Endings and Beginnings

(I’m going to apologize in advance for the long read, but I felt I owed a proper explanation for my disappearance these past few months. I promise future posts will be shorter. And feature more food.)

last night in Paris

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this summer, it’s that nothing is for certain.

Friendships. Relationships. Opinions. Circumstances.

Doesn’t matter how long you’ve had them, doesn’t matter how long they’ve stayed the same — they are still capable of falling apart and crashing down on you, sometimes all at once, making you feel like your world has turned upside down-ish.

Which is exactly what happened to me this summer.

(I say ish because I don’t want to be over-dramatic here. No one died, I’m in good health; in the grand scheme of things, all is well.)

But yes, the past two and a half months were a hell of a ride.

***

Apologies for kind of going…completely AWOL.

I wrote dozens of posts in my head over the past few weeks to explain my absence. But I didn’t know where to start, or what to say.

How do you talk about something inconsequential like gelato flavors when offline you’re trying to pack up your entire life into a few flimsy cardboard boxes?

How do you list all the reasons you love and will miss Paris when your mind is wrapped up snugly in an all-encompassing state of denial about leaving?

***

In early August I happened to meet up with fellow blogger Mary Anne in London, who was going through a similar situation. I love the way she explained such blog silence:

Sometimes one or two overly personal and private things can derail your ability to write at length about all the millions of notable and weird and interesting things going on concurrently.

Sometimes you don’t want to talk about those things just yet, for any number of reasons, but if you don’t at least blurt out their existence then nothing else makes sense.

One day in London, I happened to meet another blogger [cough, hi there] who was going through a similar writer’s block due to a mountainous change in her personal circumstances that had utterly shifted everything and decontextualized everything she wanted to write about. We had a lovely long talk about just this, happy to finally tell someone out there what was going on and why the radio silence was becoming so embarrassingly lengthy.

So you see, I wanted to tell you about my new apartment! My travels! Photos of EVERYTHING!

But there were some things I simply wasn’t ready to talk about, at least not online; and as everything was sort of linked, I couldn’t write about those things without oversharing other personal things I wasn’t yet ready to reveal to the general internet public.

***

There’s another reason I haven’t been online much this summer.

Life was happening, man.

Because when I say everything turned upside down, I mean that in all sorts of ways: both negative and positive. Yes there was drama, there was heartache and pain — but in many ways, this was also one of the best summers I’ve ever had.

And it was hard to write about all the good things I wanted to share — Belgium! Bastille Day! Big announcement things! — when there was so much going on behind the scenes. Situations I didn’t want to downplay or ignore by sounding so damn happy.

Because that wouldn’t have been accurate either. It wasn’t happy-happy-joy-joy all the time; there were afternoons I was unable to do much else but sit on the couch and stare at the ceiling for hours while listening to album after album of Daft Punk, Norah Jones, and the Beatles over and over and over again.

But overall: it’s been a fabulously memorable summer. And it pains me that I wasn’t able to share any of it — but facing only two months left in Paris, I knew I didn’t want to waste a single moment. Frankly, some sacrifices had to be made, so my online life ended up taking a backseat to real life.

***

So here’s what happened: I was originally supposed to leave Paris at the end of June.

Had I done so, I would have left a completely different person — probably one with a rosier, more naive optimistic outlook on Paris, people, and life. The Edna who started the summer in Paris was not the same person who left it.

At the end of June, I was on top of the world. I thought I had it all:

I was surrounded by the best of friends.
I lived in Paris, a city I finally loved.
I was engaged to a great guy.
I had a cushy job and work paid for my apartment.
I’d just been offered a full-time position in my dream field, in a country I’d long dreamt of visiting.

By mid-July, I was losing everything.

Nearly all my friends left in this oddly-timed mass exodus, either to go home or onto new adventures.
I was losing Paris.
My career was affecting my relationship.
My Paris contract was up so I had to move in with a friend (whose apartment I actually loved and was a thousand times better than my old studio, but moving and crashing in a home that’s not yours, still stressful).
I finally visited said country I always thought I’d love — and was about to move to – and was shocked to find I didn’t. Not in the least.

