Hurricanes are intense storms that usually start off very strong. Then, there is the eye; the part of the storm where everything almost stops, and it’s almost like the world is calm and quiet again. Finally, the storm picks back up again and finishes with full force.
I realize I haven’t blogged as much this month. In September, October, and November, I averaged between 21-22 posts. December was close at about 15; but because it was the holiday season I decided to give myself a break. However, it’s the end of January and I have managed to blog only 10 times in 24 days (today is number 11.) It’s not that I don’t want to write, or that I don’t have anything to write; it’s quite the contrary. I have plenty of things to say. In fact, I keep an ongoing list of topics in my iPhone for my blog– a list I update daily. Unfortunately, the list keeps getting longer and longer because I haven’t put any of the ideas onto paper…. Erm, WordPress.
The truth is that January has become my eye of the storm that is my TAPIF experience. September-December started off strong. I traveled around France a TON meeting old friends and discovering new places and cities both in and out of my region. I also spent five solo days in Barcelona, which was an awesome experience. I filled my weekdays with work, bike rides, tutoring gigs, and of course hanging out with my new friends. But ever since Christmas break began, I realize one thing: I’m exhausted.
I rang in the New Year in Paris, and then when I came back I immediately moved into my new apartment (which I love, apart from the downstairs neighbors!) But that in of itself was exhausting. However, I realized that this month in particular, I’ve been sleeping a lot and haven’t really been wanting to do much of anything– not even travel. I enjoyed a wonderful long weekend in a Toulouse with Sarah, and although we did some nice shopping, I really just enjoyed relaxing and catching up on her couch with coffee and chocolate, as well as playing with her daughter. I also haven’t been arriving early or staying as late at work like I used to; this month has more or less been come in, do my job, and go back home. I am additionally emotionally drained because of both confused emotions about love and feelings as well as a slight misunderstanding and miscommunication with a local family here where I live (which has since been taken care of!) This past week I had either le gastro (France’s notorious stomach flu that makes its way across the country at the beginning of the year), or food poisoning. I spent the beginning of this week curled up next to my toilet and in my bed. Finally, I’m a bit short on money this month (I’ve been surviving on my weekly tutoring money in January since I drained my entire monthly salary and some of my American savings on a security deposit.) My future post-TAPIF has also been dwindling in the back of my mind (I actually bumped up my flight back to the sates two weeks earlier!)
So, I’m exhausted, I’m drained, and I just needed to take a break. I decided that instead of feeling guilty for not doing something every second of every day that I am in France, or feeling bad about sleeping in a lot this month, I just need to let it go, because I clearly need this rest right now. I don’t know if there will be another time in my life when I work so little and have so few responsibilities– I am not used to letting myself relax so I may as well take advantage of it now!
So, January has been my eye of the storm. I am more than sure that February, March, April, and May are going to pick up. I have travel plans to Avignon, Nice, and Menton in February, Istanbul in March, and then I start my month-long backpack trip of Paris, Normandy, Morocco, Italy, and Corsica mid-April until the end of May. I’d love to add a few more cities in the region, such as Nîmes and Montpellier, or Cassis. But for now, I am just resting and soaking in my new apartment– unlimited Internet, French tv, my own room and full kitchen, a bathtub, a balcony! Not to mention the weather is unbelievable. For the moment, it’s paradise!
So, below I’ve listed a few of the fun and unique things I have managed to do this month (I haven’t been a complete hermit!)
-Trip to Toulouse to see Sarah
-Monday rendez-vous at Café Polyglot
-Celebrating Galette des Rois with my colleagues
-Assistant parties and get-togethers in Toulon and Hyères
-Speed Dating (Yes, you read that right, Speed Dating) at Chez Gringos American-Mexican restaurant in town
-Watching TV and movies in French
-Substitute teaching for an adult ESL class here in Toulon (awesome experience!)
So, here’s to January, the eye of TAPIF, the calm of the storm. And here’s to living in the moment and enjoying the months to come in full force.