If you’ve built a full and rich life someplace before coming to Paris, visiting that place is much less a “vacation” than a carefully and meticulously planned series of meetings, appointments, coffees, and meals. Throw in the occasional doctor/dentist visit and you’re pretty full up (for those wondering, I still visit my US doctor/dentist. I have almost a decade of experience with them that I treasure and I maintain my health well enough – for now – to not have to find their equivalents in France. As I move into the French health care system this summer I will finally at least meet these specialists).
The Good News
- It is great to catch up with friends and family. They are anxious to hear about your life, and are truly happy to see you, knowing how impacted your schedule is.
- You get a better sense of what’s going on there. Before I left I authored a piece on Trump, then went on to follow it up with the research of asking Americans who actually lived in America about some of my conclusions.
The Bad News
- There’s a reason you’re in Paris. You love it here and you don’t really like to be away for any period of time – much less the 3-4 weeks you are gone to make an intercontinental flight worthwhile. I don’t like being away from Paris, but…
- It’s a necessary evil. Having the first world luxury of emigrating to a country of your choice far away from these smiling faces means that you simply have to accept the division in your life that you have created by moving to a foreign land.
- I’ll return to the US later this year for my youngest sister’s wedding. I won’t bring books to read, as I won’t have time. I’ll bring my smile and my energy to see as many people as I can during my visit. Those conversations will linger with me long after I return to my new home.
Where is “home” anyway for people like me? Start by watching Pico Ayer’s TED talk on the issue.