And the rotten cherry on top of it all: right as things were starting to unravel, one of my best friends — someone who’d been by my side nearly 24/7 and played a big role in helping me finally love Paris — suddenly cut me out of her life without any explanation. When I needed a friend most, poof, not only was she gone, but she made it clear I was dead to her. It cut deep, and left a very bitter cloud hanging over what had been six months of joyful Paris memories.

So in two weeks I’d gone through huge changes in friendships, relationships, living situations, and work; plus a move I dreaded loomed on the horizon.

Forget a new chapter in my life; I felt like I was starting a whole new book.

Arc de Triomphe in August - by Expat Edna

You know how some mornings you wake up expecting a hangover, and you actually feel okay? So you keep busy; you go out and buy groceries and meet friends for lunch and go about your day-to-day.

And you think, Hey, I’m not so bad. I’ve totally got this.

But as soon as you stop for a moment – just one moment of rest — that’s when the world starts spinning, and suddenly all the pain hits you at once. And that’s when you realize, maaaaybe I’m not as okay as I thought.

As an extreme extrovert, so long as I’m around people I’m not so bad, I’ve totally got this. So I made sure to keep busy, developed new friendships, strengthened old ones, went out every night until the wee hours of the morning and was at peak levels of happiness.

But in the afternoons, when I was alone, when I was forced to live beyond the moment and face the reality of what was going on in my life and the changes that were inevitably coming — bam, like the latent but inevitable hangover, world-spinning, paralyzing panic attacks would hit.

***

It’s not especially pleasant to feel like you’re living a funhouse: everything looks the same, but something still feels off, and you’re just know there’s a trick floorboard somewhere waiting to do you in.

Externally, I was off-kilter because I was in apartment purgatory.

I kept preparing to leave, then my move date kept getting pushed back — by a few days, then a couple weeks, then a couple months. (Even at my farewell party, people still doubted: “Are you really leaving this time?”)

It’s like I’d spent all this time psyching myself up to jump off the high-dive, and was right at the edge, about to spring…only to have the lifeguard suddenly pull me back. THREE times. The ping-ponging between leaving and staying was physically and mentally exhausting.

When I wasn’t living out of my suitcase in a hotel (work trips in Switzerland and Italy; spontaneous weekends in Madrid and London), I was living out of boxes at a friend’s place in Paris. I craved a place to call my own again, where I didn’t have to worry about things like making the bed or wearing pants.

***

Internally, it was like I was standing on a rotting piece of wood — you know, it felt solid enough, and if I ignored it I could go about my days like nothing had changed. But if I just looked down for just a second, I’d see the cracks and flaws and panic.

I kept waiting for something else to fall out from beneath my feet. Even when I was ecstatically happy, I’d feel anxious about how long it would last. I became wary of wholly trusting anything or anyone, since the Paris life I’d known for a year and a half had all come undone in a surprisingly short amount of time.

All the facets of my life had been shaken up — so while I waited for the pieces to settle back into place, there was nothing I could do but just be in the moment.

So I simply enjoyed the moment.

BBQ in Sevres by Expat Edna

“How are you doing?” became a surprisingly tricky question to answer. I was reluctant to answer it, and hated the question almost as much as I hated people asking when I was leaving Paris.

Because if I was honest, living in the moment, I felt fantastic. Friends would tell me, with puzzled looks on their faces, that I did seem “really happy”.

I think people expected me to say I was terrible, that I was despondent, what with all the upheaval and uncertainty. To say I was truly happy in spite of everything, I think to some, seemed callous or cold-hearted.

But why should I have wallowed? What’s the point of living if you aren’t going to at least try to pursue happiness, if you let dark times keep you down? I made it a point to be surrounded by good friends, both old and new (…mostly new) and enjoy the hell out of all that a Paris summer has to offer.

***

With every ending comes a beginning, and from the ashes of June rose a mind-blowing phoenix of a summer.

