Home Again, Home Again...
And then, it was over...
My previous blog post was on 30 September, today is Monday, 8 October! It's EARLY morning in San Diego as I write this. Still dealing with jet lag that awakens me around 3 or 4 am (today it was a little after 4, so I think it's getting better!), and so I get up! Still processing the trip of a lifetime that just ended...but who knows, maybe I'll have others in my future. Even if I do, though, none will be the FIRST, long, non-tourist visit to Paris for me. So, considering that, this trip was a bellwether of sorts.
I'm now home in America's Finest City and in the cutest house on Capitol Street:
Excuse these pics from my archives--no rainbows lately since we've had no rain!
I left Paris on Thursday, 4 October, quite ready to make my way back to my home, my dog, my city, and my friends.
|My bags awaiting arrival of the cab on street outside my apartment|
|Me, in travel mode!|
|Special customers at Le Perroquet|
|Chicken Caesar Salad at Canon des Gobelins|
|Boulevard Saint-Marcel from Canon des Gobelins|
|Interior of Canon des Gobelins--from my table just inside the glass|
Tuesday was much the same. I brought the second box to La Poste (about 7 kilos [close to 16 pounds]), picked up two of the four tubes of lip balm (the other two were late, but arrived on Wednesday), and sat at the Jardin des Plantes for a long while journaling and watching people in the nasty, chilly, and sprinkly afternoon.
|Bundled up against the chill..|
|Quiet at the Jardin that day...|
|Few folks around|
|Museum of Natural History and botanical garden building in the Jardin|
|Path that ran in front of my bench|
I thought we were to have dinner, but my comprehension of our telephone call was poor and she only had time for a quick cup of chocolate cocoa. She was headed for a Freemasons meeting at this building:
We had a teary-eyed farewell, and although I took photos of the building into which she disappeared, I neglected to get a new photo of her. So, here's one that I recycled from a previous visit, at a happier time:
|Linda and Sylviane in Forest of Fountainebleu|
So, we come to my very last full day in Paris--3 October. The cab has been ordered, my packing was almost done, I had picked up all requested tubes of lip balm, gotten my stash of comte cheese, mailed packages to California, and awaited my lunch date with Lara (my downstairs British neighbor). She was uncharacteristically sans children that day, so we had a lovely adult lunch at a French restaurant (aren't they all, you might ask?) on Rue Mouffetard--the name of the restaurant escapes me, but the prices were wonderful--only 10 Euros for the formula of appetizer [I had caprese], main dish [entrecote], and dessert [caramel flan]! The walk to/from the restaurant was delightful in Lara's company and I enjoyed learning a little more about her and her family. (She's 31, an E.R. physician, and her husband is an engineer who designs Formula E cars!) The best news was that her husband sometimes has to travel to California for work--and she might accompany him sometime! So, we have a possible rendezvous in our future.
|Lara pointed out the lovely artwork on this building that I had not yet noticed, despite walking past it several times...|
|Apparently this work was done by a famous street artist whose works can be found throughout Paris--this little piece was just at the entrance to Rue Mouffetard|
The rest of the afternoon went slowly--I talked to a few folks in the U.S. (apartment included some free calls to US!), had lovely bon voyage calls come in from the Cercleys and Sylviane, and journaled. As days go, it was quiet, but the feelings I experienced were excitement to be headed home, bittersweet thoughts of losing touch with people I had grown close to, and a little sadness to be leaving the wonderful city of my last 6 weeks.
The whole trip was definitely mine and might not meet others' expectations. After the first couple of weeks that I shared with friends, my time alone was anything but. I had my new friend Sylviane, my lovely trip to Tivery to visit the Cercleys, and the people of the neighborhood who interacted with me most every day. My French improved, and my comprehension did, too, but I'm far from being anywhere decent in my speech. I get by on ignorance and charm for the most part!
I loved my trip. I loved learning that I could be my own guide as to what each day would bring. Sometimes, I awoke knowing that I needed to explore and walk; other days I awoke to realize I would stay in the apartment, reading, watching Netflix, and writing. After an initial time of feeling guilty that I wasn't making the most of my time in Paris--I realized that I truly was making the most of it FOR ME. My real contentment came after I began to relax and allow myself to NOT have to go out and about or see another tourist sight or walk another neighborhood. I used the time to process what I did do and see how these 6 weeks could reflect my own life going forward in San Diego. I even needed to relive the exciting and sometimes unexpected events that befell me (remember the TECHNO PARADE?) and understand that I can do so much more than I think I can do!
Retirement will be akin to being in Paris--I need to allow myself to NOT always be busy--to let myself relax and enjoy time and space and people and plants and my dog. I am ready for this next chapter. I hope you choose to come along as I continue blogging, although the title of "My Paris Pilgrimage" will be supplanted by a new title--one that I'm still figuring out.
Thanks to all of you who joined me on this journey. I am grateful for your kind words and patience with my sometimes too-long, posts. My Paris trip was a long time coming...and now that it's in my past, I'm grieving a bit, but I know that I'll find another goal to replace it. One that will continue to enrich my world...