Paris: The Anniversary

August 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

The other night I realized that my anniversary is almost here. On August 27th, 2009 I left the US and moved to Paris for a year. I was 19.

My family drove me to the San Francisco airport early in the morning and I boarded a plane by myself for Paris. I had never lived that far away from home. My language skills were basic at best. I knew had to ask basic questions, get directions, and the always useful “The cat is under the table,” but little beyond that. I was terrified.

I spent ten months in Paris. In ten months Paris went from being a new and exciting place, to being not-home, to being my home. My second home. I left two years ago, and I still have dreams that I go back, to my old apartment on my old street in my old arrondissement and everything is exactly the same. I walk seven floors up to my apartment, with my suitcase, and everything is where I left it. My blue sheets from Ikea are still on my bed. My washing machine is sloshing around in the kitchen the same rhythmic tone. I breathe in and everything smells the same.  The sun is shining and our big windows are open and I can hear pigeons cooing on the roof. Everything is still there and it’s all still mine.

My old street, rue Garanciere.

My seven floor walk up.

I know that, if and when I return, it won’t be the way that I left it. I won’t go back to my old apartment. My roommate won’t be there, she lives in London now. I may still have some friends in the city, but they have been moving around just as I have. Some are still in Paris, others have moved to Luxembourg or Vienna or New Zealand or Mexico. If and when I return to Paris, it won’t be like I dreamed it. Nothing will be the same. Still…I will go back. I need to.

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