2017


I'm not in Paris anymore. I don't know if that was clear. I'm getting divorced and therefore need to be in the US six months, specifically Cleveland, which I once left with no intention of ever coming back. I haven't been writing because it's not something I really want to talk about and also because I literally can't. Where once there was an unpredictable mind palace now rests the ashes of my already middling creativity, ignited into a desolate, airless void, shuttered and boarded up, with no signs of visible life, not unlike the Burning River itself. I can't even muster up the words to reply to emails or comments anymore, I'm painfully uninspired. Even the mindnumbingly boring daily commute from leafy Invalides to Quai des Grands Augustins everyday- down Rue de Babylone, past Le Bon Marché, Square Boucicaut, and that café that charges 17 euro for Orangina- seems positively stimulating now. I miss the man living outside Jardin Catherine Laboure who threw beer cans at me when I gave him Ticket Resto. I miss sitting on the balcony with my cats, casually conversing with ravers hanging out the window across the street; walking from Barbes to Grand Train or Maison Bon for cookies; wheeling my wicker cart around Pigalle, filling it up with packageless produce from Causses; and sneaking into apartment buildings just to take pictures of the courtyards. It feels weird telling my friends, "I'll be there in ten minutes, I'm leaving my place now," and actually showing up on time, as promised, when at home I couldn't make it down Avenue Trudaine without being roped into at least three pleasant conversations with neighbors. I never realized how attached I was to Paris. I routinely rag on self proclaimed francophiles, deriding that subset of books instructing hapless Americans on dressing / dieting like the French (especially How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, which reads like the family from Mulan- not the grandmother- wrote it to teach her how best to catch a man. I only lived in France a few years, but I'm pretty sure most Parisiennes lives don't revolve around men and clothes). But I loved that city more than I ever, or probably will ever, love any guy, which is the truest and simplest explanation for my failed relationship. I understand what Rihanna meant when she said she found love in a hopeless place, minus the love part- emphasis on "hopeless" and "place."


So here's what I've been up to lately: missing Paris, daydreaming, getting fat, forgetting what little French I knew, wishing I was dead, thinking about nothing, wondering why I was born in Cleveland, bitterly contemplating how much my life failures mirror Rory's in Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. I'm not looking for sympathy. People in Cleveland treat me like gold, even kids I went to school with who should probably hate me since I used to charge money to sit at my lunch table. For one thing, a three in Paris is a ten in Cleveland. I pay for nothing. When I walk down the aisles of the grocery store, other shoppers move out of my path and apologize. Not a day goes by without someone telling me I'm skinny- context is key, I guess. Thrift stores here are full of treasures like Reformation tops, black wool Louis Vuitton pants, cropped merino turtlenecks, and patent Stuart Weitzman ankle boots, all of which I added to the nucleus of my minimalist wardrobe. Against the somberness of these new-to-me pieces, I finally realized how ridiculous it was for me to think I could wear anything that wasn't neutral or Dior, so I sold my purple Kate Spade coat and claimed a navy cashmere Brooks Brothers boys' coat (which my mom thrifted and my brother outgrew years ago) as my own. Now my wardrobe reflects the darkness of my current mood. I like to think of it this way: my clothing says, yes, I've cried into a donut recently, and I'm technically a mole person, but I'm a mole person who wears Louis Vuitton and was a delegate at Asia's first ever zero waste event last year. 


I hope this unceasing malaise will subside once I stop being so self centered and remember how privileged I am and how many people face bigger and more serious problems through no fault of their own (see climate refugees, fast fashion factory workers). Barring that, maple sugaring season starts up again in February. Nothing cheers me up more than using fuel efficient reverse osmosis to process fresh syrup. Since leaving Paris, I traveled to China, Istanbul, Portugal, London, Marrakech, Toronto, Boston, and Arizona, consulting on sustainability and permaculture projects, visiting zero waste sites, and generally trying to figure out who I am apart from my husband. The highlight was Paolo Soleri's Arcosanti, a failed sustainable community of the future, which one Instagram user aptly described as "Beautiful and deeply unsettling, like Kourtney Kardashian's birth video." I loved the friendly people, cypress trees (non native, but whatever), and upcycled hippie meets hipster vibe. Resident cats let themselves into my room in the Sky Suite every night- a huge comfort- and the vegan food in the cafeteria was delicious. They are close to zero waste in that they compost or recycle everything, provide only reusables, and hope to be completely solar powered and self sufficient in the near future- right now they are at about 10% renewable energy. Set on a nature preserve designed to fight urban sprawl with minimal land impact, it was not uncommon to see ringtails or javelinas on the trails, zipping around cactus-chewing cows. Hiking the Grand Canyon, discovering Sedona's red rocks, and driving through various microclimates to Biosphere 2, Flagstaff, and Native American reservations (I rented an electric car- Arizona has so many charging stations!) made me realize what a varied and ecologically captivating country the United States is, something I took for granted when I lived here. Standing at the edge of the South Rim with my mason jar in hand, drinking in sweeping vistas and snowy mesas, I hadn't felt so proud to be from America since ABC made The Bachelor available On Demand. I'm also working with a professor from my alma mater at an assisted living facility (the residents play with my hair constantly; I find it soothing), and volunteering on a community program for underprivileged children from the projects, in the hopes that staying busy and productive will keep me from spiraling wildly out of control. I'm supposed to go to London, New York, Singapore, and Indonesia again for (sustainability related) work this year too so I'm paying a carbon tax to offset my deepseated environmental guilt.

