Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chapter Fourteen: Back in Seattle, back to reality

Now that I've been back home for almost three weeks, it's time to wrap up the blog.   I am a list person, so here's a list of what I love about Paris and what I missed about home. 

What I loved about Paris/being in Paris:
  • the shopping 
  • the architecture
  • walking everywhere and exploring places I have never had the time to see
  • having the time to walk everywhere, and being able to looking forward to an hour long walk
  • wandering aimlessly around the city, without a schedule or agenda
  • not driving and not dealing with traffic
  • people watching, especially looking at what the girls were wearing. 
  • the street food
  • cafe creme at the end of almost every meal
  • Berthillon ice cream
  • not having to do the mental math of calculating tip and tax when eating out, since it's all included in the menu price.  Tax being built into the sticker price of items is nice too. 
  • really fun window displays
  • the Seine
  • the Pont des Arts 
  • the street lamps
  • Orangina
  • all of the fun French beauty products they sell at pharmacies
  • Salespeople leaving you alone while you look around the store
  • Comptoir des Cotonniers, ba & sh, Agnes B, Uniqlo, Berenice
  • BHV (I love it so much, it gets its own line on the list.)
  • the street markets with the insanely good and cheap roast chickens, fruit/vegetables, cheese and bread
  • using a paper street map and metro map to figure out how I would get somewhere.  It was like a puzzle.  
  • the cafe culture
  • expanding my French vocab.  A few examples:  soldes = sale.  Ouverture exceptionelle = exceptional opening (open on a day that it's usually closed).  Emporter = food to go.  I still get "left" and "right" mixed up though - it's only in the context of the Left Bank (Rive Gauche) that I remember which is which. 
  • the day when I realized that I knew which metro line would take me where I needed to go, without having to look at the map  

What I missed about the States/Seattle:
  • not having to do mental math at every turn - converting euros into dollars, kilometers into miles, kilograms into pounds, subtracting "12" from the time between noon-11:59pm
  • people clean up after their dogs here, so I don't have to always be on the watch for dog poo on the street
  • not having to hug my purse against my body all the time everywhere, and not assuming that anyone who bumps into me is a thief
  • everyone understands what I'm saying and I understand what everyone is saying to me.  No need for hand gestures, pointing and/or having to repeat myself five times. 
  • the convenience of everything.  Everything is geared towards consumer convenience in the States - 24 hour supermarkets, drive-thru fast food, almost everything is open on Sundays, etc.  It's impossible/almost impossible to find that in Paris.  Except for on the Champs Elysses.
  • All of the Kardashian shows!  (I still can't believe Kim and Kris are separated.  I mean, I can, but I can't.)
  • Netflix streaming and Hulu
  • toilet seat covers in public restrooms
  • free public restrooms
  • ice water at restaurants.  I hate tepid water, which is basically all you get in Paris/Europe. 
  • Seattle isn't the cheapest city to live in, but it's nice that eating dinner at a non-fancy place won't cost me $40. 
  • Freely using my debit card, instead of a stupid credit card, without dealing with a 3% international transaction fee.  
  • Whole Foods
  • Asian food
Lastly, I'd like to introduce you all to what I like to all to what I call my magic boots.  I searched high and low throughout Rome, Venice, Florence, Milan, Paris, London and Munich for flat black boots and came back with nothing.  I finally went back to what I know best, online shopping, and ordered a pair of Jeffrey Campbell boots on (no tax, free shipping!), had them shipped to my parents, and had my parents bring them with them to Paris.  From day 1, there were no blisters and no sore feet.  No breaking in period at all, which is a miracle for women's shoes.  

I'm more glad to be back home than I thought I would be, but I'm pretty sure I'll be "homesick" for Paris for at least another month.  Or six.