I abandoned my label because I had started to feel beholden to what I said I did for a living, instead of actually living. So I stopped thinking of myself as Edna the blogger, or journalist, or even writer. I was only Edna the expat, an American living in Paris, with no responsibilities to anyone but myself, and no job other than to freaking love Paris like I’d never loved it before.

I spent most of the summer offline. The apartment didn’t have internet(!), my phone didn’t have data; unless I was stealing wifi from McDonalds, I was totally disconnected — and it was so freeing.

For the first time in ever, I turned off my brain and lived for fun — not for a blog post, not for a facebook status — just for me. I didn’t watch tv; I have no idea what movies came out this summer, what songs were popular.

I spent my days talking — about nothing, about everything; morning to night. Time became irrelevant; there was one afternoon my roommate and I had a five-hour conversation, just standing in the kitchen, without noticing or caring that he was four hours late for work. I never knew it was possible to spend so much time, so many days on end, just talking. I adored it.

I relaxed my grip on my wallet and went to all my favorite restaurants one, two, three last times, budget be damned. I splurged on chevre and Spanish hams and Belgian beers from the fancy fromager on Île St-Louis.

I had picnics and negronis on a daily and nightly basis. I wandered the banks; went to outdoor film screenings; checked off my Paris bucket list. I invited my sister to come visit for a week, and she actually took me up on the offer. I went to Spain for the first time. I popped over to London for the day.

***

As someone who mostly lives online, I’d forgotten what it was like to not be tied to an email inbox, a facebook notification, a twitter message. I could just live for me — and if no one else knew about it, well, that didn’t matter squat. My adventures were still awesome and life was still good.

Sure, I may have ended my time in Paris with a different set of friends, a different routine, a different kind of social life than I’d known or expected, but ultimately I’m happy with how things worked out the way they did, and am grateful for everything that happened this summer.

And when the time came to finally leave Paris (for real), I was ready. I didn’t know it in June, but there was still something I’d been missing, and in those last two months I’d finally gotten what I needed from Paris.

***

Things have settled down a bit in the last couple weeks, so hopefully I can start to catch up on posts. I still have so much to cover: Belgium, Paris, Madrid, Paris, London, Paris, Paris, Paris…

Two more important things to note before I leave you with the song of my summer:

1. Three weeks ago I packed up my boxes, hopped in a bright yellow Citroen, and spent three days roadtripping through Paris, Switzerland, and Italy. I live in Italy now.

2. I moved to Italy single.

I’ve missed you guys. How was your summer??

***

If I had my way I would never leave
Keep building these random memories
Turning our days into melodies

But since I can’t stay
I’ll just keep playing back

These fragments of time

Everywhere I go
These moments will shine

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Comments

  1. It seems you have the exact right attitude for the situation. I get a lot of what you are going through, on a smaller scale, but everyone always comments on how great I seem. Of course I have my downs, but I know it’s more important to keep living and that everything that has happened only makes me stronger. I know I don’t have to tell you any of this, as you just worded it ever so eloquently, but I am thinking of you and sending well-wishes for this new, exciting beginning. You are certainly not alone on your adventure!

  2. Sivan says:

    I can so relate. !!!

    Best
    Sivan

  3. arielle says:

    When it rains it pours! I think we’ve all been there in some form or another, but your optimism and strength shines through in your story. All the best for your new beginning in Italy! A life full of beauty and adventure awaits you :)

  4. Bayyinah says:

    Amazing post. It’s crazy how we as a society have stopped living just to live as opposed to share on social media. I find myself rushing to edit and post tidbits of my day instead of actually enjoying the moment. Thanks for illustrating that it’s possible to still enjoy and have a fulfilling life without having to share every aspect of it with the world.

    Best of luck in all of your future endeavors !
    Bayyinah

  5. Julika says:

    Edna, first of all — this was a beautifully moving read, and I’m so glad you found your way back to writing! I’ve missed reading your posts and looking at your reliably beautiful images!
    I’m sorry that some things in your life didn’t work out like you planned them, but you certainly seem like you found a way to look at it from a positive viewpoint. I’m convinced that you’ll find the strength to cope with all these changes though! I can relate to a lot of the things you’re currently going through and I can’t wait to come visit you in Italy to talk about all this over a proper cup of coffee!

