Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Girls, girls, girls

Paris Fashion Week, Brigitte Bardot, Vogue covers, female body builders... it's all about being a girl in Paris this season.

Weather check: divine

The past two weeks have been a lovely gift of Indian Summer. Sunny and 70ish, with pretty clouds in the sky, it's the perfect dressing-in-layers weather. J'aime bien.

500 Days Together

I think the last joke in this movie, a play on the title, was the only thing that made me feel good. It’s too bad the French didn’t go with a literal translation.

In any case, "500 Days Together" opens in Paris today. I would recommend this movie if you want to feel like you’ve been drop-kicked in the gut and had your heart gauged with a 12” Phillips screwdriver.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dusk in the city

The sky has had these giant, pink bands of beautiful light every night at dusk this week.

The little things I love

• When someone asks me for directions. (Vraiment? I look like a local??)
• And I understand what they’re saying. (Accent and vitesse, be damned!)
• And I actually know where they need to go. (I’m finally figuring out my way around the city.)
• And can respond to them, en francais. (If I’m nonsensical in my response, they’re always polite anyways and thank me before getting on their way.)

Pastry check in: not holding back

It all started with the pain aux raisins I had on my first day back from New York. And let’s just say I haven’t exactly exercised any restraint since then. I can’t help myself. Pastries have become my Parisian comfort food.

I walked into Stohrer one morning and asked which pastries might still be a little warm. The pain au chocolat? Really? Un, s’il vous plait.

Then there was the apple tart last week. It was one of those dumb decisions that I got trapped into making. I felt under pressure in the busy boulangerie lunch line and quickly opted for the formule déjeuner—a sandwich, dessert and drink for a set price. Because of my knee-jerk decision, I suffered through a pathetic cheese sandwich, followed by a not-so-great apple tart. A waste of calories that could have been spent on something dreamy like…

Le Coeur at Coquelicot. Oh, how I love this little heart-shaped, strawberry-flavored spongey cake bit. Dee-lish.

After that, I had just one bite of gianduja chocolate from A la Mere de Famille.

And does the gateau au chocolat chez-Lionel count? Gluttony.

But for the record, I had a giant Cote d’Or chocolate bar in my apartment for five full days and nights before I opened it. This week, I will savor it along with the last episodes of Mad Men, season two.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Another boom

So long as the trucks keeping driving into the tunnel entrance, the big booms will draw us all out to the balcony, and Fred will keep recording the madness.

French phrase of the day: miam miam

Def: yum yum

See below.

A delicious weekend

It was literally and figuratively a completely delicious and satisfying weekend. It really began, like in the olden days, on Thursday night. It was Michael’s birthday and, among other drinks and bites, we celebrated with some Ruinart champagne— a heavenly potion if there ever was one.

And thankfully, Friday night’s fun at Rosa Bonheur didn’t sap me of energy for Saturday. It was a gorgeous day and I biked northwest to explore the seventeenth arrondisement. I was mad at myself for forgetting my camera as it was one of those days that was filled with beauty and inspiration, from the patisseries and chocolate shops of Rue de Levis, to the darling park where I ate my lunch of Mediterranean saveurs, to the bright, happy sunlight that made the whole city glow. Lovely.

From the 17th arrondisement, I wandered over to the eighteenth—stopping in my favorite stores on rue des Abbesses and indulging in a strawberry Coeur at Coquelicot—and then down rue des Martyrs. All of the markets, fromageries, fleurists, glaciers, boulangeries, chacuteries—every little shop was a visual delight.

But I had to show restraint.

For Saturday night, I went to a proper French dinner party. I knew I had to bring a serious appetite and be awake for French conversation. As expected, it was a rigorous and brilliant night on both the culinary and language fronts.

First, the menu. The dinner party was thrown by my partner from work and his wife, who are both really into food. They created a five-course feast for seven of us that took over five hours and several bottles to get through. It was not for the faint at heart.

Orange and white wine granité (two of those for me)
Verrine of shrimp, avocado and grapefruit
Scallop and oyster tartare
Pomegranate seeds and cucumber dusted with cinnamon
Duck with Chantilly-Roquefort cream

Figs, balsamic and foie gras crumble


Risotto with langoustines

Plateau des fromages
Five yummy cheeses. Oh. My. God. How I love cheese.

