jet-lag, thunderstorms & Burgundy

I’m back in Paris. I had the worst jet-lag when I returned and couldn’t fall asleep until 5 or 6 in the morning for most of the week. During one of those sleepless nights there was a beautiful, raging thunderstorm. I sat by the kitchen window watching the sky light up and sound as if it was cracking open. The storm made me excited about the summer. I love thunderstorms.

My trip to LA was both lovely and hard. It felt like I hit true rock-bottom after a year and a half of banging myself against things. It felt horrible but in the end something about it felt very grounding, like I was finally touching firm ground not some ledge on the way down. For the past month in Paris I had been dancing with my demons, and when I got to LA it became a full on brawl. I felt like my confidence was full of holes. I felt extremely vulnerable and shy, and then on the other side of that I kept beating myself up about it.

I drove around asking the same questions I had been asking myself in Paris. Was I so lost that I had to loose myself even more to find myself? What had I done moving so far from home! There were moments in LA were I felt desperate to find some answers. Moments when I felt old and like I had strayed from my path. There were also lots of moments where it was wonderful to be there. To see the people I love. To witness my best friends get married and see all our old New York friends at their wedding.

At some point towards the end of my trip when I was feeling lower than low something clicked. I thought- you are such a shit. You are surrounded by so much love. You have such good friends. You live in Paris. Why are you looking at all you don’t have and not celebrating all you do have. You are the only one that is judging yourself. And as soon as I thought that something switched, and I thought, what if everything is happening exactly as it needs to. What if everything is perfect just as it is. I don’t think I have ever internalized that thought as I did at that moment.

 

The whole time I’ve been in Paris my friend Karina’s words have rang through me. When we were 23 she said to me two things that I still think about all the time. One was, never forget who you are. The other, I think the key word right now is perseverance. For as much as I think about her words I forgot, for a moment, who I was but in forgetting I found a clearer version of myself.

I got on the plane with a plan and a Kinfolk magazine. My plan was to do a French intensive for the month of July, look for work as soon as that was done, and then go to the Cordon Bleu in November. On the plane I read my magazine. After reading an essay about an American woman who had moved to Burgundy and opened a cooking school I decided to email her. I told her I had been inspired by her story and asked her for work.

I got back to Paris with a renewed sense of self, with my curiosity back at it’s normal level, and feeling excited about this here adventure that I am on. Somewhere in the past week I remembered just why I had decided to move to Europe. I felt that feeling in my gut again that pushed me to it. I started to rejoice about being in Paris. It started to hit me that I live here.

Then I heard back from the school in Burgundy, and so it is that I now find myself packing to go there tomorrow. I will be there for the next five weeks cooking, gardening and being, as Brie put it, the all around kitchen au pair. I will be their intern in exchange for my own apartment, meals, and a bicycle to ride to work. I am beyond excited. Who knows what will happen next. The French intensive is still a priority but it will have to wait. Off I go! Small town, country roads, vegetable patches-I have been craving thee!