If there is a will, there is a way

It has been several months since I started down the path of trying to defeat the evil French administration. Although I would say I havent made great strides, every step (no matter how small), is getting my closer to staying here. It is such a frustrating system to be honest. I know I have gone on and on about it but it truly is just mad. However, that being said, it is now like a game I have to win. If the French administration can play hard ball, so can I. They are just trying to scare me away and tell me I am not good enough to be in their sacred country. Well, the thing is, I love this place just as much as them and they aren’t going to stop me from making my dream happen.

I have come so far and I have no intention on stopping anytime soon. I love my life here. I love opening my window or walking downstairs and realizing I really do live in Paris. Since I have moved, and I am no longer under the chains of being an au pair, I have really started to make this life mine. I am so happy. I don’t want anything to change that.

I came here on an au pair visa which I guess technically is a student visa. Well, on student visas you are allowed to work part-time so if the French administration is so adamant on the fact I have a student visa, I am going to work. I am excited but also had in my mind a month-long vacation. I can’t believe I am already going to be back to the grind so soon. But this is what I want so I am looking forward to it actually working out… one day.

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And so it begins….

I did it. I am here. I can’t believe it. My own studio in the center of Paris. I honestly thought I would never see the day. A year ago, when I decided to move to France, this is what I had envisioned. Yeah I knew it wasn’t going to be this magnificent life in the city because I (semi) knew what I was getting into, but this is what I wanted. And now I have made it. I have made my dreams happen.

On my last working night in Vaux, S didn’t even eat dinner with me. Hurtful but expected. Shocking how you can disregard the last 10 months of your life and someone who not only shared living space with you but I also basically raised your kids. I didn’t let it ruin the night however; I grabbed the kids and put Mama Mia on my TV in the room. They sat on my bed playing with their toys and helping me belt out “Dancing Queen.” They were my 10 months and I love them so much. Yes, there were times I wanted to kill them but I truly am going to miss them. Today was the first day I didn’t have to think about going to home to get my little monkey or worry about cleaning up all the morning dishes that weren’t mine. I woke up to the sound of a fountain, busy people rushing to work, and the view of Sacre Coeur from my window. A little different.

The move went quite well. I have so.much.stuff. I have no idea how I accumulated so much stuff in the last (almost) year. I moved to France with two giant suitcases. I moved to Paris with car load. Luckily, my friend Pierre was nice enough to offer his car and help. He showed up in a petite French car of course and all of us were terrified my stuff wasn’t going to fit… and there was no way I wanted to head back to Vaux again. Somehow, with Pierre’s sweet packing skills, we filled his car to the brim. Everything fit… well besides Aggie and a suitcase. She was kind enough to take the train with the last suitcase and meet us in the city. Pierre and I ventured into the city with my feet in my pocket and bags on my lap. I have to point out, to make this even more interesting, that Pierre doesn’t speak really any English and my French is still very limited. Hour car ride into Paris and somehow we managed to talk about our families, work, our future plans… its incredible what you can do with a little amount of language in common and some effort.

Once we got into the city, Pierre managed to park right in front of place (although it’s for pedestrians only—c’est la France, right?). Now, to explain the situation a bit better… I live off a square and my front door is through a café. My front door leads to a foyer where there is another door that leads to a massive amount of stairs I have to climb to get to my place. Because Pierre could not keep his car in the convenient spot for long, Aggie and I decided the best solution was to cram all my things into the foyer. Picture two girls pulling thousands of bags out of a Frenchman’s illegally parked car, walking through people casually enjoying their lunch, and stuffing it all into a little foyer. Quite humorous.

After we managed the pack the foyer to its capacity, we started the long journey up the stairs a few bags at a time. Aggie and I switched off between guarding my stuff and making the trek. Later on, some of my other close friends came and helped me tackle unpacking. It was such an amazing night. Wine, good friends, and organizing all my stuff… what more could you ask for?

After celebrating into the wee hours, I cant explain how great it was to be able to walk just a couple of minutes and be home.

