Today, to celebrate having only two days left in Paris and also the departure of my fridge (a major load off my mind!), I took myself to see The Philadelphia Story and then out for falafel at Maoz. A big one. With fries. (The really wonderful thing about having only two days left in Paris, apart from, you know, only having two days left in Paris, is that there is no way I can either run out of money or gain weight. It’s incredibly liberating, and I am taking this opportunity to feed myself very well.)
Yesterday over Skype, my grandmother asked me if there was anything I would miss about Paris once I left. I said no, unequivocally. But tonight at Maoz, while plowing through more calories than I care to think about (TWO DAYS), I realized that there is something I will miss.
Mayonnaise on french fries. *swoons*
I don’t even like mayonnaise–which leads me to believe that French mayonnaise is better than everybody else’s mayonnaise. It’s heavenly.
But I jest. I promise there are other things, and, as inspired by David Lebovitz’s post about things he would miss if he moved away, here are some of them, in no particular order.
-Great bread, and the fact that you can buy it anywhere, at nearly any bakery in any neighborhood in the city. Also delicious pastries made with great butter, and the fact that you can buy them–pastries and butter–just about anywhere.
-Cornichons on sandwiches. Watch out, kosher dill.
-The métro. For all of my complaining about the métro (and for all that it pretty much becomes a torture chamber in hot weather), it’s fast, almost always on schedule, and extensive. I love Chicago, but I will be sad to have to go back to the El after the Paris métro.
-The sheer joy of seeing Anglophone movies with Francophone audiences and being pretty sure that I’m the only person in the theatre who got all of the jokes.
-Inexpensive wine. I borrowed this one from David Lebovitz. I’m not a big drinker, but it’s nice to always be able to afford a glass of wine with dinner. And I usually order the cheapest thing on the menu, which usually turns out to be quite delicious (to this untutored palate!).
-Living in a city where everybody wants to come on vacation, even in the winter (thanks, Nancy Meyers!). I mean, Chicago is great, and Phoenix is gorgeous and resort-y, but I have met up with more friends on vacation in Paris than anywhere else I’ve lived, and it’s wonderful to get to show them around and show off a little.
-Speaking French. It’s exhausting, but to borrow a term from the foodies, I love the mouth-feel of it, and also the rolled R’s. I’ve been slipping them into conversation lately–not on purpose. “Oh, Ken, you don’t PLAN these things…they just…HAPPEN.”
-Proximity to other parts of Europe. Travel is really stressful and expensive no matter what, but only having to fly a couple of hours to get anywhere in Western Europe is a pretty nice perk.
-Being a hop, skip and a métro ride from some of the most famous sights in the world. It always tickles me to pick up my bus in front of the Louvre, or walk from St. Lazare to the Palais Garnier. And when the IT guy from Northwestern with whom I was casually flirting via e-mail entreated me to “say hello to Notre Dame,” why, it was the easiest thing in the world to hop on the train and take a picture of it for him.
-The immensity of the Parisian sky.
Of course there are things I won’t miss, like French banks that don’t carry cash (which means I have to take an enormous amount of money out of an ATM to empty my bank account, and jump through ridiculous hoops to make the amount in my checking account a multiple of ten in order to close the damned thing) and grocery cashiers who make you count out 1.99 in change because they have no coins in the register. And B.O., and living in a dorm, and terrible internet access.
But I’m leaving in two days, so there’s no need to dwell on the negatives. It’s cooled down immensely, I took a nap this afternoon, and the wonderful people at Starbucks were able to break the 50-euro bill I got from the sale of my fridge. All’s well that ends well.