Being A Tourist In My Hometown

Last night I rounded a corner, and looked up.


It made me realize that sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in too many things.

And what’s really important is to give myself a moment to stop everything—take a look (and a photo)—and remind myself what a beautiful city I get to live in.

Although I don’t think happiness necessarily depends on where you live, I’d say in my case, it definitely has something to do with it.

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  • January 23, 2008 6:32am

    It’s funny, isn’t it, how you can go for months at a time just schlepping around town and then all of a sudden you turn a corner and BANG – you realize you are in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. For me it’s riding in a taxi at night through place Concorde that always does it…!

  • January 23, 2008 7:05am

    Stunning photograph, David!

    The same thing used to happen to me in Milan, especially at Christmas when there are Christmas lights above the cobblestone streets, and everywhere you look it’s beautiful. Now I live in the country, and it’s the sunrise and sunsets over the fields and streams that makes me stop and take it all in.

  • January 23, 2008 7:11am

    Yes, this is the type of post that people who are not expats will not understand (as it seems obvious with your “perfect” life) and people who are expats will remember that sometimes we, too, have to play the tourist to rejuvenate a bit of the wonder others find in our current country. I sometimes dread being put as a guide for others but it’s also in those rare moments that guests remind us there are some simple pleasures!

    PS: When are you coming to Italy so I can show you around?

  • January 23, 2008 10:36am

    Very nice, David. It can be quite an amazing moment when one just slows down for a bit and look, REALLY look, at what’s around. Life can be too much like an American bus trip around Europe when you got to see it all in one week.


  • Maggie
    January 23, 2008 11:18am

    As I’ve been eagerly awaiting your post on Caramel Part Deux, I’ve sought solace elsewhere and found something that may interest you, David, given your affection for salted caramel. I didn’t know that the Vietnamese braised dish “kho” was based on caramel made with the ultra-salty fish sauce nuoc mam.

    I’ll definitely be trying this soon at home. Excellent article with recipes for shrimp/beef/chicken versions here: Kho

  • Terrie
    January 23, 2008 12:20pm

    Beautiful. When I was there a few months ago, it was dressed up for Rugby with a green base and yellow top.

  • January 23, 2008 12:30pm

    Actually Sara, I think a lot of people can relate to it, regardless of whether we are expats. Many of us who are in the States live in places that people from other countries come to, with as much wonder and excitement as we have when we visit theirs! How many tours of the Bay Area (or NYC or DC in years past) have I given, but only when guests are in town? Then I go back to running around with my head down.

    And when I’m in Southern California, secretly wishing I could get OUT of the OC, I take a drive down Pacific Coast Highway and watch the ocean crash into the cliffs in a postcard of a view. I realize it’s January and 65 degrees out and while maybe I could be happier living somewhere else, I can enjoy this too.

    It would do us all a bit of good to look up and take in the beauty now and again! Thanks for the reminder and the gorgeous photo, David.

  • January 23, 2008 1:20pm

    I’m relatively new to your website, David. I love it. I am so excited about trying new things in the kitchen!

    Your picture moved me. Hubs & I are planning a trip to Paris for our 10th. Until then, I refuse to take our local splendor for granted. When I come over a hill and see the Rockies in all their glory.

  • January 23, 2008 2:56pm

    I was really glad to read that you’d finally taken that much needed evening off to ‘do’ the town. I’m sure your project will go much better now. By the way, did you put everything back into your hall closet?

  • January 23, 2008 3:06pm

    Leah: When I was in San Diego a couple of years ago, as I left my hotel and went for a walk on the warm beach, overlooking the expansive Pacific, I remember thinking to myself; “Why would anyone want to live anywhere else?”

    It’s interesting how we forget the beauty of the things around us. Even after all these years, I still look at each baguette I buy and appreciate the beauty of all those nooks, crusty swirls, and floury bits clinging to it.

    The Eiffel Tower is certainly beautiful, especially at night. Still, I wouldn’t mind a good bowl of chip and guac every now and then…and a bit of sunshine!

    : )

  • January 23, 2008 3:23pm

    Mmmm I do hope to one day turn the corner and see that too! In the meantime I guess I’m very lucky to live in one of the most beautiful and “untouched” places in the world. Have you ever visited New Zealand David?

  • debinsf
    January 23, 2008 4:28pm

    we’ve only lived here for 10 years and so I’m still doing that every time I see the GG Bridge crossing from the wooded Presidio to the Marin Headlands across the water. Fog or no fog.

