i’m still not really sure how this happened.
monday was my last day at my wonderful hostel, l’auberge internationale des jeunes. i had added two extra days onto my reservation saturday night, not quite sure what my plan would be in 48 hours, but it was the most they could do and frankly my method of not completely freaking out which in france has been to deal with a problem to the best of my ability and then LET IT GO for the time being. otherwise, well, i honestly don’t know where i’d be right now.
saw a few apartments on saturday and sunday. the first one was in gentilly, a town just outside of paris. as soon as i got off the train i felt weird – bad sign. the apartment was basically where human hope goes to die. i bid her adieu, inwardly despairing.
the second one was a small, but airy studio with a wonderful view of the eiffel tower, a full kitchen, and a shower…in the kitchen. also, it would be shared by four people. a studio. shared. by four. people. still, i (and the friend who told me about it) told him we were very interested. (she has since found another apartment). i left feeling…slightly optimistic, but a little wary at the thought of sharing such a small space with so many people.
the third was another studio, much closer to where i wanted to live, but i would be moving in as this woman’s roommate, meaning we would be living on top of each other. literally. it was…tiny. very cute, very parisian, but she didn’t seem thrilled to live with me and by that point, i couldn’t summon any energy if i tried. and i did, i really did. “you didn’t look too excited,” my friend told me as we left the apartment. i felt kind of bad, because i did like the place, and who was i to be uppity about where i lived? i had exactly 24 hours to find lodging! but i figured by then it was too late, she’d chosen someone else, because why live with an american who can barely understand you and isn’t jumping up and down to live with you, anyway? my options were dwindling fast.
another opporunity arose quite quickly, however: a friend of a friend of my mother’s, let’s say, knew of a vacant studio in the 12th in paris that was being newly renovated. i agreed to go take a look, knowing it was too good to be true, knowing i probably wouldn’t have all of the paperwork i’d need, the typical expecting-the-worst-hoping-for-the-best rigmarole. i went to sleep extremely anxious, huddled under my cold, damp hostel blanket, wiggling my numbed toes and praying with all of my might. please, please, please, don’t let me have to sleep on the metro tomorrow night!
and then, in a whirlwind of contracts and agreements and keys and many, many “merci beaucoup”s, it was done. i had my apartment. i was moving in that night. small studio juste pour moi, in the middle of the city but down a small, quiet street, 10 minutes’ walk from my hostel, completely furnished. i couldn’t–still can’t–believe it.
halfway into negotiations, one of my new neighbors, a girl about by age, came by with some of her friends to say hi and invite me over. “elle a déjà des copines!” my realtor remarked to the landlord. (she already has friends!) i took her up on her offer while the final paperwork was being drawn up and they were very nice, even if i couldn’t understand everything that was going on. common feeling these days, but i enjoy the challenge.
and it does get easier, it really does.
case in point: i now have a place to lay my weary head.