Halley Knigge (Griffin)

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Yesterday for the first time I started to feel a few shreds of panic about leaving Paris. As of today I have exactly one month left in the city before R and I head to Israel. We’ll be back in Paris the 24th of July to spend two days doing laundry and eating a few last pain au chocolats before officially repatriating. Suddenly a year seems so short, and the idea of coming back here to work after graduating from the University of Washington is sounding more and more appealing.

I first started to feel the time slipping away from me yesterday at the Paris Bloggers’ Picnic in the parc des Buttes Chaumont. I have to admit I was feeling a little apprehensive about participating. I always feel a bit uncomfortable with the tag of “blogger,” as I alternate between feeling like a huge dork and completely self-obsessed when I mention it to people for the first time. All week I had this nervous energy building as I imagined meeting a group of self-important writers suffering from I’m a blohhhhgger complexes.

Nevertheless, I asked nanny mom for Saturday afternoon off, made a special trip to the bar à tee shirt on boulevard Poissonnière to pick up my Tacoma Girl tee shirt, slept with my fingers crossed for no rain, and woke up early Saturday morning to bake chocolate chip cookies – I mean seriously, what else would a girl from Tacoma contribute to a picnic in Paris?

I shouldn’t have worried. I’m not sure where I got my notion of bloggers as total jerks (particularly odd since I guess I am one), but I couldn’t have been more wrong. Everybody was fun and tipsy and down-to-earth and fully appreciated my cookies (or at least pretended to) and it was just an all-around great afternoon – with the only exception being the part when I had to brave the free toilets. It’s not for nothing that friends call me “Soccer Mom,” so I was at least prepared with a bag of baby wipes that I gladly shared around once we’d escaped the smelly urine den.

Everything was great until I left the picnic – and immediately started to feel completely panicked. There’s nothing better than meeting a new group of fantastic people – unless you only have a month left on the same continent as them. I’ll do my best to squeeze in as much as I can in these next few weeks (Ladies Night at Le Queen this Wednesday for anyone who’ll be around!), but the fact remains that I’m not going to be in Paris for the next blog picnic.

I returned to my apartment with email addresses, blogs to read and plans to go out this Wednesday, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I don’t have enough time left in Paris. The weird lump in my chest only grew bigger after going to my hip-hop stage this afternoon. The second stress bomb of the weekend hit me when Flo announced she was forming a performing hip-hop company for next year and would like to invite certain of us whose dancing she knew well to join without an audition. The company would do a lot of what we’ve been doing this year – dancing at clubs, bars and artists’ spaces but with more performances in more venues. It sounds amazing – and how cool would I feel being part of a gritty hip-hop troupe? What can I do, though – there’s no way to change the fact that I’m not going to live in Paris anymore, beginning at the end of July.

All year I’ve felt like I’m missing life in the Puget Sound. I’ve never met my best friend’s boyfriend of five months, my little brother just graduated from high school without me and my family has a new dog who I’ve never petted or taken for a walk. I can’t wait to get home to meet Scout and Peter (guess which one is the dog) and inspect Ben’s diploma, but for the first time I’m starting to get a real glimpse of the life that’s going to keep on going without me here in Paris – and I’m not feeling ready to leave it.