Leaving Paris broke my heart.
I have unfinished business, months of exploration left in me. Now that I’m sitting home in my bed, propped up with pillows and hearing the suburban nothing-ness… Paris really does seem like it was a dream – a three-month long slumber and plunge into the depths of looping arrondissements, clacking metro cars, and the interconnections of my brain wires as I try to process that this city literally encompasses all that excites me. How can it be real? How can it be that just a day ago I was breathing in all that cigarette smoke outside the Bastille bar alleys and now I’m reclining in my white-grey-flower patterned sheets, listening to people mowing their lawns?
Do you ever ask yourself, why am I here? Not in the philosophical sense of like “with what world view do you ascribe meaning to your life?” But geographically, why are you here? Right now. In Chicago? Yes, I go to school here, from which I will graduate in June. The question then inevitably becomes, why am I here and not in Paris?
Why did I go to Paris in the first place? Because, in November 2012, I walked down the quai along the Seine for the first time and I made a mental pact to myself that I will find some way to spend more time here. It was one of the most intense, romantic feelings I’ve ever experienced. I looked around, saw the building where Voltaire was born, the fricking jade green river, and it sounds ridiculous but damn, love at first sight is real. Is it possible to love a place as much as a person?
In my mind, BP and AP will not refer to a gas conglomerate or college-prep standardized tests. They will mark my life as “Before-Paris” and “After-Paris.” Does it sound like I have lost my mind? Perhaps. I said at the beginning of this post that I lost my heart to Paris. Are the head and the heart not the same in some ways? Without my heart, my mind is useless. Without fierce determination fueled by heart-felt obsession, my work ethic becomes sub-par. I’ve lost my mind to my heart and that’s ok.
So I refuse to write a definitive reflection post just yet, simply because I am not done with Paris.