Yes! I’ve survived another year, and write this with the wisdom of twenty-two years behind me, though I have to say it doesn’t feel dissimilar to being twenty-one.
It was my birthday the other day. A Sunday, my mother tells me, not dissimilar to the one on which I was born, all those years ago.
We went to L’Aquarium de Paris and it was wonderful. They had all my favourite marine creatures, including an octopus, seahorses, and hundreds of baby jellyfish. My favourites were the ethereal sea nettles, drifting in a slow circle of ghostly tendrils, and a gargantuan lobster, who waved, rather menacingly, and scuttled up against the tank wall.
Unfortunately, my first two days of being 22 thereafter were far from excellent. Dropping my mother off at the airport, we were fined €50 for her having the wrong ticket (despite it having let us through the barrier!) and had to make a mad dash for her flight, involving some stressed airport attendants and the longest queue in all of Christendom.
Something rather more serious happened later the same day, which is to say the family for whom I was an au pair decided to let me go, for reasons, but not reasons which were quite fair, or indeed, quite true.
Fortunately, the agency I work for were entirely understanding and have vowed to find me some more hours with haste, but it is a blow, nonetheless, and rather irritating for how easily it could have been avoided with a little more communication.
However, it is not a situation without blessings, as I now have some time to myself. Provided I don’t fritter it stressing over my finances, I think I’ll write. Also, I’ll admit that however much I hate failure and despise being anything less than good at whatever I turn my hand to, childcare is really, really hard, and not my forte.
And finally, it’s now raining in Paris. After weeks of blistering summer heat, there was a real downpour this morning, and that reminded me of home. God, I never thought it would happen to me, with my incessant wanderlust, but I’m going back to England for two weeks over the summer, and I’m really looking forward to it.
I guess sometimes, when bad things happen, there’s something to be said for going to a place of safety and recovering one’s strength. But, however rough the past few days have been, I’m glad I came to Paris early, and had this time here before starting university. I’ve learnt some hard lessons, but I’ve also made a friend, been adopted by a cat, and lived on my own for the first time.
I’ve survived, and I think on some occasions I’ve done more. Come September I will know what I’m doing better than many of the fresh-faced arrivals. I think I will be okay, and I think, even if right now I’m a little unhappy with how things turned out, I have learnt, better than ever before, how to let things go, and move forwards with my life.