Two years ago today, I found my little Paris apartment. Wait—strike that. Two years ago today, I found a tiny 24-square meter life raft in the middle of the hell that was my life. Yeah, that’s more accurate.
My mom had died of breast cancer the year before, in 2011, and my sister and I were about to go through the gut-wrenching task of emptying and selling our childhood home. Round about January of 2012, I became obsessed with the idea of buying a pied-à-terre in Paris. At the time it wasn’t clear why I felt so compelled; the hotel I usually stayed in was swell enough, smack in the middle of a swanky neighborhood in the Left Bank. But no, I had to have a place of my own—had to. So what did I do? Did I call up an expat real estate agency? Go to a bank to research loans, or seek out investment information on overseas properties? Nope. After researching places online, I flew to Paris for a day, picked one of the six places I saw, and dropped a wad of my retirement money on it.
Best freakin’ thing I ever did.
Looking back, I realize what a profound source of joy my apartment in Paris has been. And I understand now that the driving desire to have this place was my way of grasping at hope during a hopeless time. Having the apartment got me through the hardest years after my mom died. Did I say, “life raft?” I meant life saver. Whenever I felt like I couldn’t go on, I’d think of my sweet place in the 11th arrondissement waiting for me, and I’d be at peace again.
Two years later, I’m not the same person I was when I began this journey. Happier yes, but there’s more. Buying my place in Paris made me braver; I live more boldly than before, take more chances, trust the universe more. My life is richer, too, more exciting, more fun. All this from a piece of real estate, you ask? Yes, all this. The key to my Paris place opened up my life, and made it worth living again.