If you’ve read Part I of my nomadic journey, you know I’ve been kicked out of my apartment by a leak in a neighbor’s flat that has rendered my home unfit. I’ve had a hard time finding temporary housing in Paris—cost and availability are huge issues here—and during my five-month stay I’ll be hanging my hat in four different apartments. That’s a lot of moving around, but before you feel too sorry for me, get a load of the image at the top of this page. Yes, that’s right: I have a terrace. In Paris.
Just when I think the universe is raining all over my Paris parade, it hands me an umbrella. In this case, a big, blue sun umbrella for the terrace of my beautiful temporary digs in the the 3rd arrondissement.
Apartment #1 came to me through a friend, and I was just grateful just to have a place to lay my head—but this is much more than that, more than I could have imagined. When I opened the door to the apartment for the first time, sunlight washed over me, making me squint. I looked up at a skylight high above me in a soaring vaulted ceiling. The bright, white space popped with cool, fresh accent colors all around—aqua, purple and fuchsia. On one wall, an artist’s mural dominated the room, whimsical and exuberant. Through the glazed double doors, I found a sun-baked terrace that ran the length of the apartment, and on it, two lounge chairs and a table perfect for entertaining—or writing, which I was here to do. From the terrace, views over the rooftops of the 16th- and 17th-century buildings lining the street. The apartment had air-conditioning, a fully stocked kitchen, a king-sized bed and a giant closet—all rarities in Paris. In fact, the entire apartment was a rare gem. Did I deserve such luxury? This paradise?
Last summer when the leak first appeared and I was evicted from my dream apartment because of the mold that had grown, my life was already in a state of upheaval. I’d just left my job to embark on a new career as a writer, but I was shaky and still holding on to the past. That I had to abandon my one safety net—my little Paris home—only made me feel even more unsettled, and I struggled to stay afloat emotionally. I was like a fist inside—tight and angry. It was hard to appreciate the gifts that were coming my way, including a gorgeous apartment in the center of town that was offered me as a temporary home.
But nearly a year later, I’m in a different frame of mind about the state of flux I’m living in. I actually like it and I’m happier, more comfortable with the unknown. That fist inside is unclenching, letting go of expectations and fear. Maybe the universe served up a beautiful apartment like this one because I’m more open now—or maybe it just seems like I hit the jackpot because that’s what gratitude does to you. I know now that the curve balls being lobbed at me are not punishment, but the universe telling me to get in the game. This is life.
The difference between the hell of last year, and the heaven I’m living in now? Me. It’s point-of-view and the belief that I deserve to be happy. And yeah, that sunny terrace doesn’t hurt my mood any, either.
Want a tour of the place? Of course you do.