Sunday, January 2, 2011

What I’m bringing home with me

This is it, mes amis. My last week in Paris. This time around, anyway.

Just as I believe fate and the chocolate gods conspired to bring me here almost two years ago, I know I will be back. Whether it’s visiting for semiannual holidays, coming for months at a time, or, one day, moving back to Paris again, this city is under my skin and in my blood. There’s no shaking it.

So what am I taking home with me?

Friends who have lived abroad assure me it could take months to figure this out, but, inevitably, I will discover this experience changed me in ways I don’t realize or can’t fathom now. I know this is true. While I’m still deciphering and articulating what those “life and character” changes will be, I can look back on the past nearly two years and reflect on a gazillion memories, photos and blog posts (!). I definitely hit some highs and lows, experiencing acute bliss and bitter loneliness. I made beautiful friends, some of whom are lifers. And, for now, I’m looking around at a treasure trove of tangible and intangible, practical and frivolous things, to remind me of my Great Parisian Adventure.

• A good 6-8 pounds (sigh)
• A killer portfolio (merci, Louis)
• At least two pairs of kickass shoes, though I’m generally disappointed by my French fashion finds
• A book contract (I hope you can stay with me until March 2012, when it’s published!)
• A pretty collection of chocolate and macaron boxes
• Some great new art
• Passport stamps to Italy, Portugal, Uganda and England
• A few new recipes and kitchen skills
• Adoration for some unexpected tastes: duck, sardines, burrata, Lucques olives and Speculoos
• Some French slang
• A heart, both heavy and buoyant


  1. Looking forward to reading your next adventures and the book! I brought back kilos as well so much for getting that French woman's genes through osmosis. Paris is under my skin and always will be, once she has hold of you, you are finished. Sweet pain she causes, but I am a glutton for punishment. To whatever you are doing next I say "Merde!"

  2. Amy: I will miss reading your blog, and your take on this beautiful that's been a temporary home to both of us. But you're not leaving town until you do a top ten of Paris sweets, right? (Or are you saving that for your book.)

    Best of luck with whatever's next.

  3. I am so looking forward to your book! Hope your last week is fabulous.


  4. That's so amazing Amy! I'm so happy for you! :D
    And when I read your first bullet point and the sigh following that (lol), it reminded me of the scene in the movie Eat, Pray, Love where Liz and her friend are eating pizza at Naples, and Julia Roberts gives the comforting speech about how small of a thing a woman's weight should be compared to the experiences of food and life to never forget. :) If you haven't watched that scene, you should, it's so nice!
    And good luck on your flight back home!

  5. You have inspired us and now you might be responsible for our next choice when we move :)
    Either way, I fully expect and look forward to meeting you in person some day. Whether it is in NYC or Paris.
    Good luck ! Buen Suerte ! Bonne Chance !!

  6. So why are you leaving Paris?

  7. Great souvenirs, all of them. Some will last longer than others (I still have a little "croissant"-shaped tummy as a souvenir from my time in the south of France in September I'm hoping will not last much longer) and others will just keep distilling and changing as you process the whole experience.

    Are you keeping your blog?

  8. I have a feeling you'll be back. You have to do your book tour, after all! ;)

    I hope you continue with your blog when you go back to NY. You have such insightful and lovely observations about city life.

    Bises and Happy New Year!

  9. I can only imagine the excitement and sentiment you are filled with these last days. Know that Nina and I are wishing you well. Be sure to enjoy your favorite things and make time to discover some that are new, bien sur!

    connie & nina

  10. Andi, I totally agree. I somehow managed the French Women Don't Get Fat secret for a year and a half. I've just been on a tear these past couple of months and it caught up with my American genes (and jeans, cough). Merde!

    Anne, brilliant idea. I will do a Top 10 list... I'll finish my recon this week. :)

    shirenesBEAN, I *loved* that scene, too - I thought it was so down-to-earth and dead-on. Thank you for the reminder. :)

    Nina, I'm leaving to be home again. Home, in New York City, where I have an apartment, the best friends in the world, ease with the language, and where I'll be close to family again. It wasn't an easy choice, but I'm very excited for the next chapter.

    And, oui, Amy, I'll keep blogging. :)

    Lana, Candice, Cynthia, Connie & Nina... as always, thank you for your love and support! xo

  11. I'm also totally in love with Paris - and thats why I've followed your blog in the last 6 months. Even though you're now leaving Paris I look forward to read your blog following the next chapter in life. Take care, Rikke

  12. What fantastic memories. How amazing to be able to simply say that you lived in Paris! I too will be disappointed to see you leave Paris- I need to live vicariously somehow!

  13. I hope you will blogg about New York. I need tips and tricks for my next stay in NY.

    Kind regards, and thank you for all your tips regarding Paris. Made my last trip so much better.


  14. Speculoos, the French X-mas flavour, remarkable.
    Best regards

  15. I'm glad I was able to live in Paris vicariously through your blog:) I'm sure 2011 has a lot of pleasant surprises in store for you:)

    Looking forward to reading all about your new adventures in NYC:)

    Good luck with the book and as my friend Chris would have it : may the best thing that happened to you in 2010 be the worst that happens to you in 2011!:)

  16. It's hard to believe your time is almost up...even for us who lived there only through your blog. It's been more than lovely--