Return to Paris

Spring near Marche Bastille, Paris by Expat Edna

So I’ve been back in Paris for nearly two weeks.

Before anyone gets too excited! — I’m not staying. I’m only here for one more week, taking a breather before heading to Belgium and Amsterdam.

But remember that last personal post, where I said that after Sochi, I could be anywhere? Well, I chose anywhere to be here.

On some level, things are still as complicated as were nine months ago, when I thought I was leaving Paris; as six months ago, when I actually left and moved to Italy; as three months ago, when I left Italy, backpacked around Europe, and was headed back to Asia.

But on another level, some things have gotten infinitely better.

For one, I left my job. It was a tough choice and — believe me — there is so much I’ll miss about it (the travel and the people and the Olympics, for sure). But ultimately, I know it was the right decision.

Which opens up a whole new can of crazy: where do I go from here? should I stay in the industry? can I stay in the industry? should I job search in Europe? or Asia? or try something completely, totally new?

Until I figure that out, I’m simply enjoying being back in Paris, and being free for the moment.

Parc Buttes-Chaumont by Expat Edna

Being back feels natural. Ever since I stepped off the train in Gare de Lyon and dragged my bags down to Express de Lyon for welcome back Belgian stouts, my Paris life has seemed to seamlessly pick up where it left off — the only differences being that this time, I have to pay for metro tickets (ah how I miss my Navigo) and oh my god there is so much sun.

We’ve been renting a tiny studio in the 3eme — one of those tiny Parisian apartments that makes my old place in the 16eme feel like a mansion — but the location has been gold (for those who know Paris: we’re across the street from Merci and Blend, a couple blocks from Pierre Sang and the Marché Bastille, and literally around the corner from Deux Fois Plus de Piment. Right?!).

I still have yet to actually see the Eiffel Tower or Louvre or Montmartre since I’ve been back, and most days I forget to bring my camera out with me.

My daily routine mostly consists of going to the market, cooking, picnicking, napping, seeing friends, late nights at Red House, and the occasional dim sum brunch / house party / movie and pizza night thrown in for good measure.

And cheese. So much cheese.

Plus, the weather has been nonstop gorgeous — it wasn’t even this nice in June last year — so we’ve been making a point to get out and walk for at least an hour or two every day. I may have developed a throat infection from the current pollution haze, but it’s worth it to rediscover Paris on foot.

Is this kind of life wonderful? Absolutely. Is it sustainable? Absolutely not.

I’m well aware how much I need to find a new job, and a new city, and stop being so all over the place already. I mean, I’ve been living out my suitcase for nearly nine months now.

So in a way, things are just as complicated as they ever were.

But for right now, I’m happy.

PS, can I just say — a HUGE thank you to everyone who recommended music and checked in on me after my last personal post. I can’t believe how thoughtful and awesome you guys are.

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Comments

  1. I love this post so much, Edna! My own life situation is so different from yours right now, but something about your words has just touched me deeply! Maybe it’s the simple joy that your words seem to radiate, but your post has definitely brought a smile on my face. Things may not always be clear in life, but it’s the simple things like eating tons of good cheese (totally get that one – great cheese is not easy to come by in Norway!) and sunshine in March (don’t really have that either) that make life beautiful. Enjoy the rest of your time in Paris! I’m sure it won’t be the last time! ;)

  2. Agness says:

    I can totally relate to this post. Dongguan in China where I am right now is kinda my place where coming back feels also so natural. I got used to people and I’ll find it so difficult to leave China and my job in July. I’m back in Europe this summer for a year. I will also backpack Europe for a month or two so hope to finally meet you in person!

  3. Bethany ~ twoOregonians says:

    I’m so happy you’re happy, Edna! This post made me smile for you (and, to be honest, it made me wish I was passing through Paris even for a short visit…it’s already been 13 years since I was there!).

    I hope the newfound liberty gives you great zeal for this next chapter xx

  4. Ahhhh. I always seeing new posts from you.
    I’m happy for you. Happy you’re soaking up the moments. Being present. Living it up. Enjoying time in Paris. I love that you’re doing what’s best for you and realistic at the same time.
    Good on you for quitting when you knew it seemed like what you needed to do.

    Reading this post makes me wish I could teleport and frolic, saunter, and roam the Parisian streets with you and eat delicious goodness. It be lovely! I hope one day our paths will cross!

    The universe works in mysterious ways. You’ll find your next steps. I’m still figuring out mine 8 months after returning home (it’s a process, for sure). One day at a time and lots of fun in the sun in meantime : )

  5. Aggy says:

    Paris – I love that place to bits. I love the fact that you are living out of your suitcase, not so many people can do it, I know it’s hard to do. But the fact that you want to settle down is completely understandable. I wish you a great journey ahead, wherever you are and in whatever you do!

