Thursday, October 8, 2009

La vie quotidienne

If you know me, you undoubtedly know my laugh.

If you know me, you also probably know that I frequently suffer from a serious, rare, undiagnosed case of:

The giggles.  

And for some reason, this strange malady has decided to heighten its frequency and severity overseas.

The giggles, in case you are unaware, is both a blessing and a curse, characterized by an episode of sudden, uncontrollable, stomach-crunching laughter that can cause euphoria, dizziness, or sometimes even collapse. Strange looks and/or judgments and/or confusion from outside observers is not uncommon.

It begins with the slightest trigger: usually a random thought or memory, but sometimes a brief moment of objective self-reflection, like a snapshot of my body from a bird's eye view accompanied by a gentle reminder that--hey, Rachel, you know you're in PARIS? And then, of course, the giggles come, crawling up on me unnoticed with a force so undeniably powerful that no matter how tight i purse my lips or bite my tongue, I cannot suppress its wrath. A wave of laughter comes pouring out of my lungs like a tsunami and I have to stop and rest my hands on my thighs until it passes, waving along concerned passersby and in between gasps of air,

"Oh, no no. It's just the giggles."

There is no other way to explain it--especially not in French. And there definitely is no way to hide it--nothing in a fake text message or phone call could be that funny.

Upon much reflection, I have concluded that the reason for these frequent occurrences in Paris is because, well, I'm in Paris.

I'm happy here. Very, very happy.

How couldn't I be? When I have the opportunity, no, the blessing, to be able to do things like:

Tour Montmartre's Sacre Coeur--one of the most famous churches in Europe.

Stroll through Le Jardin du Luxembourg in between classes

Attend a cooking class at the Guy Martin cooking school (yes, I made these)

Lesson #5: During a cooking class in Paris, when instructed by a professional French chef to slice carrots vertically, do not accidentally chop horizontally, as you will be scolded in incoherent, angry French.

Lesson #6: Don't publically display your severely limited cooking skills anywhere, just to be safe.

Visit Claude Monet's former house and gardens and witness the site where one of the world's greatest impressionist artists drew inspiration for his landscape pieces

Cross off an item on my bucket list by j-walking the Champs Elysees

Think San Francisco's LoveFest fused with Bay to Breakers, and you have Paris' annual Techno Parade.

Attend a Mass service at Notre Dame conducted by the Archbishop of France

Enjoy a jazz concert at Parc de Belleville while admiring a view of the entire city of Paris

Hop over to Munich, Germany and participate in the world-renowned Oktoberfest festival, also referred to by some as "Disneyland for Adults" -- a nickname that, after my last weekend's experience, I can personally fully attest to.


I think you'd get the giggles too.