June 12th 2020

While it may have been delayed due to reasons out of our control (original date: 22/05/2020), and though my family had to enjoy it through an iPad screen, today I married my best friend.

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Moved In

We may not have any furniture delivered yet other than a bed, but we are already so in love with our new home. We are beyond happy, and of course, I could not hesitate on getting a head-start on holiday decor (more to come…).

This apartment already feels warm and full of health and happiness. We are looking forward to hosting friends, Shabbat dinners, lounging with our four-legged family, and cooking together in our beautiful kitchen, just to name a few. Our hearts are full. Life is beautiful.

Our House, In The Middle of Our Street

What a wild ride Paris has brought me on.

In one month, we have had some ups and some downs. And I’ve seen only a bit of my favourite city in the world as I remained in the suburbs, trying to sort the chaos of this life.

Unlike Strasbourg, where Jordan found an apartment in a week, Paris doesn’t work like that. It has you fall in love with numerous properties, imagine building a life, only to have that dream torn from your head with a, “You haven’t been selected,” e-mail. Living in a hotel, and now in Jordan’s studio, has been pretty crazy. But, finally: all that is over, as we have found our apartment, been approved, and will get our keys on Thursday. I’m thrilled to start the next chapter of our life together, there (and to buy furniture for it!!). It also has a backyard! Life has just gotten sweeter for the pups.

Poe is teething and is a wild one, but beyond intelligent and sweet.
Rukia, we discovered, has cancer, and is going through a wave of being fine and being uncomfortable. We are trying to make this journey the best for her as we figure out all we can do for her at this age.

Christmas markets have popped up around the city and we will return to Strasbourg next weekend for the most beautiful Christmas market in the world (with 10 of Jordan’s friends).

I am on a hunt for work. I have had numerous interested parties, but due to not having an apartment, was unable to accept many of them. I don’t mind having the time to prepare the apartment and get the dogs settled in the new space before committing to a workday. I’m not worried.

And the most beautiful news of all, on our one year anniversary (where has the time gone?) at Hemingway Bar at the Ritz (my favourite bar in the city for obvious reasons), Jordan proposed to me. What a dream! I called my parents to proclaim my excitement but they already knew; he had asked for my hand in marriage when they came to France to visit us, and said he was planning it for our anniversary. What a sneaky bugger! I am so proud to call this amazing man my fiance.

Life is one crazy dream.
All this from following my heart one year + ago… Best decision I’ve ever made for my mental health, my emotional health, my happiness… the best, ever.

New Adventures Await

Apologies for yet another long pause between posts, but life has been rather busy.

We finally got to bring home our darling new puppy Poe, and he is settling in nicely. He’s immensely intelligent and affectionate, but he can be a bit of a hellion for 3-4 hours a day (the witching hours when Torpedo Poe comes out, we say). Rukia is both exhausted and enamored by her new little brother, who simply cannot get enough of her. I think it’s made her feel like the pack is a little more complete.

We adore our new “baby boy” but I had definitely forgotten how much work a puppy is. It’s truly like having a toddler running around the house at all times. Any moments of silence I have used to work on graduate assignments before the wildness emerges again. But I’m so, so in love and he is so clearly obsessed with his “mama” as well. Our little family is growing.

And in a very strange – but marvelous – turn of events, Jordan was promoted as director of a luxury sector of his company and we are moving back to Paris! For good! Amsterdam, no more!

I was thrilled to start a life with Jordan in Amsterdam, but it is without question far more exciting for me to be returning to and building a life in Paris. We move in – truly – a week today (as of writing this post). That’s how fast this is all happening! And the odd part is that we will be in the city a week before our one year anniversary. It is so, so beautiful how the universe aligns all things so magically.

Speaking of one year, with the chaos of all these changes happening around us and transformations happening so quickly, it’s hard to believe that we are rounding up on our one year anniversary. I have the same excitement to see him when he comes home from work as I did when we first started dating, and yet I feel as though I have loved him for twenty, thirty years… I am so blessed to love and be loved by this man. And in one year we have created the most beautiful little life with the most adorable little family, together.

I told Jordan that his friends who set us up (my clients) made me promise to keep Jordan in Paris and to stay in Paris, myself. Well, I kept my promise! It just happened on the universe’s time, and not my own. Our journey started in Paris, continued in Strasbourg, and now we will begin a new year in Paris, again…

But now the job search begins again! Although my tarot reading side-gig picked up a little over the last month, and I still have the online teaching job that I can rely on, I still have to begin the search again. I already applied to an English school and I know I’m qualified for the job, but I’d really like to venture outside of English teaching. Ideally, working in a museum or in a library or bookshop would be a lovely career to start dipping my feet into. After all, my graduate MASTERS II degree will be in that field, so why not get a head start as our lives together get a fresh start? I’d also like to start making my writing more of a focus, but I say that in every blog post…

Anyway, I’m thrilled that we will be back in Ile-de-France (but also thrilled that we will return to Strasbourg for the Christmas market), because everyone who knows me knows that city is my most favourite in all the world, but I’m especially thrilled for the opportunities this promotion will bring Jordan. He has the potential to do amazing things with this new road he will travel down, and I’m beyond proud of my darling man. His dedication to both his work and his family is so admirable, and he deserves all the success and happiness that the universe can grant him.

