violetsnvalium: (Ms. Patsy Kelly)
[personal profile] violetsnvalium
My parents are from this hideous industrial city in Wales. Once I went there visiting and thought it would be funny to buy postcards to send to people - "Look where I went!" The people making the postcards had been so desperate to find something beautiful about that city that they had resorted to pictures of a drawing someone had made under the overpass. The postcards were so amazing that I kept them.

Before I was born, my parents moved away from the hideous city. They moved to York.


That's York. When I was eighteen I moved to Paris.


And that's Paris (you probably guessed that).

I have never, ever lived anywhere ugly. I don't know what it's like to go out of your house, walk down the street and go, "Ugh, this architecture".

But also! I have never, ever lived anywhere with good weather. Parisians, on finding out I'm originally English, say "England's cool, but the weather is too shitty for me." To which I look at them askance. Paris and England have the same weather. It's rainy and miserable and cold most of the time. Summer lasts a month, and not a whole month. We sometimes get little hints of summer around April or May, with a week of glorious sunshine, which then disappears, leaving the month of June sort of brown and dreary (except for Gay Pride day which is always fabulous weather. Really! It's always hot and sunny. Sort of puts a question mark over that "God hates fags" argument). We get the odd nice day throughout July and August. Then, from October through April, it's winter. Dark, damp, icy rain winter. (Just to mess with me, today is sunny. Sunny but freezing. It's nice.)

I only just realised that somewhere in my head, I don't believe that people live in places with good weather. For me, these places are holiday destinations. You go there to see what it's like when it's warm all the time. When you've seen it and thought about how great that is, you go back to your rainy, cold home, and think about how one day you're going to go somewhere warm again.

I went on holiday to this place:


It's called Santa Lucia de Tirajana and it's in Gran Canaria. I sat in a little bar and had a laboured conversation in Spanish with the owner. The lady was pleased to hear I was from Paris! She was going there in a few weeks. She'd heard that in January, Paris was cold. Was that true? "Yes." Like, cold cold? You have to wear a sweater all the time and a coat as well? Even at noon? "Yes." That must be weird. So if I was from Paris, what was I doing in Santa Lucia de Tirajana? "It's pretty! It's sun! I like hot." (My Spanish is incredibly basic.) Yeah, but there's nothing to do. Paris, there are museums and people everywhere and big buildings. She'd rather live in Paris than here. It's so boring here.

So I guess the moral of the story is that everyone whinges all the time. But the other moral of the story is that one day, I am going to live somewhere where it's warm all the time. And until then, I am going to have fun in Paris even if it is all rainy, because there are museums and people everywhere and big buildings and all, and in ten years I've never been to the Louvre (yeah. It's political. I'm never going).

Does anyone really live in a good-weather place though?

Date: 2012-12-11 03:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I feel like I live in a good weather place, but that's because I define "good weather" differently and we have four distinct seasons, although I do begin to despair once temperatures begin to rise. (I like winter!)

Also, we don't get very many hurricanes or tornadoes or earthquakes and we don't have any active volcanoes or anything, and those things can all be big problems for people in so-called good weather places. Snow can be an issue sometimes. Cambridge is also very pretty, I think.

I should also point out that global warming is totally a thing, so Paris may become one of those good weather places yet.

Date: 2012-12-11 03:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think permanent summer sounds better than four seasons. When you get nostalgic for winter, you can always take a holiday!

Sadly, global warming is going to make Paris even colder. Something to do with the North Pole melting and ice from it coming through the English Channel and freezing up the bottom part of Great Britain and the top part of France. I can't exactly remember, but I watched a documentary about it when I was bored at work a few years back.

Cambridge is pretty! I like the Stata Center.

Date: 2012-12-11 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Expatriating to Paris sounds nicer and nicer all the time! Summer is my least favorite of all of the seasons, so I think I'd do it the other way around and take a holiday if I happened to lose my mind and become nostalgic for the heat.

The Stata Center is really neat. I didn't even know it was called that, actually.

Date: 2012-12-11 04:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You should come before I move to a permanent-summer place! We could hang out. There are many Starbucks in Paris. I have never been to them.

Date: 2012-12-11 04:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Have you never been to Starbucks in Paris because there are millions of places to buy coffee that aren't Starbucks? (Also, I am boycotting Starbucks for reasons I no longer understand.)

