Yes, that was a cry of exasperation.
Picture me making it while pulling my hair out.
So the room in exchange for babysitting has been given to someone else – I’m not sure whether this is because the parents found someone they preferred, or just because BTL took a couple of days to get back to me about organising my hours. Luckily, I know I can take Bénédicte’s room, the only problem is that I don’t have a confirmed move-in date. And I’ve only been told that I can keep my current (temporary) room for up to three weeks, which could mean that I’m looking for another halfway house in a few weeks’ time.
I just want to be able to relax, and I can’t do that until I know where I’ll be living. Being constantly tense is resulting in rather drastic mood-swings, and they’re starting to exhaust me. The smallest things set them off – I’m out in Paris on a warm evening, a gentleman tells me I’m charmant, or I have a great class, and I fall in love with the city all over again and could easily see myself staying here for the whole year, and even start thinking about enrolling in a Master’s Degree here so I can get another visa after my current one expires.
And then I get tired, or hungry, or I find out that I can’t have a room I really liked, and I don’t know how I’ll get through the next week and start thinking about resigning and changing the date of my return flight to Australia.
Currently the main culprits are the rooms I see, because, when I see a good room, I start imagining my life there. When I saw Camille’s room I easily imagined my life in Paris where I went to the bakery on the corner and put my books into the shelves in the old fireplace; when I saw Cory’s room I imagined what it would be like to be an au pair as well as a teacher, and thought about being a part of a family; and when I saw Bénédicte’s room I could see myself folding my bed away every morning and writing at the desk underneath a poster of Venice before bed. Every room is a possibility of a new life, and every time I lose one, that possibility disappears.
Even last night, when I made my second trip across Paris with my luggage, my mood changed several times. Every time I move I take two trips – one with my small wheelie suitcase and my large handbags filled with books, and one with my big backpack. Last night I took the big backpack. What I didn’t take into account was that I’d be moving it after work – so I would be wearing heels and a suit as I dragged a backpack that weighs half as much as I do from the 18th to the 13th. I realised that I would look utterly ridiculous when I arrived at my former flat to collect the backpack. What I didn’t realise was how much more tiring it would be – after standing and talking to the former flat-mates for an hour my feet were already starting to ache. Then, as I heaved the backpack onto my back and navigated my way down the cobblestone road to the metro in my heels, I started to feel it through my legs and ankles.
Luckily the metro wasn’t crowded, and I managed to sit on a couple of strapontins (fold up seats in the metro) – one for my backpack and one for me. I only realised how heavy the bag was when I tried to stand up again, and fell back down to the seats. I was not happy. If I was a cartoon there would have been dark storm clouds around my head as thought about how sick I was of moving (this is the third time in three months). As I was changing to Line 7 at Gare de l’Est, I couldn’t help but think that I couldn’t do this again, that I didn’t have the strength. Then, the metro driver happened to see me as I was approaching the stairs that descended to the platform.
He waved. I waved back. He then beckoned, asking if I was catching that train. I shook my head and waved my hand dismissively –yes, I was catching a train in that direction, but he was ready to leave the platform and there was no way I could run down the stairs wearing my bag and heels. But he waited for me anyway. And I found my mood brightening as I thought that Paris is a pretty good place to be after all.
I think I need to get away for a few days. At the moment I’m so invested in every little thing that anytime anything happens (or doesn’t) it feels like it can make or break this experience, and I’m not sure I can get any perspective while I stay in Paris. So, next weekend I’m going to Oxford – hopefully my mental state doesn’t deteriorate any more before then. :p
Update: Bénédicte’s room has been confirmed and I’m moving in on Tuesday September 21st – relief!