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Moving Day

FRANCE | Tuesday, 1 September 2015 | Views [260]

The last apartment that I needed to look at was in the twelfth arrondissement. It was another one of those places where taking public transportation was nearly as slow as walking (about half an hour). And, given it was supposed to be a nice day, (a bit hot, but that was more in the afternoon) and I was out of metro tickets, I decided to walk. So, around 9:40, I got my suitcases out (I'd packed the night before. The more surprising thing about that is that I had in fact unpacked in the week I'd spent in the hotel.) and headed down to the lobby. I checked out, made it clear the room was not yet empty, and asked them to keep my suitcases for a bit. Then off I set.

It was a lovely walk. The streets were quiet in a peaceful way,  and the city itself was still fairly cool. The walk was also about as easy as it gets. I needed to take note of the different names that the street I was walking on went by, (it changed names 3 times) but that was all. No "on Rue Saint Germain, turn right. On Rue Saint Jacques, turn left. On Rue Saint Antoine, turn right, and on Rue Saint Denis, take the fourth exit on the roundabout onto Boulevard Saint Jacques." Because, quite simply, there were no turns to make. I started walking down the street my hotel was on, and I kept following it through the name changes until I reached the apartment.

Erin, Maria Jose, and Megan showed up, and we opened the big doors to get closer to the apartment. The inside area was about as nice as the inside of the gates by the Brown in France office, and for similar reasons (very floral.) There was another gate a bit further in, and then we were outside the apartment. The (British) landlady showed up, and she let us into the apartment.

The apartment was huge. And yes, this is coming from the perspective of someone who has been sharing a hotel suite with two other people and looking at a lot of other studio apartments in Paris. And has lived in dorms during school years for the last five years. For someone less accustomed to living in Paris, the apartment would simply be big.

It felt like a vacation home. Which made more sense once Madame Preston started talking about it and mentioned that, during the summer, her children and grandchildren would come and live here. She'd had lodgers through Brown in Paris and other means for a number of years, but still had a slew of questions to ask Erin about electricity and internet and all that.

There was a loft bed, and at the base of it a decent storing area, provided you remembered to duck. Shelves leading up to the stairs, (full of knickknacks and vases that helped contribute to the vacation home feeling) a kitchen, (complete with a stove) a veritable living room, and a bathroom that included a bathtub and a washing machine.

After we finished the tea Madame Preston had offered us, and everyone had asked all the questions we could think of, we went outside and Megan and I had a quick discussion about which apartment we preferred. Despite all of the reasons that looked terrible on paper (far away, seventh floor, tiny) there was something utterly charming about the first (the count started over after we didn't get any of the places we wanted in the first round of looking) place we saw, and I wanted it. So did Megan. Erin wrote both our names on sheets of paper and had Maria José pick a hand. Megan ended up with that one, and I ended up with one that was at least four times as big.

We went back to the hotel, then I immediately grabbed a taxi back with my luggage. I brought it in, and Madame Preston took me on a tour of the apartment with the details of the eccentricities of appliances that I needed to be aware of, then out to lunch. Once we'd gotten everything except rent and leases (and internet, which still needed to be set up) dealt with, she left, and I looked around an apartment that felt way too big for me.

I went for a walk, unpacked, went out for dinner, finished unpacking, and replaced some of the objects that made it feel like a vacation home with my own belongings that made it feel more like my home. It didn't quite work.

The apartment is wonderful. Conveniently located, (30-40 minutes from both the office and the university) genuinely spacious, fully equipped, (well, almost fully equipped. I don't have a microwave. Have an oven and a stove, but no microwave, which is a reversal from my usual situation) and in a nice neighbourhood. If it's not what comes to mind when I close my eyes and imagine a student apartment in Paris, it's only because most students in Paris don't get this kind of apartment. It's wonderful, but...

But it's such a transition. 20 years of living with my family or in dorms, and suddenly I have an apartment to myself. And I don't think it matters that it's this particular apartment and not any of the others I've looked at. I set down a glass, and it is going to stay there. No one is going to come over unless I invite them. (And I can definitely invite people over. There are eight chairs and a sofa. I'd need to be trying hard to use all of them in a single day.) The shopping and cooking and cleaning is all up to me. I'm not going to come back at night and find my roommate and one of her friends waiting outside the room because she locked herself out and didn't want to pay the five dollars getting an RA would cost to unlock it. I control music exclusively, and I don't need to pause it when I go somewhere else in the apartment. (Largely because sound carries really well inside the apartment, but not super well outside it, at least as far as I can tell.)

It's my first apartment. And I know I was building to this point the last week, but it's still going to take some getting used to. I just moved into my first apartment. In Paris. I never dreamed it would be so big.

Tags: apartments, home

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