a season in france has turned into three, and it seems i will be here for much longer…a lifetime perhaps. i spent my thirtieth birthday in paris with guillaume because i thought it would be the perfect place to start a new decade of life. the night before the actual day, we had dinner with his folks at their home in vaux-sur-seine. his mére made steak and hushpuppies, though they actually have an elegant french name that i have forgotten. they presented me with a summery perfume called escada, and much to my suprise, an iphone. the next day, we went to the city of lights. the sun was shining for nearly the first time this spring, and the first time in 20 years it had on my birthday. it used to be a running joke for me that it always rained on may 23rd. guillaume bought me a dress at the gap, and some khakis and a tunic. all the clothes i bought were navy and khaki which he said showed that i was getting old! at my request, we went to starbucks because i love it so much. we walked along the quai of the seine, looking at books and prints of ancient maps, then flanéed over to rive gauche to visit the jardin de luxembourg. we visit there often because it seems as though it has never changed in 100 years. there we sat and talked about our families. his great-uncle was involved with the colonozation of laos and vietnam, and his grandfather lived under vichy during the occupation of WWII. he said they found a pistol in his belongings when he died, and i like to imagine that he was part of the french resistance. then we walked down rue montparnasse until we stumbled upon the carrefour where le dome, la rotunde, and le coupole all sit. i hadn’t seen them before. each of these cafés are mentioned in books by ernest hemingway and henry miller, two of my favorite writers. we were thirsty, so we sat down at the terrasse of la rotunde and ordered diabolos which are basically shirly temples, limonade and grenadine. i explained the history of these cafés to my boyfriend; that during the 20’s and 30’s they were the hip places to be, especially for expats and writers. there was a kiosque in front of us, so gui told me i could buy a magazine. i naturally chose a wedding issue because i’m an events florist by trade. as i was flipping through the pages, guillaume put a box in front of me and said, this is serious. when i opened it, there was a band of pink diamonds set in rose gold. is this a proposal, i asked. he nodded and i said, oui. it was hard to top that, but we had dinner at a mexican restaurant because it’s still my favorite food, even after living in france for eight months. so, in january i will become madame brondy. i am marrying an intelligent historian who loves rock and roll, books, and me. i had to fly halfway around the world to find the perfect mate. but now that i’m here, i will never leave his side.