by Melinda Gallo

Adapting to Paris

I arrived in Paris last Sunday after a long hiatus. It had been over 10 weeks since I had been here last. For most of that time, I was in Florence. It has been since January since I was able to spend a good amount of time there. Even though I enjoy my time in Paris, I do miss my beloved city and even more my marito (husband), my suoceri (in-laws), and my amici (friends). Fortunately, I love my job and enjoy spending time in Paris, but I do miss my life because I feel as if the one I have in Florence is incomplete.

I usually arrive in Paris on Sunday afternoon. By the time I get into the city, all the shops are closed and the streets are virtually empty. I never plan to meet up with my friends upon my arrival. I like to settle into my apartment, unpack my bags, walk around the neighborhood, and prepare for my week to come. I realize that I need time to adapt to my new home for the two weeks I stay here.

Even though I keep myself busy when I first get here, I still feel a bit sad and lonely. I love spending time by myself, but itís different when I come to Paris. I know that I wonít see a friend or bump into anyone I know.

That first night always seems to be the longest, but when I wake up in the morning I feel much better. Running around the city has been a great source of joy for me. Itís a way for me to get grounded and feel refreshed. The moment I walk to the mťtro, I suddenly slip into my Parisian groove.

Iím always happy when I get to the office where I greet all my colleagues. When the work day starts, my loneliness and sadness disappear completely.

By the second night, Iím always surprised I ever felt alone. Twenty-four hours seems like a lifetime away. Even if the people and the city I love arenít near me, I know that I am not alone and certainly not sad. I just have to remind myself that it alway takes time for me to adapt to a new environment. Itís not like Iím here for a few days; two weeks is a big enough chunk of time that I have to settle in.

What I go through each time I arrive to Paris is exactly what happened each time I moved to a different country to live in. There are moments of sadness and loneliness, but they all fade away in time. It takes time to adapt to a new place, and even if I come here often, I still need to adapt each time.

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