Expat in Transition
Yesterday in my journal I wrote that I felt my transition time was at an end. Paris and Europe was great, but now it’s time to let all that go and embrace my life now.
Then tonight I sift through all my old Facebook photos from my year abroad, and I weep a little, inwardly. The tears are only thoughts now.
I keep promising myself I will move on. I try to remind myself on the not so great things, like being far from family, and not understanding people when they are making fun of you, or when you really need something. The smell of urine and dead things under the bridges and in the metros. The fear of that metro blowing up and the last person you see on earth is the creepy hobo that’s been staring at you for the last five stops with his hand down his pants.
But even then, I look at those pictures and the moments flood back and I can close my eyes and picture the streets and the soft light and the murmur that seems to constantly play background music to the scene. I remember and I yearn.
How do you let go of a place? I’ve let go of people before, it’s hard, it takes time. But a place?
It doesn’t help that every other painting on sale in Home Goods is a poor tribute to Lady Eiffel. The streets don’t look like that, I scoff. I feel it’s my right, to scoff, all the times I biked up and down those streets balancing library books and baguettes and berets. (Okay not berets.)
I don’t want to forget, but the moment I remember, I go tumbling like Alice to Wonderland, back to a place of dreaming, and the impossible, and dreaming. Dreaming so real, you forget what’s a dream.
I remember all the places I’ve been and I think, wow, that’s incredible. It’s easy to forget, settling into a routine of work, yoga, gym, dinner parties, that I waltzed in the Hofburg Palace with a Hungarian prince (that’s another story), or traded spice secrets at midnight with the swarthy chef in Florentine pizza shop. He wanted to take us dancing when he got off at 4am. “The night is young!” It’s so easy to discount my life life now as ordinary and routine and dull compared to a year of living the life I’ve always dreamed about and then some.
And I feel so pathetic sometimes, like I’m complaining––I’m not! I like my life here; in fact, I’m even learning to love some parts of it! I just never want to forget the magic of there. Does moving on mean losing some of that magic to make room for a different kind of magic? It’s like I think our hearts and brains and spirits can only contain so much magic and then we spill over and lose something, a memory. And right now… if I’m being honest… I can’t imagine a magic I want to contain more than Europe, more than Paris. And so I’ll never move on.