Greetings, from the Psychedelic Party Tunnel in Detroit!

None of these pictures were taken by me. I was too busy enjoying the JUNGLE MUSIC and the CANDY COLORS.

If you've ever been to the Detroit Metro Airport, you already know about the Psychedelic Party Tunnel. If you haven't, the only thing you need to know is that the Psychedelic Party Tunnel is THE GREATEST TUNNEL OF ALL TIME.

Seven hundred feet of strange music synchronized to sweeping color. Traveling on its moving walkways is something akin to accepting a boat ride from Willy Wonka.

It is more than enough to distract oneself from that whole Nigerian terrorist thing.

So here I am. In Detroit. With an eight hour layover. Doo dee doo.

Oh, by the way?


I'm renting a (teeny tiny) apartment on the Île Saint-Louis, one of two natural islands in the center of Paris. (The other is the Île de la Cité, home of my favorite Famous French Thing, Notre-Dame). Here's a description from About.com, because I'm too lazy to think of a better one:

"This small island is like an oasis from the rush of the city. It's almost as if someone dropped a small French village into the center of Paris, as it features markets, bakeries, fromageries and cafés. While much of Paris has modernized over the years, the ile remains romantically frozen in the 17th century."

Charming, non?

And I'll be living there for the ENTIRE MONTH of January.

Me. In Paris! Staying here:

Pictures of my new apartment are larger than real life.

After spending the last few years reading book after book on the subject, it's difficult to believe I'll actually BE there. Tomorrow. I'll walk where my characters walk, eat what they eat, see what they see.

I'm choking up — in this very public airport — just thinking about it.

My sister has graciously offered to accompany me the first week. This is because I am, in short, a Giant Weenie. And my sister is brave. So when I'm too terrified to leave the apartment in fear of offending someone with my heinous American ways (even when I know better than to think that!), my sister will kick my butt out the door. And when I'm too scared to say something in fear of butchering their beautiful language, my sister can botch the words for me. Ha!*

[NOTE TO MY SISTER: You did agree to this, right? Right??]

The second week, I'll be solo. Which will be . . . good for me. And the third and fourth weeks, my husband will be there.



I'm going to Paris.

Weird, huh? I mean, it's not weird. It's perfectly natural. People go to Paris all the time. But . . . it still feels weird. France means something different to me. The only thing I can compare it to is if C.S. Lewis got to vacation in Narnia. Even though Paris is a real, tangible place — one I've even been to, albeit years ago — it doesn't feel that way anymore. I've created something there. I have inserted false memories into its monuments, restaurants, and parks.

And I'm about to see those places.


If all goes according to plan, I'll be blogging and tweeting my adventures. Expect tales of pastries, cemeteries, and Famous Stuff! I will try my best to be brave for you.** Please send happy, warm, fuzzy thoughts my way.***

And HAPPY NEW YEAR! Feel free to leave bogus resolutions in my comments.


* The handful of people who have already read
Anna will recognize something in this paragraph. Yeah. Those first few chapters? The similarities are most certainly intentional.

** Seriously, you guys. I am really nervous. Did you know they speak FRENCH in France? Did you know that I do NOT speak French?

*** I mean, it's awesome, right? The going to France thing? So why can't I breathe? Should I take another ride in the Psychedelic Party Tunnel? When is my sister getting here?? WHEN DOES SHE ARRIVE???


  1. What a wonderful way to start the new year.


    I hope is it everything you dreamed it would be. I think that the little island thing (yes, I sound so continental, non?) would be awesome. I often think I was meant to live in a French village with a market, bakery and cheese store within walking distance....sigh.

    Blog lots! (I can't get a hang of the whole twitter thing...difficult to manage tweets and tell stories all day long.)

    Have a great time!


  2. Yay! France! You can do it—the French are your kind of people. You know that. Enjoy every minute.

    Also, I really wish I was your sister so I could go to France with you.

