How did I go a year without buying fresh olives scooped into baggies? Without saying bonjour to the hunched-over grey haired granny selling lavender sachets? Without buying giant ruby beets, and slow-roasted chickens stuffed with bell peppers and potatoes? Without reasonably priced goat cheese, except the stuff at Costco, which gives Josh a stomach ache?
I'm not sure.
Maybe it was the ease of driving everywhere, of having a beautiful American kitchen, or a bathroom with no sewage smell backing up from the shower drain. Maybe it was wall-to-wall carpet. Or grass. Or canned sweet potatoes.
Or maybe, like one of my friends pointed out when I told her that I didn't feel sad about not living in Aix any more, it's just that we're not meant to be there right now. I like that answer, although I think I would like easier access to French food. So would Bout-Chouette: we held her up to look in the display case of a bakery while we waited to buy our baguette. She took a good, long look at the pastries...and then started clapping.
One of the biggest sacrifices you make when you live in more than one place is that you'll always love something that's somewhere else. On one of our strolls through town (which were few; I spent 90% of our time in France studying), we passed the old apartment of friends of ours. They weren't there any more--Josh was supposed to be making a sad face in the photo.
But I guess the smile works, too; when we get back to the US, we'll be living down the block from them. I'd say that's almost worth missing out on the goat cheese.