There’s a dead little yellow rose outside my rain-stained windowpanes. I’m glad it’s raining today, because it’s Sunday. Nothing is ever open on Sundays. When I first got off the plane, I was ready to explore Paris, see the sights and parle with the people. A week later, it hits.

It’s not just the jet lag that hits you. It’s the cold, and the waking up at 3 a.m. and then again at 5 in the afternoon. It’s the cold that hits you, and not knowing where anything is and everything being closed on Sundays. It’s not being able to call your closest friends because it’s 4 a.m. back home. It’s also not being able to understand anything: not the TV, not the newspapers and not the maps. It’s that feeling of being alone when you don’t want to be. It hits, and it sucks.

But then, a month later, waking up at 9 a.m. is not so cold underneath the blankets. It’s still cold, but it melts away when you find a heated bookstore. The children’s books and the cookbooks are so delightful for some reason… probably the super-simplified grammar structure. The stranger on the metro who is making fun of his coworker is really funny, even if you can only catch part of his conversation.

Then, once in awhile, there will be enough sun, and little enough wind, to be outside and to sit, just sit, at a cafe with a cup of French hot cocoa and look around at all the architecture influenced by Haussmannization. It’s warm enough to walk along the Rue de Rivoli, along the Seine and stand on a bridge. It’s a wonderful day to just stand there and watch the boats pass by with the tourists who always wave at strangers. It’s nice enough outside to wave back at the strangers, watch the kids shyly hide behind their parents and then see the parents look up at you and smile.

When the rain starts to fall, you’ll forget almost everything. The tip-taps of the rain synchronized with the rhythms of some jazz on the radio or my favorite Norah Jones song makes life sweet. It’s warm inside by the lamplight with a bit of mint tea on the corner of my desk.

And the little yellow rose outside my rain-stained windowpanes has never looked so beautiful, bejeweled in raindrops.