My life in Paris is coming to a close faster than I have the ability to keep up with. I’m writing this from Rachael’s futon in the 11ème arrondissement, where I now live, or am at least crashing until I quitte la belle France in two and a half weeks.
Last Thursday I said goodbye to the nanny family at Gare de Lyon, an experience that was somewhat odd and definitely less emotional (at least on my end) than I’d imagined it would be. This is a family I’ve logged more than 600 hours with since moving into their studio apartment last October. It’s a family whose children I’ve spent six days a week with, playing, reading, giving baths, cooking dinner and watching movies. A huge part of my life in Paris was wrapped up in this family and these kids, and my unexpected detachment when hugging them goodbye is probably rooted in the fact that I haven’t fully come to terms with the fact that Paris is basically done for me.
We were all careful to avoid saying our adieus (literally, at God, or, a very final goodbye) at the train station, opting instead for Make sure you drop by the next time you’re in Paris, and If you guys ever want to see the Pacific Northwest… I left them 10 minutes before their train’s departure and headed home to a very bare apartment. I’d gone, in three days, from a girl in a very settled in Parisian apartment with her boyfriend, her brother and her brother’s best gal friend and a nanny family to a girl in a half-empty apartment completely and utterly alone. I spent the afternoon reorganizing the kitchen cabinets and finishing up packing.
Monday afternoon, I moved out of my little French apartment in the 2ème to crash with Rachael and her russe roommate for a few days (a useful development, as R’s building has a free laundry room). I scrubbed every inch of my apartment, left four U.S.-import Shrek Pez dispensers in the kitchen for the kids to find later on this summer and deposited my keys in the mailbox of the nanny family. That was it – I’m still a girl from Tacoma and I’m still in Paris, but most of my friends have left the city for their families’ homes or vacation, I’m no longer an étudiante at Sciences Po, no longer an au pair and no longer have an address. Weird.
I’m not officially repatriating until July 27th, but tomorrow R and I are boarding a plane to Israel for two weeks (hence the sporadic posting you’ll be seeing for a while) and returning with just two days left to spend in Paris – hopefully at Paris Plage, though this is totally dependant on the notion that the weather is going to improve while we’re gone. We spent yesterday moving me out of my apartment and packing up Rachael’s, and today doing final Paris errands (like stocking up on scarves and Bensimon tennis and paying a visit to the free Fragonard Musée de la Perfumerie).
Vacation has officially begun, but it definitely hasn’t hit me yet. It doesn’t feel like I’m done nannying, like I don’t live in my apartment anymore, like I only have two days left to spend in Paris. Paris feels like it always does, and so do I – but now I’m surrounded by packed overweight suitcases and last-minute souvenirs instead of French books on the crises facing Europe and the odd bits of puzzles and various glow-in-the-dark stars that have somehow found their way into my pockets from P and G’s room.
And anyway, tomorrow I’m off to be surrounded by sand and machine guns (and probably some falafel and stars of David too). I won’t be posting much between now and June 24th, except for the random I’m still alive message, so don’t get worried, just check back in two weeks.
*** For those of you who have been asking, I am going to keep writing through the summer and next year – I’ll just go back to regular old Tacoma girl in Tacoma (and then Seattle), and my observations will go from the effortless chicness of Parisian women to something along the lines of Wow, I never realized just how much polar fleece there is in Seattle.