The eve of our departure is here and comparing the city we are leaving to the one we are going to is, of course, inevitable.
They are so similar and yet so different.
The similarities are, among other things, size and noise, traits common to big places the world over.
The differences could fill a book. Culture is the biggest one. And adapting anew to a once very familiar culture, will be...interesting. It is extraordinary how easily you slip into the habits and unwritten social rules of a country or city and slowly forget the ones you have left behind.
I have lived in France as long as I have lived in the US. Yet, it's so surprising how new some minute details of its daily life suddenly seem. Those little things that went unnoticed when we were going back and forth, visiting like "French tourists" in a way.
A million little things will make the transition easier of course: the lifestyle, the beauty of Paris, of France, the architecture, the history, the food- yes, the food-, the close friends, the missed family members. A million things.
Some adapting to la vie à la française will be necessary none the less. I am ready. It will be fun.
That is the exciting thing about moving. The ups, the downs, the good, the bad. I have moved numerous times in my life. I have always loved it.
Maybe it won't be much different this time around- I am going home after all.
The packing/sorting/discarding is finally over. This was an archeological dig we were dealing with...but it's done.
Tomorrow is the last leg of our "going home". Our new Paris home.
I suppose there is no such thing as a mirror-smooth move. 3 days before the movers are scheduled to come charging in with their million boxes, tons of popcorn, and miles of bubble wrap etc., we are dealing with a plumbing emergency. A good chunk of the kitchen ceiling decided to come crashing down onto the kitchen table this morning, soaked by a what seems like a bathtub, shower, AND sink-full of water...from the master bath above. An "angel" of a plumber- no other qualifier suits the occasion- came rushing to the rescue- he must know by now how GRATEFUL we are that he did so!- and he got things fixed in short order. That is, he got the plumbing fixed. Now, Phase II: the ceiling needs to dry thoroughly, then- and only then- can it be repaired and painted and then, MAYBE, we might be able to go on with the lovely silky-smooth business of moving... Aghhh!!!!!
If on Monday, when the "Army" come to pick up, theytake everything in the "give-away pile" that has now migrated from the other rooms in the house into our garage (and by pile I mean "MOUNTAIN"), we will be VERY relieved...and that's a HUGE understatement.
The garage is a catastrophe BUT the rest of the house is starting to look organized enough for movers to do their job.
Then all that will be left to dispose of is garbage on Tuesday and Friday, recycling on Wednesday and hopefully only a few "odds and ends" on departure day.
There is a bit of cleaning yet to get finished- I now realize how many closets and cupboards we have- some paint touch ups and a few repairs have been done, the refrigerator is starting to look somewhat empty, and the gardener is coming for the last time on Friday.
I cannot wait till we have thrown out the last bit of garbage, recycled the last magazine, given away the last appliance, returned the last library book, disconnected the last phone line, paid the last helper and packed the last suitcase.
Come to think of it, there's a challenge: how do you pack for the six weeks your belongings will be "traveling", the three countries you will visit, the various circumstances when you will be "stuff-less"? it's called improvisation I believe...
We are going to spend our last night in the US in the house, we'll sleep in the last bed left standing, - we'll have it put out on the curb the next morning before closing the suitcases and leaving for the airport- we'll have breakfast in the last bowls and teacups ready for the garbage can, on the last kitchen table ready for the dump, and we'll leave the last towels and sponges for the housekeeper who will kindly finish the last clean up. After that she'll just cross the street to give the new owners the keys.
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama has designed a line of accessories for Louis Vuitton. She has not strayed far from her signature polka dot motif producing a very "marsupial" collection, which brings fun and happiness to the iconic bags and other LV accessories.
The 60's artist, a member of the Warhol "clan", who left the US to go back to a psychiatric hospital in Japan in the 70's, is now back in full force at the top of the art world and her very pop-art style is very much in demand.
Yayoi Kusama now dresses so as to blend in with her art.
Which brings me to this part of the line:
You are NOT going to believe this!
(I am in a "confessing-hideous-secrets-" kind of mood today...)
I once went to a costume party, (I was 15, and this was somewhere in Africa. That's my only possible excuse) dressed as Marsupilami, a cartoon marsupial popular in France at the time!
Needless to say, I hated every minute of the long dreary evening! I could not sit down because of the metal wire tail my father had fashioned for me and, of course, I was not exactly happy, I was so pathetically ugly!!! (BTW, my face was also made up to look like the darn animal, spots and all...)
My costume looked EXACTLY like the pieces above, and even if I was a huge Vuitton fan, which I most definitely am not, I would certainly not be buying THAT anytime soon...I know you understand.
How did I even begin to think that was going to be fun? Was I THAT ridiculously clueless? Was I even sane? Will I ever recover?
COSTUME PARTY RULE # ONE:
NEVER, EVER, go to a costume party after your 15th birthday in anything but a gorgeous and most definitely SEXY costume. TRUST ME ON THIS ONE!
There is no RULE # TWO...
Oh, and my sisters? they looked adorably, glamorously flirtatious as Josephine de Beauharnais and Scarlet O'Hara...
P.S.: my twin sister, who has been sworn to unconditional secrecy for years, is laughing to tears with this post. I hear her, all the way from Montreal!
And I am laughing also.
Now I feel all reenergized and I can go back to my packing, sorting, etc., etc.,.
In two weeks we leave our house in Larchmont, NY for ever. Two weeks later I will be back here for the New York International Gift Fair where my business partner Abbie and I will launch abanjá, our brand new line of home textiles.
There will be lots of color and many neutrals. There will be linen, cotton, silver threads and exotic fibers like sun bleached jute and water reed. There will be lots of pompoms and tassels and fringes galore.
All of it, the fruit of a tight collaboration between a few talented artisans in far away continents and two western gals keen on adding a contemporary twist to traditional handcrafted treasures.
All right, here is the thing: "they" say NEVER bring IN to your house one single thing unless you are ready to take one OUT. Why? Because the day you need to empty your house to move away, you end up with about a ton and 1/2 of stuff you have not seen in years and need to discard all at once, that's why! Did we really need two- not just one- two ready-lit outdoor "Xmas trees" we have since totally forgotten in the garage? Did we really need to keep all those half empty paint cans just-in-case? You know you are going to have the room repainted entirely sooner or later; touching up is never an option: a) the paint color is never the same once it has been up on a wall for a year b) by the time you MIGHT need to do that, you are sick of the color anyway. Am I right? Sure, I am. So my time lately has been spent almost exclusively making the three proverbial piles: the sell pile, the give away/recycle pile and, and the HUGE throw out pile. Sell pile: who do you sell all that "good" stuff to, anyway? you know, the stuff that won't work in France, the stuff that will definitely not fit in a Paris apartment, the stuff that can't come with us as we will not have a garden...THAT stuff. Recycle pile: what the recycle people don't pick up you have to take to the dump yourself: and now, we are back to the PAINT CANS!!! we are currently "drying" out a million paint cans and though paint cans dry almost immediately if you forget them overnight, they NEVER dry when you put them out in the sun in the New York heat... why???? that's a good question. Give away pile: that's a little easier though even that can be tricky: noone wants a computer nor a scanner, or even a printer if it is more than a year old anymore.
There will be some follow up progress reports. IF I have time between making piles, drying paint cans and figuring out where all those single, unmatched, still packaged expensive door knobs came from.