Soaking it all in

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Since making the decision to move back to Austin, it seems our time in Paris has been passing by at warp speed. There's much to do in the next few weeks in terms of packing and selling and shipping and moving, but there are also so many people we must spend time with and so many things we must do just one last time as bonafide residents. I doubt we'll check off all the once-more-before-leavings on our to-do list, but we'll be making every effort to soak as much up of this city and our friends and family as we possibly can for the next 22 days that we're in town.

Today, being a perfectly mild first day of Spring, we decided to spend some time in one of our favorite quartiers in Paris - the Marais. We rarely go there on any other day but Sunday because, honestly, it's where all the action is happening that could possibly happen on a Sunday in Paris. And, of course, everyone's favorite fallafel shop in the Marais is closed on Saturday, making Sunday the most obvious choice for a visit. Being the incredibly boring creatures of habit that we are, Gui and I have rarely strayed off from our L'As du Fallafel-followed-by-Pozetto routine, and aside from a slight detour in between the two, today was no exception.

After having our usual at L'As, we had a look in at the Salon du Vintage that was being held just down the street. The space was pretty small, so I was worried about getting in, but we happened to come at a very good time when the line was moving quickly and managed to get in practically right away. I was hoping to find a lovely dress or blouse to take home as a souvenir, but in the end, most everything I liked was too big. Still, there was loveliness all around, and I was especially impressed with the beautiful vintage furniture for sale. (If only I could take it with me!) Near the furniture was an odd collection of dressed up animal head mounts just asking to be photographed. I'm not sure if head mounts derive vintage status the same way clothing and furniture do, but I sure was happy to have stumbled upon the curious collection.

The rest of the day was pretty much routine: gelato and coffee at Pozzetto, a walk down rue Rivoli and a bus ride home along the quai, stopping at Place de la Concorde, Trocodéro and the Tour Eiffel. Regular Sunday stuff that won't be so regular soon.

Making a move

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Alright, alright, I know I’ve said it before, but this time it’s for real. As sad, exciting and terrifying as it is, we are definitely doing it – we are leaving Paris and moving to Austin. And soon.

We’ve finally decided to take a chance on Texas and move back to the city where we first met. We have friends and family and a little history there that we’re really looking forward to making a part of our lives again.

This isn't the first time we've planned to move back, but this time, we're really doing it. The first time, just as I had resigned to the fact that I’d never find a decent job in Paris, my current job just kind of fell into my lap, and we took it as a sign that it wasn’t the right time to move. It was originally supposed to be only a year contract, but my boss created another position for me to stay on another six months, thinking that by then he’d be able to finagle a way to add me as a permanent part of his team. Well, my 6-month contract is ending the last week in March, and although I'm fairly certain I would have been offered an opportunity to stay longer or permanently, I don't know that I would have been 100% happy to accept the offer knowing I wouldn't be earning to my full potential nor pursuing all that I could to advance my career at this point.

As for Guillaume, I think ever since the idea to move to Austin sprouted, he’s had his heart set on going back, and ultimately, I left it up to him to make the final decision. Working as a consultant, he just finished his mission with the company he'd been working for over the past 3 years, so it was decision-time for him, too. What it really came down to is this: Take what we're offered at our current jobs, move to a new apartment, stay in Paris and maybe think about moving back to the States in a few years, or seize the moment, move now while we have nothing to lose, knowing that even if things don’t work out or if feel like we made the wrong decision, Paris would still be here. So, friends, we chose Austin.

Honestly, we're very happy in Paris. I’m far from the homesick wreck I was only a year ago, and we have great friends here, a nice apartment, our favorite hang-outs, a very nice life. But, at the end of the day, we both miss the pleasures of living in a lively, young city like Austin. We want to wind things down a bit, be outside more often, under sunny, blue skies, riding bikes to the park (even during the winter), grabbing a slice of pizza in our flip-flops, coming home after work to sit on a terrace and chat with friends.

Neither one of us has snagged a job, yet, but we have a few ideas and are working to set things in motion quickly. We haven't found an apartment, but we've been looking, and let me tell you, it is not easy to find a place in the area we want to live in, even with a decent budget. I guess Austin's always been a popular destination, it's just become even more so since we've been gone.

I'm a little scared, a lot worried, but mostly excited. I don't expect the transition to be harrowing, but cramming our lives into a shipping container and several check-in bags and replanting our roots 5000 miles away won't be a breeze. I've never lived in America as a married woman, and I feel like a totally different person than I was when I last lived in Austin.

Living in Paris has given me the opportunity to test my limits, embrace my personality and learn an entirely new way of living. It’s also opened my eyes to the wonderful world of social networking which has led me down so many paths to many different and beautiful people and places. There is loads to do to get ready for our move that’s a mere month away, but I'm making the time to treasure my moments here and savor my last few days of being une vraie Parisienne.
TEXAS SARAH. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.