Yes, another petit séjour is about to begin! The bags are packed (and weighed); the lists have been checked; necessary data has been migrated and confirmed; passport, money and credit cards stashed. With an hour to spare: just time enough for a pre-trip post.
I am excited, of course, to be commencing another Overseas Experience. The place and guests promise a wonderful stay. Yet there’s also a twinge of anxiety: Will my apartment have some hidden flaw? Will this be the year when Paris finally starts to bore me? (“Got that tee shirt.”) Will I fall prey to sedentary habits due to the lack of structure and purpose? More mundanely, will the weather be bad? April has been one of the most beautiful in Parisian memory, until this week, when it has turned cold and rainy.
I also, as usual, have a little buzz from the destructive aspect of the trip. I’m blowing this joint. Sayonara, Boston! Not being here has always been as much a part of the experience as being somewhere else. But this emotion also has its complement. Despite the weather I’ve had a lovely spring, including two new and delightful (albeit quite different) friendships. It is sad to leave both old and new friends for so long. And of course I’ve started to hear about some of the cool things that I will be missing here. I like Boston!
Well of course these are #firstworldproblems … that many of you would gladly trade yours for! I’m aware how lucky I have been (in many respects, though not all). I am grateful for the freedom, health and self-confidence necessary to make these sojourns, and for the family and friends who help make them so sociable.
Overarching my hopes and fears is curiosity. How will it go this year? What adventures will I have? New corners of Paris discovered? Delights, and disappointments? The real thrill of a trip like this is that it shakes me out of my routines and creates the possibility of new experiences, both good and bad. Here’s hoping they will once again be mostly good. But I’m looking forward to challenges as well as opportunities.
Mot du jour: ombrelle. This is something of a false friend. Although it looks like an umbrella, and comes from the same Latin root, it’s actually our parasol. Which makes sense, since ombre means “shadow,” not “dryness.” The French word for umbrella is parapluie, which again makes sense since pluie is rain. Parasol came into English from middle French, and the word is still used in modern French as an alternative to ombrelle.