Gateau au chocolat with a mango-passionfruit-cream sauce

I don’t think I’ve eaten that much in a very long time. Everything Lionel and Sylvia did was so well thought out and so well executed. Look at that presentation for our four apéros!

The langoustines—mini lobsters—were a dramatic touch to the risotto. Damn tasty, too.

The other courses were equally wonderful and gorgeous, I just don’t have pictures of them. But you can see me ogling the plateau des fromages, ici:

I even enjoyed the crumble with foie gras (it was an internal debate: do I make an ethical stand and make an ass of myself, or do I suck it up and suck it down. I did the latter.) and the oyster tartare. I didn’t think I liked oysters, but I that apéro was actually one of my favorites of the evening.

We were all responsible for bringing a wine to go with one of the courses, so the drinks ranged from sparkling sake to Pouilly Fumé to a vin rouge to a magnum of champagne, which Lionel expertly opened and poured.

Incredibly, the conversation never waned. (Or I guess that’s not so incredible. This is France, after all.) It was well after 2 a.m. before anyone made a move to leave and of course I wasn’t going to be the ugly American who got up before anyone else. So I sat and did my nodding and smiling. But it was fun. Even though I understood only about 40% of the conversation, everyone was really nice and checked in with me, en anglais, from time to time. Best of all, by the end of the night—morning, rather; it was 2:30 when I left—I was thinking in French. I love that. Even though it’s easy to feel conspicuous and semi-retarded sitting there, unable to contribute anything intelligible, it’s such a great way to build language skills and relationships. I felt so lucky to be invited into someone’s home and to enjoy such a carefully prepared meal with such warm people. It was fun, special and absolutely delicious.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Filled to the brim

This Sunday morning, a gorgeous warm, sunny day, at the farmer’s market after yoga, I had my American grin on. I just wanted to stop and scream, “God, I love Paris!” Luckily, I haven’t gone that crazy yet.

French phrase of the day: Chien haute

Def: Upward facing dog

I am so, so happy to be back at yoga again. My arms are slowly getting stronger. I’m anticipating not being incapacitated today. The instructor still cracks me up. Today’s gem: “C’mon! Just try for God’s sake! People, this is Paris, France!” Damn straight.

More words, learning French by way of yoga:

Le plafond: ceiling

Baisser: to lower

La poitrine: chest

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oui, oui, Tennessee

Make voyages!—
Attempt them!—there's
nothing else...

—Tennessee Williams

Friday night's crew

It's really too bad I'm not a better photographer and that my camera often doesn't cooperate. This would have been a great end-of-the-night photo of last night's crew: Monique (Australian), Tracy (Canadian), Jo (Australian) and Benjamin (a Frenchie).

Rosa Bonheur was a wasp's nest of craziness. Though the music wasn't as good as last time, we danced, getting jostled by the other internationals, spilling red wine, bumping bums, reminiscing about Dee-Lite, A-Ha and Michael Jackson.

Too bad Milo kept waking me up this morning. I could have really used another hour of sleep.

So gross but I like it

The metro in Paris has a very particular smell. The best way I can describe it is like hot saw dust. I know that makes sense and doesn’t sound very appealing, but I love it. Sometimes I walk over the metro grates just to get a whiff.

It reminds me of when I studied here in ’93: running from a bar at the end of the night to try to catch the last train before 1 a.m. Taking the train to my literature or feminism class. One night, a guy I knew and I sat on the platform, swigging rum from a flask, until we were drunk enough to make out for hours. (Classy, I know.) Amazing that certain smells can conjure such memories.

I want! I want!

Oh la la.

I saw this stunning pink Mercedes parked near work and all I could think was, that's the perfect car pour moi!

Friday, September 25, 2009

The books said it would happen

In past years, Dad got me Les Chats de Paris.

Chris got me Living in Paris.

And Mom got me The Paris Neighborhood Cookbook.

Check. Check. Check.

French word of the day: nickel

Def: Perfect. Tip top.

As in super clean like a shiny 5¢ piece.

This French slang, courtesy of Opal—merci, Opal!

