In a few minutes, I will leave my flat, take the bus to St. Pancras train station, where I will take the Eurostar to Paris. I didn’t think I would get to go this soon, considering the prospect of returning has grown to mythic proportions inside my head. But our friend Greg is in Europe on business, and wisely suggested the three of us meet there. The boys are both working today and I am actually looking forward to a day in Paris alone- maybe I will live in my own little Amélie movie.
I don’t know if it’s cliché to love France as much as do. I actually think that for Americans in my age group, you are supposed to be obsessed with Thailand, or backpacking in Peru, or dying in a bus in Alaska from a poisonous flower. Which means my lifelong love of France is now officially old-school retro. VIVE LA FRANCE!
The first time I set foot in France was in 1990 with my 8th grade French class. I remember we all wore fanny packs and Joey Turner told me I dance like a white girl. The last time I set foot in France was 1993, the summer before my senior year of high school. My dad wisely pushed me to do AFS, and I worked as a camp counselor in a small town in the Loire Valley for three weeks, and spent one week in Paris. I played boule, yelled English obscenities at the young campers, “french” kissed the older son in my host family (TMI I know), ate frog’s legs, bought my first Vanessa Paradis casette tape, went to the discotheque (duh) and just blissed out. I have always been, and always will be, a francophile. I studied the language for nine years, minored in it in college (mais je parle comme une vache espagnol), and still have friends j’adore because we shared a bond in French class- in the days when I insisted on being called Juliette, or had to translate French films as homework. Just thinking about walking along the Seine, eating a baguette and dark chocolate… it’s too much.
I hope the digital camera survives.