Today I went out for dinner with a friend in Pigalle, and as I was walking home I passed an immobillier, a real estate office. A quick glance in the window showed the usual Parisian prices out of reach for all but those for whom money has lost all meaning, but there were also some in the neighborhood of attainable for mere mortals. One in particular caught my eye, a bright white apartment with parquet floors in Pigalle for less than the cost of my education. “Hey, I’d buy that!” I thought. As I was walking away I was struck by this thought of mine. Of course I’ve thought about living in Paris on my own before, but I’ve always been careful to couch these thoughts in the abstract. “if I were to live in Paris, I would live by the Canal St. Martin” etc. but this was different, I always thought of Paris, and French even as for now I never intended to live in France for more than this year and I never really had plans to make use of my French skills after Smith.
I realized tonight that all that is changing, at least a little.Lately I have been thinking about French in my future. I would love for my kids, or at least their father, to speak French (maybe it could be a secret language so the kids don’t know what the adults are discussing! MWAHAHA!). I love my voice in French and hearing the sounds of the language, I don’t want the comprehension and the skills I’ve worked for these last few years to disappear. But language doesn’t have to be tied to a country, I can speak French no matter where I’m living, it was just tonight that I realized I might not be ready to close the book on living in France after this year.
First I will give my caveats. The French high school/university system freaks the hell out of me, surprisingly less than the German one does for whatever reason, so given that I will have kids, I would not want to stay in France past them entering Middle School. And then there are France’s other problems. France has the highest Muslim population in Europe and is arguably one of the most diverse European countries and it has a very hard time reconciling that with its idea of what France is supposed to be. There is a strong racist, anti-semitic, islamophobic, etc. France aux français streak in French society which is unfortunately getting not only bolder but more popular (See the Front Nationale) and I am afraid that something really terrible is going to have to happen before the French realize what a dark streak they’ve developed and start really working to fix it.
Now that that is out of they way though I will say it. I can see myself moving back to Paris for a time. I love being here and exploring the neighborhoods, I like having my daily life be in French, and there are a lot of aspects of French culture that I find really wonderful (only most involving food), plus it seems like a lovely place to raise young children. So what am I saying here? Will I be moving back to Paris? I suppose that in the end, all I’m saying is that if the situation were to present itself, I would move back to Paris. There I go couching again, but I don’t know if I am in a place where I’m aiming to come back, so that’s the firmest I can be for now. We’ll have to see if this place can change my mind even more, till tomorrow everyone!