It's the little things. Some time in the future, when I'm back in DC leading my hectic American working mom life, I'm going to think back on my days in Paris and I'm sure it will all be a crazy sugar-coated blur. I probably won't conjure up these poles that line the sidewalks, presumably to keep the cars in the street. (Although they do nothing to keep the crazy motorcyclists from menacing pedestrians.) And like the rattan cafe chairs, the smells of the boulangerie and the sight of the Eiffel Tower, they are quintessentially Paris.
For a long time, we were just another typical Washington, DC family: two policy-oriented jobs, two kids, and two cars. Out of the blue, my husband got a new assignment; we ditched the old jobs and the cars (but kept the kids) and headed to Paris for what started out to be a three-year, and eventually became a four-year tour.