It’s been 21 days since I left Paris, France and returned to the United States.
The very abridged version of my story is that I fell in love with a close friend from college while visiting him in Paris in February. We both wanted to make it work. We looked at both of our situations—our personal lives, his career in finance and his FinTech startup, my career in digital media and retail, my passion for French culture—and it was clear that I was the most flexible to move.
So. I left my full-time job in late May and arrived in Paris in early June. While my boyfriend hwas at work, I would meet up with other women living in the city or explore different places outside of Paris like Moret-sur-Loing, Provins or Chantilly. I cooked a lot. We laughed while exchanging our cultural differences. He picked out “classic” French movies to watch. We spent weekend mornings eating pain au chocolat, drinking espresso, and watching out for the pigeons that made themselves too comfortable on our balcony.
There were times I missed my Rhode Island summers by the beach, but I don’t regret making the leap across the ocean. If there’s anything I wish I could do over again, it would be applying for a long-stay student visa instead of choosing the 3-month tourist visa.
Why didn’t I apply for the longer stay visa in the first place? My boyfriend and I wanted to be practical and make sure we could live together. At the end of our summer, we can happily say that we are definitely making this work.
While I was accounting for adjusting to living in Paris, I didn’t account for adjusting returning back to the United States.
I miss our apartment. I miss cooking recipes from our ridiculously huge French cookbook. I miss meeting new people. I miss traveling to new places.
Now I’m living back home with my parents again. Instead of a full-time job, I’m now relying on income from two part-time jobs and freelance social media management—something I thought I would only keep as a side-hustle—while paying off my student loans and saving for French language school tuition.
I need to work a lot to earn enough money to pay tuition before setting up my visa appointment to be back in France for Christmas. If everything works out the way I need it to, I will attend Cours de civilisation française de la Sorbonne next spring semester, apply to grad school, get into grad school for a special business program, renew my visa for another student visa, and be able to stay in Paris for two years
I did the numbers with my current situation and I will need to pick up a third job if I don’t acquire more freelance clients.
As frustrated as I am, I realize that I made my choices and my life could be a lot harder.
There are far worse things than making my way back to my best friend in Paris.
12 thoughts on “I Was Staying in Paris—Now I’m Working My Way Back”
I feel your pain – visas have been the bane of my life for the past 9 months as I try to make Australia my home! If you’ve not yet been I adore Shakespeare & Co so you must check it out. Good luck with it all xx
Thank you and best of luck on your visa journey, too!
Visas are the worst, I never got how lucky I was being French and having all those advantage living in Europe before I moved to China and got to the stress of renewing every year a visa, hoping that, for some reason, it all goes well.
I wish you the best applying for the next one and hope you can celebrate Christmas in France! Tell your boyfriend to get you a Christmas buche!
Thank you so much! I’m looking forward to all of the holiday pastries in France 🙂
Lovely read. I fell in love with Paris the first time I went and would absolutely love to live there.
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂
Girl, I know exactly how it feels to come back home after living abroad. I think it’s actually called reverse culture shock – and it’s no fun at all! What always works for me is planning a new trip, even if it’s just a short city break near home.
Hope you get everything sorted out soon. And in the meantime, keep working that side hustle! You’ve totally got this. 🙂
I love travelling and I miss being able to. I find myself singing ” I want adventure in the great wide somewhere” at least once per week.
I find writing my money goals in my planner helpful. Also opening a separate online savings account is a must. Every time you put money into your savings account write down the amount in your planner / notebook. Keeping a running tally of each contribution really helps inspire me with my thousand dollar savings challenges.
To Paris, To Adventure!
Thanks so much for the tip! I hope you can travel once you’ve hit your goal, sometimes it’s nice to have that reward!
Great post Mia! Paris is just beautiful and I’m sure you both will be together for Christmas! Keep going. x
Girl, I can’t even begin to tell you how much I empathize with this. Replace Paris with Italy and you have my story. I’m currently working on getting back there, too! If we are both in Europe, I would LOVE to meet and get a coffee!