As I sat at my desk studiously working on homework this afternoon, the sunlight came through my window and warmed my back, enticing me to give up my efforts and go for a walk. I decided to go to Belleville–a largely multi-ethnic neighborhood in the 11th and 20th arrondissements of Paris where one of the city’s Chinatowns is located–to look at some of the cool street art in that area.
The street art did not disappoint, but while I was walking along Boulevard de Belleville, I noticed a large amount of children dressed up and people selling balloons and candy. Thinking at first that it might just be a Sunday family activity, I then stumbled upon various drumming groups with large crowds gathered to watch.
After my initial thoughts of “Is this a protest?” and “Why is that one group dressed in what looks like pink KKK costumes?” I decided to stay and watch awhile. Soon enough, the police had quartered off the streets and all of the drum groups had gotten in a huge line and I realized I was witnessing a parade.
One of the best parts about living in a foreign country is when you have no idea what’s going on so you just sit back and casually pretend that you are there on purpose. It took me a while before I remembered that Mardi Gras is this Tuesday, so the parade was obviously a Pre Mardi Gras celebration. The drums were so loud that it seemed like the whole street was shaking, and little girls in fairy costumes threw so much glitter that I think I inhaled some of it by accident.
Spontaneity does not come easily for me, but when I find that I am “living in the moment” (cliché, I know) I grasp on tight to the seconds so that I will remember them forever. The parade this afternoon made my life ten times more exciting, and I walked back home with a smile on my face, glad that I had decided to take a homework break and enjoy the sunshine.