View at the Last Picnic
May 2006, Champs de Mars
I miss Paris.
I miss walking in that beautiful city at night, watching the lights reflecting off the Seine. I miss lingering for hours in a café, watching the chic and the shabby go by. I miss restaurants where there is usually only one seating, and you can chat endlessly over a half-full glass of wine, never feeling rushed. I miss baguettes, cheese, pastries, wine, picnics, chocolat chaud, spending my entire food budget at Pierre Hermé. I miss wandering the outdoor produce markets and bantering with the sellers.
I even miss squishing in the Metro, walking till my feet are about to fall off, crappy Asian food, endless lines, expensive everything, old ladies with their lethal chariots, and understanding 50% of what people are saying.
*sigh* Ça va? Ça va pas. I've finally had Paris withdrawal. In the last 2 months since leaving, I've been traveling, too busy to stop, think, and reflect. But now that I'm in a lull before my next move, the memories have seeped back into my consciousness.
Exactly one year ago on this date, I was sitting in the second floor demonstration room at LCB Paris for the first time. Happy Anniversary to my cooking school accomplices. I was nervous, scared, but excited to finally be there. Looking around at the faces around me, I wondered, "Will these people become close friends or just passing acquaintances? Will I actually cook well after I finish? Will I be able to speak French when I'm done? Why am I here again?"
I recently printed out some photos to give friends at home a glimpse into the last year of my life. I had thousands of photos to sort through, and choosing only 250 was incredibly difficult. Flipping through the finished album, I saw good friends, amazing trips, some of the best food I've ever had in my life, and experiences that I could have never predicted for myself. Life was good and gave me so much more than I was hoping for.
Random memories flood in unexpectedly, like my walking route from my apartment to H's: past Opera Garnier, down towards the Louvre, through the magnificent courtyard, across the Pont des Arts, and along the side of the Seine towards Notre Dame. I did this so many times I knew every little shop, every café, every corner along the way. The city cast her spell on me, and she still lures me back from thousands of miles away. I catch myself thinking of places to eat and visit when I return, wondering how much the city will have changed in my absence.
Paris, this mademoiselle is anxious to be back.