Happy Friday

Out at Le Regine until 2 last night (bogus club, but it was Michael’s birthday. Happily, beaucoup de champagne and macarons preceded the dancefloor).

Off to Rosa Bonheur with Jo and her Australian mates tonight.

Tomorrow night, a four-course dinner party featuring verrines, tartares, duck, foie gras, cheese, glorious cheese, and more champagne and wine.


Another Moment

My latest little something on the side.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

French phrase of the day: Tu vois ce que je veux dire?

Def: Know what I mean? Or, literally, You see what I want to say?

I keep asking for translations of American phrases and, for better or worse, they just don't exist. It's frustrating to not have literal translations, but it makes it easier in the end.

Yoga and pain au chocolat

Warm pain au chocolat. After an hour of yoga. Can you think of a better way to start the day?

I am just… in a place

I thought I was adjusting back to Paris so well last week. But I can’t find a rhythm. I have no motivation. Nothing is moving or inspiring me. And, as a result, I find myself in these clouds of paralysis and dourness. I feel blasé.

It’s frustrating. I’m back in Paris where the spirit of la rentrée—the return! new beginnings!—is thick in the air. I want to write, study French, travel and meet people—these are my four main goals for the season. Instead, I’ve been avoiding my French workbook like la grippe and procrastinating on my writing assignments—the very few that I have. I’ve been tired, achy, stressed and—blasé.

I don’t care about working out or my diet. In fact, I’m eating like crap and I’m going to the gym only half the time I was before New York. Worst of all, my passion for the Velibs has waned. The traffic has been too heavy and it’s now dusk when I leave work at night—the streets have been a bit precarious and I don’t have the heart—or nerves—for it.

Then there are all the housekeeping things I need to do—bills, doctor appointments, correspondence…you know, stuff like trying to figure out who to call at the Velib ‘office’ to find out what the $57 charge on my credit card is all about. But I just can’t be bothered. There is no time. It takes too much energy. And yet I find two hours every night to settle on the couch and binge on assorted bonbons and season two of Mad Men.

I’ve lost my optimism. It’s not gone. But it’s hiding, and I can’t be bothered to seek it out right now. Blah. Blasé.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

French phrase of the day: Je te tiens au courant

Def: I’ll keep you posted

Not literally. I don't have any news that I'm waiting for. No cliffhangers from me. But I learned the expression today, and I like it.

Getting turned down

When you move to a foreign city, all of your friends try to put you in touch with their friends, and friends of friends, and friends of friends of old colleagues’ little sisters’ friends who also live in that city. You end up going on a lot of friend-dates. And, just like regular dating (if memory serves me correctly, cough, cough), the patterns are predictable. The first date is generally easy and breezy—you swap your life histories and ask a lot of questions. On the second date, the finer points of your bios come out—the whys behind the previously disclosed who/what/when and where—and you trade horror stories and commiserate.

But the second date is also when you scrutinize the person across from you a little more closely, trying to determine if you’ll get along. If they’ll get the same enjoyment out of chevre chaud salads, for example, and experience the same longing when passing before a patisserie window; if they’ll also love talking about restaurants and food (ad nauseam) and movies and books and fashion and travel; if they’ll giggle at the same jokes and find the same absurdities in life. In other words, do they make the cut? Is this person worthy of your time? Are they going to get a third date?

Not everyone is for everyone. I was reminded of this recently when I reached out to a friend of a friend for the second time and was—I now understand—rejected.

This woman and I had two friend-dates this summer. I knew it wasn’t love—there wasn’t a super easy rapport; we didn’t laugh much; we weren’t “omigod…” finishing each other’s sentences. But she’s interesting. She’s smart and talented and has been in Paris for a few years. I figured we could see each other occasionally and get an American fix and that maybe I would learn a thing or two from her.

So I emailed her in August and threw out a couple suggestion-invitations. They went unanswered. Back from New York, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt—maybe she had been traveling or was buried in work—and reach out to her again. I emailed to see if she wanted to get together. She immediately wrote back and acknowledged that she felt horribly for never having responded to my previous email, blithely agreed we should do something soon, but, once again, has ignored my subsequent specific invitation to do something.

