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.
The past couple weeks have been quite drizzly, blustery, and chilly. I find that time seems to be passing more quickly and naturally now – I’ve stopped counting the passing weekends, and stopped feeling panicky about the unknown future. The residence card should be in the works as we speak, and I’ve got a babysitting job lined up for the fall. I’ve even managed to pick up a little side job for a couple months, which will fund both my student loan payments due in June, as well as my summertime-BFF-Spain trip planned for August. I am far from having everything figured out, but who ever really does?
Moving to France to eat croissants and macarons all day might sound “easy” or “spontaneous,” but it actually takes a lot of planning and, how do I put it? …logistical manoeuvres. There are a few ways to get here: as a student, as a student/au pair, as a worker, or as the family member of a European person. The option that made the most sense for Erik and I was to become family members, i.e.: get married.
Up until last week, we had been planning on marrying in Sweden, Erik being a Swede and all. We had the tickets bought, we had plans for me to finally meet his family, and we were about to leave in less than a week. However, when we found out that some documents we sent hadn’t been deemed “official” enough, we had to make a sudden change of plans. It’s not like we have all the time in the world, either – there’s a definite timeline to apply for residency, which is constantly hanging over my head.
Our solution? New York City.
It’s been nearly a month since I’ve arrived in France, and one question has been rolling around in my mind constantly – am I a tourist, or do I live here? I think the answer to that question is a definitive, neither.
Paris doesn’t have the same angelic glow it has when first laying eyes upon it, the boulangeries and rows of pretty buildings now feel normal. I still find it charming and beautiful, but the sense of adventure and discovery and exhilaration one feels when traveling to new places is definitely lacking.
I’ve been splitting my time between touristy outings, household tasks, and establishing new routines; Finding a favorite bakery, becoming familiar with the layout of the nearest Monoprix (A french supermarket), and learning to do laundry without a dryer. I also play a lot of video games and watch a great deal of TV. I take sporadic trips into Paris when I’m feeling energetic, but the bulk of my time has been spent doing “homey” things.
Today I decided to explore my new town a bit more, get familiar with the streets, scope out restaurants, and make mental notes of essentials like dry cleaners and bakeries. It was quite brisk out, with a freezing wind on the larger boulevards, but as long as I kept a quick pace, it was manageable.
Here is my visual diary of the day, or at least half of it. The remainder I spent watching Kiki’s Delivery Service under a blanket.