And So it Ends

by

At least this chapter of the Paris experiment.

I bought the ticket back home to San Francisco today.

What possessed me to wear eyeliner today of all days?

Yesterday?

NO.

Monday?

NO.

No eyeliner in weeks.

Today, eye liner and tears galore.

Lovely.

Hey, Tammy Faye, how are you doing?

I should perhaps not jump to such dramatic conclusions.  The chapter is not finished yet, I still have a month here and the ticket, that I did not pay for (my room-mate put it on his card and I owe him $1033.18 to be paid off before I use the return ticket, if I use the return ticket) is a round trip ticket.

Which means I regroup.

Try again.

This time with papers.

This time with a more concrete plan.

Maybe a job?

Maybe a student Visa.

I am going to apply to NYU’s low residency Paris MFA Creative Writing program for 2014.  I have always wanted an MFA, despite hearing John Ater’s voice in my head, “you don’t need a Masters to write,” I have lusted after one.

I think it’s the idea of having a Masters in something.

Other than self-pity.

I would like to lay that bitch to bed.

I may also apply to the American University of Paris.  Despite not having a Masters program in Creative Writing, they do have some Comparative Literature Masters programs that could be of interest to me.   Should neither of those work out I may also just save up six months of Euros and do the cheapie French school at Campus Langues.

For about $750 American I could pay for six months of French classes there, get my student Visa in San Francisco and return in March of 2014, when the ticket is for, giving me nearly eleven months to save up and try again.

The student Visa would allow me to work 20 hours a week above-board and would open a lot of what is called “gray” employment…you work some hours within the prescribed 20 that are vouched for and some that are under the table in cash.

I could also take an ESL certification course and get trained to teach.

There are constantly ads looking for Business English teachers, EMT (English Mother Tongue) teaching positions, nannies, and tutors.

I have lots of options, I am sure.

I cannot see them all right now and I feel rather overwhelmed, like, ok, I have made the decision to return to San Francisco, now what?

Where do I live?

Where do I get the funds to live in said imaginary place?

Where do I work?

I am sure something will happen.

It always does.

I am sure that I will have to ask for help, I always do seem to be unlearning that particular act, the asking for help thing.  I don’t have it together, just out tap dancing in the rain.

At least the light is lasting longer and the weather, though still mercurial and chilly, has the cold frost feel rubbed out of it, the sun is making more and more of an appearance, and I can sense the Spring imminent.

I would love a couple of weeks with some true warmth and sunshine.

It all seems surreal.

Going back to San Francisco.

Then I think, what have I learned, what have I done, was it enough?

I have learned a lot of myself.

I have learned that I say yes more often than I say no.

I learned that I am still a tender, emotional, wreck of a woman, but that every tear had a big belly laugh buried in the center of it.  I learned that I get high off good art.

I went to the Musee de l’Orangerie today with my friends.

I stood in the first room that has the Nymphae exhibit and just rolled in the colors.  I felt as though I could curl up and nap in them, they seemed so soft, fleeced, and inviting.  Despite the paintings being of water and reflections and flowers and light, I felt like I was being buried in violet blankets of light, I longed to lay down on the floor and just be subsumed by the colors.

I know from experience, I tried it four years ago, the guards will hustle over and whisper yell at you to get off the floor–there’s a bench mademoiselle if you wish to view it from a sitting position–that it is not the best idea to view it that way; but that was what I wanted.  The absolute submersion in the paintings made me daft.

I could not really speak, I just drifted from one painting to the other.

Since my stay in Paris I have been to the Musee d’Orsay twice, the L’Orangerie, the Musee de Rodin, the Salavadore Dali Museum in the Montmartre, Musee de Carnvalet, the Musee Branly, Le Petit Palais, the Pompidou, and the Louvre.  Plus, this Sunday is free day at the museums, I will go again, probably not to the big ones, perhaps to the Cluny or the Grande Palais.  I do intend on going back to the Louvre, I have been twice, and have not touched the immensity of the exhibits.

I have also see Saint Lazare, Notre Dame, Saint Suplice, Notre Dame de Victoirs, St. Augustin, Sacre Couer, three times, and let me not forget that I was there for the Christmas Eve Midnight Mass, Saint Clothilde, and Saint Vincent de Paul churches.

Oh, yeah, and I may have paid a few visits to the American Cathedral and the American Church.

I have been to the Eiffel Tower, walked the Passy Bridge, seen the Statue of Liberty, Place de la Concorde, walked the Tuilleries, and les Jardin de Luxembourg, as well as Les Jardins des Plantes, gone to the Montmartre Cemetery, gotten lost everywhere, had many a hot cafe in many a cafe.

I have walked Paris in the sun, the rain, the snow.

I have gotten to spend my 40th birthday here, celebrate 8 years of sobriety here, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, New Years Eve, Easter, Valentines Day.

I finished my book here.

I took a lot of photographs.

A lot.

I have ridden my bike down the Champs Elysees, around the Place de l’Etoile turnabout around the Arc de Triomphe.  I have ridden my bicycle down the Seine, around the Louvre, under the Eiffel Tower, through the Marais, up in the Montmartre, all through the 9th arrondissement.

I have gotten lost.

Found.

Lost again.

I leapt.

I was caught.

I am being returned across the sea and maybe I will get to grow up a little more, try a little harder, surrender to joy a little more, and get up, brush off my knees, put a grin on my face, and say,

Where to next?

I’m game.

 

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