  3. So exctiing!!! Can't wait to hear more and see pics:-) Have a fabulous time and Happy New Year!!

  4. This is amazing news! I am so excited for you I can't stand it and will be watching your tweets with baited breath!

  5. You're a braver lass than me!
    That said, i once spent a week in Italy and Austria only speaking french and english and i did OK so i'm sure you will too!
    I've never gone anywhere for a whole month - how exciting!

  6. That is the most awesome thing ever! You have totally inspired me to make visiting Europe (I want to stay in Amsterdam for a while.) one of my goals for the year.

    Also, you're like 2.5 hours away from me right now in Detroit. So jealous you're in the airport about to go somewhere amazing while I'm staring out at the snow.

    Have an AWESOME time in Paris, and don't let those French people scare you into hiding out in your apartment!

  7. Oh wow, that sounds completely amazing. Jealous! Have a wonderful, fantastic, brilliant time :)

  8. I think you should have brought your parents along for "protection" as well as bag toting!

  9. The place you are staying looks and sounds beautiful! I went when I was You are going to have so much fun!

    I was there briefly, as a teenager, and I remember wishing I could spend weeks and pursue my own agenda.

  10. You better blog a lot because I don't want to miss anything! Happy New Year, enjoy your paradise!

  11. First of all, I am totally envious of you!!!

    (What I really mean is: How exciting for you!!!) : )

    I hope your trip is wonderful and inspiring! You are so lucky! You will be wandering about a beautiful, historic, and magical city for the next month, while I'll be stuck here, in Texas, blah, blah, blah.

    Would it be too weird if I just showed up at your new, lovely, apartment for a quick visit? I swear I won't take up any space. I'll even sleep standing up! I promise.

    Well, I'll let you think about it and get back to me on that.

    Lastly, those macarons look AMAZING! Hope you have a fun and safe trip.

    I'll be waiting by the phone, or blog to hear back from you!!! *smiles*


  12. omigosh! OMIGOSH!!!! That is SO freaking exciting!!!!! WOW!!!!!

  13. steeeeephanieeeee!! i'm so excited for you!! you will have THE best time. we were just talking about your trip today and wondering when you were leaving. and, wow, you left today!! take lots of photos and bring them to the next stitchnbitch!! HAVE FUN!!! :)
    p.s. an island? it all sounds perfect! i'll have to look this up online! and i love your apartment!

  14. I'm so excited for you! PleasePleasePlease take pictures- beyond the point of being obnoxious. Seriously. Have fun, drink espresso, and don't forget to have the time of your life!

  15. Wow-a month in Paris-what a cool way to start the new year! I wish I could do that. And your apartment looks adorable. Have fun!

  16. What fun! I wish I could be there with you. If you have any questions or worries don't hesitate to ask me. I lived in France for a year and am fluent in the lingo. I only did about 1 1/2 weeks in Paris, but I do have some recommendations for a few things, if you're looking for them.

    One thing you have to look for is a vendor for "nems" or "rouleaux de printemps" at an open air market. They are Vietnamese eggrolls/spring rolls. The French version is to die for. I miss them more than any other food there, even the pastries. They don't make them the same here even in a Vietnamese restaurant. France has some of the best Vietnamese food in the world. The same goes for Moroccan. (If you didn't already know.)

    Give Paris a big "Bonjour" from me.

  17. I just can't stop looking at those macarons..the venezuelan chocolate ones look especially nummy, so please nom one for me while you're there.

    My resolutions (the real ones anyway) are to start a blog (done! w00t!) and to finish WIP.

    My bogus ones include fighting off the oncoming zombie apocalypse and winning the lottery.

  18. I flew through Detroit on my way to Europe, too, and no one told me about the party tunnel. How exciting-a whole month in Paris?! I am looking forward to your posts from France. And you will totally know French by the end of your trip.

  19. Anonymous5:19 PM GMT-5

    I'm so proud of you!

  20. I can't wait to hear all about your adventures in Paris! I've always wanted to dine in the Eiffel Tower (I love touristy stuff), but then I found out it is très cher, so whenever I do eventually go, I probably won't be dining there. :-) Have fun!

  21. Detroit metro is my home airport and I never knew a thing about the psychedelic party tunnel. Where at metro airport can I find this party tunnel?