Four days ago marked my eighth month of living in France. That is almost as long as my stay in Albania. The only difference is when I hit the eighth month mark in Albania, I was leaving in a month. I'm not even half way through with my stay here in France. I feel myself nesting. You know, looking at buying a pet, searching for art supplies to last me for a while, deciding which gym I want to join for the school year.
I originally started this post to tell you about how many men have hit on me and given me their email addresses or phone numbers during my eight months here. Then I was going to tell you about how many people have stopped me in Paris to ask me for help, or directions, or something else which was, naturally, all in French and I had to reply with a polite, "Désolé, parlez-vous anglais?"
What seems to be coming out instead is the fact that it's sinking in. That permanency feeling. I'm not trying to say that I am beginning to have thoughts or inklings that I will be here for the rest of my life. No, it's just more a recognition that this isn't just a one year fling. Or even a nine month fling. This is a good, long, 18 month commitment. And it's so adult.
I pay my own bills. I sign up for my own French courses. I make a commitment and sign a contract and I keep it. There are no ifs, buts, pretty pleases, or complaining whys. I take care of children and thus can no longer act like a child (unless we are playing, then the adult persona must be thrown to the wind!). I graduated from college. I no longer live at home. My worldly belongings are either here with me in France or stored away in Washington. After I'm done in France I can go anywhere and do anything. I have complete and total control and responsibility over my own life. And it's wonderful. Exciting. Intimidating. Full-throttle learning and growing and stepping forward and embracing the truth that growing up is one of the coolest things I've ever done in my life.
Maybe it's a little bit more than hitting my eighth month mark here in France. Maybe it's a little bit more that I hit my eighth month mark of living on my own, living my life without anyone's expectations except for my own. Living like a grown-up.