Lisa’s ‘Hood

Lisa American NailsWhile exploring my new neighborhood, I came across a shop that stopped me in my tracks. I whipped out my iPhone to snap a shot. The sign, written in English in huge red letters, read, Lisa American Nails. I phoned my sister on the spot. “I think it’s a message,” I said. “I was meant to live in this ‘hood.”

New business venture? quipped a friend on my Facebook post of the image. You should go in and see if you can get a free manicure, commented another. It is rather amazing this should exist just a few blocks from my apartment. “Lisa” on its own is not so astounding, but “Lisa” and “American?” And in English? Come on.

Lisa American Nails would not be the only namesake sign in my neighborhood. On my last trip, I discovered Lisa B. Institute de Beauté nearby. Another beauty shop with my name. Maybe “Lisa” translates to “beauty” in my neighborhood. Just sayin’.

It’s little signposts like these—nods from the universe—that have prodded me along this daring path. Like the apartment itself, which had its own signs telling me it was the meant to be.

I think of my mother, in the spirit world, using these signs to tell me I’m doing the right thing.

Last week, I received two identical emails, one day apart, from two Parisian friends who don’t know each other. In their emails, a photo they’d taken of a street sign: Passage Lisa. This tiny lane, it turns out, is in the north of my arrondissement, about 10 minutes’ walk from my house. Neither of my friends included a note with their emails; one simply had “Kiss kiss” in the subject line. But I knew what they were saying: Without a doubt, this is where you belong. This is Lisa’s ‘hood.passage lisa composite

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