How do you leave a place you’ve fallen in love with – even more so, a place you’ve accepted as home? Even further, how do you walk away from the most beautiful city in the world, a dazzling array of buildings, people, monuments – each prettier than the last? How can you keep from turning back when memories of joy and discovery have added another layer of beauty to the surface of such a magical playground of art, food, character, passion, exploration and intellect?
The city in question is Paris, and the answer to the question is no simple one. The only easy way, which in itself is not easy is to throw out the bad. Its egotistical, stubborn and even arrogant, but to get over the heartbreak and loss, just ignore the pains of saying goodbye and think about the good times that were had there, and the good times to come in the next place.
My summer travels were those of meaningful geography. If you were to trace the trajectory from Paris to Nice to Corsica to Rome to Greece to Albania to Bosnia and Herzegovina to Croatia to Slovenia to Switzerland to Dijon and back to Paris you wind up with a loop. Beginning where it ended months ago.
The last week in Paris was to divine. To return so soon to a magical place was a treat. To share it with my family was even more special. returned to my favorite cafes, museums, and parks; and to where I lived and worked. I saw my friends and colleagues once more. I had come full circle. What was new and scary was familiar and comfortable. Beloved. Strangers were friends and foreign was home. To truly fall in love with Paris I had to come back, see it again, live it again, taste it again. Returning one last time before coming home to California reinforced just how important Paris was to me. Physically and emotionally, I went full circle in Paris, completed the loop, and took off for the next adventure, that of coming home.