10 June 2007

Yesterday for the first time I started to feel a few shreds of panic about leaving Paris. As of today I have exactly one month left in the city before R and I head to Israel. We’ll be back in Paris the 24th of July to spend two days doing laundry and eating a few last pain au chocolats before officially repatriating. Suddenly a year seems so short, and the idea of coming back here to work after graduating from the University of Washington is sounding more and more appealing.

I first started to feel the time slipping away from me yesterday at the Paris Bloggers’ Picnic in the parc des Buttes Chaumont. I have to admit I was feeling a little apprehensive about participating. I always feel a bit uncomfortable with the tag of “blogger,” as I alternate between feeling like a huge dork and completely self-obsessed when I mention it to people for the first time. All week I had this nervous energy building as I imagined meeting a group of self-important writers suffering from I’m a blohhhhgger complexes.

Nevertheless, I asked nanny mom for Saturday afternoon off, made a special trip to the bar à tee shirt on boulevard Poissonnière to pick up my Tacoma Girl tee shirt, slept with my fingers crossed for no rain, and woke up early Saturday morning to bake chocolate chip cookies – I mean seriously, what else would a girl from Tacoma contribute to a picnic in Paris?

I shouldn’t have worried. I’m not sure where I got my notion of bloggers as total jerks (particularly odd since I guess I am one), but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Everybody was fun and tipsy and down-to-earth and fully appreciated my cookies (or at least pretended to) and it was just an all-around great afternoon – with the only exception being the part when I had to brave the free toilets. It’s not for nothing that friends call me “Soccer Mom,” so I was at least prepared with a bag of baby wipes that I gladly shared around once we’d escaped the smelly urine den.

Everything was great until I left the picnic – and immediately started to feel completely panicked. There’s nothing better than meeting a new group of fantastic people – unless you only have a month left on the same continent as them. I’ll do my best to squeeze in as much as I can in these next few weeks (Ladies Night at Le Queen this Wednesday for anyone who’ll be around!), but the fact remains that I’m not going to be in Paris for the next blog picnic.

I returned to my apartment with email addresses, blogs to read and plans to go out this Wednesday, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I don’t have enough time left in Paris. The weird lump in my chest only grew bigger after going to my hip-hop stage this afternoon. The second stress bomb of the weekend hit me when Flo announced she was forming a performing hip-hop company for next year and would like to invite certain of us whose dancing she knew well to join without an audition. The company would do a lot of what we’ve been doing this year – dancing at clubs, bars and artists’ spaces but with more performances in more venues. It sounds amazing – and how cool would I feel being part of a gritty hip-hop troupe? What can I do, though – there’s no way to change the fact that I’m not going to live in Paris anymore, beginning at the end of July.

All year I’ve felt like I’m missing life in the Puget Sound. I’ve never met my best friend’s boyfriend of five months, my little brother just graduated from high school without me and my family has a new dog who I’ve never petted or taken for a walk. I can’t wait to get home to meet Scout and Peter (guess which one is the dog) and inspect Ben’s diploma, but for the first time I’m starting to get a real glimpse of the life that’s going to keep on going without me here in Paris – and I’m not feeling ready to leave it.

7 comments:

Becky Young byseabury@yahoo.com said...

told you so!

The Bold Soul said...

Hi Halley,
Enjoyed meeting you and talking with you at the Blog-nic! I think you're very BOLD to have taken this year here in Paris... wish I'd done the same 20+ years ago instead of waiting this long. I can relate to some off the concerns you are having about going back to Tacoma. I'm already having difficulty imagining moving back to the U.S., as much as I do miss people I love and certain aspects of life there. But I'm here just 6-7 months and already Paris has "caught" me and I think I will be staying awhile. So I hope you'll be back some time soon, too. If you really want to do it, then you should do it. Good luck in your rentrée to the U.S.
Lisa (The Bold Soul)

Emmanuelle said...

Found you too!! Yes I know what it's like, it's such a pity we can't be in several places at once, isn't it? Whenever I move to a new place or come back home, I always feel torn...
Spend some quality time with your family - that's important too! - but don't forget to come back to Paris afterwards!

And keep in touch, Tacoma girl! I'll be reading your blog! x

Pierre said...

Miss, your comment exactly summarizes the way I felt a couple of weeks before leaving Taiwan in August 2006.

I would have given everything just to stay a little more, or to slow the time down... but, hey, after all, I'm back here, in France, and I'm having pains au chocolat every week-end!

I know pretty well how you feel, but don't worry that much! Lisa is right: you're so young! You'll have a lot of time and opportunities to get back here whenever you want. And trust me, the next time you'll come, it will be even better, since you'll already have your own little habits... You won't be scared about the trip from CDG Airport to Paris, you won't be scared not being understood by Parisians, you won't be scared by thinking "Will I really like the food there?", etc.

And you already know much more than I about little cafés and nice pubs everywhere in the capital city! ;)

Et puis... Still one month remaining in the City of Lights! That's huge!

Hope you'll get a little free time to meet again. Marie was talking about a Wii session soon at her place, how do you think?

Ciao for now!

parisian cowboy said...

Well, enjoy your last day here !

Jessica said...

Hi Halley,

I was searching for a friends blog (she's about to leave to nanny in Paris) but found yours instead. I just got back from studying abroad for a year myself a few weeks ago. I felt the same way about leaving. I'd missed Seattle and the northwest for so long, but once I realized it was all going to be over for real, I didn't feel ready to leave, especially since I had no idea when I would ever get to return.

Well, I can tell you that coming back isn't all that bad. It's the best way to appreciate the time you've spent abroad. And being back with family is so nice. I hope you have a good trip back home! Hope you don't mind if I keep reading your blog :)

Katrin said...

Don't be sad! You will always have the possibility to come back. You are leaving Paris not Paris leaving you :o) See you later at Trypitique!
Cheers,
Katrin