I am now back in the U.S. of A. Although it is great to be back at home and sleeping in my own bed, it has been a little rough to adjust to the time difference, pace, and lifestyle of D.C. I was truly out of it at work yesterday after my body woke me up at 4 AM—ready for breakfast and to start the day. The day was all downhill after that. Today things are much better and I should be back at 100 percent for work on Monday.
The trip to France was amazing. And I fell in love with the country. So much in fact that I am now scheming to return for a longer stay. Ideally, I would go live in Paris for six months and take a French class or perhaps enroll in some graduate classes. If I was very lucky, I’d find a job. While there, I would definitely visit my college roommate and her sister in England and Scotland and perhaps, visit some of the other cities on my list. Then, I would switch gears and spend 6 months learning Spanish in Spain---or just move out of Paris and experience a long-term stay in Provence. This would enable me to knock out four of my bucket list items—living abroad, traveling alone, and becoming fluent in French and Spanish.
I do have some misgivings about such a scheme—mainly the fact that I’d be leaving behind a very comfortable lifestyle and career path for the unknown, unemployment, and debt. Without a doubt, I can see a fulfilling future for myself here in DC and on the Hill. I could buy a house, find a husband, and start having babies—and be very happy indeed!
Yet, I think that I might regret not taking a chance on living abroad on my own terms—while I still can. I don’t have any obligations—financial, romantic, familial, or otherwise—right now and that may change in the future. It is a selfish desire, but no more selfish than my desire to live in NYC. But living in Paris trumps living in NYC on so many levels. And it is just as expensive.
My crush on Paris that began 3 years ago has grown to a love of France as a result of my latest trip. I long to know and understand France—the language, the culture, the politics, the history, the landscapes, the food, the men... For so long, I was fascinated by Spanish and Spanish-speaking countries that it seems a little odd that France has moved me so. And as my friends say, how can I have fallen in love with France when I haven’t really been anywhere else? Am I only in love with it because it is a known?
I don’t think so. First, there aren’t many places in the world where I can achieve the lifestyle that desire. In the US, it is only NYC, DC, and Chicago and abroad, it is similarly only the large cities that can give me the sort of diversity, energy, opportunity, culture, and stimulation that I need to be happy. I’m not meant for the suburbs or rural life, at least not at my age. And I lean toward Europe because it is industrialized and secure. I love France because it is beautiful and I respect the French way of life. Yes, you are correct if you sense that my goal is stay longer than a year. I want to stay until the money runs out--whether that takes one year or 10. A job always awaits me in DC and if all else fails, my mother would welcome me back home.
In truth, there is nothing really holding me back from following my dreams--but my own fears of failure and the judgement of my peers. And that's not enough. I only desire my mother's blessing and a financial plan, and I can go.
So I’m going to spend the rest of the year teaching myself basic French, saving money, and figuring out how to make this pipe dream a reality. Who knows, maybe next year you'll read a depressing blog post about how moving to France was the worst decision of my life. Or maybe, my blog posts next year will instead detail how my decision to settledown in DC lead to the house, family, and career of my dreams. Who knows?! Life is all about curveballs. You have to dream, prepare, and simply, eventually, go for it.