I will most certainly come before then! Even if I don't expatriate, I've made a decision to be in Paris for my thirtieth birthday.

You should move somewhere very Mediterranean, like the south of Italy. Because of your delicate immune system. (I am basing this advice entirely on A Doll's House.)

Date: 2012-12-11 06:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well... I don't actually drink coffee. Paris is full of little cafés where people drink coffee all day, but when a Paris café says coffee, it means an espresso. When Starbucks says coffee, it means a whole coffee menu of things I don't even understand. Parisians don't really get it either and are confused by the java milkshakes.

Maybe I will move to the south of Italy. I have to wait to find out what's happening with my job and then I will know for sure if I'm moving or not. So.

Date: 2012-12-11 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
But if you don't drink coffee then how do you know you're awake?

Are you taking care of yourself?! And is your remaining in Paris dependent on your job/is your job what is keeping you in Paris?

Date: 2012-12-12 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I chain-smoke and drink diet Coke.

My job is going to go one of two ways: either they figure out a way to keep me on as part of the day staff, or else they fire me. Getting fired for being sick works out pretty well for people in France (unlike being fired for not showing up to work or something) because they pay you a big packet of money and then you get paid by the government every month until you're well enough to go back to a job that's in your line of work. Unless you decide to just pick a job which isn't in your line of work. It's up to you.

They haven't decided yet, anyway, so I am in suspense.

If they fire me I will probably use my packet of money to flee the country and do something new, but you never know.

And if they don't, I will stay in Paris being a day-staff person.

Date: 2012-12-11 04:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am originally from Minnesota which meant I was broiled and steamed in the summer and frozen to a person sized cube every winter. Then at 26 I moved to Seattle where I get gently misted for 9 months a year. I wouldn't recommend it.

Date: 2012-12-11 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I looked up the weather in Minnesota. It sounds terrible. It's pretty, though. All foresty and snowy (according to Google Images).

You know, though, bad weather seems to make everyone grumpy. Do you think if we all lived in sunshine everyone would be really cheerful, or do you think they'd rebel against it?

Date: 2012-12-11 05:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, Los Angeles/Malibu. It does turn hotter than hell in the summer but most of the year it's sunny and well, it's near Christmas right now and it's gorgeous out...but for us, this is cold. 50 and we walk around in boots and scarves and hats and pretend it's summer...while we are under brilliant blue skies and palm trees, maybe that's why we're all mental.

But summer sucks. Like August/September when it's 116. And everywhere is not gorgeous ....but I do like the charm of that. And I like how there is snow in the mountains and desert and beach just near one another.

But I still envy you York and Paris. And I miss you.

Date: 2012-12-11 06:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I had to convert that into °C to make sense of it and 116° is indeed horrifying. The winter sounds nice though. Blue skies and sunshine are good because when it's grey, it sucks the colour out of everything. Paris is so lovely in the sunlight - sort of cream and green and gold. Then when it's cloudy, the sky is grey and the roads are grey and the buildings are grey and it's depressing.

I apparently think about this a lot.

Don't be envious - come and visit! Just find a cat-parrot-poultry-sitter (maybe someone who works at the zoo?). I miss you too!

Date: 2012-12-12 01:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I live on the East Coast of the United States, and the weather is pretty typical: hot in the summer, cold in the winter, a moderate amount of rain most of the time. Very average. Right now I wish I were in a sunnier clime, like Florida or Spain.

Ugliest city I've ever seen: Miami. Hands down. Hideous.

Prettiest city I've ever seen: Probably London. Chicago is not pretty, but I loved it (and it has its own type of beauty).

My daughter's in Beijing at the moment, and from the photos she's posted on FB, it looks a lot like St. Louis--my hometown, which is NOT pretty, but I love it anyway.

Date: 2012-12-12 07:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Really! I thought Miami was supposed to be beautiful. But then all I know about the US comes from movies and books etc. I've never been there.

I looked up pictures of St Louis and I could see how it could look like Beijing. My parents live in Hong Kong which is along the same lines, except that when you get out of the centre it's just a lot of little islands. They live far out in this place with damp green hills and the sea just down the road, and to make it better they're on the 56th floor or something. This is the view from their living room:

Image (

which wasn't at all what I expected to see when I went to visit them. (photo by my mother, by the way, who got bored in the morning)


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