After having lived in Paris for a long period, returning to the city almost feels like meeting a long lost love. The excitement slowly builds up inside as the plane smoothly descends through the sunset. There is that tiny bit of anxiety – the fear of the moment when those hidden memories stored in our secret drawers suddenly burst open and tear us apart.
Nothing has changed. The city’s good habits of delicious food and old beautiful mansions are just as present as the bad habits of filthy sidewalks and sneaky thiefs. I jump into a conversation only to realize that my French has become just as rusty as my old bike, wasting its existence in my cellar. To me, Paris has always shown itself as either a beauty or the beast. Comparable to the Boire de Bologne – a truly magnificent park during during the day but a sheer terrifying and extremely dangerous place to be at night. As much as I had strolled along the Champs Elysée hand in hand or gazed at the city from the top of the Arc de Triomphe, I had also been kicked in the shin on an escalator and robbed in a tiny supermarket. The moment I forgave Paris, the next disaster was already waiting around the corner. Nevertheless, the time I spent there was unforgettable. My flat had around 12 square meters and was right underneath the roof. Sometimes the heat became so unbearable that I slept with my front door wide open like a lunatic. Every Sunday I dragged tons of clothes to the laundry service, waiting for hours as I turned over the pages of a local newspaper or struggled with another conversation to kill the time. I was very fond of the area around Montmarte and spent rainy afternoons at the Musée D’Orsay or tasted the whole menu at Aéro – a wonderful restaurant near Place de Passy.
Yes. Returning to Paris feels right and as everything else in life, there comes a point where we forget the bad and just remember the good experiences. I realize that relationships are always twisted and as I watch the Eiffel tower sparkle through the window at night, I silently admit to myself, how much I’ve missed that old love.