Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On est toujours mieux chez soi

I just spent a colorful, decadent, freezing weekend in Paris. It was my first time traveling-while-traveling.

Much of the time I stood tapping my foot at an intersection of cultures: saying "merci" like "merthi," reading El País in French cafés, speaking half-English/half-Spanish because I didn't know which language someone was more likely to know ("Tiene water? Agua?" ::cup hands for emphasis::). Considering I cannot even pronounce "je suis" correctly no matter how many times I try, these language juxtapositions were necessary.

I spent time wandering the city and visiting neighborhood markets with one of the most interesting men I've met in a while, Roberto. He speaks five languages, is extremely thoughtful and intelligent, and inspired me to bring my laptop on the metro to write, like he does.

“Even if I only get one perfect sentence out of it—it's worth it,” he said.

I taught him some salsa tricks and he introduced me to tango. I spent my last night savoring a French wine over an immense dinner and accidentally seeing for the first time the Eiffel Tower, while midnight bike-riding around the city. After drinking hot chocolate at a bourgeois bar, I slept for four hours and hopped on a plane back to Spain.

And I was perfectly content to do so.

Being in Paris made me realize how much Spanish I actually do know, how proud I am of it, how happy I am to use it... and how much I have come to regard Madrid.

I wandered in and out of consciousness on the flight home, due to the lack of sleep. As we touched ground, I opened my eyes and thought, simply, "I am home, and home is Madrid." And then, a smile bloomed across my sleepy face, sprouting from deep within.

Home is Madrid.

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