This is my last month in Paris, in fact we’re down to just a couple of weeks left. I’ll be packing up what I can stuff into my bag, and shelving the rest in storage here in the City of Lights. It’s a lot easier to condense your possessions down to one bag when you only own enough to fill two. I won’t be having a yard sale this time around, there won’t be any hoopla surrounding my departure. It’s just going to be my stuff and me, getting on a plane and flying to the Canary Islands. I’m pretty excited.
This year in Paris was like a gaping hole of a year in a lot of ways, but a very necessary one. You can tell that just by how little I’ve posted blogs, and how few stories have come tumbling out of me in general. When I arrived here ten months ago I had my finger held firmly over the hole in the dam that was keeping an emotional sea at bay. There was a lot going on behind that dam, and the transition from the ship to Paris via Texas was a good method of forgetting that.
Eventually, however, you can only hold your finger in place for so long. Some early misadventures caught me off guard in my transition to life here, and I sunk into a depression that would last for months. There was loneliness, there was culture shock, but I think more importantly there was a lot that I simply hadn’t processed. I needed a lot of time to do that, and I think I’ll probably need more in the future.
Working for Mercy Ships’ Creative Pool out of Switzerland was a good way to stay in the loop while keeping some distance, and teaching English was a good way to buffer the expense of living in a place where the cost of living is 31% higher than Seattle. I wrote a lot of articles, created new fact sheets for Mercy Ships internationally, and even helped with the Swiss annual report among other projects.
But I didn’t travel a lot, admittedly I didn’t want to when I got here, and I didn’t get out much. Paris was lovely for long walks, writing in parks, and the occasional evening with friends, but it was a very solitary experience overall. I hope the next time I live here I’ll be a bit more lively, maybe even romantic. I hope there is a next time. I do love this city.
I don’t know what’s coming next, just as I didn’t know that any of this was en route to me years ago. I get asked a lot, “What comes after Congo?” I’ll let you know if I get that figured out. But for the moment I’m just excited for this coming year. The job I’ve been asked to fill is one for which I’m built, and the team I’ll be working with looks solid. It will be good to be surrounded by friends again, and though I bet in a couple of months I’ll be dying for some privacy, I’m excited to lose it for a while.
I just think it’s important not to let Paris slip by without giving this period a proper nod. Sometimes we need unproductive seasons, where at least it doesn’t seem like we got much done. Sometimes we just need to rest, and that’s alright. We certainly can’t always be on, we won’t make it very far if we try.
I’ll be updating this blog every Wednesday as I move back to the ship and live in the Congo for the next year, feel free to sign up for my newsletter if you’d like monthly summaries of it all.