Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Goodbye sun, hello snow.

We left Austin like a cheating man leaves his mistress in the night: reluctantly. Our hearts and stomachs were filled to the brim from all the things, people and places we had enjoyed. We ached to go back the moment we crossed into the next town, recalling all of the places we didn't have time to visit, all of the people we didn't spend enough time with, all of the things we just didn't do. I wiped a tear from my face before Gui could see it rolling over my cheeks, but I think he still sensed my sadness. On the bright side, we had one more day to spend with my mom, step-dad and brother in Dallas before heading back to France, so we were looking forward to that time to sort ourselves out before the long and emotional flight.

I spent the last day going through boxes of old clothes, pictures and junk - dusting off memories I'd completely forgotten about, sharing some of the fondest ones with Gui. How little I knew about how my life would turn out those short years ago! Most everything was sorted into a donation pile or the trash bin, as I decided once and for all to rid myself of the old tangibles I still held onto for emotional back-up. It's a strange thing being happily married and having more than a fair share of friends to keep my emotions in check. How lucky I've been to have such unwavering friendships.

Back in Austin, we fell back into the same, solid routines that had at one time seemed so trite, so banal. I haven't lived in that city for well over a year now, but nothing about it felt altered; not the shiny, new roads and overpasses, not the fancy new bar, not the tall and foreign buildings going up. It was an old pair of jeans, and for Gui, I perceived it was the same. He remarked more than once how much he missed the place; his eyes would glow when we'd ride down familiar roads, grab a beer on the terrace of our old neighborhood bar, or stop in at our favorite eateries for a small slice of heaven. He was home, too.

We tried to get as much time in with friends as we could, but 4 1/2 days is just not enough to see everyone and do everything. We were happy to have at least been able to see all the babies that we'd yet to meet, and spend some time with our adorable Oak Tree. My dad took us out to Lockhart for the best barbecue in Texas (though, I might venture to say it's the best in the world), and we spent a few hours hanging around his place, looking through photo albums, talking about cars and football. Our friends more than spoiled us with two steak-nights chez eux, but we only managed to squeeze in enough time to get through about 40% of our "list of places to eat while in Texas." 'Guess we'll have to go back soon for more.

Our vacation came to an end so quickly, and I'm finding that even the sun in Paris is slightly dimmer than it was in Texas. How far away everything seems! How cold and gray! How fast and sad! We flew into a snow-laden city, iced over, grey and dim. I'm still in a bit of a haze after the long, delayed flight - going through the motions of a well-known routine, but feeling hollow and metallic. Even the beaming Eiffel Tower floating in a sea of snow didn't warrant a double-take.

I feel a little bitterness towards Paris right now, but it's not Paris' fault. Austin is everything Paris could never be (would never want to be, I'd pressume), but it's everything that I love and miss while living here. It's home, it's food, it's warmth and love. It's sunny days spent at Woodrow's, drinking a hefeweizen in the dead middle of winter while everyone else goes through the winter blues. It's having a leisurely Sunday brunch with friends on a whim while everyone else struggles to find a decent restaurant in their town. It's scoring complimentary champagne from the bar owner because you come to your favorite bar each Saturday night, while everyone else is paying 15€ for a crappy cocktail.

But, Paris is where we live for now. Even though I'll continue to daydream about our recent vacation, it's time to get back to life - back to reality (yes, that's some Soul II Soul '80s backflashing for you).


Gui at Smitty's Market, Lockhart, Texas.

The pit at Smitty's.

Yum, barbecue on butcher paper, orange soda and Texas beer (NOT Bud Light, btw).

STEAKS.

Bartending.

On our way out for NYE (I love these faces).

NYE at Péché, Austin, Texas. (Love these face, too!)

Péché.

Our last day in Austin - hanging out at Woodrow's on Sixth (it was around 80 degrees).

Friends at Woodrow's.

Our last meal (mom's tostadas, spanish rice and "Josie's Enchiladas").

Flying over Paris yesterday afternoon.

