Okay, so some of you liked the pieces I ran from Adam Gopnik's anthology, Americans in Paris, and for the rest of you, it was apparently a crashing bore. But it's done, over. If you liked it, you can go back and re-read those passages at your leisure. If not, breathe a sigh of relief and rest assured that I will be returning to a more typical mix of odd pictures and my musings about life in Paris.
In case you were wondering, one of the reasons for the series (in addition to my genuine enthusiasm for the anthology) is that it allowed me to step away from blogging for a full month while our family took a historic trip back home. Historic because we've never taken a trip that long before (10 days is usually our limit) and because it was only our second trip back home since arriving in France, the first being in December 2008. We had a lot of balls in the air, hopping from DC out to Missouri and then on to Canada and Vermont. Daily blogging was not something I wanted to add to the chaos.
I got on that plane in mid July with mixed feelings. Of course, I was looking forward to seeing family, friends, and familiar places but I was also unsure how I would react to being back. Happily, it all worked out, logistically and emotionally, and if anything, the trip confirmed two things. First, although Washington, DC is the city that Americans love to hate or at least to badmouth as frequently as possible, it is unequivocally my hometown. I wasn't born or raised there but it's the place I've lived longest, the spot where I feel absolutely comfortable and connected. Despite near 100 degrees temperatures and crazy high humidity, for me, the city resonated with beauty and friendliness. Crepe myrtles and day lilies were in bloom everywhere, geraniums cascading from front porch pots, and the greenery was lush. When I stopped in our neighborhood supermarket for a few items, Ted, one of the checkers who's been working there for forever, wanted to know where I'd been. And of course it was great seeing our friends and the kids' friends, sharing meals, catching up on news, and seeing how much all the kids have grown. I liked having the Washington Post with my morning coffee, the convenience of great and affordable shopping, and even driving around with the radio cranked up.
And second, as much as I feel good knowing that we will land in DC once again, the trip confirmed that I'm really not done with Paris yet. It was easy to revel in blueberries and bagels, homegrown tomatoes and sweet corn, when I knew that warm baguettes and wonderful cheeses would be waiting for us on our return. I could enjoy dipping my kayak paddle into the waters of Lake Champlain and engaging in some retail therapy at Target given that there's still time for strolling in Parisian gardens and window shopping in the Marais. For the moment, I felt I had the best of both worlds.
So now we're back in Paris where the temperatures are blissfully cool and the streets quiet. Trust me; I'm counting my blessings.