Friday, November 18, 2011

The inevitable list

The first picture I took, taken the day we arrived.  January 1, 2009

I'm going to miss the little things about Paris:
  • Hearing French all around me all the time.
  • Being able to understand a slightly higher percentage of that French than when I first arrived.
  • Elderly men in old suits riding bikes with baguettes in the front basket.
  • Tourists dragging their flat-tired Velibs to Velib stations with mangled baguettes in the front baskets. 

    Look how little he is.  Look how Seattle I am.  January 2009

      • Adults who ride scooters to work -- the foot-powered kind.
      • The adult man who rides a Segway through Saint Germain and doesn't give a sh*t everyone thinks he's an idiot.
      • The early morning smell of baking bread in our apartment, compliments of the boulangerie below.
      • The early, early morning sound of the garbage trucks -- every morning -- that always let me know it will be an acceptable time to wake up in two more hours.

      June 2009

      • The beauty of French men -- thin, perfectly tailored suit, floppy hair, scarf.
      • The way those beautiful French men act as my mirror.  French men will flirt with anything.  So if they look at me like they want to devour me, I know I look semi-OK.  If they pay me no attention at all, I know I look like a hideous beast and should return home and hide in the closet for the remainder of the day.  It's a good thing I've never looked really, really good or else they would probably rip off their clothes and chase me down the street howling like wolves.

          October 2009

          • Feeling safe, even when walking home alone late at night.
          • Never having to choose between drinking or driving because duh, no car, let's drink like motherf*ckers.
          • The "Europe smell," that smell that's in the air as soon as you walk outside. Tough to describe but kind of smells like history.  (Seattle smells like teen spirit HA HA totally awesome Nirvana joke) 
          • S.O.S. Medecins.  I don't know what people do when their kids get sick late at night back in the U.S. but I bet I'm not gonna like it.

              January 2010

              • The maitre d' who wears black pointy-toed shoes with hot pink laces.  
              • That same maitre d' who suggested I take off my shirt when I spilled wine on it and then I almost did it because FRENCH MEN, PEOPLE, FRENCH MEN. 

                  June 2010 God help us all

                  • Narrow streets full of strolling people holding hands.
                  • The freedom to push those stupid strolling people to the ground if they're in my way and I'm in a hurry.
                  September 2010

                  • Jazz bands playing on the street for no darn good reason.
                  • Beautiful French men peeing on buildings in broad daylight for no darn good reason because hello, there's a cafe right there stupid.

                    December 2010

                    • Men wearing brightly colored pants.  (Today I saw one in yellow and one in brick red.)
                    • Me wearing brightly colored pants with zero self-consciousness.  (Today I wore green.) 

                      March 2011

                      • The people in our neighborhood who say "bonjour"every day, like boutique man downstairs and the hairdresser up the street, who both think the sun rises and sets on Coco.
                      • The people who say "bonjour" when I walk into the grocery store -- and by "saying bonjour," I mean scowling and glaring at me with contempt.  They don't give a sh*t where the sun rises and sets.

                      July 2011

                      • Sitting at "my" cafe early in the morning and watching all the cafe workers on the street setting up shop, calling out to each other and waving. 

                          August 2011

                          • Waking up and thinking, "Holy sh*t I live in Paris."
                          • Waking up the next day and thinking, "Holy sh*t I live in Paris."

                            October 2011

                            OK, looking at all those pictures just about did me in.  Jesus Christ, who else needs a motherf*ckin' drink around here?  Sorry about the language, Mom, but I'm VERY UNSTABLE RIGHT NOW.

                            Feelings are a real bitch,


                            Terry said...

                            My sympathies. It must be very hard, leaving Paris. But I know from your blog, you will be very happy to get back to the US, too, and there will be many, many people happy to have you back.

                            Amazing how many seemingly contradictory emotions we can feel at one time, isn't it?

                            Hang in there. You're doing fine. And I love your blog! You've helped me a lot because I'm planning to move to Paris in about a year and bloggers like you who are honest and show the city's people as real human beings will probably turn out to save my neck, more than once. Thank you!

                            Paris Paul said...

                            Paris is writing a list of all the things it's going to miss about you and yours right at this moment.

                            Nicola said...

                            Oh, you're making me cry and we only just got here! Hope you enjoy every last moment...

                            debbie in toronto said...

                            YOUR ARE KILLING ME....can't take much more....

                            the first picture and the last picture a good way.

                            bon weekend a tous.

                            April said...

                            Oh MJ! (wiping away a tear) We will miss your Parisian antics and observations. However, I for one am so looking forward to your new adventure! (…because adventure seems to follow you.) Feel free to be sad about leaving Paris, have a (few) drink (s) and maybe even let a French man in red pants cop a feel. (Your husband won't mind) Bid the Eiffel Tower adieu and say Merci to Paris. It has been grand and made you even radder than you were pre-Paris. (I'm going out on a limb here and assume you were rad before.)

                            This was a good post. :-)

                            Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

                            (From Facebook, where I saw you posted a link to this...)

                            Feelings *are* a real bitch, chica. :( But I am glad you are getting them out on the page. I loved the retrospective. I should be posting this comment there [ummm, here, on the post itself], but I am tired & need to go to bed, so I wanted to do it here [ummm, not here, but on Facebook], real quick, while I saw this. Much love & good juju to you as you process the ending of this chapter of your lives. I have a feeling that once you are back in Seattle, you will be able to write a similar post about things you didn't realize you missed, but now that you are back with them, you do realize how much you missed them, and it is ALL GOOD. In the meantime, I'm raising an imaginary glass in your honor, and saying, "Good times! Good times!" Paris, and I, will miss you, too. Well, maybe not Paris -- she is kind of a bitch sometimes. But I certainly will! You better keep blogging, dammit. (I should go copy this over on the post itself. I think I will do just that, lol.)

