Today was the day nothing worked out. My phone / Internet access is a tangled mess of technical services that keep asking me whether I've plugged the yellow cable in the yellow plug (it's called an Ethernet cable, and yes it is plugged in the Ethernet port for goodness sake). I can't reach the people who're supposed to deliver my bedroom closet and they don't call me back. I didn't have all the necessary documents to purchase a public transportation card. I went to a hairdresser at random and ended up looking like I'm wearing a bad quality wig. Also, the product she used itches and stinks.
So it all caught up with me. I have left Germany, where I've had, all in all, such a great time and made such incredible memories. My departure was a never-ending process, which in a way started back in May when I was offered my dream job in Paris, and reached ridiculous levels in the last month.
My boss gave me no less than three goodbye speeches, dripping with wholly undeserved pride and gratitude. I said goodbye to some colleagues five or six times: there's been my last day in the office, then my goodbye dinner with the lab, then my goodbye party with friends, then my last two days of work, spent attending a fancy ceremony with many coworkers, then the last time I popped into the office for some meetings in spite of being on holidays, then the loading of the moving boxes into the van I had rented to drive them to Paris.
With other friends I've used the pretext of my impeding departure to hang out while we still could. A lot. In a month we piled up birthday parties, goodbye parties, movie nights, game afternoons, evenings out, and even a night at the opera. We made grand plans for the next time I cross the Rhine (in a little under a month) and what we'll do when they come to Paris ("soon, very soon, I promise"—of course they won't come, well let's say not all of them, not in the next couple of years). They covered me with little attentions, absurd compliments, and silly parting gifts that made me cry.
I am living in Paris at last. I still haven't fully realized. Sometimes I have to restrain myself not to start jumping up and down in the street and yell "I live here, I live here!". I'm amazed that I can just tell friends "Sure, I'll call you one of these days" instead of thinking long and hard about the next time I may be in the country. I'm still amazed, even though we've kept in touch all those years, that they're ready to come carry boxes up four flights of stairs, help put some furniture together, send me welcoming messages, and make all sorts of crazy plans with me.
It's been far easier to move back to France than to move to a brand new country which language I don't master. Still I've barely had a good night of sleep in a month, under the stress of the move in all its glorious administrative and organizational disarray. Just thinking about detailing this further distresses me: forget about little slips of paper, I've moved on to notebooks for my todo lists.
And finally, the daughter of my closest friends was born at about the same time I was handing back the keys to my old apartment, in a random stroke of luck that felt more than a little symbolic of a page being turned and a brand new chapter starting. And I can't call them to squee in the phone because in 2013 getting an Internet and phone package to work can still be a major hassle.
So today was the day nothing worked and now I'm curled up on my couch, in a weepy ball of frustration and exhaustion and Major Feelings, wondering why on Earth I thought leaving for a conference nine time zones away on my third day in a new job was a good idea and how I imagined that having most of November off would ever be enough to move, settle down, get some rest and maybe even go on holidays.
But well, my stereo, kettle and coffee machines are plugged in, and I have the access code to a nearby hotspot. I will be fine.