Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Paris Me Manque (even when I pretend otherwise)

The other day my husband mentioned in passing that his work will likely take him to Paris for a few days in December. And there in the dark green cloud of jealousy that suddenly surrounded me, I realized I was homesick for Paris. Here I had been telling myself (and everyone who asked) that I didn't really miss Paris, that I loved our time there, but that it was nice to be back in our own home, our own neighborhood, among our own friends, that it was good to be back to work, and it turns out that that's only partly true.

The logical part of my brain knows all that. It also knows that we had four years in Paris, an existence made possible by an expat package that gave us free rent, free utilities, free international school tuition, and the freedom to enjoy it all. It knows that life in Paris wasn't all wine and roses. And that my husband's business trip to Paris will be all work, no play save for maybe a half hour walk in the quartier around his old office building or a quiet dinner out. But there's another part of my brain that's suddenly longing for a first Wednesday of the month walk in the countryside with my hiking buddies, a warm baguette slathered in French butter and fig jam, the sight of the Eiffel Tower and streets lined in Hausmannian limestone and wrought iron, and even for the sound of French being spoken.

Sigh. It's not going to happen, at least not any time soon. Time to stay focused on the beauty of turning leaves, the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, a weekend in my husband's hometown with his family, hot salsa and warm bagels, a  well-paying job that exercises my gray cells and management skills, one daughter singing at the Kennedy Center, the other rising to the challenge of a three mile cross country race. My life is good. And Paris was good. Just not now.


  1. I hear you and complerely relate.

    Just because one's life somewhere is appreciated and blessed doesn't mean one doesn't long for Paris!

    Hang in there ... cheers from across the Pond.


  2. Anne, I hope that I'm not stepping over the line, but it was good to read this post. Admittedly, I don't know you but I had the feeling that you weren't allowing yourself to mourn your Parisian life.

    Whenever I admitted to our children that I was missing X,Y, or Z about a country, it allowed them to tell me what they were missing. We would laugh and talk about how great it was...and then get on with our current lives. One life isn't better than the other - just different.

  3. Mary Kay: You're not stepping over the line in the least. I would say my feelings run more to longing than mourning! And I'm completely with you on places and lives being different, not better or worse.

  4. I dream of going back to Paris EVERYDAY... and it's been YEARS... however since I paint Paris almost daily... at least weekly... II feel like it hasn't been that long... MY DREAM WOLRD is LOVELY!!!