Getting ready to land at CDG.

A sleepy Gui on the train from the airport.

12 comments:

Evolutionary Revolutionary said...

OMG I feel your homesickness. Just seeing the T-shirts, the familiar faces and places... Come out on Friday and I promise to try to warm you up from your longing. Nothing replaces Austin, but your friends will try...

Opalintheskywithdiamonds said...

Girlie Happy New Year to you both!! Bertrand and I are still in Florida...we head back to Paris on Saturday....reluctant yet knowing we are going back to cold cold Paris....I'm feeling a little blah at the moment...read your recent entry and had so many of the same emotions....see you at Amie's for knitting sometime next week?? Opal

Jennie said...

I wish I could have gone home for Christmas. I don't think I'll be able go home next year either, but I will be there for a few days this summer. I am really homesick though. I'm tired of France and want to return to North America! :(

Love the Beer makes u cute sign. LOL

Ksam said...

well my dear, i for one am happy you guys are back in paris. we missed your bright, smiling faces!!

Crystal said...

beautifully written post sarah! Welcome back to Paris (I won't say ''welcome home'' because I don't think you consider Paris ''home'' yet). I think I'll be going through all the same emotions tomorrow when I leave my parents' house and take the long, dreary flight back to Paris.

Let's meet up soon for warm coffee in freezing France!

Emily Marie said...

I know exactly how you feel! I spent my last day in the US looking up flights for a return trip this summer and spent last night (in Paris) sobbing to my mom on the phone. I'm counting down the days until Spring...

Susan in Lille said...

I really enjoyed your post. I didn't get to go home (Houston) for Christmas but am booked to go back in February for a week just to visit. Seeing Smity's makes me want Coopers!! Do you know that place? I think it's in Llano. Mmmm...I have cousins in Kerrville and we always make a trip over to eat there. Thanks for bringing a slice of Texas back to France for us all!! I hope it warms up here soon...

misplaced texan said...

ER: I'll be there, sugar! See you tonight! :)

Opal: Definitely see you at Aimee's! I missed this week, so will be there for sure next week! It'll be great to talk about our Christmas adventures across the pond!

Jennie: I feel your pain, and I hope you get to make it home for more than a couple of days in the summer. I will admit that as amazing as the break from France was, it didn't make it any easier to leave. :( Hang in there, though! And, yeah the sign actually says "beer makes you cuter", which is totally true...boys who drink beer are cuter. ;)

Ksam: Thank you, dearie! We missed your face, too! See you ce soir!

Crystal: Thanks, darlin'! Coffee sounds splendid! You know I'm always up for a Starbucks fix! You name the date and time and I'll be there!

Emily: I'm counting down with you! And looking for flights, too. I hope you're feeling better after being back for a few days. Let's get together soon!

Susan: Thank you! I don't know Cooper's, but I used to camp out in Kerrville in the Fall with my aunt and uncle...it's just down the road from Austin. Someone else was telling me recently about a bbq place in Llano, and now I'm wondering if it was the same place. Hmmm. I'm praying for warmer weather here soon, too...I can't take much more of this snow!

Leesa said...

Welcome back and Happy New Year a little late... OOPS! I hadn't read your blog in a while and I didn't even realize you went to Texas over the holidays... I feel lame!! I LOVE your pics of food from there.. I soooo miss Mexican food--- I could live on refried beans for months!!! Take care and hope to see you guys sometime a rhum rhums.... Take care, Leesa

megan said...

I loved reading about your visit to Texas! I was lucky enough to spend a month there this summer,and I miss my hometown so much!!! At least we have sun down here in Aix!!

misplaced texan said...

Thanks, Megan! It's hard not to miss a place a great as Austin. You're definitely lucky to be on the southern coast! I hope to take a trip down there sometime soon and stock-up on the sunshine and warmth.

Penny said...

Howdy! Your blog is so cool in that I'm a Texas girl that nearly moved to France a decade ago! I didn't know that Woodrow's in now in Austin!
http://txpenelope.blogspot.com