I have now been back from Europe and installed in my house for close to three days.
I’m slightly afraid to go outside. Half because I know I’m going to compare everything here to Paris and London, and here will lose out in every instance. But also because as I surround myself with my city the impressions of those other places will begin to fade.
Prior to (and during) the honeymoon I was eager to grump that I don’t understand the worth of spending money to go places. Even afterward that’s still true – when I tallied our total expenses last night I almost cried, even though they came out almost exactly as what I estimated.
That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the places. I loved Paris, and I liked what little of London I saw well enough. I just don’t enjoy vacations – being idle. On our slowest days in Paris I hated it, but when we turned Paris into work – multiple museums and neighborhoods to visit in one day – then I enjoyed being in Paris. When we turned London into a scavenger hunt – snapping photos and visiting shops – then I enjoyed London.
I would love to live in Paris – to be able to enjoy Paris while I am at rest. Paris was the one place I’ve ever been where I felt totally in-place, even as I stumbled through their language in every interaction.
Philadelphia can’t be Paris, no matter how many French books and newspapers I stowed in my garment bag. But I can bring that swim or sink vacation mentality back to Philadelphia – move or drown, create or die.
If I move fast enough, the scenery stops being significant.