This morning I woke up and for the first time really missed Seattle. I always miss the people of course, but as far as cities go, Paris has been doing a rather good job of pleasing me so far.
I think I was sad when I woke up because it was raining and drizzly – peering through the window over my bed into the endlessly grey sky, I could have easily been looking at the sky over Seattle (although apparently, it didn’t rain there today).
As a result of the homesickness, my mind managed to transform Paris into the Pacific Northwest for me, just for one afternoon. I spent the entire day doing Seattle-girl things, and didn’t realize it until the wet grey light was nearly gone.
In Paris, even if you spend the day doing laundry and errands, you manage to remain very chic doing so. In Seattle, sweatpants are my automatic uniform for laundry day, but here I tend to conform to the city and end up in my last clean jeans and my cute shoes even for grocery shopping.
Because I woke up today intending to run immediately, I put on my typical running outfit of yoga pants, running shoes and my T-Town (Tacoma) sweatshirt (because of the drizzle). The running was inevitably postponed until after the errands, so in true West Coast fashion I trotted around all day in my workout clothes.
My good friend (and last year’s roommate) Christina is coming to stay with me for the weekend, and I am so excited about my first houseguest that I wanted to clean and go shopping for all kinds of tasty things to ply her with. Christina, however, is a lactose-intolerant vegetarian, and it can be hard – especially in France – to find things she can eat.
I’d heard rumors of a store called “Naturalia” that sells organic products, so I walked over to Les Halles in the 1ème to check it out. I almost fainted with joy when I walked inside – just when I’d been missing P.C.C. the most, I found a perfect subsitute in a most unlikely location. I actually had fun buying things like yaourt en soja (soy yogurt) and herbed tofu – things I would never buy even in granola-green Seattle.
I tried to convey my elation and sense of being at home in Naturalia to the clerk, but he responded with a very confused look. I guess you have to have experienced the PNW to really understand what it’s all about.
After paying, I headed back toward the 2ème, my recycled shopping bag full of not only soy milk, but organic vegetable chips and organic dark chocolate-dipped rice cakes – hallelujah for Naturia. I’m trying to wait to open them until Christina gets here tomorrow, but they’re staring at me from the corner of the kitchen.
As I was waiting to cross rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré I spotted the little fleet of biodiesel cars that wheel around Paris emblazoned with slogans like “Je suis bíologique!” (I’m organic!) This isn’t the first time I’ve crossed paths with the biodiesel crowd here, but on Seattle in Paris day it couldn’t have been more perfect.
Before dropping off my groceries at home, I swung by the American bookstore (right across avenue de l’Opéra from me) to buy (finally!) American Vogue. I’m not discriminating against French Vogue – I buy that too, but it takes me about five times as long to read the articles. I paid twice as much for it as I would have in the States, but I don’t care. It was like a treasure burning through my Naturia bag the rest of the way home, just begging to be cracked open.
Before I could settle down with the Vogue though, I still had to get my run in. Still drizzling, I enjoyed a Seattle-style rain run down to Montparnasse and back. As the day could not possibly have been complete without a stop-off at Starbucks, I splurged on an overpriced café americano on the way home.
It was, typically, overflowing with American tourists, but I didn’t care. The shop around the corner from my building is progressive enough to fill carafes of nonfat milk on the sugar/milk bar. (Not all French Starbucks offer this – the last time I was in one, the options were cream, half and half or whole milk). Again I’d paid twice what I would have in Seattle, but with one sip I was transported to the parking lot of the Westgate Starbucks, on my way home from running the Point Defiance trails with Wilbur (the dog).
After stopping by the corner boulangerie to pick up a chausson aux pommes (basically an applesauce-filled pastry), I was officially back in Paris – but it was nice to have a little vacation.
••• The Franco-American nephew of Jean-Baptiste (whose family lives in America) is spending all year studying at École Polytechnique (nicknamed “X” for some unknown (to me) reason), the engineering and math equivalent of Sciences Po. He lives elsewhere in Paris, but will be spending the weekend at Cassie and Jean-Baptiste’s. In the preparations for his arrival, there has been a lot of very blatent hinting that he and I should probably fall in love and get married.
It’s perfect, apparently – we’re both from America studying in Paris, him at X, me at Sciences Po. We’re apparently both intelligent and nice, and he is, selon Cassie, “just adorable.” I think this all started as a joke, but in the middle of one conversation this evening, C, Z and E were getting more and more serious about his and my compatible qualities. I don’t even know this guy yet, but I’m sure I was beet red.
Alexi (oh yes, Alexi) will be over tomorrow, so I guess that’s when we’ll find out if the Toulouse family’s grand dreams of a union between their American nephew and American nanny will ever be realized. As it is, I’ve been hearing about this guy for so long I hope I can introduce myself without turning red and running to hide.