Dépaysement

(On Coming Home)

The French have words for everything. That’s why we use so many of theirs. The disorientation of feeling out of place (“a change of scene”) is captured in the word dépaysement. De-homing.

Six months later, and the scene has changed again. Re-paysement. Coming home. A homecoming.

The more I look, the more I I see a bit of home everywhere — or maybe that’s what home is. Little pieces of everywhere you’ve been.

Leaving Paris, I wasn’t sure what I would be coming home to. It was hard to live in a grieving city and even harder to be leaving so shortly. I was coming home but as the cliché (see, the French have words for everything) goes, I was not the same. The scene has changed, but the views are the same.

Notre Dame peaks out from the Right Bank on a cloudy day in Paris, June 2015.
Gasson Tower peaks out from the tree-line on an unseasonably warm day in February.
A view of Notre Dame from the top floor of the Musée Picasso in Paris.
Gasson Tower as seen through the stairwell windows of Fulton Hall.
Montparnasse disappears into the sky as skaters skate by on the Eiffel Tower.
Boston College students head to class on Monday morning in Stokes Hall.
Sainte-Chapelle in Paris is known for its brightly colored stained glass windows.
Light filtered through stain glass windows in Bapst Library creates a studious environment for Boston College students.
Graffiti found on Montmartre: “Where the Oligarchs come grease the political whores”
Scribbles on love found inside a cubicle desk on the fourth floor of O’Neill library.
The ornate main building of La Sorbonne stands out against a cloudy Parisian sky.
The Golden Eagle glimmers in the early morning sunlight in front of Gasson Hall.
Mourners of the November 13th terrorist attacks leave candles and flowers at the Place de la République in the 11th, near the attacks.
Student organization posters litter the walls of the O’Neill Library stairwell.
La Place de la République, one month after the November 13th attacks in Paris.
This statue of St. Ignatius towers over the quad of Boston College.