I’ve called France my country of residence for almost 1 year now, and a few weeks ago marked the first time back in the Golden State. I’ve been spending time with family and friends in California, playing lots of board games, putting together folk-art puzzles, and generally just relaxing. I’ve also been eating lots of terrible yet amazing foods – donuts mostly. The family meet-n-greet is over with (most of my family hadn’t met Erik yet since we kinda eloped :o), so this weekend Erik and I will be taking short road-trip up to San Francisco together, one of my favourite cities in the world.
The change in season has brought about many changes in day-to-day life. In early September, not just one, but three friends moved into town. Two of those friends were originally made during my study-abraod adventures two years ago, all of us hailing from different parts of the US. It’s amazing that all of us find ourselves back in the same place once more. My weekends now consist of dinner with friends, wiiU game tournaments, and friendly meet-ups for coffee or walks through the park. I haven’t felt that crushing sense of boredom and depression that hit me all too frequently in the past months. Filling a life with even the smallest of meaningful activities makes such a big difference. Having people I trust in my immediate surroundings makes me feel less like an alien and more like I have a place here.
How does one have a quintessential French summer? The biggest requirement is to abandon all work and responsibilities and head for the beaches of Greece or the Côte d’Azure for the entirety of August – my version of a getaway will come later in the month. What is also typically Parisian is attending an awesome music festival, and sipping cold rosé, which I also have not done yet, since I’m a hopeless home-body. What I have been doing, however, is enjoying the pleasant weather in the form of picnics, sunbathing, and lounging on the terrasse of bars and restaurants with friends.
It’s been a long time since my last Visual Diary, so I think it’s time for an update. These type of posts really help me to understand my current state of mind and get a new perspective on the state of my life. Sometimes it’s easy to become wrapped up in whatever thoughts or worries you have at the moment, and you forget that you’re actually living a pretty decent life.
The past couple months I’ve been preoccupied with a babysitting job that left me feeling tired and sometimes stressed out every weekend. I tried to get out and do things, which certainly helped my mood, but didn’t yield very much good blog content. Time has almost felt non-existent, like a blur, like I was only half-awake through May and June. Leaving my last day of baby-sitting, I almost felt like a kid leaving school for summer vacation again, except that it was cold and rainy that day. Is it summer yet??
I did manage, however, to spend some time with a couple California friends who were travelling through Paris. I also managed to share some lovely meals out at restaurants, sprawl out in the grass under the sun with my sweetheart, explore the gardens and smaller palaces of Versailles, and have a few walkabouts through Paris. It hasn’t been the most exciting couple months, but I really needed a break in the monotony of unemployment I was wallowing in before.
I’m starting this one off with one of the biggest clichés out there – are you ready for it? …Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Need I really say more? That phrase is pretty self-explanatory. Here are some things that I truly appreciate about the US, and miss now that I no longer have them at my fingertips. Some of them are silly, and some of them are a bit more emotional.
It seems like I can’t start a blog post without mentioning the weather. It’s been a strange combination of rain and sun, like the sky just went through a breakup and is alternating between debilitating depression and sheer joy of what possibilities lie ahead. I’ve never experienced a true spring, but I think this might be it. I’m starting to miss the sun of California a little more now. I’ve been slacking on the blog, feeling unmotivated, discouraged, and uncreative since I started a babysitting gig. I haven’t been enjoying myself the past few weeks, but I’ve managed to gather some images for this Visual Diary… they are one of the easiest and most natural types of posts for me to write.
These pictures show the bipolar nature of the weather over the entire month of May, but I think they also reflect the detachment I’ve been feeling lately. Only one image contains evidence of a human presence, instead focusing on solitary motifs or inaccessible constructions. I’ve been feeling invisible in the world lately, when I’m in the busses and trains, I can just fade into a corner and almost not exist. The foreign conversations around me mean nothing, so that it all becomes white noise; I avoid eye contact in public transportation because supposed cultural rules taught me that looking at a person in the eye can come across as either creepy or flirty; I walk past the same restaurants, shops, and train stations everyday, but I don’t know anyone; I see little windows on buildings bedecked with flowers and wonder who could possibly live there and what their lives could possibly be like, and if they’re happy; I’ve become annoyed with the French people and their way of life; and I wonder why I’m here and no longer really believe that I’m strong or interesting or cool for moving here. Even though I blend into the crowd, looking and acting like a Parisian, I feel more disoriented and alien than ever.