So I’ve finally moved into my new living situation, with a family in the 13th…my room is lovely and so are the girls I’ll be taking care of!
Their first day of school is TOMORROW so I’m going with to drop them off, to learn the ropes (plus tomorrow evening will be the first time I’ll pick them up/make them dinner/put them to bed alone! aaaaaaah). Even though everything is starting a bit vite-fait, I’m not too nervous (emphasis on the too). But once I think about it, I did take 10 nine-year-old girls on overnight camping trips by myself, made food for them over an open fire, and made sure they didn’t wander off in the woods and die…so this can’t be worse! I won’t be working too many hours after all, which is nice—I won’t have to bring them to school/pick them up every day, and there are some weeks where I don’t have to do anything at all!
It feels like la rentrée though: I waited an hour at the supermarché today, behind (exhausted-looking) families buying cahiers, cartables and krisprolls. Paris is ré-animé and all the restaurants, tabacs, and boutiques have opened up again. The metros are filled with parisiens qui rentrent des vacances—lots of people with suitcases and the tourists are cleaning out a little bit…
Also, I found out today, when my université finally reopened, that my classes don’t start until the 6th of october! (typical…)
A bientôt alors!
-woke up at 6 am, of my own accord, not tired at all
-bought fromage (comté and coulommiers, in the exact amounts I wanted), fruit, vegetables and hummus au marché, without anyone asking for clarification! I even chatted with an older lady buying several dozen onions in front of me in line…
(Side note: I know I’m becoming a parisienne because I give exact change, and/or weird amounts of change so I’ll get less change back…oh I’m buying something that’s 11,03€ ? Let me give you a 20€ bill, a 1 € coin and 3 centimes so I’ll get a 10€ bill….)
-promptly ate my weight in avocado/hummus/coulommiers/baguette/apricots
-finally have a working french phone and phone number
-organized meetings with my research advisor, and with the immigration office to get a residency permit
-got coffee with a sorbonne friend from last year, then walked through parc monceau in the sun (yes, SUN!)
Haven’t done much yet because I’ve been hanging out with Vincent and friends—we did a nice walk around the 13eme and Parc Montsouris yesterday, and the other day we went to Ile-St. Louis and hung out en terrasse (of course). Paris is so beautiful during the summer. I feel like everything is quieter, sunnier, more relaxed than usual.
And….mission of the day: bank account !
'TIL I LEAVE.
I’ve kind of tried to start thinking about packing because I have too many things and I’m trying to make them all fit into my suitcase and carry-on….
(clearly I’m not making too many strides on the whole packing-neatly-organized thing).
To sum it up, I’m both really excited and terrified. This is a bigger/longer/more permanent move to France, and that’s why it’s exciting and wonderful (not to mention, getting to see Vincent in 5 days). I’m a little terrified about classes (though they look like they’ll be interesting, and I’ve got the french teaching style down), and the whole, living competently in France thing (getting a carte de sejour on my own, getting a bank account, getting a cell phone plan, paying for my carte navigo…though the whole no-rent thing will be nice). But mostly excited about everything! So…
I’ve made the final decision to do a Master recherche de Linguistique at l’Université Paris-Sorbonne this fall! I’ve just finalized the CampusFrance process today (which may require a post of its own…glad that’s over), and got my letter of acceptance—now for visa!
(there it is again, la vieille sorbonne ^)
I officially leave July 31st (and arrive August 1st!). I only have a month and a half left and I am so unbelievably excited. It’s a big step to do a master’s program in France, but I think I am ready for it…not to mention, I’ve been yearning to go back since my year abroad—and this seemed like the best way to do it. I’ll be able to study with an expert on French dialects (in Canada and Switzerland), while living in a place I love, and hopefully be able to figure out what exactly I’d like to be employed in after I graduate (whether that be continuing on to a doctorate, finding a job in France, or in the US). Plus, I have a support system already: friends, boyfriend (Vincent and I are still going strong on the long distance thing!), teachers, and knowledge of how it all works.
The first month or so (still on vacation), I’ll be staying with Vincent (who I really can’t wait to see), then I’ll be living with a family as a demi-au-pair of sorts (50 hours per month of babysitting two lovely girls in exchange for housing!), in the 13eme (entre Parc de Choisy et la Buttes aux Cailles).
(for reference ^ I’ll be living in the 13th, and I go to school in the 6th arrondissement)
Even though summer has just started, I’m already ready to start packing to leave again! (I need to relax, is what I need to do…). I’ve been cleaning through my room, working to save up some extra money…and waiting for the next big move (back).
Hi everybody. I guess I’m home.
I got back to Los Angeles on Sunday, and mostly it’s pretty surreal. I think I have trouble noticing when things change drastically in my life (or understanding the significance of these changes when they happen). It feels good to be home, and I’m excited to start my internship at an independent press on Monday, and to hang out with my good friends/family here, and to spend time in the sunshine.
Today, it kind of hit me that I came home. I spent my last couple days in Paris hanging out with my exchange group and other friends that I made in Paris, spending the days doing “last things” (going to bars with Nikki and other british friends, going to the best hidden hot chocolate cafe in the Marais, talking with Audrey over pastries, last parties in my chambre de bonne, taking walks and going out to dinner for Vincent’s birthday). Everyone in my exchange group left on Saturday (which feels crazy—I said goodbye to everyone, and off we all go, back to normal lives). Then I spent my last Saturday afternoon/evening with Vincent in Parc de Bercy (literally, the first sunny day in Paris since November…we sat under a tree that was dropping pollen everywhere, it looked like it was snowing in the sunshine!), and he brought me to Charles de Gaulle airport the next morning. I was perfectly-sane Chelsea until I said goodbye to Vince and went into the line for security…then I started crying.
Paris was good to me, and I had one of the most amazing years—not because I made the most friends, or went en boite every night or went to the Louvre oh so many times (none of these things really happened). But I think I grew again (always again), as a person, because of the genuinely wonderful people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had (living as a real person in French and in Paris, traveling to England, Switzerland, Italy and Spain). And I have to remember to not forget what I’ve learned—my ability to be easygoing, to make big decisions about my life, and to be genuine (show my true emotions, communicate, feel strongly about things that matter to me). Memories are most important in that weird phase after they happen and before you forget them—and I’m doing my best to not forget anything (and to not end up feeling like none of it ever happened).
So ends my year in Paris! (Second year in France, junior year of college). I feel more like a grown-up person than ever before…and I think I have the confidence and general good-feelings about the world to help me this summer, in my final year of undergraduate, etc. I’ll have lots of stories to tell (making galettes in kitchens at midnight, cracking eggs one in each hand, meeting interesting people on bar couches after sanity is a little slurred, having tea with 60 year old linguists in Catherine Deneuve’s old apartment, talking to metro drivers about vintage american cars, and walking at night, listening to voices drifting from open windows). And I’ll have lots of french to keep speaking.
And so, à bientôt, Paris—je reviendrai au plus tôt possible!