Today was a bittersweet last day (for now) in my beloved Paris. I spent the morning cleaning and packing (or at least attempting to fit everything from my trip into my suitcases). I did have to make a trip to the Post Office (my second) in order to mail some items home that were going to be too heavy. I laughed to myself thinking of the first time I went to La Poste and how I wasn't even able to order stamps in French and how far I've come. Today, I was able to do the whole order in French and was so proud. My French has really come a long way from total non-existence 8 months ago. I'm far from fluent but I really feel like I can get by with ease in this city. Happy times.
After La Poste I took my favorite bus (96) and headed to the Marais. I walked into my favorite restaurant- L'as Du Falafel where after MANY visits this year I was actually treated like a regular. I nearly cried. First- they offered me a BIG table (meaning for 4 people rather than 2) even though I was solo and then they also offered me a plate of frites. (Normally I would have welcomed the frites but I was saving space for my amazing Schnitzel pita, so no fries today). After lunch I walked to the Judaica and Jewelry store to get a bracelet I've been eyeing for months and picked up a surprise for Mom. While there, I chatted with the lovely owner (all in French) and she said my language and accent were great and that she loved New York and New Jersey (I told her I was going home). So fun!
My next stop was pretty hard to deal with- it was Place St. Michel. This was where my first taste of the city had really begun in 2009 on my EuroTrip. I thought about how enamored I was with this spot because of Fontaine St. Michel, Notre Dame nearby, the gorgeous Seine and the hustle and bustle of the crowds. Now, I think of walking one block north to Saint Chappelle for the Stained Glass, one block south to the Musee de Moyen-Age and be transported to the middle ages or finally, one block west to get to the heart of Saint Germain des-pres. A lot of emotion for one intersection. :)
While heading home I took in Saint Germain des-pres, Rue de Rennes, Boulevard Raspail and finally Rue du Cherche-Midi (the street I live off of). I looked at the people at cafes, students talking on the sidewalk, women shopping with great determination, my favorite florist arranging the plants outside and suddenly felt very sad. I was going to miss the quotidien life the most. Going to the Le Bon Marche to the greatest grocery store in the world, buying stunning flowers or having outrageously delicious gateau chocolat all within steps of my apartment. What a life.
Soon after I returned home, it began to rain (obviously the city was sad that I was leaving). It was a relief from the boiling weather because the rain cooled down the apartment considerably. I packed and cleaned for a while and then had 2 long camp conference calls. Finally, I went downstairs to say goodbye to Yamila, my friend who has been with me since the EMBASSY! Fate put the two of us together there and then the plane and now she lives downstairs from me- what a year. I honestly would have had an entirely different experience where it not for her and I am so glad that we've been here together.
Tomorrow my flight is in the early afternoon so the plan is to head to my favorite spot in the Luxembourg Gardens in the matin to say goodbye. Then I have a taxi scheduled to take me to the airport. By this time tomorrow I will be back home.
Here are some pictures of me and Yamila. Aside from those I didn't take photos today because I just wanted to be in the moment and soak in the city without worrying about lighting or blurryness or a gypsy trying to steal my camera. It was a pretty great last day- bittersweet.
Yamila and Me :)
Thanks for reading,