How to start? Where to start? Last time I checked in summer temperatures were barely registering in Paris, I was dipping my toes in the city's public pools for the first time and mentally fortifying myself for an alpine trek. And now, the ground is scattered with the first of fall's leaves, my trip to the U.S. seems like a dream I woke up too early from, and the big hike? Well...that was a nature nightmare someone could have rescued me from two days after it started. But, vacation is vacation even if you imagine twisting your ankle just to end the endless ascending and descending of mountain passes. And there's always something to put your struggles in perspective. In my case it was the thousands of athletes who zipped past us on the trail getting in their last practice runs before they competed in the Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc
. No big deal or anything, but these runners were getting ready to tackle 168km with 9600m of altitude change. I can't even begin to describe how impossible this challenge seems after barely being able to hike the trail that would be their future race course. Insane? Inspiring? I'm not sure which, but you can't deny the amazing feats the human body is capable of when we push ourselves. Not that I kept that in mind as I pouted my way around the trail. I much preferred the first half of my summer holiday which included normal Lindsey activities liking walking on 0% incline surfaces, eating, a little running, and of course more eating!
And all the credit for the incredible first half of my holiday goes to my friends. These friends designed a nearly twenty mile long, minute by minute biking itinerary to visit Philadelphia's coffee shops and bakeries, gave tours of the Canadian capital better than any seasoned tour guide, mapped out visits to New York City's hipster hoods, danced the night away at the nuptials of the summer, kept me fit running along river and road, hosted me in their homes, and treated me like family. My visits were better than I could have imagined and left me wondering just how I survive over here without them, their support, and the happiness they bring into my life.
Despite wanting to keep up as much communication as possible with these amazing friends and my family in the U.S., including via this blog, I've been feeling equally hesitant about blogging and maintaining my social media accounts. I think as Paris feels more like home the need to talk about and comment on my experience with the big, wide world is slowly, even quickly sometimes, losing its appeal. And even though I've dabbled in writing reviews of the things we've done and seen here, this blog was never meant to be, nor do I want it to be, a "Paris" blog. That niche is well filled and within the first few months of blogging I quickly realized I couldn't reinvent the "Paris" blog in a fresh, meaningful way. Like many people experiencing something new and potentially challenging, the urge to get out the feelings that come with that difficult experience is overwhelming and you naturally seek out a community for sharing and commiserating. Blogging was that for me, especially when this life seemed more temporary than it's suddenly becoming. My attempts to make blogging more over the past few years were never as satisfactory as I hoped, and I learned that my poor follow through with blogging projects signaled a lack of passion--an interest that has almost completely fizzled as my presence in Paris takes on more shape and I've stopped looking at my time here through the lens of a passerby. Paris is home now. More beautiful than ever. More frustrating than ever. And I want to be in this life, loving and hating it all at the same time, but maybe not always sharing it.
This will be my first September not heading into a physical classroom. No longer a teacher, no longer a student, there are no school supplies to purchase, no first day clothes to lay out, and no lunch box to fill, but there's the fall restart that every September graciously affords. This year it means refreshing my planner and deciding just where blogging fits in. Maybe less, definitely not more, but we'll see what la rentrée holds...