     

One thing keeping me afloat, providing continuity and beauty in an otherwise soulcrushing period (apart from loving, supportive family and friends), is zero waste. For me, zero waste symbolizes freedom. It helped me gain independence from corporations and marketers telling me what to do or how I should live, it helped me adjust to a new country and a new language, and I hope it will help during this transition. Especially now that I have no money, it's been crucial- not buying a lot, shopping secondhand, eating unprocessed plant based foods, and utilizing reusables / water only / bulk soaps and oils instead of having to buy paper towels, plastic wrap, packaged meals, or tons of beauty products allows me to maintain a high quality of life without blowing my drastically reduced budget. It gives a quiet sense of satisfaction to clean without the use of expensive industrial chemicals, or float from place to place with minimal physical baggage, even when toxic emotional burdens seem overwhelming at times. The next few months will be so complicated, making the simplicity that comes from living zero waste even more critical. I like having less to worry about. There's something meditative about pouring dry ingredients into mason jars, baking vegan from scratch, or handwashing clothes as I wear them, like my grandmothers did nightly (I now handwash and airdry almost exclusively. If you are a childless person who doesn't have enough time to do laundry every day, try deleting Pinterest or Facebook from your phone and I guarantee you will find the time. Interestingly, experts say we now have less leisure time than ever, despite the proliferation of convenience products entombed in non biodegradable plastics). 


I originally thought I would go back to Paris as soon as these six months are over. It's my home, and I feel I belong more there than I do in Cleveland, which always sort of made me feel like a factory farmed fish. But Cleveland is kind of like quicksand. Stay there too long, and a high tide can sweep over and you'll be stuck. Maybe the close proximity to my family, or ready access to cheap vegan and gluten free pizza, will keep me here indefinitely. Next time you hear from me, I might be driving a minivan, brandishing a Costco card from a (secondhand) Coach keyring. Who knows. For now, I will take things one day at a time, clutching my mason jar, cloth napkins, netted produce bags and EcoLunchbox with the implacable attachment Linus had for his blanket. I don't have control over much right now- not my circumstances, nor climate change- so these little steps, the last things tying me to my old life in Paris, are the first glimmers of hope I have for a fresh start. 


Paris to Go

83 comments:

  1. I've been missing your posts and was wondering where you were...thank you for being vulnerable and sharing. It must be an incredibly difficult time right now, but the conviction that you have for zero-waste, and how you expressed it as an anchor is inspiring.

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  2. Dear Ariana, I've been missing your posts too... you are always so inspiring me, thank you for your great openness ... I am sorry for you and your divorce and the overall Situation but you are an open minded woman who will always get up once more :)

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  3. I've also been missing your posts. Thank you for sharing and being so open. I always love your endearing self deprecation.

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  4. Je vous lis régulièrement de... Paris ! Et je vous souhaite beaucoup de courage et détermination dans cette période de transition...
    Samantha

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  5. This is GalyaB from my friend's account, since my laptop is stuck in repair shop :)

    The six months will fly quicker than it looks from today's spot.
    You add so much value to so many people's lives - I'm sure you'll be back in your happy place soon, no matter what city you end up at.
    You are a life-changer and an inspiration for so many of us!
    I'd pay to sit down and lunch with you, LOL :)

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  6. My heart goes out to you during this dark time in your life. Rest, restore, reflect. We'll be here when you're ready. And we know that the next chapter of your life is going to be beautiful, like the life you've been creating and sharing with us. We're here when you're ready. Thank you for all that you do!

