It is always difficult to come home after a trip, particularly a good one. I had not expected to love France as much as I had - it had been years and even then, we had gone to the South of France. Still, God knows, I had been before and though I had many pleasant memories from childhood, none could categorize as joyous and life affirming as this last. What's more, i hadn't expected any great epiphany in France. All i had wanted was a gentle rest and while there were indeed some issues i had hoped to resolve and perhaps largely i had, there were other things brewing so deep within me that i was previously blind to their existence. France drew out the whole of me, leaving me with choices of what to keep, what to toss. It had to face it: who would i be without these things, good and bad, that i had held onto for so very long.
I left America with no thought to any specific goal or impression, other than a respite and reprieve after many months, over a year in fact, of working for a large corporation that was particularly nasty and vicious in its politics. leaving the country, leaving the job just a week prior to departure, all contrived to make the holiday that much more necessary, and on the night before leaving, I had a long talk with another corporation that held out an offer that was exactly the type of work that I had been looking for, and was a job that I had originally walked away from, thinking I would be better off at the larger firm. I could not have been more wrong, which became very clear within a short time. One can only tolerate excessive backstabbing for so long before it becomes too painful, or too annoying like a series of gnats that gnarl and bite at the skin – not quite hurting, but a pain in the ass nonetheless.
I left America with an almost empty suitcase, strolling through the airport and feeling light as air, and looking forward to just arriving. With a stopover in London, it was a long trip, though all told, we made it to Paris in flying time in a little over five and a half hours – not long for such a far reaching journey. We arrived at nine or so in the morning, the walking waking dead, making our way to the central of Paris in a cab that hit the breaks to nauseating effect. The hotel we stayed in for the first week (the Hotel Langlois) was an assuming hotel. Small with about twenty rooms, I would guess, and more like an American bed and breakfast. Our room was just large enough with an old French armoire wardrobe and a bathroom that was as big as my bedroom at home. This soon became my favorite feature and I took to it like a fish to the ocean, delving into the deep tub at the end of every day and after gathering items at the pharmacy – French pharmacies are the best and anyone who has been and knows their pharmacy goods can attest to this; only there can you find the unguents that really deliver what they promise. I have heard that this is because they have a higher concentration of the relevant ingredients. I quickly bought up all the skin creams that delivered beauty in a bottle (yes, a sucker), the clarifying lotion, the crème blanchissant that promised to fade away the ugly marks of a spot or two or a freckle too large and too obvious (hopeless, because I am covered in them and I do not think they are cute, I’m sick of them). I carried back to our sweet room a bagful of soaps, creams, perfumes, and so much more, including that anise flavored toothpaste that we love and more.