Paris: My Moveable Feast
Trip Start Sep 02, 2010
77Trip End Jun 13, 2011
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I don't think it's possible to write about Paris without sounding cheesy or melodramatic. Even Hemingway--master of the cool, collected understatement--waxes sentimental when he writes about Paris. And I love it. Since I've made no secret of my affection for the City of Lights (so many of you patient souls have had to look through my various scrapbooks and hear my nostalgic tales), I'll proclaim it here once again. I LOVE Paris. And especially in the springtime.
Part of what made this trip to Paris so special was that we weren't actually planning on going this year
And when we landed on a warm Friday evening--the skies still illuminated by the sunshine at 9:30 p.m.--I couldn't have been happier. After immersing ourselves in so many different cultures this year, walking through my favorite Paris neighborhoods felt like home. And at this point in our trip--we're almost at the nine-month mark--I feel pretty ready for "home." The most obvious appeal is seeing our family and friends; we can't WAIT to spend time with you guys whom we've missed so much--and share in all the exciting experiences that we've also missed. For Rhett and Sarah, an engagement and a new home. For Raquel and her Dan, a baby-on-the-way. And for various other friends and family members, too, who've emailed and Skyped us with their happy stories and news.
"Home" pulls at my heart-strings for other reasons, too
So when we climbed the spiral staircase to my host family's apartment, my heart was fluttering in anticipation of seeing old friends, and my mind was racing with familiar memories. Ten years ago, when I first climbed these spiral stairs, I remember feeling dizzy with nerves and enthusiasm: would I get along with my host family? Would I feel comfortable in their apartment? How would I ever last nine months away from home? And now here I am ten years later, in a parallel but inverted experience, where my nine-month adventure was out in the world, and this space in this Paris stairwell feels like "home."
So the door opened, and Charles jumped at me with a hug and kisses, and there we were with family
When we weren't spending time with the kids or with Bruno and Sandra, Dan and I walked circles around my favorite Paris neighborhoods. And once again, all sorts of memories flooded back, making me feel like we were home. The places where my friends and I danced our ridiculous Paris dance...the Irish pub where we'd go when we were sick of brasseries and Kir...the places where Grandfather, Carol, and the rest of the extended family has had dinner: Georges and Brasserie Flo and the fancy Vietnamese place...the apartment where Grandma and Grandpa lived in the '70s...the Arc di Triomphe, where I've been so many times, but most memorably in the midst of a pack of other fanatic marathoners, as the gun went off and sent us flying off down the Champs Elysees...all the Tuileries and Louvre visits and walks to my school and crepres and hot chocolates and ice creams and madeleines...all those Proustian madeleines that make me remember all these moments in Paris. And the cafe where I sat, nine years ago, and read Hemingway's A Moveable Feast and got sentimental about my love for Paris.