Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you...

Hemingway was right. At least he was when it comes to me. In A Moveable Feast, one of my summer reads, he wrote, "Wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." That about sums up my life since I returned from my fantasy life abroad. Paris is always on my mind. I probably think about Paris more often than guys think about sex. Seriously. Everything reminds me of it, whether it be little French things, or just how different life here really is.

I bought a cute, cheap pair (50% off, so I got them for 12 Euro) of black flats in Paris. I really broke those puppies in this summer. For some reason, I just couldn't wear them once I got home. They remind me of the last night I wore them. My roommate Erin and I went out on our last night to enjoy the life one more time before our sad flights home. We splurged on a nice meal in the Bastille area, took the Metro to Trocadero for a wonderful view of our beloved Eiffel Tower, or tour Eiffel, and walked to the Champs Elysees for creme brulee. We sang John Denver's "Leaving on a Jet Plane" out loud as we watched the tower sparkle. On our walk it began to rain..and then it poured... a LOT. We ducked under canopies and tried to use her umbrella, but nothing helped. We were completely soaked. And I remember thinking I am so happy right now. I am soaked and cold, but it is my last night in least for now...and I am not going to let this rain ruin it. Besides, would it truly be Paris without a little rain? And so I ran and smiled. I laughed and soaked it in as much as I could. During this time, I kept forcing back my tears. How do you say goodbye to a place that you have come to love so deeply? When we finally arrived at the Champs Elysees, we searched and searched for creme brulee, but it was nowhere to be found. Not possible, right? Right. Eventually we found a place that had it on the menu. We sat down and ordered. "Mademoiselle, I am sorry, but we have no creme brulee (all in French, bien sur)." What! Pourquoi Pas!!!?? And there, in that chain restaurant with no creme brulee, I let it out, even though I tried not to. The tears came. I'm sure the waiter thought I was nuts for crying about creme brulee. Even now, my eyes start to sting and sometimes fill to the brims with tears. Anyway, I have gone on for too long about our last night. We did eventually get creme brulee, by the way.

So today, I put on the shoes. At first they were a little funky because they were soaked the last time I wore them, but then they molded right into place. All day, wherever I walked, I imagined myself on my way to class (a la Sorbonne!) or going for a walk along the Seine. And then I would wake up from my daydream and remember where I was and I felt sad. I miss it. It has been over a month and I still feel homesick. Can you be homesick for a place that is not technically your home, where you know few people, and have never experienced the seasons?

I have decided to go back. Not just to visit, but to live, for at least a year. Who knows, maybe longer ;) Paris is not just another cool city to me. It is a part of me. I see it and feel it in everything. From the way I drink my coffee (cafe au lait, s'il vous plait) to the way I walk down the street, Paris has left its mark.

1 comment:

Greta said...

Oh honey... What a blog. Yes, yes, and yes: you can definitely feel homesick for a place that isn't "technically" your home. Finding a "home" can be like finding a soul mate, I think: it may not be in your own back yard. Sometimes you have to go wander before finding the place or person that sings your own song.

I remember being home from studying abroad in London, and finding myself transported back there in little moments-- especially when I wore my traveling clothes. :) A gust of wind would pull at my hat, and I suddenly was back in the Tube stop, chasing after it as the wind from a departing train whipped it off my head.

It's good to fall in love with new people and places: it forces our hearts and imaginations to expand.

Love you.