  6. ChinaMatt says:

    Welcome back, Edna. Sometimes we all need some time away or time to ourselves. It’s not always easy, but time helps (I’ve been looking to escape to a new life for two years). Also, I should be in Italy sometime next summer, so maybe we’ll get to meet up again.

  7. OCDemon says:

    This was a pretty powerful post, and I can relate a lot to the random, unexpected, life-altering obstacles that come out of nowhere and derail every plan you thought would work out just fine. Unfortunately things like this happen, and there’s very little that can be done about it, in some cases…but on the other hand, if something wasn’t working, moving on is a solution. Obviously I can’t give flawlessly coherent advice based on deliberately vague personal drama (I get annoyed when people think they can do that), but it seems like you’re on the road for some soul-searching, and it’s probably going to be positive. Good luck, I suppose?

  8. Christine says:

    Aw, Edna, my heart broke for you reading this! It sounds like you’ve gained a lot of perspective through all these awful situations, and have come out of it stronger. Wishing you the best in Italy, and if you don’t like it too much, then come back to Spain!

  9. Congrats on making it through the summer and enjoying it. I had a few months like that about a year and a half ago in the winter where everything from friends to relationships to work went crazy all at the same time, and if I’d had your attitude it would have been so much easier to deal with. It’s taken me pretty much until now to regroup (mostly I stayed in bed and cried at first), but the changes have definitely been for the better in retrospect, and I hope your changes turn out the same way. Good luck!

  10. Great post; I loved it.

    Sometimes I just want to quit this whole blogging game, you know? Sometimes I think I might just be happier without it all. I feel obligated; I feel pushed and pulled; I feel not good enough … and it’s not necessarily anyone’s fault, but I think blogs (and Facebook and Twitter) don’t always help. While I wouldn’t wish to spend a lot of time disconnected, as it’s my lifeline to home and my parents and so many people, I see how it could be helpful to take a step back from that world—you know which one I’m talking about.

    Wishing you the best.

  11. WOW Edna, I (obviously) had NO idea all that you were going through those couple of times I saw you in July but it seems that through everything, you have come out of this on top. Wishing you only good things and success and love and happiness in your Italian future XO I’ll be following along when you are ready to share :)

  12. Hannah says:

    Welcome back, Edna. This post was genuine and moving. You captured the frustration of transition — between friendships, relationships, places, jobs — beautifully. I’ll be happy to follow your adventures in Italy and beyond. I missed your posts.

  13. I can only imagine how hard yet healing writing that all out could have been. Know that you continue to be an inspiration and are absolutely amazing at what you do. Continue to chase your dreams and live your life (and I can’t wait to keep reading!) Cheers!

  14. lostnchina says:

    Oh dear, didn’t know it was that bad, since you’re usually so upbeat in your emails. I, too, have a problem writing when I’m going through stress and turmoil, and even afterwards. It was courageous for you to share with us what’s been happening with you lately. Italy’s a great place to start anew. I’m looking forward to more stuff from you in the near future. Take care of yourself.

  15. Lauren says:

    Oof. Reading this was like being punched in the solar plexus so I can only imagine what it was like in real life. It’s amazing how much can happen in such a short period of time. Your words about Paris are a good reminder that even when things are kind of shitty, the beauty of life is still there waiting for you.

    Also these lines really resonated with me:
    - The whole hangover analogy
    - I abandoned my label because I had started to feel beholden to what I said I did for a living, instead of actually living.
    - I could just live for me — and if no one else knew about it, well, that didn’t matter squat.

    I had a major breakup/life change several years ago, and your post reminds me so much of that time. (Also I’ve been writing about it in my memoir so all the feelings are being stirred up) All I can say is that things now are so much more ‘right’ than the road I thought I was headed down before it all hit the fan. Hope it’s the same for you and good luck in Italy!

