Gone Hunting

While Easter is still a week away, with the help of some amazing chocolate displays in the windows of my local boulangeries, I’ve been in the spirit for awhile now. The goose may not have laid a golden egg (yet), but she sure has laid some giant eggs, engraved eggs, and macaron filled ones too! I can’t help but feel like a kid again on a giant Easter egg hunt that spans my neighborhood, and the entire city. Luckily as an adult I’ve exhibited a bit of self-restraint and have listened to what any mother would say: “Look, don’t touch.” Instead my Easter Egg hunt has turned into a little game of photos I collect on my iPhone. I also find you save a lot of calories that way.

While Easter is the perfect season for “city hunting,” really it’s a game I like to play all year round. Ever since the first time I moved to Paris, I’ve always noticed that there are often themes to my day – anything from “there’s dog crap on every block day,” to “motorcycles on the sidewalk run me over day” to “wow, that Easter egg is bigger than the last one day.” While not always glamorous, I find that stating the obvious and mundane can be one of the most exciting ways to explore a neighborhood. And while stating the obvious, it’s fun to document it too.

Despite my love affair with the movie Amelie, I was never a huge gnome fan until my aunt and cousin came to visit me in Paris. I had never seen a gnome in this city until they came and pointed them out to me. The next thing I knew was that they were everywhere and we were all capturing the proof on our cameras. To this day our game continues back and forth. But I must thank my aunt and cousin for helping me open my eyes to something that was around me, but I never would have seen without their help. (As proud owners of a Westie dog, they also managed to “capture” several during their visit. Funny, I had never seen one in the city until they came along either).

I was recently at a lecture where the speaker made the point that we learn more about New York by going to Turkey. Sometimes we take for granted what is around us until we experience something that makes us look at a place with new eyes. In my case, I didn’t have to go anywhere – rather, I had others come to me. In the same respect, in my adventures in “mundane hunting” I’ve enjoyed teaching the French a thing or two about their own culture. It goes both ways.

For the next week, I invite you to go on your own “Easter Egg hunt” in your neighborhood and see if you see anything different, and as always, I welcome you to share in the comments section.


(This post has been entered into the GrantourismoHomeAway travel writing competition.)


7 comments

  • I love teaching the French about OUR culture too! They think they know everything :) Ask any French person why Philadelphia is important to our heritage and you start to see them foam at the mouth. Not a clue!

    It’s true though, sometimes you do have to leave home to really learn about your homeland. Or just pay attention in History class :)

  • what fun. our neighborhood has plastic easter eggs hanging from trees, a lot. it is a hoot. only one westie, our neighbor’s, whom we often take for a walk. but LOTS of fake deer, in our rural neighborhood. weird.

  • So true – we do get used to our surroundings and stop seeing the little things… Much like the experience you recount of your aunt and cousin, having a kid has actually helped me see things differently – and rediscover in many ways, what was always there for me to see. It’s been an incredible trip so far to see the world through Noah’s eyes and experience things at his pace – even a walk around the neighborhood is filled with things I would have missed out on had it not been for him.

    Happy “mundane hunting”, my dear!

    xoox,
    -maria

  • Hello Anne,

    Thank you so much for the travel inspiration! I couldn’t agree with you more that the act of seeing other landscapes provides new insights on your own. I recently discovered a great article about this written by John Lehrer that I wrote about on my own travel-inspired blog:

    http://vamoos.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/foreign-factor-why-travel-is-good-for-you/

    I also recently posted about the history of the garden gnome. Like you, I have am a big Amelie fan, but not such a big gnome fan. But I was curious about its story and how the garden gnome came to be so popular. You might find the results of my digging make an interesting addition to your post, or at least fuel for your continued photo-documentation of the gnomes you come across.

    http://vamoos.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/gnome-on-the-range-a-short-history-of-the-roaming-gnome/

    I look forward to reading about the future fruits of your ‘mundane hunting’!

    Kim

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