Conversations: Anitra Michelle – Designer & Photographer

Photo Courtesy: Anitra Michelle

One of the many things I really enjoy about being an expat is the numerous encounters with people from the varied walks of life who have packed up their homes and families, moved across oceans, and settled in places foreign. It requires a great deal of resilience; an adventurous spirit; and an adaptability that does not often come naturally for some of us. So when I do meet people whose personalities marry all of those characteristics, I am intrigued.

Chasing dragons

The weather has been fairly mild in Paris for this time of the year, and an added bonus has been the sunshine we have had. The mild reference may just be a misnomer, as a friend in South Africa pointed out when I mentioned this. Today the sun was out and although it was fresh – read 9 degrees, we bundled up and headed for the Chinese New Year parade in the Marais.

Tastes from the Orient

In the interest of making the most the recommendations of the New Year, we started with the sampling of authentic cuisine . Orient Extrême in Neuilly-sur-Seine has two pros going for it – it’s a walk from our apartment and to date – three visits later – the service and food have been consistently good. Make sure to call in the morning for lunch and dinner reservations because late reservations only start again from 7pm. It is and has always been busy since it opened, about 4 months ago.

Happy Chinese New Year!

I am officially acknowledging the start of my new year today, on the day of the official Chinese New Year, the year of the wooden horse. Paris info has listed all the parades that will be taking place in the various arrondissements over the 15-day celebrations. This is not my year, but this article states that…

Bench shuffling…the great equalizer

The waiting rooms of immigration halls are the few places in the world that bridge that vast social divide. I was recently at the Nanterre Prefecture Immigration office renewing my Carte de Séjour, and it dawned me that: for as long as I am a guest in a country that is not my own, I will spend some fraction of my life doing the bench shuffle.

The bench shuffle is that tedious movement you make on a waiting room bench, often plastic, in the immigration hall of your host country while waiting to be legitimized in some way. Whether you’re seeking a temporary or permanent status; fleeing or touring; are financial secure or spiritually content; a captain of industry or of your own street corner  – the bench shuffle is for everyone. It does not discriminate.

Slumming it has become fashionable once again

Poverty tourism, slum tourism or the industry of poorism – whichever label you give it, I have always been very uncomfortable with it. When it is hawked as a cultural learning exercise – I am not even sure what that is really supposed to mean – I can understand it to a point, but on the face of it, it’s exploitative, demeaning and misery-as-entertainment.