  16. Welcome to Italy! Such a moving and honest post. Wishing you a lifetime of happiness and sunshine. If you ever make it to Sardinia, give me a call, we’ll have coffee, chat, maybe even hike up a mountain or two. Until then. :)

  17. Louise says:

    Edna I love you SO MUCH. This post has actually made me tear up at work and I don’t care. You are incredible, and I’m so glad that Daft Punk have helped you along the way! (they too, are my saviour). Oh and if you ever want to road-trip to the north of England – please come! Myself and Tom would be more than ecstatic to put you up for a while (and do you have room at your place in Italy? I’d love to come visit!)

  18. so sorry to hear your summer was so emotional, lady. one of my highlights of our quick stop in paris over the summer was meeting you, and aside from your frustration over nailing down a move date, i really had no idea how overwhelmed you were feeling! i’m glad you seem to be starting over stronger than ever, and hopefully we’ll cross paths again sometime very soon. xoxo!

  19. Gabriel says:

    Nice reading you, hope my little hometown treats you well. Bonne rentrée!

  20. Danielle says:

    Oh, sweetheart, I want to hug you! And in that hug, hop around the room like we were two little girls.

    This summer was like real life challenges and grown-up-ness wrapped up in deceivingly good looking taco (or rice paper, whatever the cuisine, ha). We were hungry. We ate, and digested, and survived, and we’re still here this fall. In totally different places (well, a few blocks away physically, in my case, but still–lots of emotional evolution) with a ton of spanking new wisdom.

    In a few weeks, I will see YOU in Paris, and then in Italy. Better times, both online and offline, are sure to ensure.

    Love & miss you, friend. xo

  21. Katherina says:

    Hi Edna,

    First of all – so good to have you back! I can’t wait to read about all the places you’ve visited in between and your last summer in Paris. I understand how you feel… I’ve also gone through so many changes in the past 4 months – moving countries, changing jobs, losing relationships (and gaining new ones). There’ll be times like these (many of them unfortunately), when everything just seems to come at the same time.

    And please don’t apologise for getting offline… I think this is something totally necessary (specially in those moments where everything just seems to come at once!). Life is there to enjoy it – not really to blog about it… that’s a secondary thing ;)

  22. Beautifully written. I’m glad you’re blogging again. And as you know my sentiments on much of the above, all I can say is that I love and miss you and that we should skype more. (Sidenote- please run away to Asia and hang out with me. Roommates in HK?)

  23. RBJello says:

    Edna,
    Best of luck with everything and your new life in Italy. I know you’ll shine bright wherever you are. You are a strong and independent woman and I know you will accomplish great things.

  24. Laura says:

    This was a beautiful post. I’m glad you were still able to enjoy your Parisian summer even in the midst of all the craziness going on, and I look forward to reading about your more recent adventures!

  25. Kasia Dietz says:

    Dear Edna,

    Thank you for sharing what was truly on your mind and in your heart. Not easy. What a wonderful way to live your last months in Paris, for YOU and you alone. I’m certain you left much stronger and empowered than when you arrived. I was happy to get to know you even briefly, and hope to see you in Italy! Do come and visit us in Cinque Terre (or if you go there I’ll be happy to give you tips).

    All the best to you as your adventures continue!
    Kasia

  26. Sam Alleman says:

    Edna, my heart broke for you while reading this, but if you’ve been able to write about it, that means you’ve been able to look at it with new perspective and work through everything. (I hope!) Writing can be therapeutic but it can also be a burden if you feel you owe it to us to update your blog – that should never be your concern.

    Rough times are only made more stressful when you can’t rely on someone for support, and I’m sorry you had to go through that. I’m glad to learn you’re doing better. You showed a lot of strength in sharing everything you’ve been through, and I’m proud of you for coming out a stronger person. It seems condescending to say that, but I mean it in the sense that I know it’s easier to let bad or sad things keep you down rather than putting in the effort and energy to make your final weeks in Paris worth it. I hope you discover more about yourself and the person you’re striving to be in Italy.

