Him: You speak really good English for an Italian.
Me: (I laughed.) Thank you, but I’m American.
. . .
Him: You know the “ulk”?
Him: You know, the “ulk”? (He puffs out his chest.)
Me: What? Ohhh, you mean the hulk.
Him: Yes, the “ulk.”
And so went many of my conversations. I love how I would say something in French and nobody would understand me, and I’d repeat it one octave lower and suddenly people knew exactly what I was trying to say. I’ve realized it’s the same in reverse.
Two nights before I left Paris, I was talking to a guy from Corsica and he asked me what I liked about France. Here’s the long answer I couldn’t come up with on the spot.
Je t’aime, Paris.* I love your cheese, especially the compté. I love that I can sit in a café for literally hours and nobody will ask me to leave. Plop me in any park, and I’m happy. The Luxembourg, Bois des Vincennes, the Tuilleries.
French sounds so f**king sexy, even if you’re describing a medical ailment. Paris is designed for the romantic hypochondriac. Find me a street without a pharmacy on it.
Everyone is in love here. Even if it is just for one night.
I could eat pain au chocolat everyday. In fact, I basically did. I love that whatever part of my baguette I didn’t eat, I could use as a baseball bat within 24-36 hours.
I love that people are present and not on their phones texting. I like that all the tables face the street. I love the vélib’ and the metro. I like that the streets don’t go straight and sometimes I didn’t end up where I was trying to go. But Paris, you keep me on my toes.
Maybe I do wear rose-colored glasses, but I’m not taking them off.
*So maybe I didn’t answer his question about France, but I love Paris and Corsica and all the other cities I’ve visited.