It’s been a while since we last chatted. Last time, I was saying farewell to my 365 Days in Paris blog. Ending the blog was a tough choice especially because so much good stuff was going on in my life—I’d finished up my first year in Paris, was heading onto the next, and had finally met an amazing guy, “Henri.” But I just had a feeling that because things were going well that it was time to live my life offline. I so enjoyed hearing your advice and comments each week, and was pleasantly surprised to hear from Amelia that some of you had actually been asking about me. Moi? I’m touched. So, here’s my update for you.
I’ll start with the end: I’m not in Paris anymore. Keep reading »
Attendez! OK, I know my farewell post has gone up, but here’s a little extra bonus. After the jump, a chronological summary of 365 Days in Paris. Bref, what happens when you move to Paris for a year … Keep reading »
During my 10 months or so in Paris, there came a real low point in mid-January. A few weeks before, I’d been completely ripped apart by my ex from Amsterdam, Alex, who came back into my life for a brief New Year’s romance, only to leave me (inevitably) disappointed that we’d never have a relationship. Some 10 days after our official break-off, I was at a rock concert, when all of a sudden, in the middle of a crowd of Parisian hipsters, I began bawling. Uncontrollably. The kind of childlike crying where snot and tears prune your face, forming a sticky, moist mess on your blouse. I somehow made my way out of the club, feeling my way to the subway like I was in a dream, wailing without volume control. Slumped on a chair in the nearly-deserted République metro stop, I didn’t even try to subdue my outburst, doing only as best I could to hide my face. At one point, a young woman passed me and stopped. “Ça va, mademoiselle?” she asked. I couldn’t even see her through my tears. “Ça va?” she asked again. I somehow nodded, and began crying harder out of embarrassment.
It was this moment that made me question every decision I’ve made in the past year … Keep reading »
When Henri and I got on the train this morning to go back to Paris after our long weekend at his parents’ house, I genuinely didn’t want to go home. Well, not like I wanted to plant down my roots in the middle of Nowheresville, France, but as the train chugged away from the mountainside, I didn’t feel ready for our mini-break to be over.
In my experience, at the beginning of a relationship, mini-getaways or weekends spent entirely alone can be make or break moments. Forcing two people together for literally every minute of a three or four day period either drives you crazy or brings you both closer together. Honestly, I wasn’t worried that our first vacation would negatively change things between me and Henri. I was more concerned that this time we had set aside for ourselves would end up being more exhausting and stressful with his family factored in. Keep reading »
Shortly after Henri and I became an official couple, we quickly moved on to conquering the next romantic level—traveling together. Well, perhaps this is the next logical step in France, which would make sense when you have the canals of Venice, the lavender fields of Provence, or the sexy streets of Barcelona all within an hour’s plane ride away. Who wouldn’t want to take a weekend trip with her lover to one of these places? In the States, I’d say your options are much more limited. It’s not like one day, you’re going to say to your boyfriend, “Honey, I have a great idea! Let’s fly to Ohio for the weekend.” I suppose in the summertime, you might go with your guy to the beach, but somehow for me that doesn’t at all have the same flavor.
It was sometime a few weeks ago when Henri and I were lying in bed and talking about the week to come. We were both stressing out. He hadn’t had a vacation in almost a year, he told me. I also confessed I was feeling a bit burn- out and was in need of some break time. He turned to me and said, “J’ai envie de partir en weekend avec toi.” I want to go away for the weekend with you. (Somehow, it sounds more serious in French.) Keep reading »
Things with Henri are going splendidly. We haven’t been apart since we got together. This has been great, but I’m starting to realize how different my life is now that I’m not single. It’s not a bad different, but there are changes all around, like:
- My sheets have guy hair in them, and I’m doing laundry much more often.
- There are two toothbrushes in the bathroom.
- I’ve been spending more money on eating out or cooking for two, updating my sad underwear collection, taking the metro three times as often, and planning weekend getaways.
It’s a reminder that my last serious relationship was over three years ago. Also, I haven’t even had a roommate for about a year, so I’ve suddenly become aware of a whole single girl side of my life that is easy and comfortable but a bit sad and shameful too. (See: spending Sundays in bed watching bad French television, drinking some wine, tweezing hair in weird places.) Slowly, la vie en couple is coming back to me and I’m re-learning how to live it. I do wonder: are there differences between everyday boyfriend-girlfriend life in France and in the U.S.? Keep reading »
My life has done a
I used to spend my days largely alone. Wake up. Yoga or run. Grocery store. Work. Work at the library. More work in bed. Make dinner. Work. Bootleg movies online. Bed. (Or, three or four times a week, a simple drink with friends.)
Ever since Henri came into the picture, this comfortable Leo alone-time schedule has gone out the window. And I’m happy for it. Instead of rising at 6 a.m. with an instant ball of stress pounding in my chest making me obsessively plan my day, things now start later. Henri goes to work at 10. We wake up with the sun, sometime around 7:30 and start off the day by making love (a phrase I’ve always hated but have come to find completely appropriate seeing as Henri literally asks me with a nudge of his chin and a sleepy smile if I want to faire l’amour). Then: lounging in bed with coffee and pain au chocolate which Henri or I buy fresh from the bakery until 8:30, taking a shower together, and finally saying goodbye for the next nine hours or so until we meet up for dinner or wine and cheese in the park or by the river.
In a nutshell: I think I’m in love. Keep reading »
Relationships in Paris run on coincidences, run-ins, and screwball scenarios. It’s perhaps a cliche, and you might actually feel like you’re living in a comedic French movie, but the love triangle (or just crazy romantic entanglements in general) is ever-present. Between my girlfriends and me, there’s always something fascinating happening. Randomly, someone’s off in Morocco for a “platonic” weekend with their ex’s friend, another one is breaking up with her 55-year-old boyfriend and going on a date with a politician next week, or the guy someone met in a bar last week won’t stop sending the most over-the-top lovesick texts.
As for me, it seems there’s been a general stream of “love interests” and dates and “potentials,” but nothing’s ever quite been the whirlwind romance you’d expect from Parisian living. Until now. Keep reading »
For all women, there are universal female experiences that rank inevitably high on the embarrassment scale. Try, for example:
- “Price check. Can I get a price check on a box of Ultra Heavy Flow Tampax tampons?”
- “Uh, babe, did you just queef?”
- “I can see your days of the week underwear through that skirt, and just so you know, it’s not Thursday.”
Try having a female problem in a foreign country and you’ll multiply any of your shame times 10 … Keep reading »
My friend Megan from the States is in town for a few days, and yesterday we spent a lazy Sunday walking up and down the Seine, making fun of French joggers in ridiculous running gear and checking out the guys who passed us by.
“Wow, Paris definitely has some attractive men,” she noted as a particularly dashing gentleman in a perfectly tailored suit passed by us.
“Indeed, it does,” I agreed. We walked on a bit more, taking in the sights.
“Oh man,” she said. “Like that guy that we just passed, did you see him? So. Hot.”
“What? Where? No.”
“How could you not see him? He was looking straight at us.”
“Leo, I think you have a bit of a perception problem. You really don’t seem to catch on when guys are checking you out.”
“I do too! I just don’t try to make anything too obvious, you know?” Keep reading »