Home for the holidays: Paris has grown to have a place in my heart

“What does it feel like to be home?”

“You know, to be honest, it’s weird but also not weird at the same time. It’s like I never left…but also it is.”

I’m home for the holidays, and I feel like I kind of have two lives but also one life. Have you ever felt that feeling? Is it possible to feel two things at once?

I feel blessed that I’ve been able to fly home to spend Christmas with my family. Something that I’m realizing though is that being home is showing me just how much I’m not ready to completely say goodbye to Paris just yet.

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Moving to Paris was actually not something that completely thrilled me, as I’ve mentioned a few times in previous posts. Moving every year for the last few years has definitely made trying to feel like I’ve built a life for myself feel like, well, like I haven’t. It’s so difficult starting over every time, trying to establish a routine, meeting new people, and trying to find out where you belong in the new environment.

However, moving to Paris has made me realize more about what I want and do not want in life than I previously thought it would. Also, Paris is starting to rub off on me. I actually miss Paris. How crazy is that? I never thought that I would miss Paris. It’s still not my favorite city of all time, but the life I’ve started establishing there for myself has definitely left a mark on me.

Paris has made me realize just how much I need French and Francophone culture to be a part of my daily life. It’s become so much a part of me that it would feel like I would be losing a part of myself if it were ever to disappear. Living in Paris means that, unfortunately, English is much more a common aspect of daily living than you would think because it’s so international (and well, it’s kind of my job to speak and teach English). I don’t know if I would ever live more permanently in France, but I need French and Francophone culture to always be in my life.

Paris has made me realize just how much massive city living is not for me. I do love city life, but living in a city that’s this large has made me realize how much it’s not for me. It’s just a little too big for me. I miss Milwaukee, and I miss Milwaukee size. That’s the kind of city-living where I feel the most at home.

Paris has made me realize how incredibly blessed I am. Though everyday Parisian life is not actually that great or luxurious, I do recognize how incredibly blessed I am to live in one of the most vibrant and luxurious cities in the world. I get to experience a year of a life that most people would kill to have. I do love all the endless possibilities I have at my fingertips (even if I can’t always afford to experience certain things).

Paris has made me realize how incredibly blessed I am. Being home from living in Paris has made me realize how incredibly blessed I am not only to have friends living in different places in the world but also how incredibly blessed I am to have a family that loves me and accepts my crazy, transition-filled, slightly vagabonding feeling life that I’ve got going on here. Talking with my sister last night about how being on the verge of 26 years old with still no possibility of a relationship in sight makes me feel like I’m a bit behind in life sometimes, but she said “No, you’re just on a very different path, and that’s okay.” Yeah, she’s damn right. I am on a different path, and for the first time in months, I’m incredibly happy. I must admit that I do get lonely sometimes. It would be nice to have a partner in crime, but overall, being single is allowing me to live this transitional life and have all of these amazing experiences that I’m living right now. I have no attachments (well, other than my fur baby, of course and my car baby), and I’m really okay with that. I love being able to be selfish and do what I want and have it not have an effect on someone close to me, and I love that I have a family and friends that support me in this crazy journey that I’m living.

Paris has made me realize how much travel is not just something that I love but is something that is a necessity. I feel like I’m not really living my life unless I’m always discovering new things. Travel allows me to discover so many new things and new people all the time, and this is essential to who I am and to my well-being. Though I’m getting to a point where I would love to settle down a little bit just to feel like I can get on my feet a bit, I must admit that I’m okay with everything being kind of unknown right now. I must admit that I like the idea that living in Paris might not be the last time that I live in foreign city. Travel is in my bones, which means that it will always be a part of me, and that, my friends, is exciting.

Paris has made me realize that not having my future figured out is okay. Paris is filled with young professionals like myself, and each one I’ve come across is just like me: trying to figure it out along the way. Going back to what I said earlier, it’s okay to be almost 26 and so far away from the prospect of marriage it’s not even funny. It’s okay to only know what’s happening for the next year and a half and to know nothing beyond though (even then, I only have a simple notion of what the next year and a half will look like). I like that I’m still discovering myself and figuring out my life. I like that the unknown is not just accepted but it’s considered normal and a part of life. I love being a young professional in transition, it makes me feel like I’m free to be me and free to figure out who that me is. It’s making me realize that what I want is to be like no one else. I don’t want to follow in the exact path of the expectations of the culture I come from. I don’t want to follow in the same paths that all of my friends from undergrad followed. I don’t want to be married right now. I don’t want to be thinking about having kids right now or buying a house. All I want to think about right now is working on my masters, for me, and working on my career, for me, and having the time of my life on my journey on that crazy train. All I want to think about right now is how gloriously adventurous, crazy, confusing, frustrating, and hilarious my life is, and all I want right now is to completely embrace that.

 

So, no, Paris itself is not enough to keep me for more than a year, but everything that Paris is offering me is giving me just enough to actually feel like my time there is worth it. And, being home for the holidays, surrounded by my crazy family, has only made me realize it that much more. I am not “normal” or “typical,” and I am absolutely thrilled by that. I can’t wait to get back to Paris and to keep discovering myself and what my world has to offer.

 

Also, it snowed on Christmas this year. I may be 25, but I still get giddy when it snows. 🙂

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