Waiting for the calm after the storm

I am in the midst of finishing a 150 page thesis (in French) about mobile apps in temporary exhibitions in Parisian museums. It is eating me alive. 

Museum Studies books

Needless to say, stress is a constant presence in my life right now. I've been fighting back with an arsenal of calming techniques, including candlelight, herbal teas, Django Reinhardt and coloring books.

Paris Candles
Coloriages anti-stress

The other day I was making a transfer at Châtelet, the armpit of Paris. I turned a corner, and all of a sudden I was surrounded by the sweet sounds of a 13-piece orchestra playing Vivaldi. It was exceptionally beautiful and unexpectedly moving. And I realized that even there, in the sea of hurrying crowds and urine smells, in one of my least favorite places on this whole wide Earth, I could have a moment of transcendence.

Chatelet Paris Orchestra

That's been my motto of sorts as I finish my thesis. Even in this very stressful time, I am making an effort to insert moments of beauty. A bouquet of flowers, the occasional evening with friends and cocktails, long walks in pretty neighborhoods...

Pink bouquet
Paris Candelaria Cheers

This season is an exercise in choosing calm and joy even under duress.

Paris Sunset