Chez Soi

Adventures of a Year Abroad

Falling in Love

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I used to come to Paris for just a few days when I needed a mental refresh. I used to wander the seats, sit at cafes, fill journals with fresh ideas, and walk and walk as I heard my own thoughts more clearly. I fell in love with it, and who I was when I was here. It wasn’t just the food or the wines or the walking (all things worth loving) but that here I felt freer. Unlike other big cities, I was not afraid here, and it’s as if I could leave fear behind. Unlike other places, I did not feel alone here even when I was by myself.

It’s changed since moving here as a Family.

At first it was worrying about how Kiddo was transitioning. Then it was dealing with the new obligations and demands of setting up our place. And of course we brought with us existing worries and concerns about deadlines and commitments. But I remember what it was to fall in love here. With this place, with myself. And I hope we can find a way back — not just me, but us — with the act of being present and relishing every day for what it is — lovely.

An essay written as “Book of Home” here captured that early sense of being in love:

Here are some of the things that make falling in love wonderful:

the wild rush of feelings

the sense of possibility and potential, fettered only by a distant reality on a horizon

the glorious, unexplored territory, not yet homesteaded by domestic routine and minor irritations

It’s easy to lose the sense that love is a verb, as much as it is a noun. It is a choice. To say you will love “our place” is to say you will be present to it, to witness it, to explore it. To CHOOSE to be in love.

We appear to be coming around the corner on language and logistics. And have decided to stay for another year. Maybe soon, we can remember what it is to fall in love.


Author: nilofermerchant

Strategist. Passionate about igniting cultures of innovation. HBR Writer, O'Reilly Author (published January 2010) of The New How, and former CEO of Rubicon.

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