Upside Down World (Update!)


You’d be forgiven for thinking I disappeared from the face of the earth. When last I wrote you, it was November 4. Hmm. We all know what happened soon thereafter.

France is known for numerous strikes and demonstrations, but my life back in the States has become one perpetual protest since the election. But! I’ve met lots of great folks this way. Here I’ve turned to snap this random shot and spotted my seatmate from the Women’s March. We rode from Durham to DC together. Small world!

Returning to one’s home country after spending years abroad is already a difficult task. Numerous studies show that “reverse culture shock” can be just as profound as the move to a foreign country. The experience can even feel more confusing, as “home” is a place we’re supposed to know, and yet it’s home that has become foreign in a way. We’re confronting it from a very changed perspective.

Pretty good summation of where I’ve been stuck.

You can imagine this experience has been heightened a million fold when one’s country up and loses its mind and is now run by a frighteningly vapid and selfish egomaniac with authoritarian tendencies and no moral compass. Yep, I sure don’t recognize this place!

Another concise message. I’ve been saying no, no, no for months now!

Being back to experience this terrifying shift has obviously influenced (*cough*, derailed, *cough, cough*) any initial inklings of where I thought my new path might lead. But I do certainly feel we’re living through history.

Which begs the question, what is our place in that history? (You know how you often look at big historical moments and ask yourself what you would have done? Welp, no need to wonder any longer! Now is the chance to find out!)

“The time is always right to do what is right.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

So, you see, there’s been a lot to process and I didn’t quite know what to share with you all. For months my only writing has been irate Facebook posts, emails to my elected officials, and a weekly newsletter for an Indivisible group (I somehow found myself as a co-chair of a resistance group!).

The signs are everywhere! (Even hiding in bushes!)

But I write to you now because I’ve missed you – and because Paris is on the horizon again!

I’m leaving soon to spend the summer in the City of Light. And lordy, to take a small break! It was reassuring to see that one of my countries did the right thing.

Emmanuel Macron inviting Americans to France. Anyone taking him up on that?

The night of the French election in May, I watched the countdown to the announcement’s winner online, tuned to France 24. (Yet another thing France does better. No excruciating hours-long saga of returns as they roll in and crazy electoral maps. Everyone learns at one time, 8 pm, who won for sure). When Emmanuel Macron’s face appeared on screen, I literally burst into tears. (Good tears this time!)

Asking the heavens what to do next. (Also, a brief shower in Paris just over a year ago. Y’all, one year. That’s it. Look at the happiness, look at the naivete, look at the promise!)

My beau is still in Paris. You can imagine the situation here in the US has made us question yet again just where we’re going to land.

So, here’s to the ever unfolding journey. But I’ll be in a Paris mood for the next couple months and would delight in checking in with you all a little more often.

OMG, isn’t it a relief to return to beauty?! (Photo by Luc Mercelis, Flickr Creative Commons).

All signs seem to be pointing in that direction, too. On my way, I am spending just one night in New York before catching a direct flight to CDG. The only night I happen to be in NYC, guess what’s happening? A garden soiree at Ladurée Soho featuring four Francophile authors, THREE of whom are my friends! Serendipity!

I’m excited to see Ann Mah (Mastering The Art of French Eating), Amy Thomas (Paris, My Sweet), and Kristen Beddard (Bonjour Kale). We all knew each other in Paris and all have returned to the US. I will prod them for insights into making sense of this! (I’ll also look forward to meeting the fourth author, Angie Niles).

Ladurée Soho. (Photo by Rebecca Plotnick, host of the soiree. Looking forward to meeting her, too!)

If you’re in New York on June 14, come say hello! It would be nice to meet you!

In other exciting news, I also have a new author interview coming up and will be giving away not one, but TWO free copies of a beautiful new Paris book. You won’t want to miss it.

So, tell me your news, friends. It’s nice to be back!

11 Responses to “Upside Down World (Update!)”

  1. 1 Karene June 6, 2017 at 1:43 am

    Sion, I have missed you!!! I’ve been wondering if you were still in the U.S. Lucky you, you get to leave, even if only for a short while. Your sentiments are mine exactly. And I, too, have increasingly wondered what we (I) can do about it. I have always kept my facebook page intentionally politics-free because I know people on both sides and I just don’t want my page to turn into a slug-fest. (My daughter says I should just unfriend all the Trump-supporters, like she has, but I don’t think that’s the answer. Although I have unfollowed most of them.) However, I do passively-aggressively make my position known, I guess, by liking and commenting on public posts, which I know often turn up in my friends’ newsfeeds. But honestly, I don’t know how much more power-hungry, narcissistic ineptness I can take!

