La Rentrée

Life has seriously been in fast forward lately. When the hell did it get to be September? The good thing is although life is flying by quickly, it’s also flying by amazingly.

Paris has gone through la rentrée and everyone, for the most part, has returned from holiday. This is awesome and horrible at the same time. Lets get the bad news out-of-the-way first. Now if all of my readers lived in Paris, I could explain the problem in 2 words: RER A. However, for clarification purposes I guess I will delve into this a bit more. Basically all the suits that work in La Defense take the RER. Now this experience was really not bad in August when the suits had taken there ninos and left the city. But now they have returned. And although there is an RER about every 2 minutes, it still does not seem to be enough. There are actually human beings employed to push people on to the RER and attempt to close the doors. So there I am, among all the sleepy-eyed yet rushed business people with BlackBerry (or iPhone) in hand praying that I will manage to squeeze myself on to the next RER. Although completely used to this fact, it will never be enjoyable.

Now, for the good stuff. As I said, life has been seriously great lately. With la rentrée, comes the return of my friends who actually got a proper holiday during the proper holiday time, unlike me. It also brings in the new swarm of au pairs. So to say the least my social calendar has made a sudden leap from low-key alone time to too busy to do my laundry/grocery shop. I am loving it though. I have to say it is quite strange to be a “veteran” compared to all the newbies rolling into town. It seems like last week I was in their shoes but when I look back I realize how much I have grown. It is incredible. Although I really loved the experience, I am so happy where I am now. I love that I can look back and finally laugh on the series of unfortunate events that occurred or reminisce about the fun times I had with my fellow au pairs. I love that now I am not afraid to break out of my little au pair bubble and that I actually have French friends and go on dates where the language spoken isn’t always my own.

I am happy that I am spiralling toward a new chapter in my life. Everything seems to be working out lately (shocking I know!!) and I hope this continues. It has taken so much to get to this point of being content. A lot of people will comment on how lucky I am with my current situation, and while yes I did have my fair share of luck, I always worked my ass off. There has been many days of tears; stress, and uncertainty, to get me to this place. I have loved the journey and cant wait to see what is ahead.

On a side note, I am finally taking a holiday. Place of choice: CALIFORNIA. I haven’t been home in 10 months. Almost a year. I can’t believe it and I am so ecstatic to be back… but also terrified. It freaks me out I don’t know what to expect when I am returning to a place that is my home. In the whole scheme of thing I know that 10 months isn’t all that long but it is long enough to forget what used to be normal and mix it up with what is normal now. I am only saying this because there are seriously moments in my life that people back home question why I do something or say something and I have to think why. I know I have changed but I feel like some program has been rewired or something. I can’t find the words to explain. Instead, Ill let you know how it goes.

I’m going going back back to Cali Cali 🙂

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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.

Closing a Chapter

I came to France with the idea I would be here just one year. I wanted to learn a new language, experience a different culture, and most importantly grow. I have to say, that on my last day of au pairing, I can look back and say I have done pretty well. The past 10 months have been filled with up and downs. Most of the time I was sitting here wondering why I am so lucky, but there were also days I wondered why I ever chose to do this. Although my French is still completely rubbish, I really feel like I have gotten the most from this experience so far.

I never thought that today would be like this. I thought I would be filled with sadness to leave a family I cared so deeply about. Sad to say though, although I will miss the kids dearly, today is nothing what I imagined. With the feeling that I can’t go fast enough from the parents, it really makes me upset about all the time and effort spent. I understand that they are mad I am leaving but I do wish this could have ended on a better note.

On the other side, I cannot believe I am moving tomorrow into the center of Paris into my very own place. I havent even wrapped my head around it yet I don’t think. I have never lived alone, let alone in PARIS. Ahhhh. I can’t wait. I am really looking forward to the next chapter in my life. I have faith that everything will work out. And hey, if it doesn’t it was an experience, right?

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