  27. Lindsey says:

    What an awe-inspiring and honest post! You captured so much of living abroad in your twenties and did so in such a raw, tangible way — it can be disorienting, confusing, and damn well depressing (no matter where you live) when friendships, relationships, jobs, and apartments come and go. The most important thing to remember is that as everything changes around you, YOU are also changing as you embrace the different and the disorienting, the good and the bad, the savory and the not-so-much. Stay strong, enjoy Italy, and keep keepin’ on!

  28. Danielle says:

    Sorry to hear all the bad news. I have been following your blog and indeed wondering what was up. Hope you love italy, where will you be living? I lived in Rome and adored it and just got back from a trip to Venice, Florence and Rome. All amazing places especially as you love food ;)

    Take care!!!

  29. cantaloupe says:

    I think every blogger has gone through times where life is so overwhelming that we can’t even make two sentences strung together without inadvertently blabbing something highly emotional and dramatic. And then wishing we could take it back. And learning our lesson and learning to go offline for awhile…

    I’m glad you’re back though. And I hope that life settles a bit. Although really, the highs and lows are amazing too.

  30. Jay says:

    Edna, this was beautifully and eloquently written.

    While it sounds like the summer was a tumultuous one for you, it appears that things are steadying out and you’re finding yourself in a better space. I’m sorry to hear of your losses (friendship & engagement) and the blogging break was certainly justified while you coped.

    But, with that being said — Italy!!! I’m excited to hear more about your new endeavours! Best wishes and good thoughts being sent your way as you settle in!

  31. jessica wray says:

    Wow, what an emotional summer and you did such an amazing job on explaining it to us. My heart goes out to you and all that you’ve gone through! I hope Italy ends up being everything you want it to be. Maybe it will take living there to appreciate it, rather than just visiting, when sometimes things don’t always turn out so great.

    (By the way, I had a feeling it was Italy this whole time! And I’ve been checking back on your site like every other week ;) )

    You have an amazing way of showing the world to your readers in a way that is so engaging and beautiful. But I understand how sometimes, it’s just exhausting. There are many times where I feel like I NEED to write something, but there is nothing going on in my head that is clear enough. Stepping away for a while is much better than overworking yourself, or even worse, putting up posts that are lack-luster or don’t mean anything.

    Keep us updated about Italy– the ups the downs the good and the bad! I wish I could come visit, I’ll have to monitor cheap flights :) If only I was in Madrid when you were ! :/

    Wish you all the best this month & take care <3 <3 <3

  32. Ceri says:

    Wow, hunni, you sure have had one hell of a summer. I absolutely love your attitude though. I’ve never allowed myself to have that kind of ‘disconnected’ freedom for longer than a couple of days. And the positive outlook of just living and making the most out of everything in spite of the downs that you’ve faced is truly inspiring.

  33. travellingmo says:

    I always love hearing what’s going on, but I’m very glad you took an absence to live! I’ve been working on writing about the same trip since June, and while part of me wants to be done with it already and blog more, the other part is too damn busy working and living to be too bothered by it. I’ve always been jealous (not in a mean way, I promise!) of your life (writing, living abroad, dream come true!) and am glad that even though the world came crashing down a little, you still made the most of it and had an amazing experience in Paris. Personally, I love Italy, and can’t wait to hear about your thoughts. It also takes a lot of courage to realize that a relationship is not working, and kudos to you for doing that and going on with your dreams and adventures solo! And if you are thinking of doing some traveling in the spring, I will be visiting Eastern Europe April and May and looking for a buddy ;) Just sayin’!

