Homesickness and Coping


Flowers at Père Lachaise Cemetery, 26 October 2009

Well, I am almost finished with one week  out of four of trying to write at least 50k words on this blog. I stand this morning at 18, 394 words, which I arrived at by adding up the word counts that WordPress generously provides at the end of each post. I will likely have to take the weekend off: PJ writes and surfs the ‘net a lot on weekends, his kids are often here on weekends — they will be here just on Sunday this weekend, though — and then on Sunday we are also having lunch at the home of one of PJ’s co-workers. So I am guessing this post is it until Monday. I could use a couple of days off. Yesterday’s activities and post kind of took a lot out of me, too.

I have a lot on my brain today, starting with a bout of homesickness. The reasons why are going to have to be in the realm of where I go a little into the fiction of omission, though.

Today’s post is a little anemic. You’ll read why in a moment. There are four segments in today’s post:

  • Homesick
  • Some Places on the Web I Like to Visit (a review of a few Paris-based blogs)
  • What I Want Now (photo)
  • I Need to Go Grocery Shopping


There is a part of me that wishes she could just get on with a movie post or a post about her lack of French language skills, and yes, that is hopefully where this blog will go eventually, but without an acknowledgement of where my head is at this morning would be not only a fiction, but living a kind of lie as well (I feel), and while I might pick and choose what to write and what to not write for this blog, I still consider myself a person of integrity. I cannot not say something about what is dominating my thoughts this morning. I don’t think I could get past it if I do not write about it.

First off, I have a 13-year-old son together with my first ex- husband (UnEx). I had a warm conversation with my son number one on the phone last night (we are close in spirit if not in kilometers) and then this morning at a social networking site, he posted photos he had taken of his middle school, his friends, and himself. They were the first photos I have seen of him since this past summer. He is a remarkable young man. Thankfully his father and I get along well, my eldest’s (and UnEx’s only child) living with him has been if not easy for either of them, then accepted. Also, Son Number One came to visit me this summer for a month. Already a seasoned traveler (in 2008 he went to China, his father’s homeland, to see the Beijing Summer Olympics), he flew as an unaccompanied minor to stay with PJ and me. We had a wonderful time.

I honestly think it is best for him to be with his dad right now. As my SNO would say, “It is what it is.” We accept, even if it is not ideal.

Today, though, after seeing his photos this morning and talking with him last night, I miss him mucho.

Second of all (secondable?), I have a second son who is living with my second ex-husband (DeuxEx), and who is turning four years old tomorrow.

I cannot tell you how many times in the past 17 months I have made the statement to people who are getting to know me, “I have one son who is 13 and another who is ___.” When I first got here to France, the blank could be filled with “almost 3,” which then turned to “3,” which then turned to “almost 4,” and tomorrow will be 4.

There have been times where I can almost hear the audible gasp, an exhalation of “What the hell is a mom of a kid so young doing away from her son?” Hell, if I were them, I might gasp, too. They usually refrain from actually gasping, but I see the question marks of the curiosity and  wanting to know the whole of the story in the furrows of their brows.

Some know it in full.

Some know the story, and have decided to reject our mutual relationship on the basis of the story.

Some know the story, and love me more because of it.

It certainly has drawn some lines in the sand with those who know me.

And, it is not really a story for this place. It is, though, one of the things (maybe the biggest) I worry about with this blog — that because I have this story lurking about these posts, the story between the lines of my cleaning bathrooms and writing about Ladurée adventures  —  if this blog were to become even more public than it already, then a lot of questions would come up about my being here and away from my Baby J.

Yeah, there is most of me that thinks, “It’s no one’s business but mine and the ones who love me” but then here I am, writing about it, letting it be known here, too. I guess there is a part of me that wants to acknowledge these facts in part here and now so that I am never accused in the future of having hidden them.

Maybe it would be best to take this entire section out, to leave it as a diary entry elsewhere. But today, the day I went into labor and tomorrow, the day when J was born, just seems too important to me to try to fake like it doesn’t exist in my life.

