In this big interview, we invite you to a little trip to Paris with Anna @paris.with.me, who told us about things that inspired her to move to the city, career plans, a typical day in Paris, and lots more. Welcome to the city of love!
Aloha, Anna! Tell us your story of exploring Paris. What was your first impression of the city?
Honestly, I'm a little ashamed to admit it, but I began to notice the beauty and charm of Paris only a couple of years ago even though I arrived here in 2011. My first impression of Paris was so unclear. From the first day, I began my apprenticeship at the shop, and all efforts were made to enter the University. From the beginning, I set myself a very clear goal – be admitted to the University and walked towards her, not paying attention to what was around. So, my first impression had nothing to do with the romantic city as most can assume.
Why were you drawn to Paris?
Paris has attracted me to the opportunity to live an independent life of a European student. And education in Paris is quite affordable in terms of cost and procedures for admitting foreign students. Well, in the end, Paris, is PARIS! It seems to me that it is not difficult to be attractive.
Did it take time to get used to the city for the first time or you immediately felt that this city is for you?
Yes, it took me over one and a half years: I was too shy to talk, I was a stranger to the manners and habits of the French. But this is a normal stage: one day I woke up and realized that now all these are for me! Today, I'm so used to my life in France that I do not even see myself in any other place.
Describe your perfect day in Paris.
Early in the morning to walk in the direction of Montmartre near the Abbesses metro station, while there is still not a lot of people. Visit one of my favorite coffee shops Cuiller, and take a latte with you. Then go to the bakery for Pain Pain pistachio snail around the corner. Then walk along des Martyrs street down to the Grands Boulevards through very beautiful indoor passages. Walk to the Marais, get a sandwich or salad, and go down to the banks of the Seine on the island of St Louis, to meet with friends and have a picnic.
Give three reasons why you like Paris and three things you would like to change?
What I like: walking the entire, huge selection of fine cafes and restaurants for any taste and budget. Also, transcendent beauty and aesthetics in everything from a croissant in a bakery to bright boulevards and nice parks.
If we talk about change, I would probably not name anything. Everything that comes to mind, in contrary adds a special charm to France, especially Paris. But I cannot stand long, intricate, and sometimes mindless bureaucratic procedures from a visit to the doctor to making an appointment at my university. Sometimes what upsets me is the hypocrisy and the fact that to the most delicious places sometimes you need to stand a two-hour queue, because they do not accept the booking.
Tell us what you studied and what are you doing now?
Initially, I'm a marketer, and in France, I kind of deepened my knowledge and studied Commerce and International Business Relations. Now I work in an agency which is engaged in commercial development of French fashion brands in Eastern Europe.
Reveal your secrets on how to properly allocate time? In a big city like Paris, it is extremely difficult.
Oh, I would love someone to share this secret with me! For me, who works with an office schedule, it is difficult to effectively manage time. But for myself, I realized that the main thing is to overcome laziness and procrastination. As every day you can do one tiny step towards your goal. I like to visualize: every time I'm too lazy to start something, I can imagine how much joy will the completed task bring me.
If you had a choice to go to any country, you'd probably still be in France?
Yes, I would have stayed in France: first, I am very comfortable here. It is a beautiful country with wonderful cuisine, culture, art and incredible diverse landscapes, ocean, seas. Second, moving somewhere again is a pretty global step, but I do not want to lose a few years on getting comfortable again and miscellaneous processes.
What does it mean for you to be yourself?
To be myself is to understand and accept me as I am, to live in harmony, and to be able to hear what your body and brain are trying to convey to you. I believe that all the answers are hidden in ourselves that completeness and happiness must be born from within not by external factors.
Do you believe that thoughts are material, and even the most unreal dreams still come true?
Yes, I believe in it! I wholeheartedly believe that if we want something a lot, we should literally become this dream and fully focus all your energy on achieving it: think about it, fall asleep and wake up with it. And it's just amazing when you begin to notice that everything feels like pushing you to your dreams, to its achievement.
Which things in your house are your favorite?
I love perfumed candles and blankets: everything that helps to experience one's own world and disconnect from the outside.
Which scents fill your home?
As I have mentioned, I love candles, especially Dyptique – they have very subtle but familiar and incredibly cozy flavors. Wherever I was, I always remember the smells. And then, if you can hear them in other places, they seem to bring me back to past moments.
How do you imagine the perfect home?
The perfect home is a bright and spacious living room with huge Windows and lots of plants. It's very important to have a lot of natural light, as I can't stand the yellow artificial lights. So, when evening falls, I try as much as possible not to turn on electric lighting.
What kind of music do you like? Name three most frequently played tracks on your phone.
Actually, I have no favorite music. I am always looking for tracks according to my mood, therefore, I am constantly changing my playlist. Now I particularly like Bill Withers – Lovely day, and Kaleo, Jose Gonzalez, La femme.
Name your three favorite movies.
I love Sofia Coppola. One of my favorite movies is Marie Antoinette: visually it is as perfect as the soundtrack. One of those films that made a strong impression on me (probably, just found it at the right time) is the Salt of the Earth, about the way of the photographer, Sebastiao Salgado. It is a very beautiful and powerful film.
What kind of jewelry do you wear? Do you have talismans?
Until recently, I never wore jewelry, although bought a lot. But I just simply forget to wear it. Now I love rings most of all, and often wear multiple chains of different metals and with different pendants. But mostly I wear one of kind of thing: either rings, chains, or earrings.
What are your associations with Aloha Gaia?
For me, Aloha Gaia has always been associated with forces of the earth nature, the energy of stones, various elements. I love minimalistic design when talking about jewelry with natural stones. It seems to me even now very few pieces of jewelry with natural stones look really beautiful, stylish, but moderately, not bright.