Hot chocolate. Chocolate macaroons. Chocolate cheesecake. Chocolate fountains. Chocolate couture. Chocolate art. Chocolate exfoliant. Chocolate soap. Dark chocolate. Milk chocolate. White chocolate. Green freaking tea chocolate.
Chocolate sensory overload is what I experienced last weekend at Salon du Chocolat, Paris's annual chocolate festival. Yup, pretty much the best 12.50 I've ever spent in my entire life. The free samples were out of control, as was my appetite for more. Forgive me God, for I have been gluttonous. And I'd do it again.
I don't know when or how it happened, but since I've been here I've stopped eating to live and started living to eat. I've never been a big foodie but I've always appreciated a good meal. Life is simpler and slower here and exactly what I was looking for. Today, I ran out in the pouring rain because I needed my fresh baguette. As in, I would die with out it. My taste-buds dance at the thought of waking up at 7am on a Saturday for a hot croissant.
The French are shameless and unapologetic about their carb consumption or caloric intake; it's guilt-free living and it's fabulous! They just walk everything off by the end of the day anyway. Back at home, everyone is obsessed and it makes me nervous when I don't even need to be.
Time anxiety is also something I don't miss. At Northwestern, everything is so tightly scheduled that lunch dates have a start time as well as an end time. "I'm free from 11-12:30!" Have you noticed that? Here you stay in a restaurant to your heart's content, 2 or 3 hours is casual. I've had some of my best conversations an hour or more after the check was placed on the table. It's that "joie de vivre" that I needed and simply refuse to give up when I return.