I’ve heard that quite a few times over the past couple weeks. It’s hard to believe I have only been home 4 weeks! It feels like it has been much longer. It feels almost as if I never left. The only way I can describe this short interlude and how it felt on me is as a sort of purgatory. I have been caught between two great loves of my life, and it hasn’t been easy to sort out which one I like better or understand better or fit in to better. Both, of course, have their pros and cons. And wow, what a hard life, being stuck between living in Southern California or living in Paris.
My life is obviously so difficult.
Home is good. Southern California has always been my home, and will be for at least a while longer. I’m comfortable there and I feel safe. I’m in my element and I can talk to people whenever I want without fear of mixing up words or sounding like a child when I speak. I can walk into a restaurant not afraid I am going to order the live snails or something. People understand me in SoCal and I understand them. It’s my second nature. I can live without having to think about it every single day. The beaches are beautiful and warm. Beach towns and american coffee are things I missed the most while in Paris. But then I think of how much I miss Paris; more specifically how much I miss being surrounded by art. SoCal doesn’t have the art like Paris does. It doesn’t have charming bistros and beautiful buildings. It doesn’t have the energy that Paris has. I yearn for that energy and the effect is has on me. Paris will just always have a piece of my heart.
But it is a struggle even still. Paris has great attributes about it; such as fantastic amounts of art and history literally dripping from that city. You will never find a place with a more interesting history (in my humble opinion.) You could spend an entire lifetime trying to learn and understand the centuries of history that came from this city, not to mention what a huge role it plays in world history. It has such a charm and beauty to it that you will not find anywhere else. The streets of Paris have always felt safe and (for the most part) welcoming no matter what time of day/night it is. And, not only is there a vast history to Paris, but there is also constantly new art and history being made there, making it not only appeal to the old souls, but to the younger generations as well. The French culture just seems to make sense to me. The way they go about their day and what they value versus what Americans value, the French have a completely different view. They have and appreciate real things. Real relationships, real buildings, real food, real emotions… It’s all there. Americans can be very shallow and not look for a relationship past a drinking pal or just a brief friend. Once you make friends with a Frenchman, you are bonded for life. You can’t back out of that relationship, no matter how hard you try. I try to understand what I can about their culture, but while I was there, it was hard to adjust to this completely different way of culture and life, not to mention the language. And so what if I want to drink a coffee while walking, could you stop with the weird stares, PLEASE? Or if i’m a little loud on the metro, or wearing tennis shoes instead of suede Michael Kors? I’m not an alien. I’m just American.
So, I guess, I appreciate the French and I love their culture, but I think I will always be an American at heart, no matter where i’m living. Southern California will always be my home and maybe one day Paris will be too. They both make me feel safe and comfortable in their own ways. In the end, I have two homes. California and Paris will both always have a piece of my heart, teaching me to enjoy the moment that i’m in and appreciate the good while i’m in one, and look forward to the good that is to come.