Last August, my husband and I were truly fortunate enough to be able to escape to our favorite patch of paradise. We wordlessly walked on the beach with our fingers interlaced and looked at the marshmallow-studded clouds on the endless horizon. The soothing, yet crashing waves somehow filled the void and healed our wounds. My husband had become an adult orphan a month before we landed and he was in the process of digesting and expressing his grief.
I knew his shattered heart was in the trauma unit. In the evenings I would drink in the moonlight and float with my hair panned out in a pool under the inky sky. I was hugged by the coolness of the water and looked at the star-studded twilight skies as I waited for him, gifting him with the silence and the space he so needed. I was sure to be always within his reach if he wanted my shoulder to lean on or for me to give him fluttering kisses.
I knew we had to turn our life around 180 degrees in order to distract, renew, and add different elements to our normal, but predictable routine in New York. But at that moment, I was there for him in silent comfort. Whenever he would marinate in his sadness as he slowly fished out his desires—I would just float. In the middle of our summer vacation he suddenly became glued to his iPad. One afternoon, his eyes had that slight twinkle again. In a calm, soft voice, and it was the voice of his old self, he said, “Let’s live in Paris for a year!” What a perfect distraction that would be, I thought, getting lost in Paris together and miming our hearts out, all the while not being able to speak a word of French.
The truth is, my husband travels ceaselessly around the world for his work and yet we are nauseatingly attached at the hip—*Ahem*—according to our friends anyway. He has ridiculously traveled through five countries in five days just so he can come home to me as soon as possible. What would we do without Facetime? I have no idea. One thing was certain, his grueling trips choked me up. Paris was a brilliant solution; his travels were a train ride away. Financially, it even made sense. Instead of staying at expensive hotels while conducting business in Europe, he could rent a charming, quaint Parisian apartment. We’ve always talked about living in Paris, but it had been more than a decade since my heels had touched its romantic soil. Immediately, on our return to New York, I formulated a plan. I thank the Internet every day because it has enabled me to do my work anywhere and everywhere in the world.
I now confess this: I have been going back and forth from Paris to New York since last December. My friends have encouraged me to come out of the closet, they wanted to be able read about Paris through my blog posts and to see the pictures on my social media. But I wanted to savor the secret moments and cherish our time together. For the first six months, as I set up our apartment and experienced Paris for the first time as residents, not tourists, I discovered that my friends were right. I had something really exciting to share, but then I had to stop myself because I was supposed to be in New York. Have I become a faker and a liar? —That. I. Am. Certainly. Not. So. I. Am. Coming. Clean. Now.
Some of you may have noticed that sometimes I’d post on fb or reply to emails at odd hours. One of my posts even listed Paris as my location (I don’t even know how this happened—was it an odd setting on my iPad that gave me away?). No, I was not going through a newly born sleep disorder. The fact is, I’m an ocean away and six hours ahead.
My husband and I celebrated our 16th Anniversary this past June. He has supported me through thick and thin throughout our marriage, which included the 13 years I was busy with the Lounges. Now, it is my turn to support him in his business by providing him with a warm, inviting European home base. My husband now has a wife who welcomes him and his colleagues in our new apartment with fabulous food and genuine hospitality (we’ve thrown some scrumptious brunches so far).
In Paris everything is new, we don’t know anyone and we don’t rehash or relive any painful memories or circumstances. We both immigrated to America as children and now we are second-time immigrants. This time, it is way more fun and full of giddy freedom. I’ve learned many valuable lessons from this experience.
Discovering something new never gets old, and now, every time I return to New York, I appreciate this beautiful city afresh, much in the same ways I am able to see Paris. I didn’t used to look out onto the twinkling waters along the highway on my way to JFK. Perhaps I was a bit jaded, but I had never taken the time to notice its beauty until now.
My husband has also taught me how to be more flexible. After all, not everything is scheduled and synced in my iCal (OK, I panicked a little here, but I’m getting the hang of it!). Due to the way his business works, we might need to go to Venice at a moment’s notice—thank you internet, again, for the ability to work anywhere.
Lastly, I’ve discovered that French people are lovely, I’m not sure where they get such a bad rep, but the people I’ve met have been accommodating, friendly, and my husband and I fall in love with them in bits and pieces every day.
We now have a local hangout where we’re getting to know a few Parisians. We would live in the outdoor market every day if we could—never have I tasted such produce! Of course, if you know me and my husband, we j’adore the sport of eating and, trust me, my cooking has never been as good as it has been for the past six months…yes, regrettably we’ve plumped up— shall we call this our Paris freshman 15?