Thursday, August 29, 2013

United we wait.


this word seems to have been my anthem for the last two years. 
i suppose i didn't really even realize it until just now,
but it has.
i'm quite terrible at waiting.
life is for the living!
not the waiting.

'all in due time'
'soon enough'
'nothing good comes easy'
'the best is yet to come'

i'm exhausted from waiting.
and it seems as though the wait is finally over-
well, almost.

i finally made it back to Paris,
and in some strange ways, 
it feels like i was hardly gone but a day.
so little has changed.
a restaurant here and there, some new street art or a revamped Metro.
hardly anything.
this city breathes though,
like a breath you can physically feel.
this city does.not.wait.

any of you who know me (and I'm especially sorry for those of you who have known me well or closely over the last two years), know that i have never worked harder, faced more obstacles, been more discouraged,
or thought the day would ever come. 
this day. (or specifically this coming monday).
there i go, being bad at waiting again.

when i was boarding the flight in phoenix,
with my little Oliver,
i was 97% relieved and 3% still waiting for a disaster.
i suppose it would be too ridiculous (considering the last 2 years) to assume that i wouldn't face some terrible set-back on this last leg of my journey to the rest of my life.

flight to DC- flawless.
arrive, 45 minute lay-over, rush to the gate.
and wait. annnnd wait. 
delayed. 3hours, 6hours, 9hours.
switched planes. terminals.
delayed. 3hours. boarded. cheering, joy, happiness.
sitting next to a US Marshall who says, "sorry honey, don't get too comfortable. in a few minutes, a crew announced as the 'catering' service is going to board and then survey the crew & make all the passengers de-board."
it happened. just like that. 
230am. i was done.
no flight until 7pm the next night.
sobbing at the ticket counter as the mean man yelled at me,
(literally he yelled and cussed until it brought tears to my eyes)
trying to find a hotel that would take Oliver.
hi, remember me & how this is YOUR fault, United?
picking up all my luggage, getting left by the trolley, 
having to call a cab.
$3 dinner from a vending machine and no toothpaste. 
waking up in DC. my great nation's capitol.
yeah, yeah- whatever america.
getting someone to help me speak french to my hotel in Paris who had since fully charged me AND cancelled my 5 day reservation for no-showing. worst.
i had sobbed so hard that it hurt to open my eyes.
now, if anything happened with my flight today, and we didn't land in Paris by Thursday, Oliver's 10day papers would expire and he'd have to get shipped back.
i wanted the last two years of my life back.
i felt tired and foolish for chasing after this so hard.

i kept going. i kept waiting.
i was as anxious as a broken bone.

on the plane.
in the air.
she had to get gone, gone, gone gone gone. she had to get gone, gone, gone.

i had one glass of wine, took Oliver out of his kennel (which is not allowed),
fell asleep with him on my lap & woke up in Paris.
i could have slept for a week,
but now i had no time for waiting.
absolutely none at all.

within 4 days i had:
viewed 17 apartments all over the 5 zones of Paris (lordie),
got a cellphone, got a Paris phone #,
opened up a French bank account,
signed up for my annual metro pass,
bought a month pass in the meantime,
settled my tuition bill,
deferred by undergraduate loans,
settled any debts in phoenix,
registered for class,
traveled to several small shops to gather school supplies from a daunting list, which was unnecessarily in french,
was on the phone with my banks for hours and hours about international wire transfers,
signed up for french,
submitted my OFII form,
signed up for French Social Security,
sent mail at La Poste,
looked for part-time jobs in Paris,
confirmed my fashion internship,
went to welcome dinners and networking events,
bought shampoo (and incidentally 2 umbrellas),
and walked my dog twice a day.

all while attending orientation from 8-6 daily.

this list might not look that daunting, but add:
everyone speaks french,
you only speak english,
in a town whose roads and buildings you don't know,
without google maps on your IPhone.
just pointing and post-it notes and a student visa.
yeah, way harder.
also, a few of those days it was 50degrees and pouring.

but, alas!
the wait is over. i'm here.
making a life for myself in Paris.
it seems surreal.
it is hard. really, really hard.
it is a dream. i am lucky.
everything is beautiful & there are glorious sites and art and history LITerally around every corner. 
the whole city smells like a toilet.
and it's filthy. like dead pigeon and discarded half-eaten food and dog crap, filthy.
but i love it.


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