How I Knew that Paris was Home

January 9, 2014
How I Knew that Paris was Home, Travel


foreign-correspondent badge final “I really want to go home, but I feel ungrateful saying that because we’re living in Paris,” I confided in a friend one afternoon. We had been there for three months and had one month left before our semester was over.

“Yeah, but after a while Paris is just a city,” she responded.

It’s true. Once lived in, the city of light and love ceases to be anything but another city. Oddly enough, though, the fact that it doesn’t feel magical anymore is what makes it a second home.

It’s very hard to describe, but the disenchantment is what makes it real. After I could see past the Eiffel Tower, the architecture and the stores, I stopped being a tourist. I began seeing familiar faces on my metro commutes. I found a favorite bakery for my daily pain au chocolat. People started asking me for directions and stopped speaking to me in English. I had created routines and gotten comfortable with them, but I was no longer enthralled by a single thing.

How I Knew that Paris was Home

Now that I’m back in my hometown, I understand that that’s what makes home home. Vacation spots are exotic, unknown and unfamiliar. Home is familiar, usual and ordinary. I’m back in my hometown now, and everything is more or less the same as before. The first thing I did when I arrived was invite friends over for chili. It’s something I’ve been doing for years now, and it’s always a highlight of the holidays. It’s familiar and usual and ordinary, much like my metro rides in Paris.

It was hard to see while I was there, but now that I’m back in the States I can appreciate all of the everyday, mundane activities that I wanted to get away from.  Paris is one of my homes now, and just as I felt that one afternoon, I’m sure that I’ll really want to go home again soon.

How I Knew that Paris was Home, Travel
How I Knew that Paris was Home

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About Angelyn Irvin

Angelyn Irivin is a student at the University of Pennsylvania who studied abroad in Paris in 2013.

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