I am sitting in the air-conditioned, first-class lounge, sipping Champagne, waiting to board my one-way flight back to the USA after 18 years, 11 months and 2 days of living in Paris. The past month, and in particular, this past week, has been an emotional roller-coaster ride.
I realized for the first time since my childhood, I will not have a key to my own front door. This is an incredibly liberating experience... my life is packed into three pieces of luggage (no mention of the 99 pieces being shipped!) and I have a few temporary places to stay while I look for a place of my own.
I've met some amazing and wonderful people whom I shall miss, deeply. I learned a new skill and turned that knowledge into a business that has sustained me over the past 5 years. I've reveled in the city of Paris, especially at night while driving past the monuments lit up in their glory. The seasons, the light as it changes with each season, the food, the wine, the cheeses... Paris is... Paris. I will miss Paris. I will not miss living here. I can always come back.
I begin my new life with barely a chance to unpack, and head to a conference in San Jose. I will hook up with a friend I have known since I was 16. I am looking forward to seeing you, Ro. I have concert tickets lined up beginning with Buddy Guy on my birthday, and plans to head to Long Island to see family and friends there. I will take a trip to see the craggy coast of my memories...
My son and I had our last night together for a while and we made the best of it. Lots of hugs and tears. He is a man now, a fine one, and he is doing well in university... I am so very proud of him. I know this is a difficult transition, but we agreed, it is time. Our visits from now on will be longer, and more fun in that we will have that extra time to spend together.
There are three women in particular who have meant the world to me while living here. Alice, Alison, and Barbara... from each of you I have learned so many different things about life. Thank you for the long talks, the encouragement and especially your friendship and support. I love you all.
I was fortunate to be involved with several Anglophone associations in Paris. If you are planning on living here, you must join, AND get involved with one or several of them. Doors will open.
5 minutes to boarding...
Paris has been a big part of my life. Now, the page is turned. I am looking ahead, with hope, happiness and a hunger to start again. I never thought I would say this! Au revoir, Paris... je t'aime!
Way over yonder, that's where I'm bound...