Bon après-midi, from my quiant little studio in Paris! My apologies for the hiatus- I’ve had a bit of writer’s block (Can you call it that when you’re not even a writer?! Or a real blogger for that matter?)
Rest assured I haven’t been idle – The last 2 weeks have seen wanderings through Helsinki, Tallinn and Berlin, all of which I can’t wait to share with you once I manage to collect my thoughts! I think the pace of 4 months constantly on the go has finally caught up with me. Over the last week, I’ve felt quite fatigued, so some down time in Essen and now in Paris is very much welcomed.
So Saturday was officially 4 months since I left sunny Sydney! How did I celebrate? By flying into Paris, probably one of the most heavily loaded decisions I’ve ever made in light of recent events. I won’t act brave about it – I was scared to board that flight. I’m ashamed to admit I was second guessing people who I wouldn’t normally look twice at. I was paranoid and counting down the minutes until the flight would be over. I physically felt sick in the stomach. Some people were pulled aside for additional police checks, and the plane ride was quite a turbulent one, which really didn’t help the anxiety. I guess right now, the big challenge is not to be consumed by fear, and being here amongst the people of Paris serves as a reminder that life as we know it just has to go on, if we’re to preserve our sense of freedom. But don’t worry, I won’t be defiant just for defiance’s sake – no major concerts or sporting events on the agenda for the time being!
Anyway, when I first stepped foot in Paris back in August, I fell in love and knew I’d have to return. I can’t say why – there is just a certain je nais sais quoi about the culture and lifestyle that appeals to me. It’s been 4 days now, and if I had any bit of doubt about returning to Paris, it’s completely banished.
I’ll be here for 1 month, but already, I feel it’s too short of a time 😥 My toddler-grade French is v-e-r-y slowly improving (I’ve fumbled my way through a few interactions purely in French which is really encouraging!), I’ve found a local neighbourhood cafe that I love, and I’ve even made some friends here, a lot faster than I expected.
I can’t completely credit my social skills for making friends so fast though. On my 2nd day in Paris (Sunday), I was thrown into the deep end – my key got stuck in the lock, consequently leaving me stranded outside of my apartment for close to 24 hours. On Monday, my airbnb guy arranged for a locksmith and eventually after a lot of kicking and banging, the door finally opened- A sweet €650 for an hour’s worth of work (not out of my pocket fortunately)!
The fiasco was a bit of an inconvenience but when God closes/jams a door, he really does open a window! During this period, I was fortunate enough to meet some people in my apartment complex, all of whom were really lovely and sympathetic. One of my neighbours spent awhile trying to help me, since a locksmith on a Sunday night would be way too expensive – this failed, so we ended up watching some Friends reruns and going out for dinner and drinks. I wound up sleeping at Kathy’s cousin’s place, who I met the last time I was in Paris – they’ve been so sweet as to invite me along to some dinners and parties that are coming up. I also met another neighbour who was kind enough to offer to take me around while I’m here. As much as I relish quiet time right now, having an active social calendar again is certainly a massive relief!