I leave in three days.
This is such a bizarre sentence to write because it honestly feels – with no exaggeration – that just yesterday I was writing about my third day here. Where did 104 days go? It seems as though I blinked and they vanished. It’s truly hard to believe all that I did in the time I was here and it’s truly hard to comprehend how I will have to let go of Paris.
I am only human – I said I was ready and I said I was prepared for moving onwards to my next adventure (and I truly am! I am always eager to see where life takes me) but it’s only now as I wind down the days that I look around me completely taken aback by the fact that I will not be walking these streets anymore and I will not be riding this metro anymore and I will not be strolling over cobblestones, hand in hand with my partner anymore. There is magic in this city. There is inspiration everywhere you look. There is a great big sigh that seems to resonate through every street. And I fear going back home and not feeling that same sense of wonderment and happiness that I felt while I was here.
But I need to be reasonable: if I want to stay in this city, I need to find work that doesn’t just pay my food bills but allows me to live. And, yes, success in this city is difficult. But that depends on how you measure success, of course. Blah, I’m rambling. I’m just lamenting the loss that I will be faced with in three days. THREE DAYS. Where did time go? Did I say that already? Three days! I am so conflicted with what I am feeling in my heart. I am ready to move on. I am not ready to move on. I am excited to see my family and my animals. I am sad to leave my lover. I have loved Paris. But have I truly loved her the way I had hoped? Bring on the next adventure! But am I ready for it? And what will it entail? Where will I call home?
And the problem is that I’ve fallen in love (not really a problem, but you understand the conflict it presents). If you know me, you know I don’t revolve my life around other people. I’m pretty selfish like that. I don’t let relationships stop me from moving forward with where I need to be or what dreams I will follow. But, alas, this one is different. He is not stopping me but he is presenting me with a new perspective: what it means to make decisions in your life with another person in mind. Compromise; is that the word?
This is my honest to goodness soulmate. The only time I have been so sure about something was in my persistence that I needed to move to Paris and live here in order to be happy (I was right). I am just as sure about this as I am sure that Paris was meant to be a part of my life (and perhaps her role in my life is not fully actualized, I’m not sure – it doesn’t really feel as though it is).
It is weird to me to think about the fact that I will no longer be telling people, “I live in Paris,” but, “I lived in Paris.” It seems like such a minor adjustment on a sentence but you don’t understand the way it makes my heart ache. Just writing those sentences made me distort my face in discomfort. It’s not a pleasurable feeling by any means. But, listen: I found myself in France, without question. I discovered so much about myself in such a short amount of time. I actualized my dream of living in Paris, realized my purpose in life (to write) and I lived a life of true independence and adventure and I found my freaking soulmate. Who can say they’ve accomplished all that in their lifetime, let alone in 104 days? My thirtieth rotation around the sun was the most magical I’ve ever experienced.
I already miss Parisian breakfasts. I already miss French butter (seriously, there’s nothing like it). I already miss the blue rooftops. I already miss strolls by the Seine. I already miss the smelly (but convenient!) Parisian metro. I already miss the magical late night walks in this historic city. I already miss the drinks and dinners on the warm terraces, people watching and staring off at historic buildings. I already miss the silly French behaviours. I already miss the smell of Paris in the morning and the smell of Paris after a rain. I already miss my cube of an apartment. I already miss my partner’s more spacious, homey apartment with the view of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. I already miss my fingers linked with his as we laugh down different Parisian streets. I already miss walking into old used bookshops and being greeted by old Parisians who take their bookselling jobs very seriously. I already miss the grocer greeting me when I got my nightly baguette. I already miss the smell of baguettes in the morning. I already miss the cheap cheese. I already miss the lights of the Latin Quarter and the smells of Mediterranian food that coasted down every street. I already miss the bells of Notre Dame. I already miss it all. I don’t know how I’m going to do it when all I miss about Canada are: my family (and closest friends), my animals, cheap prices, good pay.
I don’t know if Canada will be where I set my roots down, but I know it will always be home. And while it’s nice to go back home to somewhere familiar, where everyone speaks my maternal language, where I was raised and feel exceptionally comfortable, where I know exactly where to go to get what I need, and where family and friends are waiting for me, it’s still, as of right now, not where I picture myself in two years, five years, ten years… Where those roots may be set, I don’t know. But now I am no longer finding that out on my own, but with a partner. And that’s exciting to me.
Anyway, I figured I’d write a little something before my trip is up, and I imagine I’ll be in the mood to write when I return to Canada and I feel the absence of my partner or I am craving cobblestone streets and blue rooftops, but in the meantime, let me just take a moment to say that these were the best 104 days I could have asked for. And more adventure is around the corner. And I’m thrilled.