  34. ellie says:

    This is beautifully honest Edna and I am so sorry for all the changes that uprooted life these past couple months. Happy to hear your are settled and starting to feel more like normal again. I have been in the same writing slump for a lot of the same reasons lately, its hard to motivate to write about your life when it seems to be in shambles around you. Glad you are back and excited to see some glorious food pics from your travels. lots of positive vibes your way xxx

  35. Erica says:

    Wow, that is quite the summer! I like that inspire of it all you’ve kept your chin up and have perhaps a more honest set of rosy glasses ;) I feel like we have a lot to talk about in a couple weeks…

    In slightly other news, I’ve totally been going offline and been struggling to post regularly for similar feelings stemming from different reasons. I guess sometimes life just does that to you. And I’m glad that sometimes being online can connect you with people with similar sentiments and then you don’t feel so weird or alone :)

  36. Jess G. says:

    Sending you a big virtual high-five for having the courage to be so eloquent and raw in this space. My heart sank when I read this. Isn’t it strange how we can be so affected by the heartaches suffered by people we only ‘meet’ virtually? I’m sorry to hear about your rollercoaster of a summer, but wish you all the best as you settle into your new adventure in Italy. When you’re ready to share where in Italy you are I would love to know. Welcome to southern Europe!

  37. Heather says:

    I’m sorry to hear your summer was so chaotic, but it sounds like you handled it pretty well. A few years ago I went through something similar where one of my dearest friends cut me off very suddenly. After not speaking to me for about six months, I finally got her to meet for drinks and the reasons she gave for her anger were preposterous. It was then I realized I didn’t want that kind of petty, passive-aggressive person in my life and haven’t spoken to her since. Sometimes these things are for the best though they hurt like hell at the time. Best of luck with your new life chapters in Italy!

  38. Hey E.. I’m sorry you had a rough summer, but sounds like you’ve already got the right spirit. Chin up.. all things will fall in its place again. We’ve missed you this summer but glad to hear you’re just out there enjoying life. We all need to step away from the web now and then. Let me know if ever you need a girl chat! I’m just a skype away.. :D Extra happy to hear you’ve settled in Italy – it’s my fave. :)

  39. wl says:

    you’ve gotten past the worst bits with plenty of good memories stuffed in between in this one hell of a summer. all the best to the next chapter (of a whole new book) in italy filled with good things and good people. hugs ! : )

  40. Nicole says:

    I hate that feeling of everything just crashing down. And I feel like it happens when it shouldn’t and with no warning signs. Hate it so much. You’re very positive. That’s great. =)

  41. CatherineRose says:

    Hi Edna,
    This post is beautifully written – I think you really capture what it is like to go through a major life upheaval. I’m sorry to hear about the rough things that happened this summer. It sounds like you are carrying on and moving forward with grace and joie de vivre. I love your take on it all, especially since I can relate on a personal level. All the best for your new chapter (your new book, rather!) in Italy – can’t wait to read about it on your blog.

    PS I’m in Lyon this year – let me know if you’re ever in the neighborhood!

  42. Whoa Edna.
    What a positive way of looking at the world despite difficult and heart-wrenching/breaking situations. I’m happy to hear you gave yourself an opportunity to fully live, reflect and do what you needed to do for you!
    Break-ups are so hard as are changing how you thought it was going to go!
    I’m happy for you for following your heart and doing what you enjoy. I look forward to seeing what the next chapter has in store for you!

  43. Oh, Edna. I am so sorry to hear all of this. But it is beautifully written, you’ll be a stronger person because of it, and I’m happy to see you back blogging.

    I wish you the best of luck, both personally and professionally, in Italy. Sometimes a new place is the best way to gain perspective and move on. Start over. Become the person you need to be now.

    Can’t wait to read about the good times you had this summer and hopefully eat our way around London and Milan :)

  44. Heather says:

    Such a beautifully written article, so honest and pure. I’ve never commented on your blog before, I don’t exactly know what to say (speechless after this article). I don’t really have any words of wisdom for you (none that you haven’t heard before) but I just felt compelled to wish you good luck. And I hope you’re doing okay! You really are an inspiration. Great song btw… :)

  45. I’m finally getting around to reading your come back post, and wow – you are one strong chickadee. I’m impressed you could weather all of those negative experiences at once, and still keep your head up, ask yourself what you really needed to do to cope, and then do it with a smile on your face. We’re so happy to have you back in the blogosphere, but I know how good it feels to live offline for weeks at a time so don’t forget it’s important to recharge your batteries. We don’t mind if you need breaks from us for a while – we completely understand ;-) Welcome back. Welcome to Italy. Welcome to single sisterhood.