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  7. Just yesterday night I wondered about what is going on with your life, now I know and I'm not sure what to think or say. I'm wishing you courage and strength to tackle the next months. And I hope that you will be in a happy place once all the stress is over.

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  8. So glad to be able to read you again. And your creativity didn't go anywhere, as evidenced by this post. It may feel dead to you or out of reach, but that's a feeling. I don't think you actually could extinguish it.

    So much for you to grieve right now, I can't imagine. Your cats too?

    You won't be stuck in Cleveland forever. Your love for Paris and the world will have you back in it whe. You are ready.

    Thank you for sharing the luscious photos and writing with us. Such a juxtaposition with how you must actually feel.

    You can do this.

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  9. I'm so sorry. Your humor and convictions and intelligence shine through, even during your most difficult time. Wishing you peace in the new year.

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  10. Wishing you all the best for 2017, despite the difficult circumstances. I hope you're as gentle to yourself as you are to the earth, and give yourself the compassion and care you've shared so deeply. Blessings.

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  11. Thank you all so much, you are such a loving and supportive community, I feel so bad for not replying to comments or emails lately, I'm shocked you were thinking of me! What considerate and kind people you are, it's such a comfort right now. Thank you <3

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  12. I am sorry about what has been happening. I had missed your writing, thank you for sharing.

    Wishing you the best!

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  13. Ouch. Sorry life has walloped you with this - and that you're stuck processing in the Cleve. Although The Root's vegetarian/vegan brunch could help soothe your soul. I ate there back in the summer and it's one of the best. And there's something to be said for having family nearby when you're feeling down.

    I am also envious of your thrift store finds. Down here in Columbus, I can't seem to find anything but Coach and loads of J. Crew.

    Lastly, have you thought about writing a book? You have a great sense of humor and a unique voice. I could see you doing well capitalizing on marketing zero waste as part of current minimalism/Marie Kondo trend and of course, the ever-present "be like a French girl" books that come out every year. As someone who always ends up buying allllll those Parisian books (what can I say, I'm basic), and really loved Marie Kondo, I know I'd buy a zero waste book written in your style. Amusing and helpful for those of us living in the burbs and buying everything wrapped in plastic from Trader Joe's.

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  14. Oh my, 2016 was just a Godzilla of a year... Thank you for this bittersweet, hilarious, honest post. The state of your personal life may be no one on the internet's business, but as a reader it is always a comfort to bear witness to these imperfect, human circumstances as well as all the amazing, inspiring, occasionally enviable ones. I love that you're taking time to explore yourself, and I can't wait to follow your zero-waste journey through Cleveland, back to Paris one day, or anyplace in between. Thank you for continuing to inspire. Xxx

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  15. Blessings to you. You're doing all the right things, but I know it's still really hard. It's kind of you to touch base with your readers (and show us such gorgeous photos).
    After my divorce, I moved into a house that turned out to be infested with the previous occupants' dogs' fleas. It was a minor nightmare, but helpfully distracting from the grief, etc., and in retrospect the absurdity seems like a useful metaphor for...something. Your speaking about Cleveland, glimpsing the irony, sounds so French to me; they are a people with a keen eye for and appreciation of the absurd, maybe partly for the comfort it offers.

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  16. Ariana,

    I have checked your site everyday in anticipation of a new post. I have learned so much from you and made so many life changes based on your example, wonderful humor, and insight. You are making a difference in this world. Although this is a difficult time, life has many joys ahead for you! You are a Phoenix who will rise from the ashes.

    Take care of yourself my friend.

    Ariel

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  17. I would pay to sit down and eat lunch with you, too. A possible revenue source? Kidding! (sort of). I have never commented here before, but Ariana, you are hands down my favorite blogger. I echo the sentiment that I would read a book written by you. You could self-publish a quick 25 to 50 page piece, and I'm sure your loyal followers would buy and read it immediately. I am a self-published author and could recommend a great editor and person to help compile it in Kindle format, if that is ever of interest to you.

    I love what you say about the ache of missing a place. I think most of us underestimate that. Really and truly my place, my routines, how I live my day-to-day (what you say about filling your jars, etc.), the cashiers at my bulk stores, are the true pleasures of life. There is no shame in loving a place deeply.

    I'm sorry for your divorce and having to eat crow about being back in Cleveland. Thank you for being so open, honest and brave about it. It drives me crazy when people act immune to life and like bad things do not happen to them. I am also wondering about your cats.

    Sending you warm juju wishes and all the very best in your healing at this time. xo

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  18. Thank you for being honest with us readers and for sharing your story as difficult as it might be. Best wishes for 2017 and I hope things get better for you!

