Warmest hellos to the family, friends, and handful of lovelies I’ve never met but appreciate all the same, it’s been quite a while!
I’ve been living and working in Paris for a few months now and tonight I felt a wonderful release in my shoulders, one that has been building for quite some time. Writer’s block is real, friends, which isn’t to say I haven’t been writing, but I certainly haven’t been writing. But I’m back now.
The last time I wrote, I was parsing through what I termed my “unplanned gap year” and trying to make sense of where those experiences fit within the context of an unknown future. I smiled a little to myself rereading my words, because while I’m still very close with the girl who desperately wants to plan so she can know and therefore justify, I feel as though I’ve arrived on the threshold of a tentative peace. I still love to plan and know and feel compelled to justify, but at some point, you do give into the lull of a winding trail and give up trying to anticipate what’s around the next turn. Also, I cheated a little bit and accepted a position as an au pair, committing to a school year living and working in the same city in exchange for a visa and some stability.
For those who don’t know, an au pair is a young person (usually a woman between the ages of 18-25) who moves to a new country to provide childcare for the family in exchange for language classes and pocket money. They almost always live with the family in a private bedroom or in their own small studio attached or very near to the family home. This is where my need to plan and know (aka neuroticism or organizational skills depending on if you’re looking at my psych evaluation or resume) came in handy because while the premise is generally appealing, my gut instinct warned me against the traditional live-in arrangement and has only been validated by fellow au pairs and my own experiences–I can’t confidently say that I’d still be in this job if I had to share a roof with the little darlings I referred to as “baby Velociraptors” for the first three months of work.
Fortunately, the beautiful Canadian girl in my writer’s group was right–everything is better in the new year. The months that went into constructing my expectations of them as children and instilling respect for me as an adult have produced genuinely amiable relationships, and I now have access to a new feeling for which I know no English word. Maybe my parent friends can help me out: I’m trying to describe the feeling when you know a child or children so well that you move harmoniously through the day together, seamlessly navigating their plethora of highs and lows, all the while feeling yourself a competent keeper of their reality.
More than anything, it is the sheer amount of work that went into building these relationships that emboldens me now to access internal reservoirs of hope and determination–surely, if I can build in the face of such resistance, I can get out of my own way and build on where I stood?
Stay rambly, and à bientôt 😉