Saturday, August 31, 2019

Down the Decades

Today marks exactly 10 years since we left California for our Parisian adventure.  We had planned for and looked forward to that departure for many years and when we finally left the ground at SFO we looked at each other and laughed with the thrill of it all.  I loved knowing I lived (at least part time) in Paris, loved the quotidian life, loved the streets, loved feeling the city was mine in a way that a short stay can’t make me feel.

Now it’s just under 5 years since that adventure came to an end, when we realized that we had done what we had wanted to do, lived in Paris, and it was enough.  We missed our California home, our friends, our family, and not least, the weather.  I think it’s possible that if Paris had California’s climate we might very well still be there.

What’s interesting to me is the change of attitude I’ve had with regard to Paris.  Many years ago I asked a Berkeley friend who had lived some years in Paris why she didn’t visit there more often.  Her reply was that it just wasn’t the same being a visitor after having lived there.  At the time this made no sense; now it’s just how I feel.  Lovely as it is to see friends, visit old haunts, etc.  it’s not the same.

We’ve been back a couple of times and I don’t really see myself doing it again soon.  Short visits don’t make me feel at home but on the other hand I no longer want to spend a longer time there.  It’s taken me a long time to understand this, but I think Paris and I are no longer in a relationship.  We’ve both changed.

There have been several stretches of time in the last 5 years that I swore I would no longer travel, it  was too difficult, it took too long, it had become less and less pleasant.  That feeling seems to last about 18 months before the bug bites again and we start saying “well, maybe...?”  So although we aren’t going anywhere this year we’ve just reserved our flights to Italy for 2020, our big anniversary year.  Our love affair with Paris seems to have ended, but there’s a strong flirtation going on with Venice.