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  19. Praying peace and comfort for your heart!!!! May you feel the warmth of the sun on your face and be reminded that you are not alone!!!

    Thank you for your lovely blog!

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  20. Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing your thoughts and discoveries. I have gained so much from your postings over the years. I'm fully confident that you'll soon slip out from under that murky cloud and be rejoicing once again in full bright sunlight.

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  21. Ariana, I hope you find peace. I love your posts and you are an inspiration, thank you for sharing your feelings.

    Yara

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  22. I am so sorry! Take good care of yourself...
    And I could'nt agree more on the independance from corporations thing: I feel now that it's really about empowerment.
    I really hope you'll get better and come back.

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  23. I'm sorry to hear you are going through such a tough time. Thank you for sharing.

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  24. Hugs to you. Just because a divorce isn't the worst problem a human can have, doesn't make it less heartbreaking.

    Also i thought of you when I bought my first Savon De Marseille to handwash my dishes with. It works really well, and funnily I still think of this blog when i use it.

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  25. I'm so very sorry about your experiences. The thoughtfulness and wry observations in your beautiful account are very powerful, and I am grateful you chose to share them with us despite the fact we have to no right to be privy to your personal struggles. I especially identified with your thoughts on zero waste as a form of freedom and independence from corporations. I have been thinking along very similar lines lately and have frequently consulted your blog archives for zero waste inspiration and ideas. Like many of the others commented, I would eagerly read a book by you. Please know that there are many thinking about you and sending support as you move forward on your private journey, and that your work and writing is helping so many transition to a more sustainable and responsible existence. I am so very, very sorry.

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  26. Dear Ariana,
    This is the most inspiring post I have read from you. And I've read your blog for over a year now, contemplating everything zero waste based off your example, and minimizing my household and plastics and wardrobe so I could live a little bit more like you! I was divorced young (I'm 28 now) and the world crashing down on you and yet every road blazing wide open is a feeling I knew well. I'm so sorry for the marriage you had to say goodbye to. It can never be substituted, but it can absolutely give way to something better. I hope all the best for you in 2017 and beyond, and I will be excited especially when you feel like writing again. You are a fantastic writer, a unique being. Thank you for choosing to be vulnerable with us, it is a blessing to me.

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  27. I got the sense that something was going on, thank you for sharing so beautifully. Keep your head up! Looking forward to hearing from you, wherever your adventures take you.

    Cheers,
    Andrea

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  28. I've been checking your blog regularly and missing your posts dearly, and I'm so sorry to hear you're going through so much. It seems 2016 didn't spare anyone of its wrath. I have such hope, though, that good things are on the horizon for you. You certainly haven't lost your wit. Please do take care of yourself. You inspire a lot of people with your writing, and I am one of them.

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  29. Ariana, I wish I can give you a hug right now and feed you some homecooked comfort food.

    You didn't ask for advice but I simply cannot help it so forgive me please. Do what your heart desires, stay active physically, talk as much or as little as you wish with perhaps a counselor (sometimes, strangers are easier to open up to than anyone), and know that this time shall pass. It's trite but that's because it is true. Think back on all the obstacles you overcame in the past and how they have positively shaped your life. Not wishing to be flippant or callous about your current pains Ariana, but you see, ten years from now, you might just recognize this phase of your life as a blessing in disguise.

    There was an excruciatingly painful period for me in 2016 (miscarriage) and my wise husband reminded me the previous statement. Sending you much courage, optimism and many small, and big reasons to smile in 2017. -Natalie

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  30. Oh dear. Like everyone above, I definitely noticed your absence and wondered how you were. Having gone through a really painful breakup three years ago (while suffering three months of pneumonia, a benign breast lump, and completing a M.S.) let me just say... I sort of worried you were experiencing a big unpleasant life change. All I can say is, the other commenters are right. You touch more people than you know and have more going on than you give yourself credit for. I'd read a book by you for sure. And, if you really do know about maple syrup, there's a bizarrely coincidental writing project you might be able to help me with (if you have the time to collaborate with a fellow mole-person).

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  31. This is by far your best post.

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  32. Sending lots of love your way. I truly look forward to your posts. You are talented, funny, clever, and inspirational. Cleveland is lucky while it has you ;)

    Most Sincerely,
    Cristin

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  33. You know...reading this confirmed my belief that something is in the fucking water. I don't have much to offer but a (not well founded) assurance that things will get better eventually. Thank you for sharing yourself with the internet and I hope you get back to Paris sooner than you plan to.

