Let Me Show You The Way To Van Gogh

Sometimes I forget the joy of a new experience.

 @ Le Tour Eiffel-Always New

@ Le Tour Eiffel-Always New

Almost ten years on from my first sighting of the Louvre which had me in tears I am a bit jaded. Not because I have seen all there is to see in the world but because I now know that it is possible for me to see all there is to see in the world. Underneath the excitement of new there used to be a parallel wonder of whether it was possible “to do this” or “to go there” or “to be here”. Impossibility no longer exists. I know the mechanics behind dreams and much like pulling back the curtain on the Wizard knowledge has removed the magic. Which is why it is good to have a refresher course in the joy of the new. Brought to me courtesy of my 18 year old niece who took me back to my own 18 year old self and schooled me in more ways than one on the perils of being a cynic.

Gabs meets John-Nothing is impossible

Gabs meets John-Nothing is impossible

Lesson 1 – Go See Those Sights

Five years in London and I still hadn’t been to the Tower. Seven trips to Paris and I still hadn’t been to Versailles. She fixed that. You see I had let me politics get in the way of my love of history, design and beauty. Yes I am a tiny bit anti-monarchist and anti-colonialist and believe the wealth of Europe came at the continuing cost to Africa and the now Third World but those beliefs do not alter past facts. Nor should they stand in the way of seeing what passion ( Louis’) and power (England’s) wrought. Both trips were a delight. You could feel the weight of history running around you but you also felt you were a part of a now history and that makes you just as relevant. It is not good enough to curse from afar, to truly understand you must engage. Seeing the tiny door through which Marie Antoinette fled that morning in 1789 was to get up close to the ordinary, everyday, individual acts on which revolution are built.

Their outfits really are rather lovely. Rather.

Their outfits really are rather lovely. Rather.

Lesson 2 – Know Your Feminist History

I like to think that I am a feminist, in truth I am more than a bit casual about the term. I expect to be this simply by virtue of being a woman, that is to say in the laziest way possible. My favourite moment in our trip happened at the National Portrait Gallery. We stood before a picture of Mary Wollstonecraft. Or was it Mary Shelley? Either way I kept wittering on about Frankenstein and she started in on The Vindication of the Rights of Women. Which until then I had neither heard of nor read. Suffice it to say Part I, Chapter I has already blown my mind and given me a little perspective on what it truly means to exercise some intellectual rigour. Hmm my tweets don’t seem so clever now.Samsung 2014 921

Lesson 3 – Don’t Act Like You Know

As we get older and more preoccupied with how we appear to others we forget that no one is born knowing. Everything was new once. She is not naive but she knows what she doesn’t know and is unafraid to ask a question many questions. You are taught or you teach yourself everything; from expertly twisting your wheeled suitcase onto the escalator so that it follows you when you alight, to how to manage instagram speak. And if you don’t know something you really should ask. Saves you time and a fair amount of embarrassment. This coming home to me as I struggled to find the Pompidou Centre at night when it was just around the corner. She can ask me any number of questions she wants and I will find the answer. And if I don’t know, like her I will ask.

Wheel Globetrotter, Wheel

Wheel Globetrotter, Wheel

Lesson 4 – Share Your World

As I introduced her to my world of buses and Tubes and friends who are family she opened up the world of the young to me. They communicate in a different way. They live their lives on their social media pages and they hashtag what’s important and in so doing their inward lives become their outward ones #nofilter. We still filter. We consider the image we want to create and publicize accordingly. The line between our private and our public worlds are still clear. As I hosted a dinner party culled from an interesting range of friends I could see her opening her own world to difference. Am looking forward to her introducing me to some of her people off-line the next time I see her.

Parts of One Big Family, Mine

Parts of One Big Family, Mine

Lesson 5 – Smile

She has a beautiful smile and it will undo you every time. She could look up from whatever thing she was thinking furiously about while we are hurtling between stations on the Metro and she would smile. If we exchanged what I thought was tense moment she would work it out in her head, then smile. And how could I not smile too?  It made me feel better. So I think I will smile more.

A Smile Is A Gift, Yes?

A Smile Is A Gift, Yes?

I have missed her dreadfully since she has left. Having most of your family across oceans and seas is not optimal but having them come see your world is an equally priceless gift. You learn about each other. How you’re alike and different. How a passion that skips a parent may find a kindred in an aunt. My other favourite moment was us both #fangirling on van Gogh at the Musee D’Orsay. What the heck?

He Was Hot Though, Madness Aside

He Was Hot Though, Madness Aside

Twin sister #gotnext.

How Lucky Am I? There Are Two Of Them!!

How Lucky Am I? There Are Two Of Them!!

 

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Comments
2 Responses to “Let Me Show You The Way To Van Gogh”
  1. Kisha says:

    Selah!

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