It has been a while... but I am back WITH a tan I might add. This will undoubtedly help me through the next couple of weeks (or months) of Parisian grey drizzle. But let's not get ahead of ourselves!
My return to reality was made so much sweeter by an "old" friend passing through town. I must admit Paris is great for catching up with friends from abroad, they all seem to come back to the city of lights sooner or later. No one ever happened to pop by when we lived in Lugano?!
My intellectual Flaneuse friend was waiting for me at her usual corner, this time without her faithful little follower, her dog. She turned just as I was walking up to her and I could see her face light up just as mine probably did in that moment. Nothing beats a big bear hug, restoring the connection of your friendship and the feeling as if you have just left each other a few days ago.
I don't know how we do it. This feeling of immediate connection is very difficult to explain. I believe it is a gift that Expats either are born with or learn as they travel through the world. Having to make new friends, people you can count on in foreign environments, families that you share unforgettable experiences with - big and small - human beings who open themselves up faster than they might like to in a local situation, but whom - when they leave - take a piece of you with them.
I have remained in Paris but I feel as if I'm visiting a bit of Stockholm, tasting a bite of Istanbul, exploring a slice of Kuala Lumpur, freezing a little in Michigan, remembering places in Milano and discovering sites in Rome through keeping up with my Flaneuse friends.
And once in while one of them comes back to Paris to visit and it feels just like home again...