August 17, 2010

Comfortable Again

We interrupt the usual Abu Dhabi whine-fest to detail the joys of being back in Paris.

Paris is a funny place. When I left, in 2006, I definitely needed a break from it. I suspect that is true of all cities, and maybe all places. Sometimes you just need to deal with a completely different set of circumstances.

In the last year or so, especially after we spent five weeks here last summer, we have been trying to return permanently. Paris, it is clear to me, is where my home should be. I am more comfortable here than I am in California. I know this place, and it suits me.

All sorts of ideas are cropping up in my efforts to figure out how to get back here, more or less permanently. How long must I work in Abu Dhabi to afford living here without constant work? What sort of company can I start that will fund a meager lifestyle? Is there anyone who needs a freelancer with my particular talents?

We stayed in the 11th arrondissement when we arrived. More than ten years ago, when I first spent time in that neighborhood, it was awful. Sketchy and dangerous. Now, it's more vibrant, a little more gentrified, a lot more expensive. There are still some dubious characters hanging around -- it seems to be a favorite spot for 20-something junkies and their dogs -- but it's nothing like it was in 1998. Or even 2004.

Part of this neighborhood wandering we are doing is to try to suss out where we would like to live. Some if it is pure daydreaming, but the reality is if we come back here, we won't be able to afford the old neighborhood -- the 7th -- and that's a shame.

Each trip back here we find new opportunities and get a little closer to life goals we weren't aware we had. And it's been a fabulous adventure.