It seems like everything in this city is polarized within 2 axioms of good and bad, of nice and naughty. For instance, people that roam the street are nothing short of horribly Rotten, while the ones I actually meet (Bonjour, bise bise, moi c'est Helena, enchantée) are arguably much nicer than...dare I say it...Montrealers? Gasp! 
They go out of their way to include you in their fast-paced and heavily-intonated discussions, they insist to pay for your meal, dranks as to welcome you to their city, they offer to you their number in case you need anything... What is going on?? 
While bad cop is busy refusing to give you directions, or, in the latest developments, working at the shoe shop and messing up your put-away or bitching about the fact that you interrupted their shop floor gossip sesh with a question about hair conditionner ("ughh, c'est un après-shampooing, c'est çaaaa??"), good cop is striking up a conversation with you at the Sephora lineup and giving you her card - "N'hésites surtout pas!"
Are Parisians actually nice? Do they smile? Do they dance in front of their mirror? Do they melt at the sound of laughing children?
Do they put up this hard cold front when in reality they're just all mushy and warm? 
Or is the City so damn cold that whenever they actually get to really interact with somebody, they release all the niceness that they have been suppressing?
Or are there 2 distinct species sharing a common ancestor, but whose genetic predisposition to tolerance and kindness diverged somewhere along stepping in dog shit, not being able to find a taxi (yeah more on that later), and cramming like sardines in the metro?

If you want to follow my séjour photo-diary-style, including but not limited to pictures of French puppy shit, follow me on instagram @helenaliang.



Soooo another hiatus, but for good reason as I was prepping (mostly mentally)  for the golden opportunity of a 4 month internship in...Paris. So here I was, packing Altfits and Loubs, grooving to Joris, sipping on café au lait all the while getting ready to only look at my man through my Facetime screen, and to nestle in my 10m squared studio. But I would be in Paris! The romance, the history, the lights, the fashion! The studio I rented is in Bastille, a terrific, lively neighbourhood! Everything was going to be mighty fine and mighty fabulous!

(images google, jak&jil, garance doré, sartorialist)

My first interaction with a Parisian was when I was lost on my street, holding on to my huge luggage, I searched around confusingly and couldn't find my door. I stopped a guy walking past for directions. He had this to say:
"Vous ne voyez paaas, que jsuis au téléphoooneuh?" (Can't you seee zat I'm on ze pheuune?)

The charming rue de Lappe that wiki described is actually a full-on terrorshow. My modest building is tucked between a slew of loud, overflowing bars, restaurants and kebab counters (more on THAT later), and my studio? I think nothing can reflect my feelings about it better than the lines I furiously scribbled into my journal.
"These first days in Paris have been nothing less than a nightmare."
"My apartment can be best described as a shit hole."
"The studio will be henceforth called the SH."
"I spent the better part of my first day scrubbing the SH from top to bottom, and crying."
This is my Paris:
The façade of the SH. Modest charm?

The SH, post scrubbing. Modest charm?
And the best at last, the SH, flooded after my first shower. Dare I say it, MODEST CHARM?