Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Moveable Feast

Ernest Hemingway writes in his Parisian memoirs that "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast." This seems applicable to my closing moments here, as the day when I will leave Paris for the states edges ever nearer, as one little phrase burrows itself insidiously in my thoughts:

I don't want to go home. Don't make me leave.

When I arrived in France eight months ago, the country couldn't have seemed more foreign, home couldn't have seemed further, I couldn't picture myself staying here more than roughly a year. And then something magical happened...Paris invited me to its sumptuous dinner table and I began to appreciate the banquet laid before me.

Eight months ago I was scared to get on a plane to begin this little adventure, and now I'm a little afraid to get on the plane to go home.

I don't want to go home. Don't make me leave.

The best part of this entire equation--and perhaps the funniest part of it all--is that I don't really have to. It's funny how much can change in the span of a short month and a half, but in the 50 days or so it's been since I've had the time to sit down and write this blog, I've quit my first au pairing job (a long, sad story I will save for elsewhere), been offered another INSANE au pairing job I will be taking, turned down another job offer in the states, been e-mailing universities from California to New Haven to Paris, had an insanely confusing flirt fest with a French engineer that will go lord knows where ( but at least it's been entertaining ), seen a good friend pack up and move to Amsterdam in the name of love, and have just been admitted to the University of Paris 3 to start my Masters in French Literature and Civilizations next fall...Did I mention Paris 3 is rather the backup if I don't get into the Ecole Normale Superieure? But that won't be determined until the end of August and early September.


If Paris is a feast, I've mightily gorged myself à table. But I count myself among the lucky few who can say they've had the chance to sit down to the table in the first place. I've tasted elixir of a warm Parisian night as the honey colored sun sinks downward in the sky, I've breathed in the aroma of the Champs de Mars during an evening picnic and watched the Eiffel Tower light itself, I've wandered through the Left Bank and felt like I could die happily in the 5th arrondissement.

In other words, what I can say is this: in the short span of 14 days that are keeping me from the United States, I have come to understand that at last--oh, at sweet last--have I put roots down in a country that for at least two more years I will call home.

I'm not going home. I am home.

And so I raise a glass to the near closing of the first chapter of my life post-Berkeley and in France. May Paris always and forever more be a moveable feast.

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