You Can’t Go Home Again

The title of Thomas Wolfe’s novel You Can’t Go Home Again has become an expression — better known than the novel itself — to describe nostalgia for a bygone lifestyle after moving on to something else … something “bigger” … something “better.” I first left my little hometown of Bishopville many years ago, first to go to a residential high school not too far away, then to college three hours away, then to grad school six hours away, and then to work in DC seven hours away. I came out of the closet, I went back to law school, I became a “big city lawyer” in DC, I met a Frenchman and married him, and then I pulled up stakes and went off to lead a bohemian life in Paris. Even after all of that, I still wonder how true that expression is —

Can I really not go home again?

Continue reading You Can’t Go Home Again

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Ninja Claus, Part II

This is the conclusion of yesterday’s post “Ninja Claus.”
Make sure to read that one first, or this won’t make a bit of sense …

So, 9 hours and 36 minutes after taking off, Air France 682 landed at ATL. Dang, that was one LONG flight! It very well could have been because of the crazy ninja flight path we took … who would’ve imagined my approach to Atlanta would take me over Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee? Continue reading Ninja Claus, Part II

How I spent three days of my Christmas vacation with a 14-foot U-Haul truck

Once again, dear readers, I’ve waited far too long since my last post. Then again, a lot has happened since Christmas Day. I’ll fill you in in installments, though, so that you’re not overwhelmed. Here’s your first one:

How I spent three days of my Christmas vacation with a 14-foot U-Haul truck

You may or may not know that I still own an apartment in Washington, DC, where I lived for 8 years before moving to Paris in 2010. Since I haven’t really worked since 2009, maintaining a mortgage on that piece of prime real estate no longer made any sense and I put it on the market a few months ago. (Incidentally, if you’re looking for a beautiful, 1100-sq.-ft., 1927-build, Beaux-Arts apartment in Adams Morgan, send me a message and I’ll put you in touch with my broker!) What that decision meant was that I needed to move a LOT of furniture and personal effects out of the place, so Michel and I planned a three-day excursion to DC right after Christmas to load up what was left of my stuff and move it back to my parents’ place in South Carolina. That couldn’t possibly be TOO difficult, right?

My Old Place
My Old Place

Continue reading How I spent three days of my Christmas vacation with a 14-foot U-Haul truck

En famille

© 2011 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

It’s been a week since my last post, and I apologize for the delay in posting something new. It’s been a very hectic and discombobu-lating 7 days.

Right after my last post, we traveled from balmy and sunny South Carolina to cold and drizzly Washington, D.C., to visit friends and ready my apartment there for a tenant. Being face-to-face with my good friends after such a long separation was like a homecoming for me. These little visits (my second one to Washington since leaving last August) remind me of how much I miss that city and the life I built there: my apartment, my church, my circle of friends … but being there this time with Michel also reminded me that my home is wherever I’m with him, whether that’s in Washington, in South Carolina, or in La Courneuve.

Continue reading En famille

Jean Reno, apples & pears, and my French husband

Photo: US Airways 787 © 2012 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved

It was the first time that my husband and I had traveled across the Atlantic together: US Airways 787 from Paris-Charles de Gaulle to Charlotte Douglas International on Saturday. Michel has visited me in the United States before, of course: the first time was in December 2009 to meet my friends and family, and the second time was in July 2010, when we got married before my departure for France. But Saturday was a particularly interesting travel day: Jean Reno and a jackass immigrant officer at CDG, an obnoxious flight attendant with an apple and a pear, and a surprisingly warm welcome at immigration control in Charlotte. Continue reading Jean Reno, apples & pears, and my French husband

The French Connection: At Least 0.4%

If you did a keyword analysis of my blog, you might conclude that I’m obsessed with food: cocktails, French pastries, and the search for pancakes in Paris. You might be right. The truth is that I am a gourmand; I can’t deny it. But my real passion — my real obsession — is history.

HISTORY NERD ALERT: If you don’t like history, this may not be your favorite blogpost, but try it out anyway. You might find it interesting. If you’re in my family, you’re going to want to read this regardless of whether you like history, because it’s your story too!

Here we go …

Dubosc • DuBose

I have always loved to immerse myself in old stories and as a child, I often imagined myself in other times, leading a different life in the middle of some historical event   I was reading about. I loved listening to family stories, too, especially those of my Great Aunt Adeline, who could recount the exploits and travails of the family with such color that you had the impression that she was actually there when it all happened. I probably owe my love of history to some combination of Aunt Adeline’s stories and the World Book Encyclopedia.

Continue reading The French Connection: At Least 0.4%