Posts Tagged ‘Old Friends’

I am no longer homeless.

It wasn’t easy — well, I’ll be honest. It was a whole lot easier than I thought it was going to be — but I am now the proud resident of a flat share in the 10th arrondissement of Paris.

(You might be wondering about the early time stamp on this post. Once again, I couldn’t really sleep — although I slept a ton last night, I may have only slept for like 3 hours tonight, I’m not really sure — but that mainly may have been from my being both excited and nervous, which are not good conditions for sound sleeping)

Yesterday was a most wonderful day. It was really beautiful here in Paris — sunny skies and mild temperatures — so I went for a long run in the Bois de Boulogne and in the 16th. It was pretty enough that I would have liked to take as long a run as I did intentionally, but I got a little lost, so the run ended up being longer than I originally planned. I wasn’t too worried though, because I can use the Eiffel Tower as a landmark and find my way back to John’s apartment. When your landmark is the tallest structure for miles, you can’t really complain.

After an afternoon of reading and lounging about, I prepared myself to meet my friend Zeina, a girl from Ohio who went on my Outbound Bound trip in the Sierra Nevadas nearly two years ago. It’s hard to comprehend that that trip was so long ago, but in the interim so much has happened — I’m a sophomore in college, I’m 20, Zenia graduated from Ohio State, she’s living in Paris working in a bridal boutique — that I guess I really can believe it.

It so great to see a familiar face in a foreign city. I was a little worried I wouldn’t recognize her, as the only time I’ve really spent with her was outside in the wilderness, and we were both dirty and poorly clothed at the time — a real touchstone of the Outward Bound Wilderness experience — but when she appeared on the sidewalk outside of the Rue de la Pompe métro, I instantly knew it was her.

We rode the métro to the stop suggested by the landlord of my potential — now permanent — Craigslist-sourced apartment in the 10th. It seemed like a nice neighborhood at first glance — nice shops, pretty cafés, people walking around — and the building in question was at the end of a little side street.

Out front, a tall, pretty woman was smoking nervously — another prospective tenant, I would learn — and inside a little lobby was the landlord, “J.” (still don’t know his name). The woman out front was apparently from Argentina, in the city to study dramatic art. She, J and I waited around until 5 after 8 for some other person who was supposed to see the apartment too, but he never showed up, so J took us outside to the big wooded door that led to our potential apartment.

Let me take a little break from my narrative to say that this apartment was EXACTLY what I thought wanted to find for my semester in Paris. It’s a little kooky and completely unconventional, but affordable and safe and sure to be a fun time. Plus, there’s a cat. So, WIN.

J took us inside the place, which is small, but with high ceilings and a lot of skylights and on the first floor with a garden complete with flowers and bushes and a table “to smoke or have dinner-type parties at” (J didn’t speak the most eloquent English, but he was fluent enough for me).

The kitchen is shared between my room and two other similar set-ups rented by two 30something Frenchmen — a TV producer and an architect who were sadly not present during our tour — whom J assured us “were the best kind of people to live with who like the clean”. There was also the aforementioned cat, whose name was something I can’t pronounce in French, but who was very lovable — he let me pet him on the stomach, which J assured me was special for cats — and also a big fan of this tiny grass-like plant that J had brought for his upset stomach.

I, too, like living in the clean and eating plants, so I’m sure we’ll all get along swimmingly.

J then opened a glass-paned door into what looked like a bathroom and invited us all in. The Argentinian woman decided then she didn’t want the place, which was a win for me, because I already knew that I really did want.

The room, as I quickly saw, was not just a bathroom, but also a bedroom.

It’s hard to describe, but I’ll try. You walk into a tiled room with a shower and a rather large palm-plant — the care and keeping of which is apparently part of my rental contract. J explained: “You just water it when you take showers.” I have to take a shower every two days, otherwise the plant will die, and I’ll be held accountable. I have to make sure I don’t get any soap in the plant. Also, if the plant grows too large, I’m to tell J, so he can cut off the excess and put it somewhere else in the apartment. Sure enough, 3 other plants — the shower plant’s children — were scattered around the apartment’s kitchen area. I don’t know why there is a plant in the shower. I didn’t care. I loved it.

From the shower, one then continues on to the sink and the toilet and a small cubby for clothes and luggage and such. Above said cubby area, accessible by a small wooden staircase, is a desk area and a bed.

So, it’s all one room. All of it.

Enough for me. I’m just one person.

I told J I wanted the place, and we agreed on terms and a 4:00 pm signing this afternoon. Zeina and I thanked J and the the pretty Argentinian woman — thank goodness she thought it was all to weird to rent – and wandered off into the mild Parisian night to have dinner and meet one of her American friends who was an au pair in the city.

I could say more about my night, but it was pretty simple after that and I’m really pretty tired. I have to get ready for school and such.

Just know, dear readers, that I am not homeless. I’ll move in later this week, I imagine. I’ll explain more later, but I have to shower, and if I don’t want the plant to die, I have to make sure that I’m used to the idea of daily showers.

It won’t be hard, of course, but just in case. I haven’t made the formal acquaintance of the plant, but it seemed like a happy sort of plant, and I’d hate to kill one of my new roommates because I don’t feel like bathing.

Death by lack of personal hygiene isn’t fun for anyone involved.

Read Full Post »