Living in Paris is a little like falling in love with someone you know will eventually break your heart. Once you know it, you can never know another city in the same way, with the same depth and propensity of feeling. It’s a magic that sinks you’re your being, an inexplicable truth that fills you with light and longing at the same time, even while you’re in the heart of it.
Exactly a year ago I posted about my second stay in Paris, one that would span several months. I talked about signs and symmetry and equilibrium, the fortuitous nature of my return to the only international city I had ever known. A few short months later I posted about leaving Paris, about the inertia and heartbreak and longing for a city I loved so quickly and so deeply. I vowed to return, visa in hand, French in progress. Well, exactly a year later, I’m a legal French resident, nestled into a new cozy apartment in the same sleepy suburb of Asniéres, buried in graduate school papers and research. For the next year, maybe even two, Paris is home. A lot of people talk about the difficulties of French bureaucracy and joke about how difficult life is here. That’s true. I’ve never encountered so many obstacles to day-to-day life as I have in Paris. But there is something about the city that makes you understand, that makes it all okay. It’s just another test of this great city’s love, a not-so gentle push – how much do you want it? How hard does it have to be for you to give up and go home? And that’s just another reason that makes Paris so worth it, because of all you put into it. It’s a relationship with a city like none other, a visceral give and take, textured and living and constantly challenging. For me there will always be that vein of serendipity, the touch of symmetry that settles my mind when things are difficult. I won't give up and go home; I am home.