Earlier this summer, while missing Paris a little more than usual, I pulled up our old neighborhood on Google Maps and reminisced about our favorite places. I used to be able to recite all the names of the bridges over the Seine, in order, from the Pont de Sully near the Canal Saint-Martin to the Pont des Arts by the Louvre. I used to know the streets and the shops by heart. Now, it’s all fading. It hurts to think about Paris too much, so mostly I just go on with life here.
But on this particular day, I felt like taking a Street View stroll down memory lane. I found our apartment:
And I immediately called to Colin to come look because there – there! – there were our window boxes. There was the ivy we bought from the Marché aux Fleurs, the geraniums that survived Paris’s snowiest winter in decades, the snapdragon that we almost pulled because we thought it was a weed. The open windows, meaning that we were at home. It’s all on Google, and if it’s on Google, then it’s real.
I know, of course, that last year was real (I have 4,726 photos to prove it!), but sometimes it still feels like a dream. It’s hard to describe exactly how at home we felt in Paris, and how huge a wrench that’s thrown into our lives, now that we have no idea what we want for the future. Could we throw everything to the wind and move back to France? Could we build a life that allows us to split our time between the US and Europe? What if the jobs we want are here, the lifestyle there? Our families here, our values there?
In any case, while we continue to ponder le sens de la vie, it’s nice to see that our year in Paris left its own little footprint on the sands of time, via the Definitive Map of the World that is Google.