Sunday, August 23, 2015

And Then There Was One

As most of you know, I have been all over the map this summer and with the best of company, leaving me very little time to write or update on all the adventures and misadventures I have been getting into. Then like the silence after a storm, this week settled in on me, and I am alone in Paris, watching the storm clouds roll in and wondering where the last year has gone. Time to write.

I've already told you about my adventures in Belgium and Paris with my cousin Caity.
Still to come, the French Riviera and Paris with my sister Sally (better known in the blogosphere as The Quirky Peach).
And last but not least, my two-week trip through the country and kitchens of Italy with my good friend Hannah. 

Meanwhile I have said goodbye to the last of the 6th floor sisterhood as one by one each of my friends in Paris left their au pair duties behind to begin the next chapter in their lives. Grad school. Big girl jobs. New countries. Old cities. It's a mix and a blur and hard to keep up with. And it somehow feels appropriate that I should be the last one standing in the end, like a guardian of a memory saluting off the final vigil. The one who sees Paris after the party leaves, who sees her for who she really is. 

The past two days, alone in Paris, has been a déjà vu experience, a strange almost out-of-body experience, like walking through a museum of your life, the life that you just had yesterday. The places are all the same, but the voices, the laughter, the memories drift through the air like thin paper ghosts. Paris is a shell of itself in August, emptied of locals fleeing the summer heat to holiday houses by the seaside. I am blown about in the herds of tourists, watching them watch my city with glassy-eyed looks, not knowing this is where I ate my favorite croissant with a friend just a few weeks ago, not knowing how many nights we spent sipping cheap, delicious French wine and talking about the purpose of life on the Left Bank near Pont Alexandre III. There is something particularly strange about watching the life you built over the past year unravel one character at a time. Each goodbye froze another frame in time, put another block of the city into wax for me to later walk by and remember. After a year of wandering the museums of Paris, the last one I expected to walk through was my own––the former life of a Parisian au pair.

I have three weeks left in Paris, three weeks of precious time I know will fly away before I want it to. I am eager to go back to the States, and yet afraid of losing everything I have gained. I am afraid of how I will fit into my old world, when I love my new one so much. I am afraid of how people will accept me, and afraid of changing so they will accept me.

But I'm learning that home is not a place, because a place without your people is just a jumble of buildings and streets. They say home is where the heart is, but now my heart has been scattered all over the world... 

It's a precious time, this week especially. Alone in Paris, with no one to answer to, no expectations to meet or agenda to keep. This will likely be the last time in my life where I find myself so wholly independent, without responsibility. I should relish in the days. But somehow I can't find whole satisfaction in this state of existing to myself. I think there is an integral part of our human being that needs to exist for others. That while it might be nice to have a break from responsibility and people for a while, it is the people that gives us a reason to live. It's the ones we love that make us get up in the morning and stay up all night. That bring us home again after a year abroad. So while I am afraid and willful and independent and going home sometimes feel like defeat, I am listening also to stronger longing to be amongst my own again, and a longing to be home, where my heart is, where my people are.

Look for my posts coming up on my summer travels, and in the meanwhile, know that you are someone's reason for getting up, whether you know it or not. Blessings and joy to you my readers, on this Sunday morning.


  1. You are amazing! :-) Have a wonderful last few weeks in Paris!

  2. I've been in these shoes! Times goes so fast and yet so slow at the same time! i miss Paris so so much!