It has been quite a year!
In February 2020, I moved to a small Studio apartment in the Latin Quarter of Paris after living for four years in Nice, France. I moved with some of my stuff after getting rid of most of it in the fall of 2019 and January 2020, most of which I still wanted to keep (but I wanted to move to Paris more), my cat Missy who was very sick (and I did not know it), and little to no knowledge of Paris or speaking French. I don’t recommend it.
My landlord was a “friend” from Nice who owned property in Paris and Nice. She met me when I arrived on the night of January 29, with supplies for Missy and a glass of wine and a sandwich. So far so good. I did not know that she had taken the power out of her name to stop on February 1,2020 at midnight. In fact, she wanted the power in HER name because of Paris rental requirements. So, at midnight on January 31, 2020, the power was turned off. It was very cold outside, and the heater was electric. Missy and I did not have a candle, even. I somehow found the keys and the front door and booked a room at the hotel across the street. For me. Not Missy. (Luckily, lockdown had not yet closed all hotels.) I don’t recommend it.
She helped me to book electricity (she speaks French but is from the South USA), but we were both so mad at each other that I barely spoke to her again. No problem. I don’t recommend it.
At a fast pace, I learned more about Paris and speaking French. No choice. I did not think much about a virus. I had a lot of other problems. Doctors and a Vet for Missy were priorities. EVERYTHING worked differently from Nice, and I had no one to teach me. AND, little did I know that I was in one of the best areas of Paris, so I did a crash course in the area. AND it was cold. NO EXPLANATIONS. Wikipedia. My first questions were ‘so?’ Who cares? I don’t recommend it.
On March 17, 2020, mandatory home lockdown started in Paris at Noon (for 15 days at first). It ended on May 11 after two extensions. So, that limited my activities and took my enthusiasm of So? And Who cares? to a new level. I don’t recommend it.
I still did not like my Studio or my landlord, so I used my time to look online for another apartment (I did not care what area, sorta.) And I needed to find doctors for my deteriorating health. I had found several workable ways to get places. And there were not a lot of people or places open. IN other words, I became VERY focused. Plus, I felt like I was running out of time. People would find me dead in that Studio because of the smell, half-eaten by a cat. I knew no one. Alas. The negativity. I don’t recommend it.
There were a myriad of other problems and challenges, but I was very happy when lockdown opened the cafes, and I could once again get an omelet. I began eating out most lunches and enjoyed each one. And I did not go out after 5 pm. Missy and I would enjoy a glass or three of wine and each other’s company. I would peek through the windows at the restaurant next door and watch the people talking over dinner. I will admit I was envious and longed for companionship of the good kind. I would try to remember the fun I had “going out.’ A little but not often. I watched a lot of movies on my Eurobox as well as Netflix.
In July 2020, I had an MRI of my head. I had found a doctor who did tests that showed blockage in my left ear. She really scared me, telling me in French, that I could have a brain tumor. I understood enough French to know that I could be dying. So, I immediately saw a dead body half-eaten by a cat. After the MRI, that doctor told me IN FRENCH that I did Not have a tumor of any kind. Good news. And LOTS OF MONEY. I was very happy that I would live. I still needed to “experience” Paris and being there. See things and go places. Not a good time to die. I did still not know anyone to help me. So, I made the decision to help myself. Duh.
First Step – GET OUT OF THIS STUDIO. I HATE IT!!!
I began searching online for apartments. Bingo! I saw one that “fit the bill”. I wrote the owner and poured out my heart. She was French. Oops. Long story but it is not easy getting an owner – especially a French one – to take a chance on a tenant from the US in Paris. Somehow, I convinced her to take a chance on me. AMAZING. So, I did what I could to fit her requirements. I took the apartment starting immediately! Well, in a few days. It was at the TOP of my budget, but I decided to try it. Maybe I could work it out. I took a chance, and she took a chance. We did it!! On August 19, 2020, I moved from Paris 6e to Paris 16e. Very different and not close by. Lots of benefits and lots of liabilities. I was really happy to be out or that Studio and not working with that Landlord “friend”, now enemy. I was an emotional mess. I don’t recommend it.
I have been in my new apartment and trying to find nearby doctors in the 16e AND trying to figure things out and have been lockdowned AGAIN. October 28, 2020. I am still an emotional and physical mess. Travel consists of going to the grocery store and/or the pharmacy and an occasional walk in the neighborhood. I recommend it.
I am grieving. (I wish I would not do that.) Missy died in November. I grieve over that. The numbers are terrible. I grieve over that. I have had some small strokes in my head. I am grieving over that. But I am taking care of myself – one day at a time. I am doing what I can to get better. I recommend it.
For the most part, I am happy I am here and making the best of this apartment. It is beginning to feel like “home”. At least it does right now. That is all I have. Now. Today. I am glad I am not in the USA. Those numbers and attitudes would be tough for me to take. I am pulling for America, the Georgia I love, and the government for the people and by the people and OF the people. I recommend it.
Happy New Year! (No selfies these days. Ugh)
JUST A THOUGHT
I have few words for all of us. We all have our own language for what we have lived and what loss feels like. Just know that I understand and that I care for all of it. I SO love life and I want to keep on living. I wish that for you, too.