August 25, 2006

Movin' On...

I've been thinking a lot lately about Paris and living in a foreign country. You see, Chez Megane will be leaving Paris at the end of this month. We've been here for 2 wonderful, life changing, and confidence building years - enough time to have created a home here, but also to realize that perhaps we weren't meant to stay forever. I had the chance to learn French, eat like a queen, toughen up a bit, meet fascinating people and do a lot of traveling to glorious places. I've been tested a lot and forced to adapt quickly to this dizzying French culture. I've laughed a lot, relaxed a lot and become a lot more comfortable dans ma peau, as they say. Suffice it to say, 70% of me is reluctantly moving back to the States, kicking and screaming the whole way like a stubborn child, but I think 30% or more of me realizes that it's time to go back.

I know that everyone who has moved around a lot must share some of my feelings. Fears and "what-ifs?" float around in your mind. Have I done enough here? Will I be happy where I'm going? Am I sure about this next step? Lately, any reassurance has come mostly in knowing that nothing can be as hard as when we first moved to France. It was the scariest and most exciting time of my life and we've certainly both been humbled a lot along the way, although I believe we're leaving Paris as more resilient people. Anyway, part of me is a little worried about this upcoming move, but then again - I'm moving back to the USA... I DO speak English! How hard can it be?!?

And so just where will Chez Megane be cooking from now? Briefly from the cool college town of my birth, Iowa City, Iowa, and then, more permanently from Washington, D.C. You see, we're not just moving back to the America, we're moving to the epicenter! So, any of you readers out there who know anything about D.C., help a girl out and send me some recommendations! Restaurants, cool neighborhoods, things to see, etc. Anything goes since I am utterly clueless at this point. We're really excited to discover the metro area since I've heard nothing but fantastic things about it.

I hope you'll bear with me during the lengthy move and keep reading despite my (perhaps) less frequent postings through the fall. I don't know what's in store for Chez Megane exactly, but I'm hoping to keep up my interest in all things French, and as always, great food and recipes.Things I'll miss having in my kitchen on a regular basis?
1. At least 5 kinds of cheese, on a good day, 7-8.
2. Fresh Baguettes!
3. French Yogurt...cherry, fig, rhubarb, coconut, pineapple...the yogurt aisle is endless!
4. Crème Fraîche!!!!
5. Beurre demi-sel from Brittany (the most luscious butter)
6. Bonne Maman Strawberry or Apricot Jam
7. Eggs with yolks the color of a crayola orange crayon
8. My round blue Le Creuset dutch oven (not sure if I can bring it with me or's f***ing heavy!)
9. The occasional croissant, brioche or pain au chocolat
10. The best poulet rôti (from The Chicken Family, rue des Abbesses)


Nerissa said...

Interestingly, I just saw some Bonne Maman jam in the store yesterday here in Western Canada. Maybe you will find it in the US? The same goes for Crème Fraîche (from Normandy) but I got it from a specialty store. Maybe there is a bit of hope for that too?
I do sympathize about the yogurt. As a yogurt lover, I don't think I've been as happy as I was in France. Raspberry -litchi rocks!
Hope your move isn't too hard on you. Good luck!

Oob said...

I'm right there with you on the what-ifs. Wishing nothing but the best for you both, and hey! I can come to visit in DC! ;)

Yulinka said...

I think Bonne Maman jam is sold pretty readily in the States. I don't know if it's the exact same kind they have in France, but I've seen Bonne Maman in specialty stores and in big supermarkets. Check your local jam aisle.

But it does taste best on a real French baguetet.

Anonymous said...

Numbers 4, 5 and 6 are akk readily available at my local Wegman's in NJ.

Ship the Le Creuset-- you'll appreciate it later (I did!)

peabody said...

They are not in DC but in driving distance.
The Little Inn at Washington(Washington, VA) and the Trellis restaurant(in Willamsburg, VA).

Rachel said...

DC is very fun if very pricy!We live in Baltimore, a mere 40 minutes away. Email if you need any help!

Kevin said...

I lived in Fairfax, VA for a year and enjoyed living in the DC area.

Tea said...

I can relate to the ups and downs of moving back "home" from a foreign country. There are things that you will rediscover that will delight you, and things you will forever miss. And most of your friends and family will not understand what you are going though and how you've changed (find some other ex-ex-pats who can relate--shouldn't be hard in DC).

The good news is: you will carry your experiences and your memories and your growth with you forever; there are many new things to discover and explore stateside, and exciting and fun challenges you could never anticipate; and you can always go back to Paris (on my saddest days of missing Asia, I told myself that if I really wanted to, I could hop on a plane and be there for dinnertime).

I also think you should bring the Le Crueset dutch oven. Every time you look at it, for the rest of you life, it will remind you of these extraordinary two years you have had, and how lucky and grateful you are for the experience.

Good luck with the move! Yes, you will miss the baguettes, but there are good eats to be had here too. Just different ones.

bea at La Tartine Gourmande said...

Ah good luck with your move. It will surely be tough to adjust back. You will now always be (excuse my French, le cul entre deux chaises !)

Tanna said...

I wish you all the best! I loved your write up on the departure. Can I tag you for the
Five things to eat before I die
project that Melissa from the Traveler's Lunchbox started? Hope that might be fun for you. I think your answers might be very interesting in light of your move.

Megan said...

Nerissa, Yulinka, Anonymous - Thanks, that's great news!

Oob - Thanks so much! I hope you do!

Peabody, Rachel, Kevin - Thanks for the tips; Rachel, you might get that email soon!

Tea - Thank you so much! I can't tell you enough how reading your comment was exactly what I needed - you are so right about it all. And I am taking my le creuset with me!!! =) Yeah!

Bea - Thanks! Ha! I think my ass will indeed take some getting used to this American chair...

Tanna - Yes, and thank you! I was meaning to do it, but was having a hard time narrowing it down!!! =)

s'kat said...

When I was younger, I lived overseas for three wonderful, glorious years. Returning to the States was a difficult and strange time, I no longer felt 'American'.

Not such a bad thing IMO, regardless, I think you'll adjust more quickly than you anticipate. Can't wait to see your view of life in DC!

Schmoopy said...

I have enjoyed reading about your adventures in Paris and am so sad to hear you are leaving. I still remember the yogurt in Paris as being the best I have ever tasted. I agree with the other commenters -- ship the Le Creuset.

Megan said...

S'kat - Thanks, it's nice to hear from those who have gone through it!

Schmoopy - Thanks for your comment, I'm so glad you've enjoyed reading! I hope you'll stick around! =)

bcinfrance said...

Funny I never ran into your blog while you were writing from Paris! It's always interesting to read about expats who "go home." I hope it works out well for you...