At first I was completely annoyed. How dare she! Screw her! Doesn’t she know how valuable my time is? What did I see in her anyway?!

But, you know what? C’est la vie. Thinking about it objectively, I know that’s the way it goes sometimes. We’ve all been guilty of doing the exact same thing she’s doing—trying to politely say, Really, I think I’m going to take a pass. She’s just not that into me. That is that, and that is okay. We can’t be friends with everyone we meet.

I think we all feel compelled to be good friends… to everyone… even to people we barely know. To these new friends-of-friends who we don’t really click with. To old friends who are too needy or too demanding. We even feel compelled to befriend or remain friends with people whom we really don’t like. But one of the freedoms of getting older should be not feeling badly when things don’t work out. To bid adieu and move on. Even before things have properly started.

When I first got to Paris, I decided that I only needed three friends and wasn’t going to try to cultivate any friendships beyond that. I earnestly explained this to Julie on the phone one night—that three friends was the perfect number and would completely fulfill my needs and once I hit that quota, I would be done with friend-hunting and save myself time and potential headaches. We still crack up about it.

Within a couple weeks of that declaration, I realized how inane it was. What was I thinking? Why would I limit the number of my friendships? Would having four or five friends diminish the quality of the first three relationships? Were life and my emotional really needs so neat and easy as to be able to quantify the number of sufficient friendships? For better or worse, no.

In recent days, I’ve had several interesting conversations about female friendships. And after seeing so many friends in New York, it’s made me appreciate those old bonds and what they mean to me more than ever.

But I’ve also realized how lucky we are when we find new friends, to be able to build new friendships. How wonderful is it that, our whole lives, we can look forward to finding strangers in the world who we never knew before, but we like and want to spend time with. Or—as the case may be—not having to spend time with people who don’t like or appreciate us.

Weather check: encore summer

The first day of autumn? A yummy taste of summer. So was the last day of summer, and so, too will the second day of autumn be. I am so relieved. Last week’s perpetual grey skies really had me worried. Sunny and 70 is more like it.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Farm fresh

Tomatoes, raspberries, the French way of life...

Saturday afternoon, outside Frenchie, one of the best new restaurants in the city, people gathered to appreciate and purchase produce from Terroirs d'Avenir, an organization that promotes and distributes the best goods from small farms across the country.

I did a drive-by earlier in the day, with intentions of returning later for my plump, delicious tomato. Silly girl. Of course they were long gone by the time I went back.

Still, how nice to see people just hanging out on a Saturday afternoon, with little on their minds but good food and wine.

I can't wait to go back to Frenchie for a dinner made with autumn ingredients.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

French word of the day: une guerrière

Def: warrior

I am so happy: I took yoga at my new gym this morning, and I know it’s going to become a habitual practice in my life again.

For the past four or five years, I was doing yoga twice a week. In the past seven months, I’ve gone three times total. Needless to say, I’m rusty. Shaky. My legs are like jelly and my arms are sore already, and it feels great.

The instructor was a bilingual drill sergeant. “C’mon you big babies!” she cried. “This is only an hour!”

An hour was perfect. I’m slowly going to get my body back to a stronger, happier place.

La belle journée

The sun has come out for the weekend, and Paris is irresistible once again. Yesterday, I didn’t have much on the itinerary—just a new patisserie I wanted to check out in the seventh arrondisement. Having been deprived of downtime this summer, it was the perfect day to just bike and wander around.

Many of the trees have been changing. The leaves don’t do the Technicolor change from green to yellow to orange to red to golden brown that they do back home, but instead go straight to the golden brown. It truly feels like fall, which is undeniably beautiful but always makes me a little melancholy.

I ended up getting drawn over to Rue Cler, as I sometimes do. It’s near the American University of Paris, where I spent my fateful semester, and I like being reminded of that time. I also love the food markets and cafes there.

I also like that the Eiffel Tower has a way of just popping up, wherever you are over there.

Along with ridiculously gorgeous monuments and dogs with beaucoup character.

This city has a way of spoiling you.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Bloc Party

I had forgotten how much I love Bloc Party. The Silent Alarm album: a keeper.

