I’m having trouble typing this. I’m having trouble thinking of anything to say, because obviously I haven’t even left Paris yet, and obviously I’m writing this a few days in advance. This morning I went up the Eiffel Tower with my pals, tomorrow I’m doing other equally touristy things with equally good friends.
But then, I guess this post goes live on the 26th June, 2016. The day before I leave Paris for good. Tomorrow, I leave Paris for good. I really don’t know what to say.
I suppose people leave places and people and things all the time. And I suppose it’s not like I can’t come back to Paris. I’m lucky enough, now, to never need a hotel in Paris again (touch wood), to know the best, the quietest and the most homely parts of my city, and to always feel at home on its streets. I have learnt a language, almost from scratch, to a pretty decent level. I’ve made better friends in the space of 10 months than I’ve ever made in my life. I’ve realised that I can do literally anything, regardless of how hard or impossible it may seem, and I can excel.
I spent two months without a scrap of French, without a stable group of friends, some of that time without internet or money. I’ve taken exams in a foreign language, made friends from all over the world, and had root canal in one of my back teeth. I’ve lost stress weight, gained sad weight, fixed a broken phone line plug and travelled throughout a lot of Europe.
I’ve grown up a lot. I can feel it. I can feel that I’m now disgustingly mature and old and tired, but in the best way. I had my first real taste of adult life, outside of university, in a foreign and scary city. I’ve adulted so hard over the last year that the thought of going back to Durham genuinely scares and saddens me a bit. I want to keep living here, in my little white apartment, with my friends and Paris and markets and wifi bills and absolutely everything.
I’ve been deciding over the past week whether I’m even ready to go home at all. Whether I’d rather have another week, another month, another year. I just can’t decide. I feel like Paris has only just bloomed for me. It took so long to pick itself up off the street, so long for it to just click for me, and now I feel like it’s almost being snatched from me. A semester would have been far too short, but I can’t help feeling that a year is not enough. I feel like I’ve only just grasped the language enough to thrive. Only just cemented life-long friendships. Only just felt comfortable with Paris and the city and my life. This is all too soon. I’m leaving too soon.
But then again, I’m tired. I’ve had the hardest 10 months of my entire life. I’ve faced complete isolation and loneliness, feelings of being forgotten, of not being able to cope on my own. I’ve argued, in broken French, with banks and with teachers and with everyone about things that would just be so easy in English. I’ve struggled so so much. I want to go home, to my family and my friends, and to my bath and bed, and to everything I’ve come to miss about the UK.
But then I want to come back. I want to do all that, and enjoy it, and then come back. Fresh for another semester or year or life. I want to come back. But I’m not going to. Not to live, anyway. Not that I can see at the moment.
I wasn’t lying when I said I didn’t really know what to say. I don’t really want to say anything. Saying things means saying goodbye, or saying thank you to everyone here, and I don’t want to do that. I’m not ready to do that.
No, you’re crying.