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  • The emigrant's destiny: The foreign country has not become home, but home has become foreign.

    --Alfred Polger (d. 1955), Der Emigrant und die Heimat

    Emigranten-Schicksal: Die Fremde ist nicht Heimat geworden. Aber die Heimat Fremde.

    Between 2007 and 2009, I lived in Los Angeles after living in Paris for many years. My Paris blog (before and after my Los Angeles sojourn) is Rue Rude.

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    « Mother's Day, U.S. | Main | The dancing waiters »

    14 May 2007


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    Sedulia, I traveled a lot and lived abroad during the first half of my adult life. It gave me a perspective I never would have gained had I stayed completely inured in the US. When I came back home, it was with relief, but also with a lot of sadness for the loss of the shear wonder I felt in learning more of new cultures, societies, and customs; for the thrill of making friends in other countries. I did not live abroad again, but I would do so if given the opportunity.

    Is it enough? Only you can say for yourself. For me, it is good to be back home with family and old friends. Like putting on an old comfy shoe, I enjoy the coziness.

    I can't tell you how this post at once touches home and scares me. I've lived in Paris for 5 years and plan on staying here, but, at the same time, I do doubt the wisdom behind this desire to stay abroad. I don't miss the States, but I do wonder how much personal and professional potential I am giving up for the love of another "patrie."

    Thank you for expressing questions I ask myself daily.

    Substitute Paris for L.A., the States for France, and another patrie for S.O., and So's remarks could be mine. I've been an expat for longer than I've lived in France, but So's comments, and Sedulia's, hit right home. Still, I love it here, and wouldn't dream of returning to Paris permanently anytime soon.

    Travel is always worth it. Friends will always be there but not the youth needed to enjoy adventure in different countries.

    Wait a little bit before you get comfortable with those feelings. They will inevitably change. Evolve. Mutate. That's the beauty of having lived in more than one country. The experience reveals to us amazingly complex feelings we didn't know existed.

    Having lived abroad gave me a new perspective and a new appreciation of things I took for granted in this country. I don't want to leave it and be an Expat American again, but I am thankful I had the experience of living abroad.

    Well, I'm near the transition again...in France now but moving back to the USA in exactly one month. I know how difficult it is to go to my native country because I've done it before. After a year back in the USA, I felt like I had come home when I finally got returned yet again to France.

    But for each person it is different. And we change from moment to moment. Trying to get the most from and give the most to where you are at any given time. It seems like all we can do. Regret doesn't get us anywhere. And it won't be the last time I say that, I'm sure....

    Meilleurs voeux!!

    Reading these lines tells me one thing: nous, les expats, are really a unique breed. It happens that most of us here are French and American ... but the same questions remain true for all people going or coming back. Great post, Madame.

    I just found your blog - this was the first post I've read - and I can't say enough how it touched me. I only lived in Paris for 2 years, but they were pivotal years - and coming back to "start over" was something I felt unprepared for. I can't imagine 20...you will feel it in your bones every day, I'm sure. But, that's not a bad thing!

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    Today's quotation

    • In Paris, the purest virtue is the object of the filthiest slander.

        –Honoré Balzac (1799-1850), in Scènes de la vie privée

      À Paris, la vertu la plus pure est l'objet des plus sales calomnies.

    Le petit aperçu d'Ailleurs

    • Annual Geminids meteor shower (shooting stars!) coming this weekend, if it's not too cloudy out at night.