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  34. Dear Ariana, I too am one of those people who checked every day for any updates on your blog as you are by far my ultimate favourite...��. I'm so very sorry to hear about your situation and shocked to be honest....as I thought you were on holidays over Xmas with the family...

    Thankyou for your courage and strength of character in speaking about such an intimate and personal ordeal...and very hard to talk about when you feel as though you've been kicked in the guts and want to curl up under a rock.....

    when you feel there is no certainty..all you can do is keep busy Doing what you do best and take each day at a time. You are constantly evolving and such in inspiration to so many of us and are truly making a difference in this world...

    BIG HUGS to you my friend during this emotional period....and just for the record I'd be honoured to pay to sit at your lunch table any day of the week xx ��

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  35. Your words are lovely to read, even though you say you are having a hard time writing... wow you blew me away. I just found your blog a few months ago while looking for water only hair washing, and your concept of no-waste was so fascinating, I RSSed your blog. I will continue to be a follower, thank you for sharing your last few months with us. I am going to try to visit Arcosanti, I had never heard of it before but it's too breathtaking and the concept is so optimistic, I just have to make it there. --Annie in Texas

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  36. Hi Ariana,
    Discovered your blog a few months ago and have been enjoying your posts. Thank you for letting all of us see how you've evolved since you started your site-- it's inspiring! It sounds like you're going though a lot right now and your soul, brain and heart are telling you that you need some space, so honor that need! I've found that sometimes, when we let go of things/assumptions/rules we've been living with, new opportunities present themself and you realize that maybe you want different things than you used to. You'll come out of this with even more insight on who you are (becoming) and who you want to be. New opportunities already seem to be presenting themselves (quelle surprise!) and even brighter things lie ahead. i promise. :)
    Linda

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  37. Hi Ariana, I've been following your blog for a little over a year now and I've missed your posts recently as well. So sorry to hear about the cause. I'm adding my voice to those wishing you positive vibes onwards. Thank you for doing what you do (ugh I usually hate that phrase) with this blog, I've learned so much and am more conscious about my lifestyle choices and focusing on more baby steps for this year :) I too would be interested in a book!
    -natasha

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  38. Ariana,

    You are one of the most badass people I know. If anyone can do it, its you. You have paved out a unique life for yourself. And made home in Paris. Perhaps its time for more adventures and you will one day be ready.

    Thank you for sharing.

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  39. I never comment on blogs, but after reading yours for a year now I wanted to say I wish you the best in this rough time. While I've given up on most blogs, you continue to have one of the most compelling voices out there with your honesty, passion, snark and style of course. Your flavor of zero-waste is by far the most inspiring, making me question my consumption habits (heck, life decision) sitting here in the rust belt. Thank you for opening up, and in your dark time just know you are positively affecting more people than you know. While I got sucked in the quicksand that is the midwest, whatever you end up doing I'm sure it continue to make the rest of us think a little differently (and for the better!)

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  40. Imhave been reading your posts for a long time now, and regularly have been checking back and wondering about you. I'm sorry about your divorce. Change is always hard, but you'll eventually settle into a new life, and having read about your life so far, I'm pretty sure it will be the way you desire (Paris or else).
    Happy New Year!
    ltg

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  41. Dear Ariana, I'm not good at finding adequate words, not like you. But I do so want you to know that I think of you. You rock, you have humour, and you have the ability to create beauty from a painfull situation. You are the most kind person to this world, if you give yourself this same kindness and time to heal, this universe will have great things for you in store. PS: I'm moving to nyc, so now we are on the same continent again. x x x

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  42. Thinking of you. Wishing you a - despite your situation - wonderful 2017. You are such a wonderful person.

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  43. Dear Ariana, I have been missing your posts. It's like listening to a funny, wise (and better dressed) friend. Thank you for your honesty and for being willing to share it. I'm so sorry. Please know that your voice has been missed. Sending you warm thoughts, inspiration and strength from a regular reader in snowy Switzerland.

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  44. Thank you so much you sweethearts, I am so overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support, you don't know how much you all mean to me! And... I can't share many details because nothing is firm yet but I am supposed to be writing a book right now. I was going to do an ebook but then a book offer came on the table that I couldn't see to completion due to environmental differences with the publisher and now it looks like I have a second shot... as long as I can write it! Thank you all!!!

