This year, we have a bit more leeway. Miss Em will, I hope, be able to rendezvous with us in Paris. Our tiny apartment sleeps three. She will probably give us some things to bring back. We will bring her some make-up requested by her friends. It is a testament to...well, something..that her friends want makeup by ELF, Wet n Wild, and NYC, all extremely inexpensive drugstore brands. Everything on their wish lists came to under $30.
Still, even though I know we can bring back a few things, I am ambivalent. Europe is not the shopper's paradise for Americans that it used to be. No need to lug home a Le Creuset pot. It costs the same in the USA. (I already own several Le Creuset pots). Besides, after about a week of post-grade-turn-in going through my stuff, I am, as always appalled by the accumulation. I am, perhaps foolishly, going in reverse of the famous Konmari method: I am putting things away before embarking on a declutter.
So here's my list. It is as humble in its way as the make-up list. I am lucky that it is humble by choice; Miss Em's Serbian friends crave consumer goods that are simply unavailable to them.
1. Frugal Son likes little notebooks. Where better to get some than in Europe where the pages are graph paper? My plan is to get some at Muji while Mr FS is waiting on line for the famous falafels at L'As du Fallafel in the Marais.
2. To improve my French, which has been on the wane since I left the wonderful M. Giordano and M. Moore (how did these two non-native speakers leave me with an accent that has been complimented over the years? Merci, fellas), I peruse the Monoprix site. Now whenever I actually go to Monoprix I find myself quite underwhelmed by the quality, so I usually don't buy much of anything there. Mr FS buys food in the basement while I look around upstairs.
Two items are on my radar. Five years ago, I bought a pair of black leggings in the Nantes Monoprix. They have served me well but are starting to get holes. I will wear them on the plane and swap them out for a new pair for 13 euros.
The site also features some black sarouel pants, which to my eye look quite a bit like the famous Eileen Fisher slouchy pants that I am too cheap to buy. They are about 20 euros.
Of course, cheapwad that I am, I will test my luck and wait for the sales, which start on.
Why is my list not longer? The most expensive part of the trip is the flight. When we get there, I start plotting our next trip. So I put the stuff I don't buy in my virtual savings account, where it can go toward a plane ticket. Of course, there's always a chance I may succumb to temptation. I'm always tempted by a Longchamp handbag. Every year, I say I'll buy one next year. That's why I have to go back.