Happy Birthday, Baby J.

Some Places on the Web I Like to Visit

… especially when I am feeling the emo from the previous section and just have to surf for a while. 🙂

I have lots of blog subscriptions in Google Reader, a blog reading tool I find indispensable for keeping track of the Blogiverse outside of social networking sites which make it easy to see who is posting what.

Today, in trying to get my thoughts clear, I visited:


Carol’s site is full of beautiful photos of the fair city of Paris. An artist who lives in NY and specializes in watercolors of the city of Paris and obsesses about macarons, something I can totally get behind, Carol tends to post thematically with an artistic sensibility and eye for the city, which she visits frequently through the year.


I discovered Peter’s site through Carol’s. Peter is a retired Swede who now lives in and blogs about Paris. Wonderful photography and information about the city can be found here. In fact, I just discovered from his blog why the friends who visited me experienced a spectacular light show at the Eiffel Tower. What I like especially is that Peter includes Google Maps of the locations he visits. If you are a visitor to Paris, or someone looking for places to see and do things in Paris, Peter’s site is a “must check out” place.

Peter’s blogroll is an excellent source of even more blogs about Paris, too.


Miguel Cancino is a recent addition to the Parisian blogworld; I found out about him on THE PARIS BLOG, “A group blog by Anglophones living in the City of Light” (quoted from their Facebook site).

Miguel is in his 20s and gives a 20-something’s view of the cafés, restaurants, nightclubs, and other city treasures he sees. His photography is beautiful.

And, not related in any way to the City of Light, but one of the blogs I found online from a comment left on David Lebovitz’s blog, I think it was:


Best Mommy Blog EVAH, IMHO. This is a witty blog with beautiful photos to boot (I am very drawn to sites with pretty pictures). Melanie’s (the author of Beanpaste) latest post is about her kiddos and their Halloween. It’s funny and adorable, both.

“This is how things frequently go these days: Ellie makes a decision, Jimmy lives with the results.  He’s Cuba to her Soviet Union.”


Of course, then I read back a few posts (it has been a few days since I checked in), and I come to this one, which pretty much gets me into a weepy mess all over again.

Looks like no matter what I do today, it is back to the emo. I don’t think there is going to be any escaping it, just going to have to ride it out.

What I Want Now



You know how the emo winds up back in the place where you just want to do some emotional eating? Which leads me to…

I Need to Go Grocery Shopping

One annoying thing about living in Paris is the whole grocery situation.

First, the refrigerators here are sized for Munchkins. They are like Barbie Fridges. I mean, I am about 5’4″ and about 120 pounds, give or take, and the fridge is smaller than me, no joke (hyperbole, maybe ;-)). Our fridge even kind of a big size compared to the college dorm room-sized fridges I have seen in some people’s homes here. It is *impossible*, however, to fit more than a week’s worth of food in it, and even that is pushing it. PJ and I went grocery shopping seven days ago. Heh. Time to go again.

Everything is smaller here it seems: cars, washing machines, living spaces. Okay, televisions are the same size. So are toilets. But Parisian females? Teeny tiny. They make me feel huge, no kidding, and I have already told you I am not huge.

On top of the small fridge sitch, there is the small store sitch.

There are supersized hypermarts in France, for sure. But due to zoning restrictions in Paris, hypermarts are not allowed within city limits. It makes sense: preserving the Parisian skyline and sense of old-world charm is integral to this tourist destination. I get it.

However, grocery shopping means going to at least two different stores most days and dragging a little shopping cart behind one as she does it. Like an old granny cart. I am too lazy to take a photo now, but here is a link to what I mean. I have blogged about this before, too, at this post. I can only fit a small amount of groceries in the cart and two bags before I can no longer transport them home and up two flights of stairs, one of which curves a lot.

First flight of stairs:


A portion of the second flight of stairs, which curve:


I miss one-stop-shopping where I get at least 10 bags of stuff that will last me two weeks, throwing it in the trunk of my larger than a SmartCar automobile, driving it home (no lugging it around!), and then packing it in a giant-sized fridge and freezer where I can forget about shopping for another couple of weeks.

