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.