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  45. Dear Ariana,
    my comment could sounds like a music "repete", but... it does not change the fact that this is true and it comes from my heart.
    I've been following your blog for a more over a year and have been enjoying your posts a lot. When I have discovered your blog I was reading everything you've written there and admired the clarity, conciseness and inspiration of your posts. And after a greedy search of various websites, blogs, books, etc. Your blog belongs to 2-3 blogs which I follow.You helped me to take the zero waste path. Thank you for that.
    I am sorry that you have a painfull and difficult time. But time (as i know from my similar experience) is big healer and "a vanity is a esencial boon of a reality" (P. Chodron)
    Thank you for sharing.
    Wish you good and inspiring year and open horinons!
    -Katerina, from slightly snowy Prague

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  46. Ariana, my heart goes out to you. You have long been my favorite blogger from Asian Lep (I read about you through Connie Wang) to Gryphon. It's been thrilling watching you "grow up," so to speak, online, maturing into a funny, brilliant woman and wife. Stay positive and please don't hesitate to share, your vulnerability and honesty is completely endearing and the world needs more people with the wit and determination you display. Thank you for everything you do for the environment and the zero waste movement. You have a great message: don't give up!

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  47. Ariana, I am so sorry to hear about your difficulties. Like others, I have followed your blog for about a year. When I found it, I was only 6 months in to my new dedication to a zero waste lifestyle. You helped to keep me inspired on this new life ambition. Thank you. As others have said, your pain will ease over time. It may never go away but it becomes a part of you. Some years ago I went through a similar breakup of international proportions. It is not an experience I would wish on anyone, but it has made me stronger and more sure of myself. Take the time you need to heal yourself. You have many loyal readers who will check in on you. We'll still be here when you're ready to post regularly again. Best wishes, hugs, and many positive vibes.

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  48. dear girl, zero waste have kept my head up in the tough times too, and your blog was one of those that inspired me to go on this journey in the first place. this post kind of broke my heart and I have not left any comment before but - I wish you have nice times even in the worst events and am sending you love from Berlin

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  49. Oh dear, I'm so sorry to hear about your divorce. So sorry. Sending you lots of good energy and smiles in this difficult time...
    Domi

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  50. You have such courage, to share all of this. I wish there was something I could say to ease some of your pain. All I can really say is... see it through one day at a time. Take some deep breaths, and enjoy your time in Cleveland with your family. Don't think of Cleveland as punishment or failure, or quicksand. Think of it as a place to lick your wounds, and heal. Maybe it takes six months, maybe it takes a year. Paris isn't going anywhere, it will always be there, waiting for you.

    Let me tell you what my Grandma told me some years ago, when I was considering divorce: "You are young enough, and beautiful enough, for a fresh start". (I was nearly 40 when she told me this). It turned out to be true for me, and it is true for you as well.

    There is this thing that happens, where you get to the other side of the big upheaval, and realize that your life has taken a turn for the wonderful, in a way that could not happen without this dark period. I believe there are some very good things ahead of you. Stay strong, and lots of love to you!

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  51. My heart goes out to you. Keep traveling, keep learning, you're still as talented, funny, awesome as ever :)

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  52. Can't imagine what it took for you to write this post with everything going on...so sorry to hear about your divorce and the upheaval in your life. You obviously have the strength and the intelligence to handle whatever comes your way with humor and grace. I look forward to your posting and your book. :)
    Cherri

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  53. I stumbled on your blog for the second time in a year, and I happen to be in the first phrase of making a real commitment to zero waste. Since I live in Paris, your blog is the #1 resource on the shops I can use. I'm so grateful that you've put all this information out there for folks like me! You are an inspiration! Thank you so much for lighting the way. Warm wishes to you in this dark time.

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  54. It sounds like you are making the best of a bad situation. I am sorry you are going through a tough time right now. I have been following your blog for about 2 years now and have always found your posts really inspiring. I especially enjoy your travel posts, so I was delighted to read about the wonderful places you have visited back in America. I hope you continue to write wherever you are. You have a true talent with words and are an inspiration to many. Take care, Zoe.

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  55. You can definitely write the book. You have wonderful style, excellent writing skills, insight, and knowledge to share with others ~ and you always do so in a great way. You got this. :-)

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  56. I'm a frequent reader - sorry to hear about the rough patch you are going through. A year or two from now you will look back and see that this tough time was the start of another adventure, and that it will have propelled you down a beautiful path that you couldn't have imagined taking. Best wishes!

