September 16, 2012

Why France?

I wasn’t looking forward to the first day of school because I wasn’t looking forward to having to answer the question everyone would inevitably ask me; “why France?”

I had my armor ready. I had a good answer to give. I like France, I mostly speak the language, and it’s a lot cheaper to go to school here than back home.

But even with a prepared, readily acceptable answer to doll out, every time someone asked me, it made me think about the real reason I picked France.

I only looked at schools in France, and not all over Europe (it’s cheaper almost everywhere over here than the good ol’ states), because of a boy. I decided to get my masters so I could have a visa so I could stay in France, because of a boy. That maybe 70% of the reason I decided to do this isn’t a reason anymore.

I knew that coming back here would be a new kind of hurting and healing process, but I still wish I thought about it less.

Sometimes I think if I ended up here anyway then why did we break up? I know that’s not fair. But I’m here and I’m following the plan that we created together, only he’s not a part of it anymore.

I think about how it would’ve been easier if he were here. Having someone to help me do everything and find a place to live. Then I remember all the times we got into a fight because he wasn’t always such a big help when it came to that sort of a thing, anyway. I’m doing it all on my own, I’m doing it well, and who can really say if it would’ve been any easier doing it together?

Breaking up can’t justify not going to a really good school to get my masters in a field I’m passionate about. So perhaps he wasn’t 70% of the reason after all.

It’s not about wanting him back; it’s about mourning over what we had and what we lost. It’s about finding a French life without him, and how he wasn’t the reason I moved to France but he was the reason I wanted to stay. And it’s okay to fall in love and it’s okay to start over. It’s okay to miss him and remember our life together.

And I’ll be okay, even if it does hurt a little every time someone asks me “why France?”

One day maybe it wont be such a loaded question.

September 12, 2012

Being back in France.

Day one was a combination of “oh yeah, this feels right” and “what the hell am I doing here?”, with the overwhelming sensation of my suitcases being much too heavy for a normal person to lug across an airport, on the RER, on the metro, on a train, and then up two flights of stairs.

Me and all my things in front of John Wayne Airport.
Not seen in photo: my 84357 pound backpack.

Two weeks in, and while I have found a place to keep my suitcases, the sentiments seem to have stayed the same. Coming back to France has been like catching up with an old friend. It isn’t quite as easy and natural as it was when you used to know each other very well, but that connection is still there.

That said there are still times when I feel completely overwhelmed and can’t believe I put myself through this voluntarily. I had somehow forgotten how long it takes to get things done in this country (or perhaps I purposefully blacked it out as a coping mechanism for willfully returning here?).

Things I have done:
1. Found a place to live!
2. Moved into my studio.
3. Gone to Carrefour to buy plates, sheets, pillows, sponges, etc.
4. Gone to the week of la rentrée activities, without actually, you know, registering for school.
5. Registered for classes without actually registering for school.
6. Registered (finally) for school, and got wifi access on campus. A week and two days after the “first day of school.”

Things I have yet to do:
1. Re-open my French bank account. Attempt number two will be on Thursday.
2. Put the electricity bill in my name. I need my bank account reopened before I can do this, so at any moment there may no longer be electricity at my place. Comforting.
3. Get internet. Again, I need my French bank account, but I am also hoping to be able to share wifi with some other people in my building (the landlord suggested this).
4. Find a laundromat.
5. Go back to Carrefour to purchase all the items I forgot about during the previous trip. This could have something to do with somehow loosing my checklist mid-shop.

So far I am enchanted with Troyes, and am happily becoming acquainted with UTT (Université of Technologie à Troyes).


It's nice to see you again, France.
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