One way or antoher, those pastries will catch up with you

(So it's best to be decked out in your best Boss pantalons and hautes talons.)


I think I’m back from the dead.

I left work early yesterday (if you consider 5 o’clock early) and came home and crashed on the couch for an hour and a half. It was the perfect recharge before going out and meeting Melissa, and then coming home and enjoying nearly nine hours of sleep. I slept until 10 a.m., people! And then I went to the gym! And ate a peach for breakfast! And the sun is tentatively coming out! Ah, it feels good to be alive.

I’m feeling recharged, too, from reconnecting with my friends here—my Parisian family. I had lunch with Jo the other day, and we’re going to shake our tails at Rosa Bonheur again next week. I hung out and had fancy cocktails, Chinese take-out and great conversation with Michael the other night. And last night, I had over three hours of non-stop catching up with Mel—and we didn’t nearly touch everything we have to catch up on. (I am so excited for and proud of you, Mel!)

But there is such a jumble of emotions. I’ve also had a flurry of emails from my dearest, bestest friends back home, whom I would be lost without. As much as I’ve been bitching about how NYC was exhausting (trust me, I know I sounded obnoxious), it was so fulfilling and reassuring to spend quality time with the people who know me best and love me for who I am. There is nothing like it in the world: that feeling of being understood. Of being able to spend time with someone and if there’s a pause in the conversation, it doesn’t matter—you’re still on the same page. Of smiling at each other like secret lovers, when you’re only smiling because you’re so happy to be together. I am so, so lucky to have the friends that I do, and I love and miss you all already.

Let’s make a pack to stay in good, close touch. To visit every time we can. To continue supporting and understanding one another. And for making the time to be there, if not physically, then always emotionally and at least via email (crazy world we live in).

For now, I’m going to hop on a Velib and soak up Paris.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Follow Your Bliss

And I have the firm belief in this now,
not only in terms of my own experience
but in knowing about the experience of others,
that when you follow your bliss, doors will open where
you would not have thought there were going to be
doors and where there wouldn't be a door
for anybody else.

—Joseph Campbell

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Too cute

I love my niece and nephew. God, they're cute.

And my brother is such a great photographer. He gets great shots like this all the time. He also just got into business school, making the family very proud. Go, goob!

Eating up a storm

Bennie emailed last night to tell me he had the dulce de leche cake at Momofuku for dinner. Needless to say, I was tres jalouse.

Then again, for the past two nights, I have had heavenly dinners myself. It just so happens that they have been simple dinners of bread, cheese and fruit: baguettes from Paul, creamy brebis from my favorite fromagerie and beautiful, sweet cantaloupe. Mon dieu.

It's partly because I'm lazy and don't feel like cooking. I really should go to Picard (everyone loves Picard; I still haven’t been) or, better yet, stop by the poissonerie on rue Montorgueil and make some fresh fish for dinner. But it’s also partly indulgent. I feel like I can eat as much bread, cheese and fruit as I want since it’s not a big gnuddi dinner at Centro Vinoteca or something. I can fix a handful of bread and cheese canapés and then go back for seconds. And I just can’t get over how delicious the cantaloupe is here. It’s so sweet, it almost tastes like perfume. Potent. Gorgeous.

I need to get back on track though. In New York, I was pretty shameless about eating, and my snug-jeans-be-damned attitude has carried over to Paris. In addition to my welcome-back pain aux raisins the other morning, I’ve had no compunction about eating whatever I want, whenever I’m hungry: cereal at 5 in the morning (the jet lag—I wake up, starving), double fistfuls of cashews at 11 in the morning, Twizzlers as I prop myself in front of my computer at 10 at night. Nor have I been drinking enough water, and I haven’t exercised in three weeks. Once again, I’m getting winded from my six flights up to the treehouse. Not good.

For three days, I’ve been chalking it all up to the jet lag. I can eat mindlessly, I tell myself, because I feel like a zombie. But, my jet lag almost kicked after a glorious eight hours of sleep last night, it’s time to clean up my act. Starting tomorrow…

French phrase of the day: je compates

Def: I know where you’re coming from.

Like, really. I totally empathize.

