Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My "Personal Legend"

I recently read Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist.  I quickly related to the story of a Spanish shepherd on a quest to discover his "Personal Legend." As I read, I thought of my own life and what I should be seeking. Am I already seeking it?  Am I on a journey to discover my own "Personal Legend," or am I simply refusing to enter the "real world" by living my life in a foolish fairy-tale?  Being that it is my life and I like to think of myself as an optimist, I decided that my upcoming adventure into the land where bread, wine, and cheese produce slim people is my own little stepping stone on my path to discovering my own "Personal Legend." 

I am from a small town.  The majority of people in this small town do not make it to Europe in their lifetimes.  I am from a family that never even talked about France, let alone dreamed of visiting this country.  I have no idea why I ever wanted to travel to Paris.  Perhaps I saw a picture of it at school or in a magazine.  Maybe it was in a movie.  Anyway, when I turned ten years old, one of my friends gave me a memory book for my birthday.  Together, as bff's, we filled out this little book with our favorite singers, movies, food, etc.  In the space that read "Where I'd like to visit" I wrote Paris, France

I saved that little book for years in the back of my closet and then in a box after I moved into a different house.  Two years ago, while going through old things, I came across that little book, and out of pure curiosity, I decided to read what I thought of life back then.  When I ran across the page about Paris, I could barely believe my eyes.  I wondered how at ten years old, I had even thought to write it down.  I probably never thought I would make it to Paris as a ten-year-old.  Or maybe I did... maybe ten-year-olds are still young enough to be living their lives where the hardships of reality do not always win out.  By the time I found that book, I had already been to Paris twice on little trips and was yearning for yet another adventure.  Was my dream of Paris at ten like the dream of the shepherd in the fable?  

I was able to spend two months in France last summer.  It was definitely costly, but it was worth it.  While I was there, I couldn't help but picture myself there permanently.  After my first trip I wanted to be there for at least a year, but this was different.  I really felt at home, even though I was thousands of miles away from my family and friends.  Paris makes me happy.  This little realization is what made up my mind to spend the next year there.  Find what it is that makes you happy and do it. OK. Not a problem.  I now have no strings attached and am going to make this happen.  I am just wondering what my future will hold. 

Will my journey lead me back home as it did in The Alchemist, or is my "Personal Legend" just waiting for me, hidden down a street where Hemingway strolled?  What is my treasure?  Stay tuned...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

One month...and then one year

One month...
I leave for Paris in one month. My summer has flown by without a single blog post (I am a blogging failure). I am sure that I had a lot to write about, but apparently not the time or interest. I have been traveling a lot, which has really helped time fly. New York City was AMAZING, FABULOUS, etc.; Portland was beautiful and so fun (I got to see my French boys, Chamonix girls, the Brodz, and even made new friends). Finally, I am nearing the end of my countdown.  I can hardly contain myself. I still have so much to do before I depart for the city of lights and love. This includes packing. How does one pack everything needed for a year in Paris? I have no idea, but this daunting task will be conquered soon. I have a mental picture of myself packing in my room for days on end while episodes of "Sex and the City" play in the background. 

One Year...
One year in Paris. This is my dream-come-true, my fairy-tale, my obsession this past year (actually past 8 years). Everyone that hears about my year abroad wants to know details, so here they are. 
  • I will be an au pair (sorta like a nanny) for a French family in Paris
  • The children are ages 3, 4, and 6 (youngest is a boy and others are girls)
  • I will wake them up, get them ready for school/daycare, and drop them off.
  • Pick up around the apartment
  • Pick kids up around 4:30
  • Take them to the park, play, feed them, bathe them, put them to bed, done around 8 pm
  • I have them all day on Wednesdays...this includes me driving them to swimming lessons (yup, I'll be driving in Paris! Yikes!)
  • My weekends are free
  • I live with the family
  • I will take a french class 
  • I will explore the streets of Paris for hours.
  • And then enjoy the Latin Quarter at night :)
  • I will eat wonderful food, drink delicious wine, and stroll through historic streets...and take care of the kids, bien sur!
  • Any questions?
In a month, once I am in Paris, this blog will become filled with life in Paris: the beauty, my job, my struggles, the food, the wine, the fun, and perhaps even romance (can anyone picture me with a gorgeous Frenchman? I'm keeping my fingers crossed). Until then, I will be very busy getting everything ready for a year away. I'm sure August 20th will be here before I know it and I will be on my way to this great adventure.