“That Paris exists and anyone could choose to live anywhere else in the world will always be a mystery to me.” -Marion Cotillard
When I moved to Paris for the first time in August of 2014, I was completely unprepared for the feelings this city would invoke in me. Being born and raised a native Californian I had always lived a subburban lifestyle & had never really had any desire to move to a large city, let alone the capital of France. It was much to my surprise being able to feel right at home in an environment so foreign (literally) to me. A lot of people dream of living in Paris, move there or visit for a short period of time, and then realize that it is just not for them. I was not one of those people. It was not an immediate “love at first sight” type situation, infact it took about 3-4 weeks before I started to feel the way I do now about the city. I can pinpoint the exact moment when I fell in love with Paris. After about 4 weeks of acclimating to the city of light I wandered into Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann and immediately was engulfed with a feeling I had never felt for a place before. My breath was taken away.
Sure maybe it was the clothes and smell of perfume, or maybe it was the gold detailing of the ceiling, but I just knew in that moment that I had finally found my niche. It’s a feeling I have never experienced before, even in my own hometown. Paris is portrayed as this romatic beautiful city covered in light, but what I’ve found is that not everyone is satisfied once they arrive here. Like any other large bussling city Paris is loud, smelly, rude, and fast paced. After that inital moment in Galeries Lafayette, everywhere else created a new emotional feeling for me. Getting lost walking the streets, roaming the open-air markets, strolling along the Seine ice-cream in hand on Île Saint-Louis, just being able to experience the city brings me joy. Even riding the metro became this invigorating experience.
Being back in California to finish up my undergraduate degree has been more difficult than I had anticipated. While I have been fortunate enough to travel back and forth, I’m now at a point were the next time I am back is uncertain. I’m hoping for a more permanent move this upcoming September for work, but lacking a EU Passport makes the process much more difficult. The thought of not being able to return brings waves of sadness over me. Paris is my hometown. It is the place I was meant to be and I know it in my heart. You can’t just fake feelings, and the feelings I have for this city I can only compare to the feelings you have when you find the love of your life. How wonderful it is to know that the place you are meant to be is out there, and how lucky am I to have discovered my home.
“Sitting there, alone in a foreign country, far from my job and everyone I know, a feeling came over me. It was like remembering something I’d never known before or had always been waiting for, but I didn’t know what. Maybe it was something I’d forgotten or something I’ve been missing all my life. All I can say is that I felt, at the same time, joy and sadness. But not too much sadness, because I felt alive. Yes, alive. That was the moment I fell in love with Paris. And I felt Paris fall in love with me.” -Paris Je T’Aime