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A post-Paris post

Phoenix, Arizona
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220 posts
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A post-Paris post

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.

Victoria, Canada
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1. Re: A post-Paris post

Oh Liv ,, its not over, you are just now beginning a life that will be spent figuring out how often you can get back, like the rest of us nuts. lol

You are young , you will get back,, it never seems like that , and yes, you may never get a whole three months again for some years, but remember, you can always save and skip a year or two of local holidays and get back to Paris for a week or two now and then,, until you become our age( 50+) and your kids are grown( and btw , my kids enjoyed their trips to Paris too, but I waited till they were past 10 yrs old before they got their trips) and you can start planning the long visits again( or move there, people do ) !!

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: A post-Paris post

Aw Liv - you have no idea how many of us can identify with your post!!

It's the little things that get to me - like you mentioned. The breakfasts, the size of cups, the choice of toilet flush LOL.

I'm glad you had a wonderful stay and I hope you can find your way back to Paris soon.

New York City, New...
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3. Re: A post-Paris post

Just had to say I love your post! And it made me laugh, all the more as I completely know what you're feeling! And if you are anything like I was when I first moved back to the States from Paris, you will start seeking out things that you had in Paris and be disappointed that they are not the same! I remember wandering anxiously the aisles of my local grocery store, looking for a decent baguette and tarte au citron (both fails) and driving 50 miles to buy foie gras! I planned to move back to Paris, but then got married (which wasn't so bad ;)) and have been visiting Paris with my husband every couple years. These trips are lovely, but only make me miss the experience of living there all the more. I just got back from Paris and all I can think about is when my next trip will be! I'm hopeless, but that's what Paris does to you...

Minneapolis
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4. Re: A post-Paris post

Best to you Liv. These kind of transitions are always very difficult. There really is culture shock - going both ways.

Go find yourself a good cup of coffee - you may even find a french press in Portland - and embrace those memories. They are yours forever.

Paris, France
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5. Re: A post-Paris post

You'll be back many times, Liv. You are already incredibly lucky to have been able to spend 3 months in Paris, and in most cases, lucky people remain lucky for their entire lives.

Illinois
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6. Re: A post-Paris post

Oh, does that post ever ring a bell! :>D

My husband and I have gone to France every year for 20 years now, as well as living there for two of them, and I can certainly relate to every single thing you mentioned. (We replaced our old, ailing toilet with a dual flush model a few years ago, and I have small, French style coffee cups in the kitchen. What's more, I even have coffee BOWLS for those days when we miss old France. How pathetic is that?) :>D

It's a lot better than it was before internet days, though. At least now we can communicate with like-minded people, instead of hearing friends and family members saying, "Why would you go to France AGAIN? Weren't you just there last year?"

Paris, France
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7. Re: A post-Paris post

Thanks for your beautiful post. I've had these same thoughts for at least 20 years. Can't imagine the culture shock you're experiencing after becoming a Parisian these last 3 months. I'm certain you'll be back soon.

Lincoln, United...
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543 posts
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8. Re: A post-Paris post

I have to say I loved your post. I could almost feel your feelings reading what you wrote.

My dream is to be able to live for long periods of time (either months or a year) in different places. I think all you really take from this life, if anything, are the memories and you just have 3 months worth of them, in Paris.

I get really depressed after just being out for 3 nights, so I can't imagine what 3 months would do to me.

I can't wait to "sample" Paris next month. :)

Davidson, North...
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9. Re: A post-Paris post

Loved your post and the real messages you conveyed. Looking forward to my first visit and am already knowing that I will be planning another trip. At my age, it will have to be sooner rather than later :). Thanks so much for sharing. Hopecyou'll be sharing your experiences over the next few months.

Sheila

NE Victoria...
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10. Re: A post-Paris post

Another one here who understands completely.

:)

Hang in there Liv - and start weaving those gossamer threads of plans for your next trip. It's the only panacea I can think of to help with this feeling.