Please don’t doo that

The one thing I don’t like about our offices is the bathrooms. I detest that there are no paper towels or air dryers for drying your hands, but rather those big, grody spools of cloth towels that you roll out like a mangy vertical conveyer belt. They remind me of the ’70s—when they should have been put to rest with polyester pantsuits—and make me feel so skeeved out that I want to wash my hands all over again.

I also hate that there are just two bathrooms, one for the men and one for the women. While I’m happy that men handily outnumber women in the office, the men will often use the ladies’ room. Yes, they’re marked—with those international symbols for “man” and “woman” that I needed to confirm when I first started to make sure everyone wasn’t laughing at me for using the men’s room. But this doesn’t deter the men. Nope, they’ll go into the women’s room, piss all over the floor, leave the seat up, leave the light on, and then barrel out of there like they were using a porta-potty at a Radiohead concert.

Sometimes they even drop their babies off at the pool.

Now, as far as I’m concerned going number two is something that should be done in the privacy of your own home. Unless something you ate for lunch doesn’t agree with you. Maybe I’m being prissy, but I think it’s a courtesy to your fellow colleagues not to pollute the shared bathroom. To each their own, but c’mon.

This morning, I needed to wash my water glass but both bathroom doors for the ladies’ room were closed (there is one outer door, and another floor-to-ceiling stall door). I knew some dude was in there, taking a dump, I just knew it. So I sat outside and waited. Sure enough, after a few minutes, some guy who I had never seen before came out, quickly averted his gaze, and hurried by. God, it stank. Disgusting. Then I saw this guy being lead into a meeting. So not only did he take the liberty of taking a crap in the ladies’ room, but he’s not even an employee. Can you imagine going to an office for an appointment and doing your business in the bathroom before you’ve done proper business in the conference room?? How could he not be horrified? Gawd.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Weather check: poo

I know I said yesterday that grey skies and cold temperatures wouldn’t bring me down. But I lied. Apparently winter happened while I was in New York, and winter is no friend of mine.

I am wearing a cashmere sweater and leather jacket today. My shoulders are hunched against the damp air. Ah, and my lovely red nose is cold and tres red.

I’m wondering where summer went, and I’m hoping for a spot of sunshine soon.

French word of the day: décalage horaire

Def: jet lag

Sigh. My sleeping patterns were way off in New York, I barely slept on my red-eye, and now I am a bona fide zombie. Je suis épuisé a cause du décalage horaire.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I am back

Even grey skies and cold temps can’t quell my happy feelings for being back in Paris. I am jet-lagged and haggard, but happy.

My last day in New York was a bitch. It started out with a lovely breakfast with Alex at Balthazar. But it tanked from there.

Already a bit blue from saying good-bye to everyone, I dragged myself home to finish packing and getting my apartment in order for my new subletter. Then my kitchen sink decided to spring a leak. Talk about good timing. Three hours later, I had no choice but to leave my super there, yanking the dishwasher out of the wall. Despite serious strategizing on how to keep my sublet situation under wraps, I think I was too tired to be stressed about it. Besides, I had to save my real stressing for the 90 minutes of traffic I sat in on the way to JFK. Needless to say, by the time I boarded the flight for Charles de Gaulle, I was shattered. Still, I couldn’t really sleep on the flight (thank goodness for Francine Prose’s latest novel).

But back in Paris, I’ve already had many auspicious signs. My landlord was exiting the building as I arrived, and he graciously lugged my suitcase up my six flights of stairs. Viva chivalry! I was elated as that suitcase held three pairs of boots, plus a boatload of American loot. And when I got upstairs, the apartment was cleaner than I’ve ever seen it—the Canadian couple who stayed and watched after Milo were the most considerate people on earth. It restored my faith after my NYC subletting situation. Milo was calm and happy, and it felt wonderful to be back in my little treehouse.

I decided I was too woozy to try to Velib so I grabbed a pain aux raisins—the perfect welcome back treat—and hopped on the metro for work, where my lovely colleagues have been very smiley and sweet towards me. I even have a dinner party next Saturday, so I have to start back on the French lessons.

Still no word on the Louis Vuitton pitch, which is crazy, but there’s plenty of work to focus on until we hear.