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  57. Thank you all, what a comfort it is to have you all, I'm sorry I'm still slow replying to emails and comments but I read all of your beautiful words and appreciate every one <3

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  58. Here's a reality check. I'm a native Clevelander. I work, take care of an elderly parent, help keep my kids on track with various life trials, work some more, ride my bike when I can. Boring? No. REAL. Sorry that you feel Cleveland is such a suck-ass place. Sounds like someone describing Cleveland in the 1970's and '80's, when it kind of was a suck-ass place. Some of us love this city and have made it a goal to make it a great place for everyone to live, not just entitled, whiny hipsters. Grow up and get real - life can be harsh, life can be hard, life can throw you some wicked curve balls - and then time moves on and things get better. Your life as you describe it sounds pretty damn good to me - no responsibilities, plenty of travel to cool, exotic places, sipping beverages from your Mason jar at the Grand Canyon - wow. Please have the grace and humility to realize that there are people in the rest of the world - yes, even in Cleveland! - who are dealing with the daily grind of their lives with humor, dignity, courage and perseverance. I hope that, when you are a little older and wiser, you will look back on this post and realize how terribly entitled you sounded. Things can and do get better. Such is life. Even in dorky old Cleveland.

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    1. Ariana-

      I hope you're able to skip over this garbage message. I've recently found that about 80 percent of criticism is founded in a personal insecurity. Such criticisms are easily identifiable when they come completely unwarranted. I hope that, when this critic is a little more content with their stressful life (you described a very busy life), they'll look back on this post and realize how Ariana was simply lamenting over a love lost.

      Ariana, your readers are grateful for all of the posts and knowledge you have brought us. Let us know if you ever need our help. Good luck to you.

      -OS

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    2. Where is this description of Cleveland as a suck-ass place? Are we reading the same post? Ariana, every time I read one of your posts about your hometown, they strike me as loving and self deprecating like the rest of your humor. You made me want to visit Cleveland when I never was interested before, especially with your latest Instagram posts. Thank you for finding and sharing the beauty of your world wherever you are. Your zero waste work, kindness, and selflessness will be a great service to the community and make Cleveland or any city you grace a wonderful place to live. It's people like this anonymous commenter who give your beloved city a bad name!

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    3. I always got the impression you were proud of your Cleveland heritage. Even in glamorous places you never forgot where you came from. As Tamara says, your Instagram captions do attest this!

      Anonymous, perhaps you are not picking up on the subtleties of this writing. I would refer you to this quote: "Best of all, no matter what city I visit, whether it's Shanghai or Tokyo or Istanbul or Muscat, I always find something that reminds me of Cleveland- like flying over Paris at night and seeing the city lights sparkle reminds me of catching fireflies as a kid." Or this post, http://www.paris-to-go.com/2015/10/montreuil.html, or this http://www.paris-to-go.com/2015/10/gluten-free-french-donuts-latelier-des-lilas.html. What about this sounds entitled or privileged? Way to make someone's vulnerability and pain about you.

      We all know blogs don't give us the whole story. Though I like to think I know you, Ariana, I don't pretend that I do, or that I can understand your suffering right now. Just know that we are all rooting for you. Out of 60 comments there is only one naysayer, and we are all here to support and help you in any way we possibly can.

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    4. If you want to talk responsibility, let's talk about how your generation fucked this planet up so badly, our whiny hipster generation is tasked with cleaning up your messes so your children aren't under toxic fracked water in thirty years. We can't even have children of our own because you've already used up the resources needed to sustain new life. That doesn't even matter because things are contaminated to the point that many of us are probably infertile anyway. How's that for a reality check?

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    5. I agree with Anonymous. The state of the world is not good. Sorry to say that the environmental damaged caused by decisions of an older generation is not repairable. Decisions starting during the 1950s, baby boomer generation, has really caused some scary damages to society and the ecology of the world. We live such unsustainable lives and when it's taken away from us (through economical downturns, that occur due to our lifestyle choices!), we blame others. So sad.

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    6. Thank you for defending me! The original commenter actually had impeccable timing because the elderly grandparent I was caring for died the night she left it. I guess I have no responsibilities now then except for the three jobs I work, the family responsibilities I have in France and the US, and trying to make the world a better place to live (which is why I travel for work and sip from a mason jar instead of a plastic bottle at the edge of the Grand Canyon).

      I do love Cleveland. I don't view coming back here as a failure, plenty stay in Cleveland and achieve success. I love being with my family. But I wish the circumstances were different and I think I'm allowed to be sad about leaving Paris and my marriage breaking up.