  46. I want to send you some virtual hugs now *hugs*

    What a tough but colorful summer that was. It seems that in life, nothing is permanent except change. Things come and go and all we can do is either be positive or let these circumstances bring us down.

    I’m here in the UK now and I haven’t really post much blog entries unlike the way I used to. I concentrated on family time and just having fun the ‘normal’ way. I also learned to leave my laptop at home when I have weekend trips. It’s nice to be offline every once in a while!

  47. This post is an excellent summary of how your life changed on a dime. I think most of us have had similar experiences – in my case many years ago when I was your age. I blogged about that just a few weeks ago:
    http://barlowscayman.blogspot.com/2013/09/a-young-mans-car.html

    We survive; we recover; we end up where we didn’t expect to end up. I have Norwegian grandchildren who don’t even speak English, for goodness sake. You’re doing exactly the right thing – freeing yourself of specific plans, and letting luck take care of you. Actually, I mean that literally. My son and I pretend to believe in Loki the Old Norse god of luck and caprice, and we assure each other from time to time that Loki will do right by anybody who meets him halfway. He won’t help if you let him do all the work,though.

  48. Rachael C says:

    Beautiful post! A friend of a friend turned me on to your blog (because I’m traveling to Paris soon) and it’s lovely. Don’t know where you’re living in Italy, but my sister is an expat living in Milan! Best of luck in Italy!

  49. Edna, wishing you all the best in your new life in Italy. Try not to look back too much; the best is yet to come!

  50. Ve says:

    “What’s the point of living if you aren’t going to at least try to pursue happiness, if you let dark times keep you down?”

    This was one of the lessons I tried to teach myself this year as well. And well, in short, now I’ve moved to Spain indefinitely, I work in Madrid and have been here a little over a month. I’m going to see where life takes me from here. I already know (more-or-less) what I’d need to do to obtain Spanish residency after a few years, should I decide to do so.

    Honestly, I’ve spent some time in Italy – Rome, Florence, Siena, Bologna, Venice, Pisa – but not in Milan because I’ve always had the impression that I wouldn’t like that particular city. So I can definitely understand that you may like Italy, but not like relocating to Milan. But how has it been treating you so far, if you don’t mind sharing?

  51. Ve says:

    Also, I do hope you know that you’ve been a huge inspiration to many of us. I personally appreciate not only your blog and advice, but your willingness to show us a part of your life…the real behind-the-croissants life.

    I think many of us expats feel pressured to keep our real lives out of our blogs and public platforms and focus only on the positive aspects of life abroad, since most people just want to see the food, the sights, all the wonderful things about life overseas. But life abroad is indeed…life. Relationships don’t become any easier because we’re able to unwind near the Eiffel Tower or ‘enjoy a relaxing café con leche in Plaza Mayor.’

  52. Isabel says:

    Even though I just found this blog I just wanted to let you know that this post was really inspiring and motivating. It uplifted me knowing that I’m not the only one that goes through hard times, and that somehow it’s going to be okay… Thank you for this!! X

  53. Kristen says:

    Oh Edna! I can completely relate you and your friend put it so much better than I ever could have! I went through some of this in Singapore and even now in Japan; sometimes, really personal things just get in the way of explaining the other joys in life. Hugs to you xx

  54. Kristen says:

    Oh and the friend cutting you out, also totally happened to me in SG…broke my heart and I didn’t understand why at all! Will always be a mystery to me.

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  1. [...] One of the great things about blogs is getting a glimpse into people’s real lives. In this post Edna is open and honest, without sharing TMI, about her current crossroads situation – something most 20-somethings can relate to. [...]

  2. [...] my closest friends had broken my heart in totally different, though equally painful ways. I was hurting, big [...]

  3. [...] at this point my life had started to turn upside down. Even to this day, I’m still [...]

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