May 12, 2013 Leave a comment
Each day I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that soon, in fact really soon, as in my-mom-is-already-badgering-me-about-packing soon, I will be returning to the shores of the Land of Jumbo-sized Cars and Coffee. And sometimes, to be blatantly honest, it scares the buhjesus out of me.
Not because I don’t like jumbo-sized coffee or that I no longer have a grasp on any kind of grammar, but because in these past eight months in Paris, I have learned more about this place and these people than any other time or any other place I’ve been in in my life.
I’ve learned that bread should be bought hot and fresh daily, that scarves are a necessary accessory for all hours and seasons, that French children love Spongebob Squarepants, that people will welcome you into their lives with wine and hugs and kisses after just a simple “Bonjour” or “Hello.”
That the capacity of random people to do astonishing things is just gobsmacking and awe-inspiring—every time I find myself thinking, “He/she is just another hipster/addict/tourist/person,” that person turns around and does something completely unexpected. Like starting to talk about the similarities between Kanye West and Charles de Gaulle. Or how physics can change the world.
That there are some things in French that I can spell more accurately than I can pronounce; that the bakery I work at uses 420 kilograms—more than 800 pounds—of butter every week; that sometimes it’s ok to fall down twice in five seconds because luckily there will be two of the sweetest people in the world behind you with Band-Aids; that public transportation is the best time in the world to either stare off in space or read about one page of your book every 10 minutes. The list could go on and on, but now with 5 weeks—and only 3 weekends—remaining in Paris, there is still so much I want to do and see but still, hélas, have not yet done.
And while it’s comforting to know that my grandma has already started a countdown calendar, there’s a part of me that is slightly freaking out about picking up everything and moving back to a whole other way of life. I’ve realized that I’ll be leaving my home here in Paris with so many loose and split and tangled ends, so many ends that will be making my heart hurt and my eyes tearing up at random moments and make me sound like a raving lunatic when I go back to the States.
Initially, I thought that leaving the US would be harder: leaving Goucher oh-so-long-ago in August, my bag thrown into the trunk and Beyoncé’s voice ricocheting throughout my car, I almost pulled over to the side of 695 with thoughts of “WHAT THE HECK AM I DOING” and “WHY THE HELL AM I LEAVING MY HOME?!?” And of course, there were moments in France where I did feel lonely or discombobulated—No one ever tells you how badly you will get people-sick when you go abroad. No one ever tells you that you will get pangs of “I wish so-and-so was here to share with and appreciate this moment with me.” No one tells you there will be moments when your soul desire is to see the faces of your friends and family levitate in front of you.
But after this year abroad, with all of its adventures and mishaps and moments, my most sincere wish is to some day be able to gather everyone that I have ever loved and do love and will love from this experience and from my life in one space under some sort of soft lighting, with a late-spring breeze sweeping through and bringing the scent of just-crushed blades of grass and my grandma’s perfume, in a place where I am surrounded by bliss and past memories and future memories and pictures of laughter on the walls and visions of the future incarnated by my friends and family beside me.
Surrounded by the books, the images, the food, and the people that I care most about, we would all be in Paris, at dusk, looking out onto the Seine and life would be wonderful. That’s what I’m bringing back from Paris—along with some non-pasteurized cheese—my Mirror of Erised wish to come back to gay old Paree and someday, somehow, create that space where everyone can just respirer et manger bien.
And so now making the bleak-old winter dreams of wine-on-grass and bodies-in-sunshine a reality in this spring-time weather, here’s to hoping that there will be more of these Parisian moments wherever I go and end up in the world. Santé!