Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tug of love

It’s been an interesting visit to New York. I’ve had good meals (Centro Vinoteca, Po, Balthazar, Emporio, The Standard Grill), good star sightings (Bruce, Demi & Ashton, Kirsten Dunst, Carine Roitfeld), I’ve gone to the movies (Julie & Julia, The September Issue, 500 Days of Summer, Funny People), seen Obama’s motorcade and Joseph Altuzarra's spring/summer show, met Amee’s fiancé (thumbs up—phew), and have had many wonderful visits with friends (Alex, Brandon, Cheryl, Mitchell, the girls…everyone). But overall? Exhausting.

And maybe that’s why I’m here. In the grand scheme of things, maybe coming to New York for two weeks was to realize that Paris is the city that makes me very happy and is a good fit for me for awhile—for where I am in life, and how I want to live. That I can and should take a break from New York. That it’s okay not to be in its arms for awhile. There’s no guarantee that we’ll have the same love when I return, but it’s no good being here right now.

New York has the ability to suck time out of a day like no other city. Every night, I’ve set the best intentions for the following day: errands, emails, writing, leisure and, oh yeah, fun… this is supposed to be vacation, after all. Two weeks, without work, in New York City. My only commitments have been parties and friends. So what's the problem? I’ve asked myself that every day.

I’ve been tense, on edge, and I haven’t been sleeping. I feel bad—bad because I can’t get excited about something that I once loved so much. And then I feel bad because I think I shouldn’t feel let down. But I do. I feel frustrated. I can’t fit everyone and everything in. I’ve been snappy with people, which only makes me feel worse. And that leads me to asking, what’s wrong with me? Why am I so short-tempered? Why am I exhausted? How can it be that I am not getting around to the things I thought I would get to, the things I wanted to do, the things I had been really looking forward to doing?

And I feel guilty on a more existential level. It’s like realizing that you’ve fallen out of love with someone. I keep thinking but, but, but… it’s used to be so different. I used to love this. I used to look forward to this and get such a thrill from it. This used to be my life. When that feeling wanes, you feel confused, conflicted, tormented. You want to make right again.

Now that the trip is nearly over, I’ve made peace with these feelings. I’m signing on for another nine months in Paris and I’m okay with letting go of New York until my return. It’s a little heartbreaking, and very alienating, to realize that everyone and everything is moving on (and moving to Brooklyn) without me. But that’s okay. I have Paris.

Now, more than ever, I know I am there for a reason. I know this all happened for a reason. I know it’s possible to fall in love with a city. And I’m looking forward to seeing what the city and the next nine months hold for me.


  1. Hi Amy,

    I just wanted to write to gush about how much I love (but also envy, envy, envy!) your blog. You’re living the exact same dream I had a few years back when an acquaintance who worked at Ogilvy Paris (but is no longer there) gave me the name and email of a Creative Director (also no longer there) who graciously allowed me to pester him for four months about a copywriter opening. It was an exciting four months while I imagined myself going for runs through the Tuileries, perfecting my French and apartment shopping online. Since that time I have managed to find my way back to the city I truly love most on the planet: Seattle. And after a visit to a friend in Paris this spring, I realized that I really don’t have to live in Paris; it’s OK. Because I have Seattle. But reading your blog makes that small, French part of my heart skip a beat and before I can stop myself I start to wonder what it would be like … Of course I’ll never leave Seattle; just driving around here I have an actual physical sensation of how much I love this place. But it’s a testament to your blog and your adventure that I’ll check out apartments in Paris online. Thanks for the blog and the temporary escapes. Enjoy your return. Laura

  2. Cherish your remaining 9 months in Paris; when you get that feeling that it's a foreign city and not your home, just go out and take your velib along the Seine and take in the beauty. I came here on a trial basis and 5 years later, I am still here and still amazed that I get to live in the most beautiful city in the world.

  3. It's amazing to discover this affliction I have with Paris affects so many other people. To me, there are few things more moving or inspiring than simply being here in Paris. Thank you both for your comments - thanks for sharing, and here's to the good life, wherever we are!