It is still unreal. I live in Paris.

3 days. 12 hours. 8 minutes.

I cannot believe it. It is here. I am moving to France. Who would have thought I would actually have done it? I don’t even think I thought I would go through with it. But no turning back now. I have everything I need. I am almost packed. I am ready for the next chapter in my life to start!

Today I am heading back to San Diego to say my final goodbyes. It is bittersweet. I am so excited to see everyone again and have an incredible weekend but I cannot believe that this is the last time I am going to see everyone for the next  6 months. I know the people who matter in my life will keep in touch but it is just weird knowing that nothing is going to be the same. Everyone tells me not to worry because nothing is going to change here. The thing is… I am going to change. I know it. So even if everything is the same when I get back it will still be different. I cant worry about it but its strange to say bye to a part of my life I loved so much.

Even though it is going to be hard to say my goodbyes, I cannot express how excited I am. I mean don’t get me wrong, I am scared shitless, but excited. I have no idea where I mustered the courage for this–not really like me. But here I go into the unknown. Cannot wait to see what it brings.

“Start writing a new chapter, for if you live by the book you’ll never make history.”

Journey to the French Consulate

Me at Sorrentos Italian Market

I don’t know how many of you (I write like there is actually a group of you to talk to…) have dealt with the French government but let me tell you it is not an easy task. In attempts to get my au pair visa I have jumped through hoops and tied to break through all of this French red tape in my way. It all started months ago when I was corresponding with my family to get my au pair contract. I had to gather a bunch of paperwork and then send it to them so they could send me the contract so I could send it back so they could get it approved and send it back to me so I could get a visa… whew!!! So finally I got the contract and enrollment letter from my French language school and was ready to get my visa. My first experience with the French, although I was terrified to be denied, was surprisingly pleasant. After compiling all the other nonsense needed for my visa, 120 dollars, and a 220 mile trip later all I can do is wait for the French authorities to send me my visa. A little scary when I have 18 days left in this country. But I have faith.

Today wasnt all about the crazy French though. My dad and I had an awesome time together. We went to this little Italian market called Sorrentos. I have gone there since I was in a stroller. Nothing has changed. The mixture of smells of fresh meatballs and crispy bread loaves fill the air and Italian food treasures line the walls. The market is so packed you could spend an hour in there and not see all the goodies it holds. I got the same thing I always do–a meatball sub, extra cheese of course, and a chocolate cannoli. Just as delicious as I remembered.

I also got some euros today. Not much to say on that other than I hate the fact the American dollar is weak.

Today was a good day. It is days like these that I don’t feel like I am wasting the rest of my days here…

A Completely Different Girl

The "New" Me... as a Brunette

Today I dyed my hair. Nothing monumental, right? Wrong. For some odd reason going from my beautiful California locks of blonde to this dreary dark shade of brown has really depressed me. Yes I realize it is my natural color but ugh really? I know I sound like such a girl right now but I don’t think it is actually the fact I dyed my hair. I think it is the fact that things are changing to quickly right in front of me.

19 days. That’s right… just 19 days left in the only country I know. Dont get me wrong–I am excited beyond belief, but I am also more scared than I have ever been. I know that it will be the time of my life and I will never be the same after it. Which, in itself is the scary part… nothing will be the same. I love the life I have now. Amazing friends, amazing family, amazing place to live. So why change it right? Well surprisingly all of that is not enough to hold me back. I cannot wait to experience this next year. There is no way I can even wrap my head around how incredible this opportunity is going to be. I just can’t believe I am actually doing this. July 13th I will be on my way to my new home– leaving behind all that I have know and all that is familiar. I am taking a leap. And I am ready…

…I think.

12 hours. 22 years of stuff.

Last week I  dedicated a day to cleansing. I went through 22 years of my things. One of the things I promised my mother before I left for France is that I would go through my room and everything I own. 6 bags of trash. 2 boxes of junk  and 5 bags of clothes to be donated. Everything in my room now has a purpose… whether that be something that reminds me of a memory or clothes I can’t seem to bring myself to get rid of.

