London was easy. London quickly because a comfortable home away from home. London is amazing and fast and a thrill but anyone can move to London. I wanted a challenge, to take a chance, to be wild. I wanted a culture change, a journey, that moment of panic mixed with exhilaration that takes over for a few seconds when you first wake up in the morning, before your rational thinking takes over. I wanted life changing. I wanted adventure, experience and tingling excitement. Mostly I wanted Paris.
From the moment I emerged from the metro station on Saturday 31st September 2013, my first glimpse at the city being the Notre Dame across the road, the Seine to the left, restaurants to the right, market stalls behind us, I knew Paris was my place.Things change fast in the life of a traveller. A new day, a new location. A new day, a new dream. A new day, a new opportunity. This time, the moment I arrived in Paris the feelings from two years earlier once again came rushing back. I realized that here is where my heart truly belongs, and that I didn’t want to leave.
A week in Paris is never going to be enough. It’s never going to be possible to know any big city in a week (five months in London and I barely even touched the surface!) but in a city like Paris, there will never be enough time. You can explore every street and know every corner, but the feelings that the city evokes, the calming silent air that lingers in the streets and the smiles that are produced by a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower, either from far away between buildings or up close beneath its base, that’s someone that can never be bottled or reproduced anywhere.
That’s why when an opportunity came my way to live in the City of Love for a few months, there wasn’t a doubt as to whether I’d choose to stay or leave.
Traveling changes you. It makes you realize that anything is possible. Two months on your own, choosing your own destination, following your own footsteps, chasing your dreams, it makes you realize that you can do what ever you put your mind to. Paris was an unattainable dream for such a long while, until one day I realized that it actually wasn’t so hard. Of course it was easier once I’d arrived back in Paris, making arrangements and decisions from around the corner rather that around the world.
Sitting here, writing this post below the Eiffel Tower, I promise myself to see the tower daily, to appreciate every moment, to not take a second for granted as I did in London – it all became too familiar and too easy, and now with Paris on the horizon, I don’t know if I’ll ever truly live in London again. I will be excited every day, I will live in the moment and I ensure everyday is a dream, as that what’s makes being away from home so worth it. I’m excited to call Paris home for a while.
I’m excited for beanies and coats, for winter markets, for Christmas Day. I’m excited for French lessons and yet again making new friends and a new life in a new city. I’m excited for exploring and wandering and getting to know Paris in a way that one cannot when visiting for just a week. I’m excited for sunsets and sunrises, for shopping in Paris and for buying peonies for my Paris apartment.
It’s different when you know you have months in the city – I can stop and sit and look and appreciate instead of rushing around to limited hours.
It’s crazy, it’s scary, it’s so far from home, and it’s French, but it’s Paris, and it’s where I belong, for now.