PJ needs instant espresso. I need more chicken and rice, and rice and chicken. I WANT more macarons this morning. But what I need is more cabbage.

In. Ten. More. Words. I. Will. Have. Met. The. Goal. Of. 1,667. (Why I am counting words.)

Obviously, I am finding it hard today to write a whole lot more. I still would like to write about all the movies I have seen with PJ in the past couple of weeks, to tell you about the interesting thing I learned about movie theaters in Paris, and what David Sedaris and I have in common concerning our experiences in Paris. I think these things, though, will have to wait for Monday when I am in a better headspace. I think what I am going to do today is engage in a little cross-cultural coping (my tips are here). I am going to make not macarons, but sugar free coconut macarOOns, and watch a few more “Ugly Betty” Season 1 episodes in English on our Freebox digital subscription channel. I’m meeting PJ at a new theater near M° Châtelet, near one in Les Halles, but not where I have gone before. I will need time to get there and figure our where it is before meeting him at 6 pm (18.00) or so.  We’re going to go see “Saw 6.” Jeebus. How many “Saw” movies can there be?! Very much NOT my genre, but PJ likes horror. I’m going because I like spending every moment I can with him.

Y’all have a great weekend, read up on those other blogs I linked while I am away, and I will return next week for the continuation of NaNoWriMo marathon blog writing!

Over and out.

(Word Count: 2110)

Categories: Life in Paris, NaNoWriMo, Paris Blogging, Personal Life, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

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8 thoughts on “Homesickness and Coping

  1. aimee maher

    I’m glad you’re keeping up like this. Wonderful!

  2. Shel

    You rock chica, keep it up. I’m Paris-sick for your staircase. 🙂

    Happy Birthday to your Baby J- I love you, and you are true to you, and that’s the most important lesson you could teach those boys. You are selfless, dahling, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    As for groceries- I kinda like having to lug my groceries home in my backpack. It makes me more choosy, less impulse-y, and I shop every few days instead of twice a month, so my trips are less exhausting, and my food is fresher.

    Plus the exercise will keep you strong.

    • pariskarin

      Thank you so much for your love, understanding and unconditional support AND the looking at the sunny side of the shopping! 🙂 I know: I have thought and written here before that I know when the day comes when I do not live here any more, I will look back fondly on the shopping days. It’s like babies: when you are up with them, nursing them at 2 AM night after night, it becomes a chore, and yet, too soon, those sweet baby days are gone, and the memories of being up with them at night like that are some of the best you have. A lot of life is like that, eh?

      Yeah, I am hoping that this seeing things in a slightly gray way will clear up in a couple of days. Thank you for your efforts in brightening the view!

  3. aimee maher

    Hey, GWLP (girl who likes pictures), have you visited Design Sponge?

    It’s one of my watchees…

  4. Janet

    Happy Birthday to Baby J from me, as well, sweetie. Thinking of you hard all day today, and will catch up with you soon. I love you.

  5. ken

    besides “mom and pop” outlets, there are basically three types of food outlets here The Grocery Outlet type (dented cans and foods near expiration, cheap)Safeway (just this side of costco in size and food ranges from the cheap to near gormet) and then there is the gormet outlets (Dregers and such full of specialty foods that really can be had elsewhere cheeper, but then you wouldn’t be shopping at Dregers) (Yes I know I’m leaving out suchm places at the costco megafood outlets and “natural” food outlets such as New Leaf and Whole Foods, but they don’t fit my point) and while the cheepest place doesn’t (or it couldn’t remain cheap)the mid grade and specialty deliver. Better yet, Safeway has a website, you pick the foods, check your list and add up the cost then head for checkout and a nice groceryboy in a van shows up within an hour at your door (depending on how close you live to the store). I’d be willing to bet that one of the stores you regularly shop has a website and delivery at no cost.

  6. Pingback: Armistice Day, Sunday Luncheon, and Other Miscellany « An Alien Parisienne

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