With This Key, Responsibility

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After several stays in my new pied-à-terre, something has occurred to me: my trips to Paris have ceased to be vacations. This is to say, I’m no longer truly unplugging. The brand name on my new key, Reelax, is quite the opposite of what I do in Paris now that I have an apartment. There’s food shopping, cleaning, laundry, washing up dishes—it’s just like my life in New York, only in another city. What did I get myself into?

When I stayed in a hotel I was catered to; my biggest worry was how to fit all my purchases into my suitcase. Now, I spend a good deal of my time running errands, fixing things. Tidying up endlessly. I even log into work each day to keep up on things—or so I tell myself. Having a home in another place has created a portal that allows me to live my life seamlessly. But is that a good thing?

Do I need a vacation from my vacation home?

Well, not exactly. While it’s true I don’t experience a real vacation anymore in Paris, I always return from my trips rejuvenated. I bought an apartment in my favorite city so I could experience real Parisian life, and that’s just what I’m doing. So, no, I’m not complaining. It’s the best thing I ever did for myself. And with a place in Paris, I can entertain in my own home. This, more than anything else, has changed Paris for me—made it more intimate, more personal. Nothing gives me more joy than seeing my friends crowded around my tiny table, eating and chatting away for hours. Breakfast, lunch, drinks, dinner—there’s always someone over. Sure, it’s a lot of work, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. My Paris experience is greatly enriched by this, greatly enhanced by my putting down roots. I’m part of a community now, I belong. Paris is no longer an escape from my everyday life, it’s part of my everyday life.

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