It’s a familiar dream for any North American girl – to find herself living in Paris, strolling down the boulevards, eating at cafes, dressing in sleek chic Parisian attire, glass of wine in hand with some red lipstick prints around the rim…
But what happens in those moments when you realize you’re not on vacation? You’re not a tourist, you’re not here on a romantic whirlwind adventure that will be over in two weeks. You’re here attempting to become a permanent fixture, trying to cling to any semblance of stability in this new and swirling world.
They say it takes at least a year to get properly comfortable and settled into some place new. Whether it’s your job, or a new city, it’s impossible not to acknowledge that building a sense of stability takes time. But it’s a whole new bag when you’re talking about a brand new country as well. Now don’t get me wrong, I love France and I LOVE Paris… but there are days when some things here drive me nuts and make me miss that comfort of the familiar.
I’m no stranger to travel, to the new, the unexpected, the rugged or the adventurous. I find that to be the easiest part… for me it’s the part that comes after – the trying to build a new routine, the “every day” life stuff that keeps me from feeling at ease. Those small moments come and go so quickly, but forcefully remind me how foreign I am.
What’s happening? Well… it would appear I’m having my “Carrie Bradshaw Moment”.
Yes, we both have giant curly hair, and yes we’ve both made our share of mistakes in love, but I’ll be honest – When I saw Carrie wandering along all alone in the streets of Paris, slowly slipping into her melancholia, I thought to myself “Pfftch! Gimme a break! If I was there and had that life I would NEVER be able to be sad! And I’m bilingual so I would have it even EASIER than her! What a wimp.”
And now here I am, living this incredible life in Paris, and finding myself feeling at times, incredibly lonely. How can this happen?! I’m surrounded by all of the things I love, I can speak the language, I know my way around the city for the most part…How on Earth could a person be lonely!? Well… it’s a strange thing to experience the wonders of your heart, but have no one to share them with.
While I am lonely at times, I am actually incredible content with “being alone”. I love living alone, I love having only to be responsible for myself, I love the quiet of my apartment, and that the only mess I have to deal with is my own (which somehow over the years, I have managed to become incredibly tidy). I can listen to whatever music I want, sit where I want, eat where I want, leave the lights on or turn them off when I want – I love that for the first time in my life, everything about my life is just about ME.
Being on my own in this way has really forced me to listen to myself, and to the questions of my own heart, even if the question is as simple as “What would you like for lunch today?”. I am learning so much about the woman I am, the girl I used to be, and the woman I want to become. I have had time to reflect on my goals, my wishes, and my intentions, which has lead me to begin consciously constructing these aspects of my life in order to create my foundation. In short: I am beginning to shape my standards.
“Standards” has always been a word I associated with closed-mindedness, and a pinch of negativity and judgement. But I’m realizing that it isn’t that way, or I should say, it doesn’t have to be that way, and it certainly wont be for me. I remember hearing, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything” and I believe that is exactly what I have been doing. One of my favourite things about myself is my ability to find the good and the potential in someone, making me able to love just about anyone. But this is also one of the great destructive forces in my life. Therefore, for me, a standard is a point where I will measure not only others – friends, family, relationships, and career – but mainly and most importantly, myself.
So maybe I am having a little case of the Parisian Blues, but I know that things will get better and easier with time. After all, Carrie Bradshaw and I may have a few things in common, but unlike her I have never fallen in Dior, and I belong in this city. ❤