Whether you are post-confinement or mid-confinement you may be needing a new book to read or listen to. And if you’re like me, you’re dreaming of when you can next get to Paris. I recently enjoyed the audio version of My (Part-Time) Paris Life: How Running Away Brought Me Home, read by the author, Lisa Anselmo.
Anselmo, a New Yorker in the magazine business, went from visiting Paris twice a year to using an inheritance and most of her retirement savings to buy an apartment there. At first, she stayed in the apartment every couple of months but some upheavals at work gave her the nudge to move full-time to Paris to write, and this memoir is the result.
As a French teacher, my favorite parts of the book were when she was trying to communicate in fractured French. She would get some words of what the other person was trying to say, but the rest sounded like “Fah-fah fah fah fah-FAH!” She would have to mime and flail her way through transactions but found that people were willing to try to decipher what she was trying to communicate. I tell my students the same thing; sometimes you just have to go for it instead of worrying about perfection.
Anselmo’s perfect apartment turned into a cautionary tale of water leaks, mold, and bureaucracy just when she finally moved full-time to Paris. It reminded me that it really isn’t prudent to own a second home that is so far away, lest I give in to temptation. The book ended without a full resolution to the apartment fiasco but maybe that’s the truer tale. There aren’t always tidy little solutions in life but you can still find happiness along the way.
It looks like Anselmo’s got some YouTube videos, so I’ll have to check them out to see if there is a happy ending to the apartment. I hope so, because that’s how dreams of Paris are supposed to work out.