have never been and am still not very excited about this detail; that much that I not even going to develop the subject. The worst is that 100 out of 114 Mondays have been rainy days. "Keep calm and pretend it is not Monday" was not really helping!
While looking forward for spring to arrive, I have been checking the weather forecast since a few weeks and all the darkness disappeared when they announced a sunny Monday.
Monday, March 4th and my person are actually in love. After an entire day outside, the discovery of various new streets and corners, 250 pictures and empty batteries, I really must admit I loved this day...
And against all odds, I even could extract advantages from this weekday. By contrast with Saturdays and Sundays nobody is disturbing my view and walking trough the street I am trying to picture, the risk of getting almost killed by a car is divided by 10 and the best is yet to come: many doors are open and allow to discover secret gardens and courtyards.
"PARIS, COMME UN LUNDI" will be my selection of pictures of Paris, similar to the "POSTCARDS FROM ..." series. This selection is starting with the pictures above, which were my absolute highlight of the day. (OK I admit, I almost did get run over by a car while taking them but then again I am even getting used to it now). I loved the decoration at the flower shop and how it reflected the arrival of spring that could be found on many window boards if you had your eyes open.
Since a few weeks I have been thinking and talking a lot about my stay and my friends in Mexico. This place where I had the time of my life back in summer 2011. While waiting for spring to arrive and after an awful day at work (France would be so perfect without the French), I found myself digging in my archives in quest of some memories to rehash my heart.
And I stumbled across those pictures and wondered why I never shared them. They were taken during my last day in Merida where my friend told me that I could not leave this town without stepping by at this place. And she was right. It was love at first sight. This hacienda was absolutely amazing and foremost well hidden in an unremarkable area I would have never gone to without her.
I feels pretty unreal when I imagine that over there all I was longing for was some shadow and an entire waterfall to pour down on me while now I would give everything for this heat...
Besides Frank Sinatra, the indispensable classics on my I-pod are the U2 albums including the songs "In the name of love" and of course "Everlasting love". There is still a week to go until Saint Valentine's Day but as the opponents of this day proclaim, do we need to be February 14th to honour this truly intriguing subject?
I must admit, as for me "ça me dépasse"! which explains why I am constantly calling love an intriguing subject. Already starting with the quotes and lyrics "it comes and goes" (???) Did I get something wrong ? Isn't it supposed to be everlasting? Well, just like polar bears, this feeling is threatened with extinction, obviously. In a society where divorce is totally ordinary and even more common than marriage, I am probably a naif dreamer and endangered species as well.
I always wonder about how can it be that it is just fading away ? Helloooooo? Fading away? just like the letters on the cups in the picture. Don't they remember the moments, the story, the promises, the love? Well, how could I understand this with my theory about everlasting, invincible love. I am probably old-fashioned or to make it sound more exciting let's call it vintage and limited-edition, nowadays. (Definitely less scary than endangered species).
Maybe the secrets are the following : communication, the truth and forgiveness !
"I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious!"
It's not a secret anymore that I arrive late on every meeting with friends, though, I do leave home in time. It is not due to the usual girl stuff of getting my hair perfectly straight or the perfect eye make-up (ok, sometimes this can be the reason too) but as in Paris it is raining so much I gave up on straight hair and perfect make-up. The main reason of my tardiness is because I enter every intriguing door I am not supposed to enter and discover amazing courtyards that take my breath away. A few weeks ago I got punished for my curiosity and even found myself locked inside the courtyard of an embassy ...
If I have my camera with me the delay risks to be even more important.
Last spring on my way to the bus station I discovered this place : the "Grande Mosquée de Paris" which is located only a few streets from my place. It definitely took by breath away. Lucky me that this time I did not have any date because I remained there for about 2 entire hours, trying to capture the beauty of it.
Forget about the Champs-Elysées and Montmarte, this place is definitely worth visiting on your next trip to Paris. Well compared to the other ones, you risk to forget that you are in Paris and believe to be in the tales of a Thousand and One Nights.
When I woke up yesterday morning with 40 degrees C° fever due to a bad cold I can't get rid of, something more frosty was going on outside my window. Snowflakes were dancing in the wind and covering Paris and its rooftops under a thick snow layer. Snow in Paris is like Silvio Berlusconi not having an affair: rare! Snow in the city of love is definitely taking romance in Paris to another level.
Everyone was outside. Even a skier has been sighted at Place Vendôme. Except me. For a moment I thought about putting on my ear-muffles and taking the bus and have a tour through the city without taking another cold BUT guess what! in Paris the entire transport system is paralyzed under such weather conditions. So no bus tour for me.
So I contented myself with the view from my window and the weather forecast announcing additional snowfalls for Monday.
