Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Update: Paris, France

A bit of an update:
It's Wednesday, August 19th 10:55 P.M. I'm staying in the suburbs, about 50 minutes away from the city with the bus + train + metro (on Sunday I'll move in with my official host family, but this is my situation in the meantime). Even though it's been a bit of a hassle, I've made it an effort to go to Paris once a day and explore a different part of the city.
I am alone in Paris. 
Paris is absolutely charming and romantic, yes. However, it hasn't been the fairytale that I dreamed of. I haven't been sitting around at cafes all day long people watching and writing. I have been walking around, taking pictures here and there, stopping for a quick bite of food I'd previously packed (baguette included, of course), being very selective with spending, budgeting so that I have enough money to keep me through this program which lasts until December, and finally trying to find wifi before it's too late so I can figure out how to get home...as I communicate with strangers in English. Thankfully, they've all been nice enough to help me out. I have gotten lost quite a few times already (without wifi). This is not my fairytale vision of Paris. This is reality.
I have been thinking about Ireland every single day since I've left. Something about it and I can't quite put my finger on it. Perhaps it's the fact that I went expecting nothing and got everything in return. Maybe it's the overwhelming amount of similarities I find in the Irish and Armenian cultures. It could also be the experience I had in Ireland: being exposed to so much art and theater in such a short period of time with an amazing, likeminded group of people from Berkeley. Needless to say, I've left my heart in Ireland. My mind is there too, sort of.
I hope that Paris is just as great of an experience. If it's half as good, I'll still be satisfied. I am a bit nervous though, I'll admit. All day I've felt uneasy. These past few days have forced me to analyze myself even more and I've become more worried about my future. Where will I end up after graduating? Am I making the right decisions in my educational path? These thoughts and more have been running through my mind...
It's now 11:06 PM. It is raining. And suddenly, I feel comforted. I've always associated rain and Paris to be romantic and beautiful. 
But I am alone in Paris.
I can hear the sound of the rain splattering on both of my windows. It reminds me of the rare rainy days in LA. My mom always says rainy days are "movie days." It reminds me of my last final of my first semester at UC Berkeley. It was raining and I sat at Golden Bear Cafe, the campus's cafe, under the rain and just admired Sather Gate and the Campanille thinking to myself, "I did it. Ani, you did it. And you will accomplish so much more. You wait and see." 
It reminds me of the rainy nights in Galway and Dublin (most of them). It rained most nights when we would go on pub crawls. It rained during the daunting ferry ride to the Aran Islands. It rained when we went to Lady Gregory & W.B. Yeat's Heritage Trail....but just as a group of us got to Coole Park for some prayer, meditation, and peace...the rain stopped.
It mostly reminded me of the sound of the rain in Galway and Ireland, late at night when I was exhausted, ready to knock out, but was fighting my dreams so that I could hear that last drop of rain hitting the window. It was like a lullaby. It gave me peace.
Right now, I am reminded that like the weather, there are so many things in life that we have no control over, and I begin to pray. I will trust. I will be still.
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