  6. Jay says:

    Yay for taking steps to being happier. I hope the process of finding and taking steps to your next career/move/etc come easily – or at least as easy as possible. Good luck :)

  7. Kirstin says:

    ahhh this sounds so lovely (not the part about uncertainty and looking for a job, I’m in the same boat as you with that one!). The weather has been so so great in Ghent as well. Do you have your dates lined up for Brussels yet? I’d love to try to meet you for a coffee or something while you’re here!

  8. Danielle says:

    I adore you, and I’m so happy you’re here! Complicated tends to inspire the best adventures, stories, and memories :) see you soon for Deux Fois Plus de Piment. xo

  9. Faye says:

    Edna I loved reading this post! A belated welcome back to paris (if only for a short while) you couldn’t have chosen a more appropriate time to come with regards to the incredible weather we’ve been blessed with. Hope you enjoy every single second here it sounds as though you are :)

  10. Such exciting times for you! Enjoy Paris and all that cheese. And best of luck with your job hunt. I’m sure you’ll find something fabulous. :)

  11. Amanda says:

    Glad to hear that you’re happy, Edna! Like you said, sometimes you need to just savour the moment and figure out everything else later.

    I’m guessing we won’t be seeing you in Madrid, but if you ever make it back to London let me know!

  12. So pleased to see you sounding so much happier – I can *feel* the sigh of relief in this post! I totally get what you mean about Paris – whenever I am there it feels like I just pick up where I left off each time too. Looking forward to following you wherever your life takes you :)

  13. Where to next, then?!? *cough*TAIPEI*cough*

    And I totally relate with you on the living-out-of-a-suitcase thing. When I left Korea, I had no idea where I’d be living next. I knew I’d be travelling. Then I broke up with my ex. Then I ended up back in the UK for much longer than I foresaw. About 10 months after I left Korea and was in a state of temporary flux, I’m now here in Taiwan, and it’s so nice to have somewhere to call home.

  14. Heather says:

    This is such an exciting time for you, Edna! The world is your literal oyster and I envy your endless possibilities! Though selfishly I hope you stay in Europe for a while longer as I’m moving there in a few months and would love to meet up!

  15. Mari says:

    Lovin your happiness!!

  16. Michelle says:

    Yes, it’s so sunny in central Europe for the past few weeks! I LOVE it! Glad you like Paris! I was there two years ago and still haven’t gotten a chance to go back….but I’m dying to!

  17. Heather says:

    This is such an exciting time for you, Edna! The world is your literal oyster and I envy your endless possibilities! Though selfishly I hope you stay in Europe for a while longer as I’m moving there in a few months and would love to meet up!

  18. It all sounds just PERFECT – the right medicine before your next steps. Enjoy!!

  19. Jessica Wray says:

    Your time in Paris is sounding as fabulous as always. Savor it and live it up Take your time and make the right decision for you. Everything should fall into place!

    Also- props to you for being so brave and doing all of this. I’m sure it has been a bumpy road.

  20. Julio Moreno says:

    Great post Edna,
    I just got back home two weeks ago (after being abroad for 3 years) and definitely have the same feelings. Have fun in Belgium!

  21. Katharina says:

    One little step at a time… it’s always hard to leave a job but it was the right thing to do. Everything will start falling into place ‘ you’ll see. And if you end up in London… I’d be super happy! For now, though, enjoy all of Paris :)

  22. Ceri says:

    I love that Paris is a real source of comfort for you. :) And it sounds like it really is the perfect place to be while you figure out your next step. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get it all sorted straight away. Just enjoy your time now and everything will be clear. :)

  23. Revé says:

    I meant to respond to your email forever ago, glad to see you’re doing better! Glad to see that Paris gave you some comfort, my Christmas/NYE vacation in Sevilla did the same for me…it helped me to recuperate after my first few months in Madrid, since I lived there a couple years ago, still have friends there, know where everywhere is, etc.

    My life here in Madrid has been improving, slowly but more-or-less surely. I have a few extra sources of income, the weather has improved, and I moved into a studio off of Gran Via. I plan on being in Madrid at least one more year, so we’ll see if this turns into a “home” for me.

  24. Erin says:

    Edna, wow! So many changes! I love the happy tone in your writing and can imagine that being in Paris during the spring must make life pretty grand. Best of luck for the job search (and country search!). If you make it to South America, be sure to check in via Chile!

  25. Great post!! I have never been to Paris, but I hope to get there someday soon.

    Let me know if you make it out here to Korea anytime soon :)

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