I dream of Paris

Paris at night - I dream of Paris!
Source: Inhabitat

I have always been a dreamer, and today all I can dream of is Paris.

My only visit was with Neil the weekend before we moved into our first house. Or rather I helped Neil move into his first house and never left.

A minor detail.

We stayed at a tiny hotel in a windy back street of the 15th arr. district. It was a really hot summer and I remember being really excited that we could see just see the Eiffel Tower from our bedroom window if we stood on tip toes, albeit rather obscured by the heat haze.

We of course journeyed to the summit of the ‘Tour de Eiffel’, took a boat trip along the Seine, saw a portrait of a lady smiling at the Louvre, took in the sights of the Champs Elysee, raised eyebrows at the Moulin Rouge, got lost in the Trocadero and had some very cheesy caricatures drawn of us that thankfully never made it near a frame.

My most favourite memory of Paris however was the night of the ‘Festival de la Bastille’. We had caught the Metro to visit the Sacre Coeur which although was closed, gave us the most spectacular view of the city at dusk. We ate at a street cafe, and I don’t even remember how many carafes of the house wine were brought to the table, but enough that I later spent my last few Euro on a tacky keyring that played the French National Anthem.

When the stars appeared we followed mysterious crowds that swept us towards the centre of Paris. We then sat with thousands of people in the middle of a street, tucking into what can only be described as a ‘custard slab’ sourced from a divinely fragrant patisserie which was as oozey as it was delicious. We were to this point however still quite unaware of occasion we appeared to be participating in, and so were somewhat spellbound when all of a sudden it emerged we were here to view the spectacle of a glittering Eiffel Tower forming the centrepiece of a booming firework display set to rousing tunes, so loud, you felt every beat. It was wonderful evening, just perfect, and I loved every minute.

I long to go to Paris again and visit the places we weren’t able to fit in to our first trip – Notre Dame, Versailles, the flea markets, the Artisan’s Quarter, the interior of the Sacre Coeur! But also a little bit of me is afraid that going again might spoil the romance of my first encounter.

So for now I will merely dream of Paris. I might get another custard slab though.

So this is what happened…

In approximately a week’s time my beloved and I were set to pack our lives into suitcases, give our house keys to some select strangers in return for rent money, and move to the United States of America. Boston, in fact.

One however can not always foresee the visa application process not following its intended course.

Still our fact finding mission in November last year threw light on a number of interesting points of note I thought I’d share with you – just in case you yourself are about to embark on a similar endeavour.

1) At the car hire place, when offered a free upgrade to a mini van, take it. Your choice of car (although completely adorable and, if you think about it, really quite funny…) means your husband will look like this. All week.

Neil standing next to 'The Beast'

2) When an estate agent tries to sell you a ‘ranch house’, and your mind conjures up a whole host of romantic and whimsical images of skipping through pastures green whilst the cattle graze on yonder hillock – they really mean a wooden bungalow. On a main road. Next to a gas station.

Ranch House in Newton, MA.

3) Ovens are HUGE. Even the little ones. This one was used exclusively at Thanksgiving and Christmas and for the remaining period as useful storage for an overflow of crockery.  This is not unusual. (Point of note – this is the kitchen we removed from our old house in England and we have seen many times since. Did everyone own this kitchen at one time or another?).

The omnipresent kitchen

4) A ‘full disclosure’ is normally provided with every house viewing (or ‘showing’ as our friends across the pond would have it).

Expect information to be forthcoming

5) A garden or ‘yard’ is normally only considered the domain of people with pets or children. Otherwise a deck for the purpose of ‘grilling with friends’ is thought sufficient.

An example of a deck. Perhaps not the best.

6) If you’re posh you frequent Starbucks. If you wear a Burberry hat at a jaunty angle and drive a modified motor vehicle, Dunkin’ Donuts is considered your crib.

The sun shines on the Woburn ('Wooburn') Dunkin'

7)  If One is employed in public services, work must be carried out during daylight hours.

Please note: an actor was used for purposes of re-enactment. This photograph does not represent a true occurrence.

8 ) Unfortunately my dry wit was ill received as it transpires no one has ever heard of Duncan Goodhew.

Local Reading store

9) You can travel half way across the globe, but still end up right back where you started.

En route

10) See.

Welcome to Reading, MA.
Reading, MA. high street.

11) They even have the same newspaper…

The Reading Chronicle

12) Our mini adventure ended with a trip to the beach at sunset where we watched as the plane that would take us home landed, ate chips, and froze ourselves to death. Just like England really.

Plane coming in to land at Logan airport
True Brit enjoying some bracing sea air.

Only a little bit different.

Making sense of it all

Sometimes it is just a bit too difficult to explain. Sometimes you just need to draw a line underneath it and put it down to experience.

Here I am, and a belated Happy New Year.

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