I know; it’s been awhile. I stumbled back into Paris yesterday just as I left it a month ago: racing against a snowstorm. The East Coast of the US got slammed and I escaped by just a hair. I’ve come back to rain and gray skies – the normal Paris winter, if you will. A fresh, warm baguette upon arrival made me forgive the city for such a soggy welcome.
Funny, how the markers of “home” have changed for me. Between Christmas gifts, books, and a new pair of boots (I’m a sucker for boots), I had zero room for the little treats I usually bring back from the States: mac & cheese, peanut butter, black beans, Trader Joe’s chocolate-covered pretzels. (We can talk later about my random selection, if you want).
But coming back to Paris, changing trains at Gare du Nord and being taken in by the smell of pastries (gosh, even in a dingy train station the pastries smell good!), getting off at my metro stop, Alexandre Dumas, and rolling my suitcase through the outdoor market, I marveled: wow, actually, *this* is home. I think I might just make it this stretch without my home comfort food. Seems as soon as I popped into my bakery I was reminded I’ve found comfort right here in the City of Light.A month away is a lot to recap, so I won’t really do that here. Only to say it was a bit of a blur between friends, family, school. I rode Amtrak for nearly 14 hours (DC to Vermont), played in the snow, met some amazing writers, watched my niece walk and run everywhere when last I saw her she was only crawling. I stocked up on hugs (as the French kisses don’t always do it for me, you might remember), brushed up on my English (true! The longer I live in France, the worse my English gets – not so hot for a writer, eh?), and pondered, as I always do, this life between here and there.
I wish you all a Bonne Annee. I know it’s late, but I’ve stumbled into 2011 a bit like I’ve stumbled back to Paris: a little disoriented, but full of hope, happy to see what lies ahead.
On this day, one year ago, I started this blog on something of a whim. I had just come home from a reading, it was snowing outside then, too. I had no idea how many awesome folks like you I’d meet along the way, that Paris, however (im)perfect, would become ever more rich and interesting to me, the more I explored. It’s a blog birthday, but more than that – I’m raising a toast to another great year for all of us.
Cheers and thanks!