                            Addendum just for this post: And you know what? Now that I have had a chance to be the "pretend mommy" for several hours for your kiddos, I am not only going to miss you, but your little ones, too. Damn you, lol.

                            It has been a true pleasure. Really. From the heart. At least now I have another good excuse to visit Seattle one of these days again. I told Lucien perhaps one of these days it would happen, maybe when he is a teenager, although I hope it is sooner than that. :D


                            Lee I said...

                            Laughing and crying and planning to figure out whether I can turn this into a pdf to keep. I'll miss your Paris adventures. How will we transition to your Seattle blog?

                            StayingPositive said...

                            Got me crying here MJ. The city will miss you. And your stick figures. That picture of Coco is absolutely beautiful. My "baby" turned four yesterday, so pictures of babies are pretty much guaranteed to get the tears flowing. Or maybe it's the fact I'm going to have 8 four year olds (and their parents) in my apartment today when I don't even have pictures on the walls yet and I still have to ice a cake and cupcakes and mini cupcakes and the bathroom needs cleaning. Maybe THAT's why I'm crying. Perhaps a pair of green pants will help me. Seattle is one damn lucky town.

                            Chris said...

                            Amazingly touching. Thank you.

                            Mr. Staying Positive.

                            Duchesse said...

                            A sad sad yet beautiful aurevoir to Paris. So glad I got to live in Paris vicariously thanks to your blog... and so glad I also got to meet you in the flesh:) A life changing experience is ending for you, but an exciting new one is about to start to, so all is as it should be:)

                            There is no Paris blog quite like yours, Mindy, and I will miss it, and I know I'm not the only one:)

                            But who knows? Maybe you will live in Paris again someday (why not?):) I know I will:) Til we meet again, then:)

                            MJ said...

                            Hi all, sorry to be so brief but had to jump in here and say THIS IS NOT THE END. It looked like the end, but I think I still have one or two in me before it's kaput for good. We've still got another week and a half, so don't leave me yet...

                            Anne said...

                            Lovely post MJ. You selected some wonderful photos ( I think you have Xmss presents covered with those for the grandparents). And the verbal images are so well done too brava!

                            julia said...



                            It's Just Me! said...

                            I love this post.

                            Shannon said...

                            Wonderful post MJ, as always! I know you will enjoy every last second in Paris...though selfishly I can't wait to have you back in Seattle. Please let us know how we can help make your re-entry to the US easier (besides lots of wine, obviously). The seeds planted during your time in Europe will continue to grow and enrich all of your lives for years to come. So it's really not the end - merely a location change, which is usually required for all the experiences to truly sink-in and bear fruit. xoxo

                            Michelle said...

                            To new adventures!

                            Sulky kitten said...

                            Hi MJ. I've been reading your brilliant blog for ages and I'm SO FUCKING SAD that you're leaving! I'm moving to Paris next year and I so enjoyed hearing about your adventures. Will you be blogging in Seattle? I hope so because you write so well!

                            jo said...

                            Ah, MJ, this one takes the cake. I read them all, sometimes more than once, and I laugh (and sometimes cry) along with you and your posse. I wish you and your wonderful family a wonderful rentree back to Seattle. Please, please keep writing, you are simply too talented not to.

                            I have loved each and every post. I'm so happy there's a few more coming and like everyone else, can't wait to hear from you once you are back home.


                            After Fifty said...

                            Beautiful post MJ, and those b/w photos make it even more beautiful.
                            The whole thing is so nostalgic to me, even though I read your entire blog at once just recently, I look at those pictures and see all the changes in your kids through these years and it moves me.
                            You are leaving Paris but you have to keep writing because you have too much talent not to do so.
                            Thanks for this wonderful journey you've shared with's not over (I hope) and Paris can be a bitch but I'm sure she will miss you too because she knows better...

                            Anonymous said...

                            Very moving post. I really gonna miss your blog. Please keep on posting when you'll be back in Seattle. Gros bisous

                            Tuan said...

                            Real fine photo of Alex & you in hats this past July. You guys will have to keep wearing those hats when back to the States. Sorry that your journey is coming to a close - and the vicarious journey I've had following the blog.

                            Ok, Mom Mindy, enjoy the last days in City of Light - and of perfectly tailored men peeing in public. There's no question that it - and they - will miss you.

                            Gretchen said...

                            Mindy, I've read and thoroughly enjoyed every post since Blond Seattle Mom (or may be it was Peter) sent me the Mme Kickmyass post (then I went back and read to the beginning--so much for that weekend...). Writing now because I like to save everything for the last minute, and specifically because Blond Seattle Mom was telling me at dinner the other night that you guys might still be fretting about what to do with all the Baby Makin' Wine--a good friend of mine is a wine importer; she might be able to help.

                            I left Seattle for three years to live in southern Germany; I had the same lists when it came time to leave. I feel for you guys.

                            And, while I'm at it, this is a great time to tell you about another hilarious Seattle-mom-in-Paris blog: Mentioning not because I know the author (I do), but because it's awesome. Like how I waited to send this till you were way too busy to read anything? I feel bad about that.

                            Happy to put you in contact with Wine Importer Friend--just let me know.

                            Welcome almost back to Seattle...


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