When I woke up this morning with a much healthier body temperature, something less funny was going on outside my window. To make a long story short : There was no more snow! Only some white heaps, slowly melting away. That much about "Maxime and her camera getting lost in snowy Paris".
So what did we learn from this ? Screw the fever, get outside and behave like a kid. Seize the day aka Carpe Diem. Know the true value of time, snatch, seize and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness, no laziness, no procrastination; never put of till tomorrow what you can do today. You only live once. Dance like no one's watching, sing like no one's listening, work like you don't need the money and party/kiss/love and live like there is no tomorrow. And if tomorrow does come, do it all over again. While we're at it; I have to call my grandmother, now.
Thursday, November 15, 2012 - same procedure as every year : upload my selection of pictures for my participation in the annual "Le plus grand concours photo du monde" organised by the renowned french magazine PHOTO. Some things never change! because again I find myself finishing the last details and uploading the pictures five minutes before midnight, though I did have 6 months to do so...
During the following 2 months I did not even follow the competition due to my excitement about Christmas. In December I received an e-mail informing me that I made it into the final selection and that I can fill out a document regarding the sale of the picture. With Christmas just around the corner I even forgot to reply.
Yesterday in my e-mail inbox; another message telling me that as I am within the winners of the contest, it would be necessary to fill out those documents. Laureate ? Me ? Did I miss something ? This deserves a big "something somewhere went terribly wrong!!!
My picture within 500 others out of 50.000 photos from all over the globe. Use your brain folks : this means being within the final 1% !!! But which one ? My selection consisted of my 5 favorite ones. The little boy at the airport eventually?! So I put on my ear muffles to face the cold outside and go down the street in order to get myself a copy of PHOTO January 2013 including my very first publication. And there he was: within the category "graphisme" and price class "urban adventure" :the yellow Fiat 500 aka Luigi I captured in Florence last summer. This was my second participation and just like last year, where I made it into the final 1000, I feel pretty proud about this publication. Next year I'll just change one tiny detail : my hometown : #Luxembourg represent!#
Another year full of pictures draws to an end. I am getting older and I hope wiser and in some degree more inclined to the pursuit of happiness too. Honestly, I don't really know how to define 2012. The year the world did not stop turning(...)! To me it was not the most spectacular one, no heart on fire, no broken heart, no big new something, no -something somewhere went terribly wrong-, less sparkles than the previous years, could I even call it drama-free? More books though. I must admit I do have a slight preference for 2011. "Stop it, you are doing it again!" Resolution N°1 for next year : stop comparing.
I know!!! it was the year of "settling". I did settle in Paris, I did settle back in Italy to breathe, I settled the past and I definitely did settle down myself.
As this highly necessary mission has been accomplished, 2013 can come. I hope its 365 days will be enough to realize all the projects I have. Besides some major changes regarding my career, the many places I want to go to, the thousand pictures I want to take, there is one detail becoming more precise: The second blog project I have already mentioned six months ago. That's what the upcoming year is mainly going to be about. Everything is moving on, going forward, no looking back anymore as anyway, there are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.
As a real Capricorn I do have plans but "compared" to back in the days they are lesssssss concrete. I believe that during the settling and growing older I did get wiser (...) and learned that you don't have to have it all figured out to move forward and that the most beautiful thing about it is that "when nothing is sure, everything is possible".
I'm so excited I just can't hide it !! Only one more week to go until Christmas holidays.
In order to give you an idea of my excitement, please note that the countdown started with the beginning of November (...). Since a few days I even find myself awake until 3 in the morning out of excitement. I could do handstands and somersaults for & backwards. That's why, after desperate turning and tumbling (bon, dréinen an kéiren"!), I find myself writing this blog post and drinking jus de fraises in the middle of the night.
Christmas is in the air, no it is everywhere! Christmas Magic caught me after more than twenty years of frosty "catch me if you can". I am totally under its spell. I even found myself waiting for the first Christmas songs on the radio (...). Tomorrow, no, today is the big buying-the-gifts-day followed by the do it yourself gift-wrapping-Monday. Not to forget the entire cooking preparations; since a few days I am turning nuts my team at the cooking studio by testing various recipes and new techniques. And the baking part, ... I want to make them all. On top of the list are the German Cinnamon Star Cookies.
My train-tickets destination home arrived yesterday by mail and if I could I would pack my bags right here right now and drive to the train station but I try to calm down and tell myself that there is too much stuff I still need until then. Everyone concerned is perfectly briefed about all the plans on my "I am waaaays to long for 2 weeks"-to-do-list.
I guess the strawberry juice vitamins are not really helping, I'll have a tea.
PS : Jingle bell, jingle bell, now the jingle hop has begun. It's the right time to rock the night away. *Kopfstand* - Gib doch jemand diesem Kind Ritalin.