Here’s to a new life -and a new adventure – in one week!
xo
C

Blocked

“There’s nothing to writing. You just sit at a typewriter and bleed.” – Hemingway

The only thing I’ve written in a long time is how I’ve written absolutely nothing as of late. And despite being at what is truly the peak of my happiness, endlessly inspired, and, alongside a busy schedule, making the time for writing, I just don’t know where to begin. In my journal I wrote that maybe I wrote because I was filling a void or emptiness, and now that it’s been filled with love and endless joy, I no longer have a writer within me. It’s a scary thought for me to contemplate.

It’s one Hemingway would agree with; he believed it was suffering that created the best writing. But he was an old alcoholic fool, and while I look up to him as a writer, taking his advice would be foolish.

Fitzgerald has said, “I love her and it is the beginning of everything,” and maybe that is a statement I should focus on to drive my writing. My love, my Jordan, was the beginning of a new book in the life of Claudia. So vastly different is this book that I don’t remember even a chapter of the books prior. But this love is difficult to get down on paper.

Even among the two of us, we ask ourselves if it will, “always be like this,” or if it’s possible that, “two people could love each other so much,” or if we are, “crazy to everyone looking in.” It’s not inaccurate…

We do not fight and very rarely bicker (I can count the times on one hand). We support each other and encourage one another to take it easy on ourselves. We endlessly have something to talk about, while sitting in silence is just as beautiful. We adventure together, laugh together, we are building a little family together. But a love so perfect doesn’t make a good novel. So, maybe I won’t write about love. Maybe that’s not the beginning of what I an destined to write…

I once started a non-fiction book about how to cultivate a happy life, how to assess the things in life that aren’t allowing you to be your very best self, and how to heal from trauma and challenges. This began some time after facing my sexual assailant in court, producing my TedTalk in New York, and overcoming my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But now, when I look back at the chapters of that book (I think I got to about 10 of them), I feel a disconnect from it. So, maybe that’s not what I’m destined to write, either…

A few things I do know well and write about with passion:
Hemingway
1920s Expat Writers
Paris
Following your heart
Eventually, I’d like to pursue a PhD. My thesis would revolve around those central ideas. The focus would be about how the expat writers of the 1920s who lived in and wrote about Paris portrayed this experience as being transforming, perfectly beautiful, and ripe full of success. When, in fact, it is the opposite experience for many expats: it is difficult to integrate, there is no success or wealth in the arts (despite how much France/the city of Paris advertise that they support them), living costs are extraordinary, Parisians are leaving the city because it’s, as Jordan says, dying, and being recognized for the production of English work is even more rare.

I’ve considered beginning my writing about this, perhaps starting with a focus on the lives of some of my favourite expats who have inspired my literary heart. And now that I’ve written it down, here, I feel even more inspired to do so. The only problem is that this is a project that requires immense dedication, and my schedule is pretty solid at the moment.

Have I mentioned I also got another job? Well, I haven’t received the contract yet, but I got a verbal invite by the owner of the company. It’s a Skype-based English Language Learning company that’s run out of France (but could continue with me when we move to Amsterdam). You get paired with adolescents and adults and you engage in conversation with them that has an intentional language learning focus. You assign them homework, and you work with them on a random weekly basis. It pays very well, and I’m considering using this as my secondary work over my work with QKids (a TESOL Chinese online company). I’ll still do QKids when able (another good supplementary income that can follow me to Amsterdam), but I would minimize my current schedule.

But, until that schedule is set and the contract settled, Mondays are: graduate course work + Qkids + Groceries + cleaning + dinner
Tuesdays: graduate course work + Qkids + Groceries + cleaning + dinner
Wednesdays: Strasbourg English School (in person) + (come home exhausted/break time) + write programming for SES + groceries + cleaning + dinner
Thursdays: graduate course work + Qkids + Strasbourg English School
Friday: graduate course work + Qkids + program writing for SES + Strasbourg English School

… so I don’t want to add “Developing a thesis” to that list, or the writing no longer becomes an escape but becomes work…

And! Soon we will be adding a puppy to the mix: Poe. We went to visit him this weekend and he has changed so much. He is (unbiased) the cutest puppy in the litter, and he is already so blue! We already miss him so much and are counting down until we get to bring him home (another month to go). Life will certainly get a lot crazier/busier/more full of love once that day comes.

But… I’m back where I started at the beginning of this blog: writer’s block. I don’t know where to focus my mind, and I’m not sure how to fill it into my schedule without making it feel like work.

Alas, I suppose this was enough writing for today, anyway…

xo
C