Two weeks ago, I was in Café Folks and Sparrows in Paris and I overheard a woman in her late 20s (and her dog) as she was making conversation with the cashier.
The first sign she wasn’t French.
I just moved here from Berlin, where I spent the last four years with my husband. His job moves around; Now we’ve been relocated to Paris.
Totally an American move. Over-sharing when nobody asked, but also friendly and open to interaction, because why not. I appreciated it. Even though she wasn’t talking to me.
I couldn’t help but continue to eavesdrop. Hearing a familiar accent in a foreign place always makes your ears perk up. On top of that, you mention being from San Francisco, living in Berlin, and now relocating to Paris, and I’m fully tuned in. Ah, the thought of being abroad.
She then introduced herself to the barista.
You’ll be seeing a lot more of me now that I live here. I don’t know anyone yet!
- Oh yew say yew moove fhrom wayr? – The French guy responds in his adorable accent
Berlin, but San Francisco originally.
- Ah, sorry you’re in Paris. San Francisco is much better!
Which I found funny. If you were to tell anyone in San Francisco that you live in Paris, they’d think it’s magical and cool. But to anyone in Paris, it’s San Francisco that’s impressive. This interaction between the American expat and French barista reminded me of something I feel every time I’m arriving or leaving a city.
The more I travel, the more I realize how much we all live with the Grass Is Always Greener On The Other Side syndrome. The thought and the idea of doing something or being somewhere where you’re not always seems more magical. It’s that same feeling that your hometown isn’t a worthy place of someone visiting, when really, if you go across the world, most people would be curious about what life is like there.
Your city may not be interesting to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s not interesting.
When I’m in the States, I just want to be traveling, or in Europe. When I’m traveling, or in Europe, I remember why I love living in Los Angeles. Its got everything I want, except the foreignness and freedom I feel when I’m not there.
I think this Grass Is Always Greener syndrome is both good and bad. Good because I’m maintaining a sense of curiosity about life outside of the bubble we all live in inside of our cities. Bad because it’s an invisible line I have yet to distinguish between being happy in the moment, where I am, and always wanting to be somewhere where I’m not.
For now, all I know is to appreciate the time I have in each place. Even if each place isn’t as exciting as the previous place. I’ll enjoy being here in Indiana, with the nice swimming pool in my backyard, family on every other street, and allergy-inducing pollen count. Ha.
One thing’s for sure:
A life of wishing you were elsewhere is really no life at all.