Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Bienvenue à New York

Secretly (more on this below) arriving at JFK airport at 6pm on a Tuesday, I pass through customs with barely a glance from the official guarding the entry to my homeland, grab my 50 lb suitcase and lumber my way to the Manhattan-bound A train.

I take my seat, whereupon I immediately start Murphy's Law-laughing as I realize I've just sat in something that I fervently hope isn't pee. Welcome back to NYC, kK!


Two hours later I am bumping my baggage up the steps of St. James Gate, a bar down the street from my sister's apartment. I order a Guinness, half of which goes down the hatch in one sweet gulp. Five minutes later an unsuspecting Willis walks in, thinking her boyfriend is taking her for drinks with one of his old college buddies. Cue majestic orchestral music, slo mo running, and a grunt from my admittedly strong sis as she tries to pick me up over my cries of "too many croissants! too many croissants!"

I am now back in America, land of great crap tv, verbs created out of nouns, and that greatest of all inventions, Goo Gone.

I will not miss:

*Insincere apologies.
GAH! You know, not everything is 'just bien' if you smash into me and spill my hot wine all over my jacket as long as you say "oh, pardon..."in a fake-contrition laden! It's NOT bien! GET ME A NAPKIN you **bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep**

*Bedrooms so cold I'm forced to sleep in a scarf and long underwear

*Never quite belonging

*Bread not on a bread plate. I'm just sayin'.

*Oddly enough, coffee. OK, so the George V made a mean cafe creme, but at the price of my firstborn child, well, I'll just take Pain Quotidien bowl o' lait any day, and OH YEAH, there are about 800 PQs in New York City, so there! 

I will miss:

*BREAD: Croissants and baguettes

*FOOD: Eggs, vegetables


*Morning coffee and chats with Madame

*Loving America (why is it easier when you're away?)

*Perfect lighting, in that more-shadows-than-light way

*Being an exotic dinner party commodity for la noblesse (LOL!)

*20 Euro-a-month for ALL YOU CAN SEE MOVIES. Including new releases! Sneriously, WTF, and why is that not in play HERE.


As Dr. Dumber so aptly documented earlier this year: "Number 1 on my 2010 to-do list: Figure out my life plan!" Well, if anybody has any suggestions for me...hahahaha! Yar, as much as we all know how well-suited I am to
teaching, I think I might prefer to be a hermit. (Do you get paid for that? I guess only if you're someone whose initials are JD Salinger...)

I thought, and I know many of my friends and family thought, that Paris would be "it" for me, that I would never go back to America, at least not in the foreseeable future. I was sort of broadsided by the realization that I actually want, and am ready, to live in America (specifically Seattle, of course). It will rip out my heart to leave, but Paris is in my system for now and always, just like it should be. Paris has given me myself, and I don't think any other place in the world could have done that at this perfectly timed moment in my strange life.

Living in Paris has helped me find a very welcome balance--I know now what I want my life to be like and, more importantly, I know how to make that happen. Letting go of even the silliest thing, like guilt over not going out with friends and instead staying inside to watch an entire season of 30 Rock. Roasting some sweet potatoes and brussels sprouts for dinner. Saying 'yes' to an occasional night of dancing. Reading lots of library books, in an actual library. Watching the rain. Baking with spices that make the kitchen smell like magic. Listening to NPR music podcasts. Weekly acupuncture. The 86-year-old-man Club. Rubbing soft kitty bellies. Walking in the rain. Working a job, dealing with the stress, drinking coffee, surrounding myself with only the best, genuinely good people I have met/will meet. Listening to the rain.

Life is not perfect, bad times are usually lurking and waiting for their opportunity to jump up and drag us down. Sometimes it's good to wallow in the muck, the horrible misery, the deep dark nothing of numbness. But I always know, somewhere in my depths, that left to their own devices, goodness and light will rise up again, cleaning away the slime of sadness and dispersing into invisible mist the unbearable weight of despair.

I know I will suffer some of the usual anxieties, sometimes waste too much energy worrying about something stressful, but I have cut down on the amount of times I let these feelings overwhelm me.

I will remember to breathe.
I will eat foods that make me happy.
I will feel alone without feeling lonely.
I will throw back my head and laugh.
I will not feel guilty.
I will watch fabulous late night movies like Scorpion King Part Deux.
I will feel in my blood every single moment for the rest of my life the play of shadows on the Hotel de Ville at night. The glint of gold off Les Invalides. The smell of the best baguette in Paris. The melting of the gooey chocolate as I pour in hot milk at the cafe on Ile St Louis. The coldness of the beer at the Hash stop at Versailles and my burning legs wrapped in a red dress running through the streets of Paris. The taste of my first dish of root veggies and glass of raw milk.

I will enjoy the rain.



Steph said...

holy shit kk.... why do you do this to me???

thanks for writing what i couldnt. its perfect. going back for seconds....

love, miss you chica.... and those damn croissants!

kK said...

ah Steph, miss you too! the inspiration for this post was our last night in Paris sitting at Il Saint Louis writing in our journals and drinking the best hot chocolate In. The. World. Ahhh, good ole Gai Paris!