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    7. I'm kind of confused as to where everyone is assuming the age of the original commentator. Nowhere in the post does she (he? no gender is indicated either) mention their specific age. Maybe taking care of an elderly parent gave this impression, but "elderly" can be a pretty broad term. To me, this comment is what my Yorkshire grandmother called "plain speaking", i.e., what we Americans call tough love or telling it like it is. Because yes, life can be harsh, bad things happen, it seems like it's all falling apart, and then . . .it isn't. Time passes, we move on, we gain perspective. This just takes time, but it does happen and we then gain a better understanding of what happened and why. And please, please stop blaming the mythical previous generation for all the ills of the world. That sounds like the hippies blaming The Man for everything that went wrong in the '60's (and then the hippies became The Man. Sigh.) These ills have been with us since the beginning and they will be with us until the end. It's a little too easy and jejune to blame older generations for problems we all face now (and remember, girls, in forty years your daughters will be blaming you for everything that's wrong in the world!)

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    8. These environmental ills haven't been with us since the beginning. For centuries, atmospheric carbon dioxide had never been over 300 ppm. Now it's over 380. The current environmental problems are human induced and proceeding at a rate unprecedented in the past 1300 years.

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  59. Such a well written piece Ariana , thank you for granting us an insight to your vulnerability and the emotional power of the zero waste lifestyle. I wish you all the best with this phase of rediscovery. You have been a wonderful inspiration to me, and have helped me to navigate zero waste Paris/ the Netherlands. I wish you well.

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  60. I'm really sorry to hear you're going through such a tough time. You come across as a brave, strong young woman, though, and I'm sure you will find a way to get through it. Best wishes for that!
    I just wanted to say that your blog has really influenced my life. Since stumbling across it a year or so ago, I've read every post and have made lots of little changes to my life because of it. I no longer buy stuff in packaging, and instead visit my local co-op fruit and vegetable store where everything is sold in bulk with no packaging. I no longer use shampoo or conditioner, and when I look around my bathroom, I love the lack of things in it. Just plain savon de marseille, a face cloth and a razor. Ah, the simple things! I've sold or donated about 50% of my belongings, and I try to buy whatever I need secondhand now. All of my toddler's Christmas presents were secondhand, and he just loves them and wouldn't know any different.
    Anyway, I just wanted to mention that to let you know how much your readers appreciate what you do. :-)

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  61. Sorry to hear about your breakup Ariana. I hope things work out wherever you end up longer-term (and I wouldn't mind a blog about Cleveland. It is your writing and perspective that makes your blog interesting and fun!)

    I love your writing and I am glad it sounds like you are going to get the opportunity to touch a wider audience. I hope some more wonderful doors open for you in 2017, even though one is painfully closing.

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  62. Thank you, I appreciate everything you tell me and how much you care and I love hearing about these changes, like buying secondhand :)

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  63. Ariana, I haven't commented before but have been reading your blog on and off for a while now and I love your sense of humour (sometimes lacking in the zero waste word), style and writing. Hope you get through this tough time and take comfort from how many readers you have rooting for you from all over the world.

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  64. Bonjour Ariana, je ne lis ton article que maintenant et l'annonce de tous ces changements dans ta vie m'a fait l'effet d'une bombe ! Je suis sincèrement peinée et te souhaite de rebondir au plus vite. Ces moments de transition sont tellement difficiles, mais on arrive toujours à se reconstruire une vie, et tu es de ces personnes qui sauront s'en bâtir une chouette ! Toutes mes pensées pour toi.

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  65. I, too, have been missing your posts! Keep your head high! There is a crowd out there who loves what you do - probably you can find some comfort in that for now. All the very best to you!

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  66. Don't worry baby roberts, you can still stay at my appartment in Segur/Cambronne and I will feed you if you have no money. You will play chopin on my piano and I'll teach you French.

    Roman

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    1. Cimer mais en fait je suis une maîtrise de verlan :)

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    2. "maîtresse" or "maître" not "maîtrise" Lorelei

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  67. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  68. Unfortunate autocorrect. I am lourdingue

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  69. I have read this post multiple times. I appreciate how genuine you are. You have alway inspired me and I hope things start to look up for you soon. Sending lots of love your way.

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  70. Anyone from Cleveland – I wouldn’t get too offended by her posts about Cleveland. She’s not actually from Cleveland. She was born and raised in the suburbs. That’s why her posts about life in Cleveland aren't accurate but reflects the perspective of a suburban upbringing. Plus she’s always had delusional ideas of grandiose so I’m sure she does believe people move out of the way for her and put out the red carpet. She’s quite the Kardashian. I’m thinking you’re more American than French actually. Hahaha.

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    1. Pretty ugly, anon. Why go out of your way to shit on someone?

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