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hello, I'm Paris! I have a lot to say, and that certainly comes out in my writing, my work, comment, review, speak!

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This is a piece I initially wrote a couple of years ago, but I've just come back to it and edited fairly extensively :) Thank you for reading!

What's In A Name?

March 19, 2019

What's in a name?

"Your name is Paris?!"
"Were you born there?”
"Have you been there?"
"Is Paris Hilton, like, your namesake?"
"Is your brother called Texas?"
"Have you met Paris Hilton?" 

I do actually quite like my name. Really, I do. But nonetheless, any introduction to anyone ever inevitably leads to what is pretty much a Q&A between me and them, including any (or all) of these questions. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but more of just an observation, although sometimes it does give me the urge to walk around with a cardboard sign attached to me reading the following: No, I wasn’t born in Paris. Yes, I have been there. No, my parents did not name me after Paris Hilton. No, I don’t know why they called me Paris; maybe you should ask them. I’m open to any and all hilarious jokes which I’m sure are going to be highly original, but let me tell you now, my brother’s name is not Texas.
Moving on. When it comes to birthdays, people always seem to think it’s clever to get me little Paris key-chains or little Eiffel Tower models, not to mention the pencil cases, random little tins of biscuits or whatever, packs of stickers, snow-globes, mugs, candles, notebooks, drink coasters and pretty anything under the sun anyone can find that screams ‘Paris’. These gift choices don’t bother me – on the contrary, it makes me feel like I have my own little shrine dedicated to the city of love, and really, what more could I want? Essentially, even though all those people mean well (I hope), this whole gift giving thing just means I have quite a few Paris gimmicks, big and small, used and unused (hint: they’re mainly unused). It also means you can feel free to come to me with any grievances of the subject line: help! I do not have enough little Paris souvenirs that probably, actually, really are not from Paris, but instead are from a random shop in Brisbane that has absolutely no connection with anything in Paris, so really, I just want something with a picture of the Eiffel Tower on it that was probably actually made in China.
This June, my family and I took on France, and while we had a wonderful time, there were a few problems I encountered. My family doesn’t speak any French, although my dad has recently learned how to say “très bien!” in various accents, none of which, in all honesty, sound at all French. The minute we landed in Montpellier, he ran over to a café in the airport and used his only other three known words to string together a sentence which was, ultimately, unsuccessful: “café au lait?” The bored-looking barista said, “coffee?” and with that, his hopes were dashed to the rocks. After that, he smiled, nodded, and “très bien”ed his way through just under two weeks in France, leaving it to me to do everything else. Fortunately, I have been learning French for just over a year at school, filling in the extremely large gaps with Duolingo. Unfortunately, I am nowhere near fluent, and there were a few key words that just didn’t stick. Or perhaps it was my poor pronunciation that should be blamed. I couldn’t tell you. All I know is, at one point my parents ditched, leaving me to buy a train ticket for myself and my brother. The protocol for these sorts of things generally includes giving them your name and destination (among other things). This led to an interesting conversation, which mainly consisted of the ticket counter woman saying, “Non! Non! Comment tu-t’appelles? Comment tu-t’appelles?!” and me saying, “Je m’appelle Paris!”, and, just in case she had very rapidly learned English, “My name is Paris! I’m also going to Paris!” This particular conversation went on for an unfortunate period of time, until finally a passing woman took pity on this foreign girl with an inconvenient name. My family materialized just as the ticket woman was handing me my ticket, carrying pastries and drinking coffees.
“What took so long?” my dad asked.
As I mentioned earlier in this piece of text which could only be described as an extended complaint, I’ve been studying French for some time – in fact, this will be my third year. For some reason, people expect this. In fact, they welcome it with open arms. Maybe it has something to do with my name? All I know is they’re unwilling to accept any other scenario. Picture this: Paris, at pretty much any time: “I’m sorry, I have to stop talking to you now because I don’t want to be late to French.” The other person looks confused for a second, and then their face lights up with a look of total recognition.
“Oh, of course! You do French. Because your name-?”
The person might leave it there, or of course they might inexplicably elaborate.
“Because your name is Paris, and in France, they speak French, and Paris is the capital, and so, like, it just totally makes sense.”
Regardless of which pathway said person follows, I smile and nod. Because, well, clearly, it’s my fate to learn my language because my name is Paris, and that’s a city in France, where they speak French. And come on, who am I to argue with destiny?


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  • March 19, 2019 - 9:54pm (Now Viewing)

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1 Comment
  • lanipalmer

    this is one of my favourite pieces of yours!! so good!

    6 months ago