the origin story.

by - 5:12 PM

I woke up the other day and realized that I have been a resident of France for six years. 

To be fair, this moment of realization happened while sitting at the prefecture and was required information for multiple legal documents, so it was in my best interest to get the math right.

Many moons ago, I made the move to Paris under the guise of a year's free room and board in a pretty nice part of town. There was talk of a few paid vacations and very little actual work necessary. For the low, low price of a one-way ticket to CDG (and the promise to babysit nights and weekends), I signed up for a year abroad. I was young, I was bored, and I was thirsty for adventure. 
Never one to shy away from challenges, coupled with a tendency to always make things more complicated, I decided a new life was fresh for the taking. No simple relocation to New York, or even a bicoastal move to L.A. would suffice. Paris or bust.

A year turned into two, which turned into four, and here I find myself, with no plans to leave. People often  ask me how I feel and how I managed to make it this far when so many of the friends I made in that magical first year have come and gone. Naively jumping the hurdles of life abroad, aimlessly wondering and accepting as fact that everything would work out. 

Very few people truly understand what life abroad is like. The first year is liberating, because living out of two large suitcases and using them as a makeshift dining table leaves you few options. The only way to survive is to lean into the absurdity of struggling to covert square meters into feet, then reluctantly pretending that you're not sure, in an effort to remain sane, all while avoiding the awful truth that you've just flown X thousands of miles to call 96 square feet home. Google searches will tell you that this is what the Americans call "micro apartments." 

You make due and go out as often as possible, saying yes to any occasion. The goal is to meet as many people as you can, preferable French, but the discomfort of not being able to vocalize your needs leaves you with a hodgepodge of Anglo friends: British au pairs who teach you that gluten is the devil, but also delicious, and who teach you about dry humor and cheap wine. East coast Americans who not only get who you are, where you were born, but why you came to Paris and who you want the city to help you become

There are very few things I cherish more than the memory of early February, rolling over to catch a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in the distance, as the falling snow all but erased a early morning sky and left behind a rare calm.

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