    It’s so nice to be able to take a minute vacation in your own place.

    Beautiful, thanks!

  • Murasaki Shikibu
    January 23, 2008 4:30pm

    Paris is lovely. If I had more money I’d definitely live there rather than in Torremolinos :p

  • Lu
    January 23, 2008 7:00pm

    David, I enjoy the sentiment you express here! As a several time visitor to Paris, I still sort of jump as I turn a corner and see THE tower in the scape. It happened to me again last time I was there, when walking in the Latin Quarter near a school and, looking in the distance, I saw the tower and gasped! My Parisienne friend enjoyed my response – and understood! Thanks for always making us think – well, and for being sarcastic and funny and talented too!

  • Maryann
    January 23, 2008 7:07pm

    You “turned a corner”. Well, good for you, kiddo ;)
    Sounds like you’re ready to move forward. Here’s a big sisterly hug!

  • January 23, 2008 8:52pm

    I sometimes have to remind myself to really look at things again and realize how lucky I am to live in France. I have to do the same thing with my husband’s French accent. It’s so charming but I’m not always tuned in.

  • January 24, 2008 7:03pm

    SIGH! That view never ceases to take my breath away. Whenever I see the Eiffel Tower I feel like I can exhale, like everything is going to be ok. And it never fails to make my heart soar and put a smile on my face :)

  • January 24, 2008 9:26pm

    Awe-inspiring picture… you are a lucky man!

  • January 25, 2008 3:06am

    David, Love this shot! And I’m *from* (not sure how to use those html tags for this kind of thing yet) San Diego (a native, at that). I’ve the best of both worlds at this point: I love my life in the south of France and find beautiful and charming details daily in this existence…and when I go back to San Diego for a visit it holds a new beauty for me. (Yes, it’s the ocean and the mexican food that I miss the most…well…okay, and my friends…well, and my sister…okay…I’ll stop.)
    I’ll be in Paris in 10 days for a bit of a “play date”. Your shot is inspiring.

  • Maureen
    January 25, 2008 5:29am

    We moved from the 7th last year where we lived just underneath the awe inspiring monument you photographed (nice photo by the way). We now live in the 16th and still have a lovely view of it.
    My favorite thing to do with our guests is to take them out on the terrace and watch their faces as it lights up. Helps me appreciate all we have in this beautiful (and sometimes frustrating) city.

    David – you are welcome anytime to my place for guac and chips. I swear I make it the best in Paris. I also brought a great bottle of tequilla from US so I am just dying for an excuse to make margaritas, won’t you help me?

  • January 25, 2008 3:56pm

    At night and all lit up is the only way to see the Tour Eiffel. In daylight it’s brown. What sort of a colour for an international icon is brown for goodness sake! On the other hand…chocolate…hmm…brown can’t be that depressing after all ;-)

  • January 26, 2008 11:10am

    Great photo! I see the Arc de triomphe and the top of the Eiffel tower every day on my way to work. I try to take a good look as a little reminder that I really do live in an amazing city.

  • Lesley
    January 26, 2008 4:29pm

    I envy the heck out of you. I had the chance to stay in France and gave it up for stupid love…
    Oh well, one day I’ll be back.

  • January 27, 2008 5:25pm

    That is a beautiful sight! I work in NYC and many times take in the Empire State Building all lit up on my way home — it does take your breath (and the day’s stress) away!

  • January 28, 2008 8:30am

    There is a very similar view from the corner of Avenue Rapp at Rue de Monttessuy, but I don’t think this is it. Anyway, it was our view for two weeks last year. Yes, you say to yourself when you see it, “This is Paris.”

  • Sandy
    January 28, 2008 11:04am

    Lucky dog!!! I miss Paris! Thanks for the fun blog, love reading yours!

  • February 1, 2008 12:47am

    I love this post. I have the same problem here in Sydney. My view at work is the harbor bridge and the opera house, and so often don’t even notice the stunning view just there!

  • February 4, 2008 2:32pm

    Enjoy, enjoy…I live in the deep French countryside and much as I love it, I regret not going to Paris more often. I went up for a work-related meeting the other day and it took my breath away. I hadn’t been to Paris for six years; I thought I could hardly walk when I got out of the RER station “L’Etoile.” My colleague, who grew up near Paris, just carried on as if nothing special were going on…