Just read a quote from Lao Tzu:
New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.
Appropriate. I just reserved my flight back to Sacramento. My housesitting ends on April 28. I found a hotel for a reasonable price in a good area that is easily accessible to what I want to see and do before flying back on April 30. It makes no sense to stay longer even if my visa could allow that. First, before May 15, I’d have to do the usual leave the Schengen area which involves transportation and hotel expenses. And then I’d have to find a new apartment.
All the while thinking that I am feeling a bit done with Paris.
How can one be done with Paris? I still love it. But my goals have been met. You’ve read my blogs wherein I say I own Paris. I do. And I speak halfway decent French.
Back to my existentialist crisis. For four years I had purpose – it was Paris. It was French. And it was good. No, great. Fabulous. Goals met. Now what? I could indeed stay here and start the path to citizenship. Although if so, I blew it by not doing the yearlong visa several years ago. You must live here 5 years to start the process. Do I want to be a French citizen? In many ways, yes. I do. But then, I think of the complications – the French bureaucracy which would drive me insane. The stories I hear from others. The complications of FACTA… or something with initials something like that. The tax act that makes life miserable for many expats. The French banks that as a result don’t want anything to do with you if you are an American. Let alone the French banks that put very low maximums on how much you can take out of your personal checking account per month no matter how much money you have in there. Huh? The French laws that determine who inherits your money. (No, not as simple as having a will. Of course not, it’s France.)
Other than Eastern Europe, Norway is the sole country on my list left to visit in Europe. I almost went this year but it got far too complicated. So maybe I will pick a new continent to explore. Exploration gets a bit more complex as a single and older woman traveling alone. Hey. I went to Morocco by myself! Not on a tour! But still, one has to be aware. I haven’t had any hesitations traveling in Europe. Now if I select South America as the next destination, maybe some concerns. Yet even as I write that, I figure that after one country in SA, I’ll be fine. Still to be explored and determined. And just the act of writing “explored” made me feel good. I love to plan. Even more, I love to change plans.
<<Oh. I just recalled my one visit to Mexico when I was a college student with two other gals and a guy. We decided to save money and camp out south of Tijuana. We were awakened in the middle of the night to 4 guys, probably between 17 and 23 who were rocking the van we were sleeping in and banging on sides of the van. Lost money, wallets, and very fortunately, nothing else. I did wrestle with one guy over the car keys and actually got a minor cut on my hand. Yes. His knife. They let the air out of the tires and left us alone; we eventually drove back to a beach camp where we got air and paid to sleep safely. Hmmm. Maybe that colors my memory some.>>
But nothing has been as satisfying as living and thriving in Paris using my language skills effectively. At this age, I am not taking up Spanish or Portuguese.
So other options… my consulting business. My partner is eager to start finding more clients and gigs. Maybe I will start to write some speeches for Rotaries and the like: My years In Paris. Maybe the blogs become a book? That seems just too much hard work. I know my personality, I am always facing forward. To go back and sift through and edit blogs sounds wearying.
We interrupt this blog for a special request: But, you dear reader, you can help me out! Do you recall any particular story or stories from my blogs over the last four years that amuse you, define my time in Paris, shed light on the cultural differences, or just stand out? Let me know please. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Word Press by making a comment. Either way, I’ll get your message. I’d really appreciate this. It would be the basis for any speeches I prepare. Now back to the regularly scheduled blog.
So is this a painful ending? My first reaction was yes. But as I compose this blog, I think it’s at the most bittersweet, not painful. Now, the packing will be painful. As all long term readers know – packing 9 months of my life is not my favorite task.
I have some 33 days left. They will be full. a trip to the Netherlands that includes a Todd Rundgren concert in Amsterdam! Multiple expos to visit. Day trips. And, of course, Tango lessons will continue.