I made halva this week for the first time. Took three tree-length stalks of rhubarbe and stewed them in a sour dal served with peppered fry breads. We hosted friends for dinner and served up our favorite dishes from Greece: favas, spicy feta dip, a whole roasted fish with coriander, lentil salad, asparagus with mint. It was a mostly normal week for us.
Except that we've decided to get married. And move to New York. And so, one of these 'normal' days this week I found myself with two pieces of paper certifying to my celibitaire status from the US Embassy sitting in my purse while I sipped the above tea, a favorite mint one by a favorite market. The market near the apartment we lived in our first two weeks here.
I write this looking out my wide-open windows and the sound of construction down the street that has preceded us and will go on without us just the same. I write this with a new to-do list of papers to get together to get married here: birth certificates certified by Massachusetts and translated to French, our rental agreement, proof of our renter's insurance, Liam's livre de famille, all of this for our city hall to publish notice of our intent to marry in order for anyone who wants to to object.
Assuming no one does, they let us set a date.
We're hoping for just the two of us, some oui oui's and then an outrageously expensive French cake to celebrate along with some champagne before I head back to the US first - with my two suitcases of belongings - to a dorm room for the summer.
But I like this week of normalcy, of feeling like we finally do live here, of running down to the English-language book store to pick up a new Parisian eats book, hauling my winter coats to 5aSec to clean before I pack them, spilling chipotle all over the counter and then having the morning to clean it all up.
"This will be an intense transition back to normalcy!" a friend here writes, a friend who was joking last week that here in Paris we are all these shells of our American professional selves. I'm clicking boxes for people interested in teaching, but leaving here to be a Founding Principal at a new school for under resourced students in Brooklyn. She's a Physical Therapist but nannying for less then 20 euros a week. Everyone we know living a life of leisure, but yearning for the routine that our lives that we complained about in the US gave us.
It will be normal, in the next few weeks, to enjoy cups of tea and subsist on my still-lacking French. To pack up everything we have, again, and tote it on a plane and a taxi and a train. To decide that getting married and moving abroad, again, are just normal things for us in the span of a few weeks.