I suspect that the fullness of the experience of living in Paris for 7 months will continue to reveal itself to me over time...right now I'm feeling a little sad to be leaving this adventure, but also excited to be home in the arms of loved ones, and back in my "real" life.
Stan just left, and after a couple of weeks of having a close partner sharing this adventure and providing a reflection on the day to day experiences, I miss him more than ever. We went to Lisbon for 5 days, and had great weather, some beach, bacalhau in at least 7 different ways (they say the Portuguese have 365 different ways of cooking codfish), and as you can see in the pix I sent in the web album, fabulous architecture from the many cultural influences of the region.
Bastille day (really Bastille day lasts about three days) meant music all over Paris, centering around the town halls of the different arrondissements as well as Place Bastille, where you could dance and drink with the firemen. The fireworks were held at Trocadero, and it seemed all of Paris was there! The whole thing was well organized, and for those of us who have Carnaval experience, very civilized...getting on and off the Metro and walking through the crowds did not feel at all scary or overwhelming.
The things I will miss...are those things that are different about living somewhere versus short stays. Friends who I hope will make it to our neck of the woods in the future, who offered warmth, meals, cultural brokering, practice in French while correcting me, who shared their friends with me as well, expanding my social circle...yoga classes with Gérard, who brings a calmness and sense of play to a vigourous flow practice, the changing seasons, the introspection that being mostly alone has given me. Changing seasons was also a novelty, and sharing Paris with family and friends during this sejour also added layers to myperception.
It has been eye opening as well to see politics from the perspective of Europe, not just US politics but the African continent and Asia as well. Perhaps having been empires in the past, now fallen, allows some of the EU to contemplate the world a little less beligerently.
The nomination of Obama and the campaign has been all the more dramatic viewed from here, and the problems of the world; racism, economic innequality, the status of women, cultural and religious conflict, ecological peril sadly universal as well. It has definitely reinforced the sense that we are really in this mess together as humans, and we need to figure a way out together.