Paris: Reflections on 2013

Oh hey there, 2014! It’s been a while since I updated my blog, but nothing screams “blank slate!” like a shiny new calendar year.

Paris. The Eiffel Tower is somewhere back there, I promise.

I thought I’d start with a picture from this week’s trip to Paris, where Andres and I rang in the New Year. The photo summarizes my year, in a way. You see, I am very often disappointed when I hand over my camera for strangers to snap a shot. Not because I think they are evil and will run off with the goods, but rather because by the time the transaction is made, a perfect image of how the picture will turn out is already framed in my mind. Then, deception–er, reality–sets in when the camera is handed back and all I see is a picture stunningly different from the one I had imagined.

Exhibit A: Paris. What could be more iconic than the Eiffel Tower when one thinks of the French capital? Yet, when I am gleefully close to said monument and ask a stranger to take our picture, why why why do they insist on cutting out this impressive backdrop? The image is okay, sure, but I have to take a moment to reconcile my dream shot (vertical, obviously) with a flat reality (horizontal, le sigh).

Take Two: Vertical…but not quite what I had in mind

This year was also an exercise in aligning dreams with reality. I had high hopes for the year, but then 2013 was knocked on its side. 2013 was stressful, challenging, and downright discouraging.

Not everything was bad; in the summer I enjoyed a great visit from my parents, got to travel with my family to France, and enjoyed a trip back to Arkansas to see more family and friends. But summer, glorious summer, was sandwiched between a demanding final semester of grad school (coupled with a thankless “internship” I dreaded) and an autumn in which Andres and I spent nearly 2 months apart. There was the disappointment of interviewing for but not getting my dream job, and the dawning realization that staying in Europe looks highly unlikely. It was–and still is–a time of nervous uncertainty and I prefer not to hash it all out here.

Toasting to 2014 in Montmarte

But, 2014, here’s to a year that is full of great shots (both horizontal and vertical). Here’s to a year that’s not embittered or riddled with doubt. Here’s to trying again. Here’s to doing our best of aprovechando Madrid while also welcoming other options. Above all, here’s to more adventures.

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  1. I hope everything works out well for you (and Andres too). I am in a similar limbo, so if you need talk whine….let me know. We can have a whine-wine fest. 😉

    • Cassandra

      Thanks so much, Kay. Maybe this time next year you and Javi will be the ones in France! I am curious to hear how the job search is going. I hope to run into you soon, but if not we can plan a w(h)ine date 🙂

  2. This is my biggest photo-taking pet peeve! Why don’t people capture the iconic monument instead of a close up of me? I couldn’t even tell the first picture was the Eiffel Tower… I thought it was some random park in Paris!

    • Cassandra

      You have just confirmed my worst fear about these shots 🙁

      Yeah, you don’t have to be a professional photographer or even a photo enthusiastic to include those giant buildings in the background!!!

  3. Angelica

    I’d probably have laid down on the ground to capture the Eiffel Tower…and somehow get you two in there too! Bonne Année!!!

    • Cassandra

      Bonne Année à toi!!

      I am sure you would be the most dedicated Eiffel Tower photographer ever. Wanna come on the next trip? 😉

  4. If I’ve learned anything about Spain, it’s that grit and politely saying, ni de coña, gets you places! Should you need advice, you know where to find me! PS my old school hires on student visas, it’s just not a great place to work. SUERTE!

    • Cassandra

      Thanks chica. It’s complicated–but isn’t it always. If I have papeleo questions I’ll be in touch.

  5. Haha I love that picture. By love I mean I totally understand your annoyance.

    Mario is always looking for people who he thinks look like they’d take good pictures. Usually it’s a person in their late 20s or 30s who is either carrying a DSLR or just strikes him as competent.

    • Cassandra

      We try to do the same!! Unfortunately in the above shots there was no one around with an actual camera, just a cell phone. C’est la vie, eh?

  6. I’m with you on 2013… what a mess of a year! Hope 2014 is much sweeter for you and Andres 🙂

  7. Happy 2014! That Eiffel Tower shot takes some work. To be thaaat close AND get you and the tower in it, takes some kneeling and awkward positioning. It’s kind of funny to watch people actually try to achieve it 😉 Hope this year brings lots of joy and clarity to you two!

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