    And OMG I can’t believe you are convening with three of my favorite writers on the 14th. I have so enjoyed their books, and am so wishing I could fly across the country just to see all of you in one place. What a fun event that will be. I hope you post pics and write about it, either here or on fb.

    So happy for you that you get to be with your beau in beautiful Paris soon. I would love to take Macron up on his offer! Haven’t convinced my husband yet. Too many logistical issues for now. Do keep in touch. And how is your mom doing since you last wrote?

    PS: I also love all your pictures!


    • 2 paris (im)perfect June 6, 2017 at 5:04 am

      So nice to hear from you, Karene, and thank you for this juicy comment!

      You know, I have basically kept a lot of my online presence free of politics, too, as I don’t fancy confrontation either (and arguments online so rarely lead to productive dialogue anyway!) But I don’t even see this as political anymore. We’re in a constitutional crisis! Our very democracy is at stake. This prez* (I can only afford him an asterisk!) attacks the free press, our judicial system, freedom of religion (1st amendment, anyone?)

      I have certainly disagreed strongly with politicians before, but I have never before believed they were ACTIVELY DESTROYING the very fabric of our nation. Like, can our democracy even survive this? Not looking so good at the moment. I honestly don’t understand why everyone, no matter their political stripe, is not completely outraged by what is happening. The way he is completely isolating us, pushing our greatest allies away, is so frightening. And that doesn’t even get to what an inhumane, immoral, and incompetent person he is. On the other stuff alone he shouldn’t even be in office.

      But ANYWAY. Yes, how nice it will be to meet with Paris friends, soak in some beauty, and be with my beau. Obviously it will be a good break to help maintain my sanity! (Can you tell I need it? Ha!)

      I so appreciate you asking about my mom, too. She is doing well! I actually had to take her to the ER on election night (it seemed apropos to be in a hospital as the sickening results came in) so that was a scary, dramatic moment, but everything ended up okay. We overcame the weird medical situation eventually. Then she had her knee surgery earlier this year, which took a little longer to recover from than expected, but she’s a total rock star and is back to her active self. Very glad I could be here for her. And excited she’s doing so well and I can fly off back to Paris for a bit of an escape!

      I look forward to sharing more fun things here soon! Less politics, more Paris 🙂


      • 3 Karene June 6, 2017 at 6:16 am

        Yes to all you said! And especially “Less politics, more Paris”!!! I could say more, but I’m going to stop. For now, haha. At least, we know we are sympatico.

        So happy to hear how well your mom is doing. I remember her knee surgery had to be interrupted for the other concern. And now she’s recovered from the knee surgery as well? Awesome. That surgery may be in my future too. Ironically, I woke up today with my knee tweaked, and I haven’t been able to walk on it. (And so, I’ve been on facebook all day, catching up on everyone’s updates!) It’s so encouraging to hear of success stories like your mom’s.

        Looking forward to your posts from Paris, Sion. Au revoir 🙂


  2. 4 Tina June 6, 2017 at 1:53 am

    It’s so good to hear from you again! I was wondering how you were faring back in the good ol’ USA. (Said with more than a hint of sarcasm.) I’ve thought so often of bailing on my home country, but I think the best way to effect change is from the inside. But glad you’re going “home” for a little while! Please post often! xoxo


    • 5 paris (im)perfect June 6, 2017 at 5:12 am

      Thanks so much, Tina! Yes, we can effect change best from the inside. That’s why I’m here! I’ve met some incredible activists on the ground in North Carolina. But we shall see what the future holds. I mean, I *am* also a French citizen now. I can’t say that other “home” is not tempting on many a day! And also, my beau is French. Does he need to be dragged into this mess?! A lot to think about. Thanks so much for your comment. Will try to get back to posting much more again! xoxo


  3. 6 MsNomadica (@MsNomadica) June 6, 2017 at 11:45 pm

    I would love absolutely love to take him up on that invitation, but it seems to be contingent upon contributing in some meaningful way to helping with climate change – other than as normal consumer, I mean. And I don’t have any qualifications for that, unfortunately. 😦

    Still, I will be happy to come regularly and contribute responsibly to the French economy, which I next hope to do in the fall. Have a lovely summer there!


  4. 8 Julie Christine June 8, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    It’s so wonderful to read your joy in this post, to have words from you again. I wish you a glorious summer of rejuvenation, beauty, light, and words. Paris, Sion. Paris. I adore you!!


  5. 10 G G Collins June 8, 2017 at 8:07 pm

    So happy for France!


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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