Museums, Food, and Belleville

So much has happened since my last post!

So far, I have visited Marc and Spencer (a high end European store), and the grocery section featured VERY fresh foods, aesthetically pleasing pastries, and a quality clothing section. I also received my luggage (YAYYY) , which was a huge relief.

I also went on a segway tour of Paris yesterday, and visited the Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, and many old churches. The segways are a fun and easy mode of transportation. Yesterday evening, I had my first falafel and it was amazing! I highly recommend it.

Today, I visited the Musée de l’homme, which translated to the museum of mankind. Essentially, the purpose of the museum is to explain why all men are. The museum was marked by craniums of people from different parts of the world, diagrams explaining evolution, and cultural artifacts. Particularly, there were “African” artifacts from central Africa. No indication of where in Africa these artifacts came from (by country), the culture the art came from was not mentioned, and it is questionable as to who gave the museum permission to display those artifacts within the museum. The African continent is consistently robbed of its goods and often is homogenized, so while this greatly annoyed me it did not strike me as the most off putting thing about the museum.

In general, French culture considers all men to be equal, and those that speak French and are from other French speaking countries are viewed to be French. This collective consciousness is an embodiment of colorblindness, a way to avoid the discussion of what distinguishes men from one another.

The museum did indeed display that men are biologically equivalent, and this holds great merit. In fact, there are more differences with a  race than there are between two different races. However, in the last section of the museum, there was a statement that essentially said that men are biologically, culturally, and socially equivalent. This was a shocking statement to be made, as there was another section of the museum that displayed the different languages people speak around the world. So, it is contradictory to say that man are CULTURALLY equivalent right after the assertion that different languages are spoken around the world. Furthermore, it is readily apparent that not all men are socially equivalent. Economic inequality exists. Class exists. Various educational experience exists. Different neighborhoods exist. To erase the difference between people is not only bigoted, but it eliminates the human experience of individuals who DO consider themselves to be culturally and socially distinguished. Moreover,  the statement implies that ‘difference’ and ‘equivalence’ are mutually exclusive when in fact they are not. Two people CAN be socially equivalent and different. The museum did a stellar job at explaining the biological equivalence of man, but described the social and cultural conditions from a heavily French colonialist washed perspective. Overall, however, there are pieces missing from the history of man, pieces that represent a large part of the human experience.

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Day 1 Á Paris

WOW. Today has been a whirlwind.

For those of you who don’t know, I am doing a comparative healthcare study in France (Paris and Aix-en-Provence) over the next 3.5 weeks.

This has been my first time in Paris, and I will say that getting here has been a bit stressful. Essentially, my connecting flight was delayed, giving me five minutes to board my flight to Paris. I don’t think I’ve run that fast since track season (nervous post track season laugh). I did  (thankfully!) make it on the plane, and as sat next to this very cute French boy (his name was Pierre!)

Anyway, once I arrived in Paris I soon discovered that my baggage did not make it on the plane to Paris, so it should be delivered within the next 24 hours. This was a bit concerning as I had events (such as dinner to attend) and I was literally dressed in sweatpants and running shoes. My kind roommates borrowed me some articles of clothing, so I was able to look presentable at dinner.

Beyond this, my time here in Paris has allowed me to practice my French, as I took six years of formal French classes. Despite all the hiccups getting here, I feel very at home here in Paris and could potentially see myself living here one day.

Interestingly enough, the seemingly unfortunate events of today have given me time to reflect and contemplate within the context of this stunning Parisian scenery. I was pretty upset about my baggage being lost, especially because I had a really nice outfit planned for dinner tonight. However, I have realized or reminded myself that my worth is not derived from what I looked like, but by who I am. And honestly the only person I need to satisfy is myself, so if my sweatpants are unacceptable walking down the Parisian streets, than it truly doesn’t matter. Furthermore, I have realized that I am capable of more than I give myself credit for sometimes. I had a hard time believing I could make if from one end of an airport to another in 5 minutes, but I did it because I utilized the skills I gained from past track and cross country seasons. Subsequently, mindset is everything. The entire time I was sprinting I gave myself mini pep talks in my head that I would make it and that I am trained enough to make it to the boarding site in due time. On another note, I have realized the importance of identity and self-realization. I have been really struggling with the concept of drinking (I’m a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ) in a cultural context. Drinking is a large part of French culture; on one hand, having wine as a tourist can be perceived as partaking in a cultural experience. I am a huge fan of appreciating other cultures, and celebrating others within their respective cultural contexts. On the other hand, me partaking of wine could be me just using this trip as an excuse to drink alcohol.

Now, my mention of alcohol within any context is not meant to denounce those who do choose to partake of it. In fact, the bible does state in Ecclesiastes 9:7  “Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.” So, if drinking wine in one’s spiritual walk with God improves your relationship with Him, then so be it.

For myself however, I do not think the consumption of alcohol falls into the will of God for my life. The way I have resolved my Christian walk in the light of the walk of others is that God has unique and distinguishably purposeful destinies for all of us. This is why the Word states “We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If someone’s gift is prophecy, let him use it in proportion to his faith” (Romans 12:7). Consequently, I know who am I and truly believe that God does not want me to consume alcohol..at least right now. I believe that it with hurt my relationship with God and, because of my love for Him, I do not think it is worth it.

My decision to not drink has given my peace and joy in my spirit, and I will continue to pray against temptation for the duration of my visit in France.

Thanks for reading, and I’ll try my best to post every day haha no promises though!

 

It certainly has been a while..I hope you enjoy!

The sky shakes like an oscillating harmonica

With each note a new level or unexpected high

Falling, the air sucked by a sarcolemma vacuum

Waiting, patiently investigating the particle of light within the noireness

It’s great foolishly said by those who have felt the confident security of the ground

But finding satisfaction with a segment of desert to engulf the river the drowns hopes and dreams but cannot find prosperity.

“This whole ‘Civil Rights’ memetic apparatus has our people stuck on stupid. It has hypnotized Plantation Negros into thinking their history begins with slavery.
That’s why you always hear stupidity like: “The first black doctor” to do such n such and “The first black to graduate from college” and “The first black architect” and “the first black writer”. Straight. Mind. Control. Black people have been doctors, scientists and architects for thousands of years.”

No matter how you choose to wear your crown, you’re still an African Princess. -C.J. 

I believe it’s so important to have positive and uplifting people surround us. Whether we like it or not, we all have a divine purpose and negative influences can really stand in the way between  where we are today and the days to come.

This aforementioned quote gave me new perspective about the way I viewed certain lifestyle choices of people. Moreover, my personal belief that different does not equal stupid was confirmed. 

In essence, are we willing to choose temporary pleasing people at the expense of a greater good we can achieve?

True Success

A lot of times, we fantasize and set goals to become successful. The stereotypical idea of success tends to be associated with having a lot of money, a nice car, a good paying job, etc.

Before one begins to categorize oneself as ‘unsuccessful’, it is important to define what actual success is. Moreover, one should determine in who’s eyes one is trying to be successful in.
The lack of conviction and understanding who one is will make it easy to connotate success with money. However, is money the only kind of success there is?
What kind of wealth are we, as human beings, searching for?