Every year I anxiously anticipated summer. Freedom. Sunshine. Fun.

This year? Summer just brings good-byes, no time off and loads of good-byes. Not the childhood memory I was so fond of.

It’s the end of June and we have yet to see summer weather. July marks the end of several people’s time here in Paris. And don’t even get me started on how insane work is. It is times like this that I wonder why I took lazy, sunny San Diego days for granted. Honestly, I just want to plop my butt in the sand and soak in summer. Yet for some reason this summer I am exceptionally stressed out and frustrated.

I don’t know what I want. I love Paris. But I also hate it. Truth be told. I talked about my serious relationship with this city awhile back but now it has turned slightly abusive and I can’t break away. Work is honestly eating my soul and I keep having to prepare myself for goodbyes. No consistency, no control. I am spontaneous and go with the flow but I am not going to lie… I am a bit of a control freak like the rest of my family and lately I feel like I have no control.

Thinking about moving back stateside gives me serious anxiety. This has been my life for 2 years. And I see what happens to some of the expats that return–they just want to figure a way to come back. I know I could come back if I wanted to but moving back seems like an even bigger decision than the one I took to move to France. I don’t know why.

Maybe it’s because I know I have changed or the people I knew so well changed, or both. Or maybe it’s because I have I don’t think I will really fit back stateside. Or maybe it’s just my weird obsession with Paris.

I know going back to California would not be the end of the world. In fact, I am sure it would be good. There are days I can’t think of anything else besides moving home but then it seems like something in this city all draws me back in. I am so proud of my experience here. It was honestly the best decision I made. It seems weird to end it all. But I know one day I probably will. As much as I love it here, I am not convinced this is the city for the rest of my life. I’m a mover… I think I will experience several cities before finding my home.

Until then, I would really like if Paris could get its butt in gear and give me some summer!!!

Riding VIP in the RER

I really think everyone should experience riding the RER A or line 1 during the morning rush. It is impressive to see a human sardine tin stuffed full of people in suits. Now with winter just around the corner, I find it much more amusing now that the sardines are wrapped from head to toe in scarves, jackets, mittens, and hats. Seems a bit like torture, right?

I do believe that over time, as awful as this situation may sound and actually is, it becomes more entertaining and quite humorous. There is no point to get frustrated every time the metro decides to come to a halt because the matter-of-fact is it is going to happen regardless. Clearly being stuffed being a over-perfumed woman just short enough to where her hair is up your nose and a large, heavy breathing business man simultaneously checking his BlackBerry and wiping the sweat off his forehead is not appealing in any circumstance let alone the one where you are stopped in the middle of your route on an over packed train car. However, the story that I am about to share makes these situations doable. Because even though this is rare occasion, you have to laugh at the efficiency of RATP.

It was a normal day. I was rushing to work, as usual, because no matter how much I try to prepare I still manage to find various things to pull me away from getting ready in the morning. I scurried to the RER and found the usually mass of people. Like cows being herded to their unfortunate demise, me and the other disgruntled suit filed into the RER. This was one of those times you get on and think it is so crowded that the RATP employee in the neon vest is going to rip you off the train moments before the doors shut. But no, quite the opposite happens today. Someone manages to lunge into the group and squeeze their body between mine and the doors. Pleasant. The next stop goes routinely until the doors attempt to close 3 times with no success. After much patience (3 minutes can feel like hours when in the sultry atmosphere of the RER), the conductor announces something along the lines of, “Les portes ne seront pas fermées. Il ya un problème. Tout le monde doit de sortir du RER. ” (The doors will not close. There is a problem. Everyone needs to exit the RER) 

I had to collect my thoughts over the loud roar of dissatisfaction through moans and grunts. Because I pressed against the opposite door of the one that we were supposed to exit out of, I was going to be one of the last to be able to get off. To me, this would work in my favour because then I would be at the front of the line for people waiting to get on. However, when the last few people were about to exit (myself included), the buzz rang out indicating the doors were going to close. I didn’t think they were actually going to close but when they did, I thought this was just another malfunction and that they would re-open so I didn’t worry much. But they never re-opened. The small group of people left standing in the RER and I all looked at each other with confused faces as the train began to move. The angry herd outside the train laughed and waved thinking we were heading to who-knows-where. Although part of me was scared this was going to be another Indiana Jones episode, I found relief I wasn’t in it alone this time. I sat down happy that this was one of the first times I was able to grab a seat on my morning commute. For about 5 minutes none of us knew where we were going but were more than content to have left the chaos. Soon we arrived at the next stop and to my surprise, the journey continues like normal. The whole doors not shutting thing may have just been a way for the conductor to clear out his over crowded train. Who knows? There is rarely ever a time a decision made in France makes sense to me.

All I know is—I got a VIP ride to work. And that makes me smile.

Bitter Sweet

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