But first, I’m off to see if Cojean has my very favorite sandwich on the menu this week. That would be the best sign yet that this is a promising rentrée.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tug of love

It’s been an interesting visit to New York. I’ve had good meals (Centro Vinoteca, Po, Balthazar, Emporio, The Standard Grill), good star sightings (Bruce, Demi & Ashton, Kirsten Dunst, Carine Roitfeld), I’ve gone to the movies (Julie & Julia, The September Issue, 500 Days of Summer, Funny People), seen Obama’s motorcade and Joseph Altuzarra's spring/summer show, met Amee’s fiancé (thumbs up—phew), and have had many wonderful visits with friends (Alex, Brandon, Cheryl, Mitchell, the girls…everyone). But overall? Exhausting.

And maybe that’s why I’m here. In the grand scheme of things, maybe coming to New York for two weeks was to realize that Paris is the city that makes me very happy and is a good fit for me for awhile—for where I am in life, and how I want to live. That I can and should take a break from New York. That it’s okay not to be in its arms for awhile. There’s no guarantee that we’ll have the same love when I return, but it’s no good being here right now.

New York has the ability to suck time out of a day like no other city. Every night, I’ve set the best intentions for the following day: errands, emails, writing, leisure and, oh yeah, fun… this is supposed to be vacation, after all. Two weeks, without work, in New York City. My only commitments have been parties and friends. So what's the problem? I’ve asked myself that every day.

I’ve been tense, on edge, and I haven’t been sleeping. I feel bad—bad because I can’t get excited about something that I once loved so much. And then I feel bad because I think I shouldn’t feel let down. But I do. I feel frustrated. I can’t fit everyone and everything in. I’ve been snappy with people, which only makes me feel worse. And that leads me to asking, what’s wrong with me? Why am I so short-tempered? Why am I exhausted? How can it be that I am not getting around to the things I thought I would get to, the things I wanted to do, the things I had been really looking forward to doing?

And I feel guilty on a more existential level. It’s like realizing that you’ve fallen out of love with someone. I keep thinking but, but, but… it’s used to be so different. I used to love this. I used to look forward to this and get such a thrill from it. This used to be my life. When that feeling wanes, you feel confused, conflicted, tormented. You want to make right again.

Now that the trip is nearly over, I’ve made peace with these feelings. I’m signing on for another nine months in Paris and I’m okay with letting go of New York until my return. It’s a little heartbreaking, and very alienating, to realize that everyone and everything is moving on (and moving to Brooklyn) without me. But that’s okay. I have Paris.

Now, more than ever, I know I am there for a reason. I know this all happened for a reason. I know it’s possible to fall in love with a city. And I’m looking forward to seeing what the city and the next nine months hold for me.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I still love Paris, bien sur

But I'm still in NYC. Eating my way through NYC, to be specific.

Next week, I will be back in the splendor that is Paris... can't wait.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Go, me

It's one thing when your mom likes your blog. But I just got a nice email that Meg Zimbeck included me in a Top 10 list of Paris expat blogs for Budget Travel. You mean, people actually read me?? lol.

Thanks, Meg!

You can take the girl out of Paris...

One week later, I am in New York. Buffalo, to be exact. I spent the week in NYC, acclimating, visiting friends, running around, eating bagels, and trying not to notice the noise and the dirt. It's odd being back - at turns exciting, dreadful, tear-jerking and alienating. (Or maybe it was just the jet lag.)

But I can't escape Paris. I've seen three movies in the past week (love it), two of which - The September Issue and Julie & Julia - have Paris in them. What is it about that city?? I get so choked up when I see it. It has such a strange hold over me.

It reminds me of just about a year ago when Mr. B and I saw Man on Wire. I got teary-eyed with the aerial views of Notre Dame and the pretty streets, and I thought to myself: God, I love Paris.

Imagine—at the time, I had no idea this was going to happen to me. I had no idea I was going to be offered a job and moved across the Atlantic. Now that I'm in New York, I can't help but wonder what's going to happen when I go back to Paris. How things will be different, what my perspective will be, what sort of roller coaster of emotions I'm going to be treated to.

No matter. For now, it's time to enjoy being here. I have another week filled with family time, dates with friends, movies and shopping and more cookies.