It was a good day. But weird. This whole transition thing is strange. So many things in my life are changing. I am making huge decisions and sometimes it just gets overwhelming. The past few days I have been so anxious and stressed. Not good for summer. I am currently homeless, which sounded fabulous in my head before it actually happened. Over Spring Break it was awesome… but a week is different from a month or two. I feel like I don’t have a place. I don’t want to go live at home because I don’t have many friends there and there isn’t much to do. Whereas in San Diego I have everything I want… besides a place to stay. So all in all its kind of wearing on me. I think it’s a lot to do with the fact I am leaving. Whenever anyone talks about next year it is so weird to think I wont be here. I am really excited but ahhhhhhh! its scary to change your life!!!

31 more days.

Time is Ticking.

36 more days.

Thats it. Just a little over a month and my world is changed forever.

Sometimes there are days I am so excited and other days– especially when I look through a calendar– I get so much anxiety. I am leaving everything I know and love behind. That is the scary part. I have no fear, (well maybe a little) of moving to a new place–the going isn’t the problem, it’s the leaving. The fear of leaving and life going on here. All my friends, all the memories. And yes, I know my life is going to be full of new friends and new memories but it is hard. I love my life here and I love the people in it. There is truly no place that can compare to San Diego in my heart and I know I will be back. It is just scary.

A year. So much changes in that time. I have never been one to stay in very good contact with those who are not around me. However, this is obviously one of my huge goals for the next year ahead. I WILL NOT lose the ties I have made. They have become my family. It is just so weird because I know life goes on. I know people who leave are soon just a “oh yeah, I miss her.” I just hope that doesn’t happen.

Ok, enough about my emotional issues. Lets move on to real issues. Getting a French Visa is ridiculous. There is so much red tape with the French Government. I am leaving in a month and I am still in the process of getting my Visa. I have my ticket, signed my contract, and I am ready to go but I am feeling a little anxious about getting my proper documents.

I cannot believe I am doing this. I am so excited. My posts of anxiety and fear of losing things probably do not seem that way but I am. How many people can say that they looked fear straight in the face and did something they really wanted to do. The next year ahead will probably be the greatest and most adventurous of my life. I am ready to do this and I am not going to let a few sad thought get in my way.

“The key to change… is to let go of fear.” -Rosanne Cash

An Unemployed Graduate

So here I am. Last day of work. I am going to miss everyone I work with. I was really excited for this day to come but now it just feels weird. Slowly but surely everything is setting in. For one, a bought my plane ticket. July 12. I will start my new life in my new home on July 13. Thats 47 days until my butt is on that long flight.

I cannot believe I am doing this. There are days I am so sad and scared that I don’t think I am going to be able to do it. But then there are days like this. Days that I am so excited that I could burst. I am going to be living in France… in FRANCE!

So for now I am just living it up. Being homeless to be correct. I wanted to spend as much time before I left in San Diego and for the most part it is working out. Still kinda weird to live out of my car. San Diego has finally decided to be sunny for the last couple of days though so my beach bum routine is going well. Just cant wait to get out of this cubicle and on to the sand. I am trying to spend as much time with my friends as I can. I don’t know what I am going to do without them. That is by far the hardest thing I am going to have to overcome. My best friends are my family and not seeing or talking to them everyday is going to kill me. I know I can do it but its going to be weird. Luckily when I arrive in Paris, Callie will be by my side for the next few months. I think it will make the transition a lot easier for me.

Right now, Callie and I are in the process of planning out summer adventures. Looks like its gonna be Paris for a few days to get over my jet lag and have Callie show me the ropes; then off to Biarritz to spend some time with my new family; then in to Spain for a few days. I think I am going to leave the big cities in Spain for another adventure. Callie and I will probably just hit up San Sebastián and Bilbao. I cannot wait to see Spain!!!

All in all, I would say being an unemployed graduate with an incredible experience in front of me is pretty awesome. Bring it on, world.

15 more minutes of my last day at work. 47 more days till I move.