Three years ago, I was that lucky girl from the third world who was granted the license to live the Parisian postcard dream. The postcard dream stamped with the illusion of a smooth fancy carousel ride but turned out to be an unlimited pass to a crazy roller coaster ride. As days, weeks, months went by, I held on to the bubble of love I have for France, protected it with my heart and soul from the stories woven by the haters and the disillusioned. I was punched in the face, fairly enough to send me scurrying back to my country. But I held on. I got sick for more than a month with almost no money in my pocket, no social security, no one (and left with scars all over my body etched on my skin perhaps forever) But I still uttered, "Paris, je t'aime" And let's not forget the never-ending dizzying expedition to the labyrinth of the French bureaucracy. Every expat living in the country has something bitter to say to its notoriety. Yet I kept my faith pinned to every Laduree, foie gras and champagne.
Fast-forward to now, days after I received that one devastating letter, stating the reasons why my carte de sejour can't be renewed and ordering me to leave France at the end of 30 days, I can't quite associate myself anymore to that girl who willingly went through the roller coaster while inside her extra resilient bubble. My ego was cut into a million little pieces, leaving my body lying in the middle of nowhere. A bit dramatic for a depiction of my feelings but yes... it felt a lot like a guillotine sentence. No matter how hard I counteract the negative emotions with thoughts on the poverty of Africa or my own country, the war here and there, the recurring near-depression still manages to win over. I was wishing for some superman to save me but alas, only me-myself-and-I can rescue me.
Apparently, in the (harsh) real world, loyalty is not measured by the sweat, blood and tears that I poured in this country's soil. Mathematics is after all the universal language and thy shall be judged by figures and not by your oxygen dreams. As Lord Cutler Beckett would say in Pirates of the Caribbean, "It's just good business". Nothing personal.
The moral of the story which I've unearthed from this chapter is that nothing is really permanent. Someone dies, you die, a part of you dies. All of which evokes the same unexplained black hole feeling.
I honestly still don't know where I am heading next. Everyday, it's a where, when, how (and sometimes why), but no golden answers manage to pop out yet. It's just that... I will carpe diem. And one of those things I plan to do before France gives me its one last powerful kick in the butt is to study. Not for the sake of decorating my CV but because my brain is craving for something new to pump into my almost 30-year old system.
I will carpe diem.
I also made a list of clichés which I usually shrug off to another day as I thought I still have a lifetime to do them. Watching an opera, eating a Berthillon ice cream...
And of course, TRAVEL.
Despite the perhaps bitter ending, I am still very thankful for this 3-year journey granted to me by France. I am still one lucky bastard. If I look back, I would have never ever imagined that I will set foot in this fairyland. Ever. And so...Merci mille fois.
To the dreamers, may my story not dampen your spirit. Someday when all my 32 teeth have become porcelain, I will laugh hysterically over this. But today I promise, I will seize the day, night and holiday.