Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well here it is 2011.  One year ago, I was getting ready to move into our apartment in Paris.  I was supposed to live there for three years and well...things changed.  Boy, did they change.  For those who may be curious...and for my own amusement, here is last year in a quasi-review.

In 2010, I lived in Paris for nearly a year.  I didn't wear a bathing suit at all in 2010.  I wrote a blog in 2010...about life or something like it in the City of Lights.

In 2010, I found out that I can do more than is expected of me or that I expect of myself.  I found another voice and I spoke another language, haltingly, but I did it.  I learned to live life differently, mostly out of necessity. I found a love and knack for writing. 

In 2010, I lost 18 pounds...only to have the holidays help me put 4 pounds back on...but those 4 pounds are sooo outta here in the next two weeks. 

I lost my sense of humor in 2010...but I found it again when I realized I shouldn't take things so personally.  I have a dry sense of humor rimmed with dark overtones.  In 2010, I discovered am sarcastic, "sardonique" and I love irony.  I laugh when people trip...but honestly I seek to prevent that if possible...but a good trip, slip or stumble gets me every time...must have been my exposure to the Three Stooges as a child and reinforced by all the doggie landmines littering the sidewalks of Paris!

In 2010, I grew a new skin...a new sensibility...a new personal awareness.  Now the challenge is what to do with that in 2011.

In 2010, I learned the art of French cooking and eating..I was in France after all.  Thanks to Julia Child and everyone who expected me to be just like her, I expanded my reading list to include authors I never read nor heard of before...I even read some stories in French! I read cookbooks in French, visited Shakespeare and Co and survived the French markets, just like Madame Child.  I discovered Hemingway's Paris and through his and Julia's eyes, I was just beginning to find MY Paris.

In 2010, I made new friends...some little while friends and some life long friends.  Friends are good.

2010 saw the reiteration of one family member's tradition morphing into my new one...Champagne Thursday!  My aunt, a breast cancer survivor shared the origins of Champagne Thursday with me about 8 years ago.  Having met her 5 year goal of being cancer free, she decided that life was too short, precious, special, not to enjoy good things whenever the mood/situation/opportunity arose, so on a Thursday, she popped open a bottle of Champagne and tah da, a tradition celebrating her life, courage and her strength was born.  Early on in my stay in Paris, I was feeling blue, lonely and a bit overwhelmed.  I had purchased a lovely, cheap little bottle of Cremant de Loire at the Monoprix and I remembered my aunt and lo and was Thursday...and my Champagne Thursdays were born!  I don't drink bubbly every Thursday, but I could if I wanted too...

2011 should be about celebrating any or every day as if it were New Year's or at least Champagne Thursday.  As enjoyable as the wine is, it is not about the drink, but rather the time one takes to recognize who you are, what you are and from where you have is about finding the success in your life, the good news about you.  One thing I did learn in Paris in 2010 is that you have to sing your own song, and be your own best cheerleader.  Support from friends and family is very valuable and appreciated, but if you don't believe it yourself, then the rest is just window dressing. 

In 2010, I learned that I have a pretty good palate and that Andouillette (sausage) is disgusting and stinky. 

2010 ushered in the knowledge that you can take the girl out of the country/Country, but you cannot take the country/Country out of the girl.  I am a Red, White and Blue Bay Stater who loves her little town in the northwest of Middlesex County.  But...I do love Paris.  It is Paris afterall.

In 2010, I tried to be helpful.  I tried to speak to a new person everyday...that was easy as I was a stranger in a strange land...everyone was new.  But, ironically, I was finding many familiar faces in such a short time.  And in a short time, those faces became friends.  Cool what being nice can do for you.

2010 was my year of realizing what I had taken for granted in my life, whether it was my friends and family or my washer and dryer...being absent from the things you know gives one perspective and pause when they are returned to you.  I do not take the blue skies or the birdsong for granted EVER.

It is 2011 and I am happy to be back in my own home.  I recently posted on a social networking site "Here's to joy, love, kindness, happiness and health in 2011.  May you be blessed with good friends, good times, good fortune and challenges that make your life exciting and interesting. Happy New Year!"  This is my wish to you dear reader, but is also a promise I am making to myself.

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