14 September 2013

Saying Good-bye to Paris

Well, we finally got the news we've been waiting on for almost a year now.  The date on which our Parisian life expires and a new life begins on the African continent. We have only a short time to pack up our lives, say good-bye to family and friends, and move our little family unit out on this great adventure.

Since learning that our departure is eminent, I'm starting to reflect on what I will miss in Paris and France.  This is where I've had some of life's greatest moments.  I fell in love with my true soul mate in one of the most romantic cities in the world.  We've kissed by the lit up Eiffel Tower, we fell for each other while weaving our way across the city of light during a midnight walk, we began our life as husband and wife, and we cried tears of joy as our son came into our lives.  All in this city.  Despite the occasional complaining about the city's aggressive, self-obsessed nature, Paris became my second home.  I came here as a young woman, and now I've blossomed into a professional, a wife, a mom and in a sense, a Parisian lady. 

I'll miss the presentation of this city.  Everything is so meticulously, artfully presented.  From pastries to shoes, cars to cheeses, Paris delves into all of your senses and awakens you.  It's harsh, it can be cold and gray, it can kick you in the gut and make you curse.  But at the end of the day, all you need sometimes is to walk by a lit up Eiffel Tower or a boat ride past the majestic Notre-Dame, and you remember why you chose to live here.  The magic never really dies.

Our Christmas will now be in summer.  Our wedding anniversary in winter.  We'll go from green tree-lined boulevards to vibrant purple jacaranda-lined streets.  The metro will be exchanged for a car, and the left side of the road will become our correct side.  We'll trade in the tricolore for the rainbow nation.  One major language will become eleven.  BBQs, cricket and rugby matches will become our weekend affairs.  Instead of escaping to Berlin, Rome or London, we'll now attempt Maputo, Windhoek, and Cape Town.

It won't be easy.  Our new home is full of challenges - crime, bureaucracy, power shortages, and heart wrenching poverty.  But knowing hubby and me, we'll make this new place our home.  We want to become engrained in this new community and savor every moment of this incredible opportunity.  And to be honest, I can't think of a better place to raise our son.  He will see a melting pot of people, he will learn to be thankful for what he has, and he will be surrounded by some of the most beautiful, natural places on earth.

So we shall start to say farewell for now to Paris, knowing that we will come back to our friends and family, and hopefully they will come and visit us on the other end of the world.  But every good story must come to an end - but at least another one is just beginning.

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