I left Paris yesterday after a three month solo visit and woke up this morning at a nice hotel in Portland Maine. The rest of my family (14 in all) arrives later today for a week-long family reunion at the beach. I'm looking forward to seeing the family, and yet Paris is in my every thought. I knew I would have Post Paris Syndrome, but I didn't know it would hit this hard and fast.
At the basic level, I felt sad last night when I realized I didn't have to choose between the #1 and #2 flushers, and I miss French toilet paper!
It was easy checking into my hotel in English, but I already long to stop and consider my every word, rehearse them in my head, and then say them in French.
The hotel where I stayed last night (Hampton Inn) has a breakfast buffet, which is a nice offering, but no baguettes, croissants, tartine, pain chocolate, or butter with cristaux de sel de mer. And jam is packaged in little plastic coffins with peel-off lids, instead of civilized petite jars.
No one is wearing a scarf.
The electrical outlets look boring.
All the news (ALL!) is about the US, Obama v. Romney, and celebrities.
The coffee cups are giant, and so are the spoons for stirring them.
I always liked American coffee, but this morning it tastes like some form of mutant punishment made from the burnt grounds of yesterday's pot.
I'm sure I'll keep noticing the differences and missing Paris more and more. But the positive is that every time I miss or notice something, it will be a reminder of my summer in Paris, a summer that was an impossible dream in my head and in my heart for such a long time.
Then the dream came true, and I was graced with the good fortune to live in Paris for a little while, sit along the Seine, watch the Tower twinkle, learn the Metro, discover the passages, alleys, and pockets of the Marais, Montmartre, Beaubourg, et al. And the coup de coups ... Have a waiter recognize me, smile, wave and say, "Ça va?" and answering, "Ça va, merci. Et vous?" At that point, I was a Parisian, even if just in my head, and it felt indescribably wonderful.
And now the dream has passed. It's hard to believe, but I'm not in a heap of tears right now because it was so so good while it lasted. And maybe, just maybe, I can make the dream come true encore.
Thank you all, TA posters, for the generous heaps of advice you shared. It made my trip infinitely better than it would have been without you.