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Day 276: Visit a Dear Friend.


What is it about getting older that makes it harder and harder to reach out to friends and stay in touch? And when I say "reach out", I don't mean Facebook "likes" and retweets, I mean getting together and truly catching up. I know for me, I tend to stay in the nook of immediate friends where making the effort to see otherwise amazing people is a challenge. Why is it so difficult? Have I gotten so lazy where making a phone call in lieu of a text is deemed a grand gesture? This is something that I struggle with this in both Paris and New York. I can't say this poses much of a problem in LA where this is the social norm.

When I was in New York, I was walking through Anthropologie with my mom when I saw a collection of Hervé Tullet books, the eccentric children's book author as well as my former English student turned friend. This reminded me that I had to get in touch with him once back in Paris to pay him a visit. He is such an incredible person and it has been way too long. I was so proud to see that his books have finally been translated in English which is truly wonderful news. Getting books translated in English is a huge accomplishment because the anglo-market is so fierce which makes it extremely difficult for a foreign author to cross over to the States and the UK. We tried to connect before Christmas but that time of year leaves everyone frazzled that we promised to touch base after the new year.

When I got back in town, I let a few weeks go by, completely forgetting that I had made a mental note to drop him a line. It wasn't until Séb, May and I went to the Keith Haring exhibit at Musée en Herbes where I found an entire showcase of Hervé's books in the gift shop that I told Séb to please remind me to call him and also to remind me to buy a notebook for little notes like these.

The last time I saw Hervé was several weeks after the break-up with MF, long after I stopped teaching him, around this time last year. I had to pull myself together because I was booked to work Paris Fashion Week and anyone who has worked in fashion knows that no one especially during Paris Fashion Week gives a hoot about your personal mini-dramas and I had to show up polished, professional, vapid and ready to talk about important world news, you know, like Gaga's Thierry Mugler show.

The only way I know how to somewhat pull myself together when I'm in the throws of crisis is to get a blow-out, so I made a rendez-vous at my salon near Hervé's atelier at Place de Clichy. There's something about walking out of the salon humming “Who's That Lady?” while tossing your hair in the wind and checking yourself out in storefront reflections that works wonders on the morale. Is it just me?

After my Clichy blowout by the very talented Hamid who went a little overboard by pulling out all of his tools, I left with super volume and cascading curls. I walked over to Hervé's atelier in the boho part of the 17th looking like Brigitte Bardot and tapped on the window to see if he was in to say hello. He let me in and over a café allongé, I had dismally told him what had happened. I was exhausted, drained where even his strong coffee wasn't perking me up to my usual vibrant self. I have this sad image of myself at his atelier that day burned in my memory. I felt like I was dead.

Almost a year later, our last meeting compared to this year's is like night and day. I met him again at the atelier with flatter hair, pulled back in a bun and as he opened the door, I ran and gave him a big American-style hug and with a glowing smile on my face told him how happy I was to see him. I truly was. We walked over to the authentic Japanese restaurant Kokoya for unlimited cups of dark green tea, unagi bento box, sesame creme brulée and gossip as we sat under the fish painting that he had donated to this hidden gem in the Batignolles area of the 17th.

Sidebar: If you have never been to Kokoya, I highly recommend it. I find that getting good Japanese food in Paris can be a bit tricky, but this place serves up fresh and authentic Japanese dishes in a clean and simply designed restaurant.

Kokoya Restaurant Illustration 
found at Ivy Mag

As we sipped on our miso soup, I recalled him assuring me last year that everything was happening for a reason and I was exactly where I was supposed to be. At the time, I resisted this theory because I was in so much pain and couldn't see how this was all for the "best". I hate when people say that when you're upset. Maybe it's not for the best, damn it! Now a year later, it's clear that I really was supposed to have these experiences because it has sharpened my awareness, my judgement to be more selective on who I let in and improved my self-esteem with the knowledge that I can persevere through anything.

After lunch, we took a cool stroll through the neighborhood where he introduced me to the owners of some of the boutiques in the neighborhood (where I found a darling notebook), he filled me in on his exciting news and intense travel schedule promoting his books and we mused on life, love and living in Paris.

There are special people to me here and Hervé whom I see once a year, is without a question one of them. Everyone needs an Hervé Tullet in their life. He shares with me the wisdom of his life experiences and I keep him young with my stories and adventures. With everything that I've shared with him over the years, he shouldn't age for another ten more years because I just keep them coming with one story crazier than the next.

I couldn't think of a better way to spend a brisk February afternoon in Paris.

Kokoya
5, rue des Batignolles
75017 Paris

6 comments:

  1. Herve sounds wonderful! I can't wait to check out his books!

    I totally have that same image when I imagine myself getting a blow out. But everything is also in super slow-mo and the song playing is usually "Ladies Night" haha!

    xo

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    1. Herve is great! His books are too...I wish they were around when I was young. My favorite is "Press Here". Super cute for kids!

      LOL! "Ladie's Night" is a good one too! "Sophisticated Mama!!!!!" Ahahahaha love.

      xo!

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  2. "Once a year friends" are great! I have a couple of those. We always pick up right where we left off just as if it had only been a couple of days since we last saw each other.

    Kokoya sounds like a real find. Miso soup, green tea, bento boxes - my kind of place.

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    1. Yes, it was a special afternoon. I'm glad I finally got out of the house. I've been hibernating a bit.

      Please check out Kokoya! FYI...they don't take reservations and there are only like 6 tables, so it's best to go for lunch or early dinner, so you don't have to wait.

      I look forward to hearing your opinion.

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  3. There is nothing more wonderful than old friends that just click even once a year. And I agree with Mary Kay! Kokoya sounds great and it's not too far from me! Hurrah - a new spot to try nearby!

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    1. I kept mentioning the 17th for a reason! Please, please, please go! I think you'll love it as well as this little nook of the 17th. It's so quaint.

      The server/chef is super cute and speaks back to you in Japanese.

      Tell me what you think!

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