Today, from our offices in Paris:
Meanwhile, in Montreal:
Not the same thing.
I love Paris. So much. I feel alive, here. I feel connected to my history and my culture. Because for all I am of Russian and Belorussian descent, France shaped my family’s life.
My paternal grandmother’s family fled the Russian revolution, lived in Nice for years. She was in Paris when WWII broke out. My paternal grandfather made his way from Finland to France, and met my grandmother in Paris soon after the war. My father and his two elder brothers were born in Paris, before the family relocated to Canada. I’ve walked by their former appartements. I’ve been to the church where my father and uncles were baptized.
My mother was born in Montreal, soon after her parents moved to Canada, met and were married. My mother grew up in the province of Quebec, during the rise of the separatist movement, and the often tense, occasionally violent interactions between the anglophone and francophone populations. She witnessed the first independence referendum that failed. I grew up in Montreal, learning French, attempting to embrace the francophone culture. I lived through the 2nd independence referendum. To understand the current day demographics and political landscape is to understand the history of this province and continent. To understand that history is to know of the French colonization of Canada. French history – to this day – impacts my every day life.
To walk about in Paris, in the streets steeped with history, my history… incredible. My identity is only complete when I am in France.
Recap of previous posts involving Paris:
- December 2016: Paris, ville de l’amour et l’irritation extrême
- December 2016: Finding joy one croissant and conversation at a time
- January 2017: Sick in Paris, le zut alors
- January 2017: Croissants: Swiss vs France
- March 2017: Mais je me considère Parisienne, du coup!
- March 2017: Follow the church spire
- March 2017: Solo tripcations are my new favorite thing
- June 2017: Mastering Parisian manners