Saturday, November 1, 2014

Why I Spent a Saturday in Paris in My Room

It's the first of November at 2pm, and the weekend weather is miraculously sunny and 70ºF.
And I'm having a brief moment of crisis.
I've just returned from my favorite flea market, after making the very poor decision to give Parisian fair food another try. A few hours later, it feels like a Fifa championship game in my stomach. I sheepishly glance at my computer, a guilty reminder of the looming 200+ pictures I have yet to go through and edit from the past three weeks. Having spent my last few euros at the boulangerie, I'm racking my brain for free things to do. Because I have to go out and do something, because it's nice out and I'm in {PARIS}.

Then, I make a revolutionary decision.
I change into some sweats, sprawl out on my futon (pulled-out in bed mode), wriggle underneath my soft comforter, and watch Lightroom tutorials on Youtube. For hours. On a Saturday. In Paris.

Now for those of you back home shaking your indignant fists at me with righteous anger at my abuse of my time abroad, let me explain. For the past two months, I have scheduled every waking moment of every day with activity. I have seen the sights, eaten the food, even bought the little touristy trinkets. I have carefully--and quite successfully--calculated how to hit as many Trip-Advisor 4-star and 5-star rated Paris locations in one day as possible. I have enjoyed every minute. And today, I stopped.

I'm stopped because I had an important realization. I am not on vacation. I am not a tourist. I am a resident of France for 365 days. I had been gleefully running myself ragged trying to see everything I could in a few months, and treating this trip like a two-week vacation. But you know how usually at the end of those vacations, you have have to rest up from the vacation because you were so busy being on vacation? I've been in that mentality for two months now. So today I stopped. And you know what? It felt great. It felt great to see that perfect beautiful weather and choose to stay inside and do what I actually wanted to do, not what I felt like I should do.

That's something Paris and living abroad is teaching me. That time is precious, and that doing something you don't want to do because its expected or normal is the real waste of that time. That this is still real life, and I won't have endless supply of tourist enthusiasm. And that I will have to have normal days to keep the special days special. Because I'm no longer just visiting Paris. Paris has become home, and that's kind of a big deal.

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