Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lasts and Firsts

What a strange feeling it is to leave one place and end up in another halfway across the world on the same day. The actual trip from Paris to Minneapolis was pretty uneventful, with all of the usual ingredients in attendance: Annoying security checkpoints, getting my return stamp at customs, trying to pass 8 hours in an airplane, and hoping my bags would end up in the same place I did. With no delays, no long waits on the tarmac, and no big catastrophes, it was your run of the mill international flight. The real action happened before I even arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport and started up again upon landing in Minneapolis. As seasoned travelers know, getting ready to leave and finally arriving can be emotionally-charged, activity-packed events. As a result, when you leave an old place and head to a new one, you can't help but get caught up in the game of lasts and firsts.

Paris was my city of lasts. The last time I rode the metro, the last time I saw the Eiffel Tower, the last time I went to my favorite boulangerie, and the last time I spent with friends were all being calculated in my head. This is a particularly unpleasant side effect of moving. Nobody wants to think about lasts. It's a bit depressing, really. Especially if you've had as good of a time as I did in Paris. You might be excited to see family and friends back home, but you really don't want the adventure to end. The fact that your mind can't help but dwell on that very thought isn't helping any.

Minneapolis is my city of firsts. The first time I caught a glimpse of the beautiful skyline, the first time I saw friends and family, the first time I drove a car again (it's like riding a bike!), and the first time I got a coffee from my favorite local spot. Of course, none of these are truly firsts; I've done them all before. But they are firsts in the sense that it's the first time I've done them in six months, and my mind can't help but calculate them just as I did with the lasts. Firsts are great. They're exciting, fun, and when they involve doing things you love to do they can make you really happy. Firsts also help to ease the painful memories of the lasts.

Of course, Paris isn't going anywhere. When I eventually make the trip back (sooner rather than later, I hope), my lasts in Paris will then become my firsts in Paris, and the process will start all over again. In the meantime, I'm going to keep enjoying all fun and exciting things I get to do here in Minneapolis. Thankfully, there are many more firsts to come.

No comments: