16 November 2014 (or: "I Own A Pencil Case Now")

Posted on Sunday, November 16, 2014

I thought I'd write at the end of the summer.

I thought that in the time between golden summery sunsets and grey autumn skyscapes, I'd have time to sit down, to catch up, to take stock. But with lots of big changes and a new routine to get used to, time got away from me (again) and now somehow it's mid-November and I'm wondering if things will ever slow down enough to leave a moment or two aside.

But, even without the luxury of a spare few minutes to go into the details, I promise that this summer was such a good one!

The long long days and the warm nights, the picnics and icy-cold rosé and drippy ice cream and sticky fingers, laughing until my stomach hurt and drawn-out breakfast on the balcony and never sleeping enough. I wish I could package up those few weeks, those short summer months, and keep them like a secret beneath my pillow, to remember how good and how easy life can feel. Already, now, summer seems like a far-off memory, like something I might've dreamed up on a particularly dull and rainy afternoon (or an evening like tonight, where homework just doesn't seem like it will happen).

The weeks continue to pass at an ever-increasing rate. It feels like only yesterday that la rentrée was happening, the French name for "where's-your-scarf-you-must-now-always-wear-it-back-to-school-back-to-work-back-to-routine-end-of-summer-end-of-sunshine-end-of-fun." Now, we're in the throes of business as usual, and the Parisians are back to their un-summery state of "eternally (and existentially) disgruntled". The sun is coming up later and later, warming our faces less and less. Though the autumn, so far, hasn't been a particularly cold one, there's a chilly note on the air, the hint of a threat of colder weather to come.

Since the end of September, I've started a Master's program. Getting used to being a student again has been an experience. I'd missed the learning, the thrill of really loving what I'm studying and the excitement of discovery. What I don't miss, though, are the early morning wake-up calls followed by back-to-back-to-back classes (I have 14 classes this semester!?) the exhaustion that seems impossible to be kept at bay, the stress of a particularly tough assignment. I hadn't sat in a classroom since the end of 2011 at Villanova, hadn't had to take notes or turn in papers or follow lectures. Being in school in France, in particular, is pretty different than being in school in the States, and the differences manifest themselves in sometimes surprising ways (I mean, I bought a pencil case. I realized I was the only student in my amphitheater class without a pencil case, and so I bought one. I am a nearly 25 year old Master's student with a floral pencil case.) It's been good, though, to create new habits, to ease into a new routine and to find my bearings. The years since college graduation have taught me so much, and I'm grateful to feel like I'm heading in the right direction, finally. Change can be such a good thing.

This time of year, though it came upon us so quickly, is one of my favorites. The Christmas markets opened this weekend around the city, and already, the lights are up around Paris. It's not hard to imagine why Paris is known as la ville lumière at this time of year, where twinkling strings of lights swoop over every street and through every tree branch. Walking beneath the awning of the grands magasins, it's a comfort to hear familiar Christmas music piped over the window displays. The Christmas season seems to start earlier every year, but I'm happy to begin the march towards the end of December, which promises cozy nights around the fire at home, snuggling with the cats, reuniting with my favorite group of people over a drink or two (followed, always, by morning after bagels), and the other countless comforts of home. Before all that, though, my roommate and I will deck the halls of our chez nous, ready for a Thanksgiving among friends and mulled wine taste-testing and lots of Christmas music and general festivity.

Not so deep in the back of my mind, ideas for my next year are already simmering. There will be a quarter-century birthday celebration, a visit to the desert, an autumn wedding, a few more races, and exciting visitors. I've already got a really good feeling about it all, about the next year in general, and I can't wait to ring it in with some of the people I love most.

Something tells me, though, that this year's still got a lot left to give. xx



NC said...
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Sarah said...

Gros love