My time in Paris has been wonderful, and unbelievably, will be over in a little under three weeks! Which is simply beyond bizarre. I feel like I have been here forever, but also as if i just got here yesterday. Almost like I paused my life at home and lived an entire life in this new home.
But I know that my life at home did not pause, and returning will be a very interesting, and im imagining surreal, experience.
I do miss San Diego a lot, however, as well as Northern California, and am looking forward to warm weather and hiking, and the ocean!
That being said, i have found a surprisingly comfortable existence as a fruitarian here as well--though honestly i only feel as though i have mastered it in the last couple weeks, haha.
Fresh greens, namely butterleaf and greenleaf, and one lettuece i love but don't know the name of, are wonderful, abundant and affordable. Romaine is harder to come by, but is just now showing up in the outdoor markets, which i go to often and find incredible deals at. (for anyone traveling to Paris, Marche d'Aligre, in the 12th arrondisement is incredible--the biggest outdoor market in Paris, and you find absolute steals)
The tomatoes here are simply to die for. This past week i have bought about ten kilos of heirlooms and cherry tomatoes for around 7 euros---and they are incredible! cucumbers, too, english cucmbers, are absurd and cheap. When i first got here, zucchini was going off, and it was the best zucchini i have ever tasted. The bell peppers are pretty incredible as well. Oh and i completely forgot to mention the mâche! My favorite little leaf, so incredbily full of flavor, and sold for a 99 euro cents in a 500g (?) box at the big supermarkets. Other than that and iceberg, i basically get everything at the markets as they are DIRT CHEAP in comparison on everything else.
Fruit has been a bit more difficult, especially in the beginning. I was basically living off of dates, the occassional golden apples, oranges, and pears for the first month and a half or so. Needless to say, i wasn't so happy. At first i was excited to have fresh algerian dates, but they, obviously weren't the cleanest fruit product, and now im even questioning how raw they really were, simply because i felt like i was on a cooked food diet when i was eating so many of them. But anyways, with the season changes, and my developing knowledge of the city, and my growing mental price index of everywhere to buy fruit, i figured it out. Now i'm eating lots of grapes, cherimoyas, mangoes, oranges, bananas, strawberries, and some melons. My body is so much happier. I feel so much better eating lots of watery fruit.
I also discovered China Town. Which translates to: i found Durian. One of my friends here is Philipino and her family grows all sorts of exotic fruits at their home in Florida, and one of their favorites is Durian (though they don't grow it) so we were on a mission to find some. We were successful on our first try :)
And also found lots of other yummy deals.
Socializing as a fruitarian in Paris was also a challenge. I have never "fallen off the wagon" in the sense that i have never wanted to eat or eaten cooked food as a choice, and i never did here either. But i did move out of the sober seating section of the LFRV wagon. No drugs, i've never been in to them and they looked no more appealing here, but i drank what for me was a considerable amount of alcohol.
Over the past two years of being LFRV, i have had the occassional drink with my family--which is strangely very important to them, and makes all of my other refusals of normalcy tolerable--but here i was actually drinking consistently. Still not nearly as much or as often as all of my fellow students and dorm mates, but it felt repulsive. It was fun for about a week, or less, but after that i literally was drinking as a social nicety. My health suffered, as it was also suffering from a winter-time lack of fruit variety and a terrible deficit in sunshine. But after creating this whole new life, making all these new friends, i felt odd coming out and suddenly saying, "actually...i don't really drink...in fact i find it terrible and pathetic that we use it as a form of bonding and easing social interactions..."
And maybe because i had a family who got offended by my not partaking (taking it as the final "i am above all of you because not only do i not partake in meat, cheese, dressed salad, or bread, but also don't partake in the fine wine"), i was worried i would isolate myself by being so "extreme." I realized along the way, however, that i was underestimating my friends, they still love me, my lettuce, my courgette pasta, my mangoes--all of it. And i underestimated myself, and my lovability as my sober, happy self, someone who is drunk off of glucose, sun and the stunning beauty of life. It's so easy sometimes to forget you are perfect just as you. and that more often than not, others really appreciate seeing someone being their unique selves cause it inspires and encourages them to be themselves as well!
About the time i was having this realization i also got sick. I haven't been truly sick since i've been fruitarian. i've had colds that resulted from undersleeping, undereating, dehydration, stress, etc, but not a full on, every symptom of the flu, down for the count, missing class, wanting to die sickness. After that hell, i was done. How do people live not feeling their best? How had i lived not feeling my best?? I was ready to feel like myself again, which would require me acting like myself again.
Then i went through a renaissance. And it was beautiful. I reaffirmed my intention of well being and was rewarded with the abundance i am enjoying now. But i don't regret a minute of it. The entire experience has only made me that much more convicted in the way i have chosen to live. And that much more motivated to seek out all of what makes me happy in life :)
And the best part? My grandma visited for a few weeks and never made a fuss about my choosing San Pelegrino over wine the entire time :) :)