Having arrived in Paris safely after a tedious journey, the excitement and wonder at all the glamorous new surroundings began to overcome the apprehension and indecision still lurking within me. Yes, I was finally here. Yes, this really was about to happen. “Paris time” was hurtling toward me relentlessly, whether I liked it or not.
The initial blank stare out the airplane window and the twilight-zone period of silently waiting for luggage at Charles de Gaulle passed and before I could compute what was happening around me, I found myself at the door of my apartment.
Here I was.
My home for the next four and half months. The place I would stumble home to after late nights and wearily return to after demanding classes and exhausting weekend trips. This place would see me through late night phone conversations to home, through stressful nights cramming for classes, and through every moment of Paris opportunity. This place had to be magic. It had to produce some force field of happiness and ease that set aside all my worries and fears about my new world. It had to open up its proverbial arms and grasp me body and soul. It had to calm down the scared little girl and awaken the adventurous young woman.
As I stared up at the ancient façade so remarkably preserved, I sensed of breath of relief rising from my body. My heart rate slowed to a normal pace for the first time in months, and the spinning in my head came to a gracious pause. I was able to see clearly how I would live here, how I would be ok here. The delicate window box for flowers gave me to images of carrying fragrant, fresh-cut flowers through the winding avenues of Paris. the security keypad gave me a sense of security that I would be taken care of and guarded here. The small step up to the grandiose door gave me a reminder of all the elegant Manhattan brownstones I had seen on Sex and the City, which I consider the closest I have ever come to living city life. The sprawling ivy and the strong wrought iron of the balcony helped me imagine the Parisian history of this street, and of all the stories that had unfolded here. The tiny ornate detailing around the door gave me a vision of all the simple pleasures I was to encounter here, and how much I had to look forward to. I would be ok here.
My mom helped me explore, putting all my clothes and shoes in their proper places and examining the bathroom and kitchen appliances. We stocked the fridge and pantry with comfort food from home(white fudge Oreos yay!) alongside new French delicacies (madeleines!) in my quaint, cozy kitchen. Once I made it look like home, I began to feel like this really could be my home. At least my temporary, live-here-for-four-months-and-fall-madly-in-love-with-this-place home.