In exactly 10 days I leave the shores of Australia once more for Paris.
I honestly can't believe how fast time has gone.
It seems just yesterday I was sitting in Charles de Gaulle Airport with tears streaming down my face overwhelmed with emotion. The dream I had for so many years had finally become a reality and in a flash it was coming to an end. For as long as I could remember I wanted to live in Paris and now I had done it. My last month there was incredible. Spending quality time with new found friends and just genuinely falling more and more in love with the city. Leaving was like peeling a band-aid off slowly, painfully pulling at my skin, torturing me until it was finally removed and only a stinging feeling remained.
It is such a strange feeling when you have wanted something for so long, then you finally get it. You are left with a sense of... well, what now?!
The first couple of weeks back in Australia as to be expected were bitter-sweet. It was SO wonderful to be back home in the beautiful weather, spending time with the family, but on the other hand I longed for Paris. The dream.
I had decided to come home early for a job that ended up falling through. I felt cheated. I still had 2 months left on my French Visa when I left so I had to do everything in my power not to get online and book a flight straight back. So I came up with a new plan. I had applied to a Masters Degree back in Paris before I left and if I was to be successful I would only have 5 months back home. Not enough time to start a new permanent job, but enough time to do some short term contracts. Being a Nurse, this seemed perfect. I could do short term contracts all around Australia, spending time in my beloved Melbourne as well as spending time in warmer places like Cairns. I contacted several Nursing Agencies who all led me to believe there was loads of work. Excellent. Or so I thought.
As soon as they sucked me in, the truth came out.
'Sorry, there just isn't any work'
I couldn't even get an honest conversation out of the Agency in Melbourne, all I got was excuses. I even had one agency tell me that their clients wanted Nurses in their 40s/50s (clearly not someone of childbearing age) so I should probably just keep looking. It was a constant battle with constant dead ends. This wasn't supposed to happen, this wasn't part of the plan. So plan number 2 went completely out the window and I was back to square one. Then, after one month of being home, I was finally signed up to an Agency in my home town of Adelaide. Ok. So THIS wasn't the plan but now it would have to be and to be honest it wasn't a bad one. I could stay with my family, save lots of money and visit my friends in Sydney and Melbourne on weekends. The more I thought about it, the better it seemed and with a surprise email from Paris offering me a position into the Masters Degree, the plan was well and truly in action and I was booked for my first two agency shifts.
It had been almost a year since I had worked as a Nurse and several years since I had worked regularly on the wards so I was both excited and nervous. Then came the day of my first shift and I got a phone call from a blocked number. It was the agency telling me my shift was cancelled. I had been so excited and now I was just disappointed. This wasn't a great start, and so it continued for the first week. 3 out of the 4 shifts were cancelled. The recruitment lady from the Agency called me to see how I was getting along and I explained to her about being cancelled. She said it had been happening quite a lot, but hopefully it would pick up soon. She was right, it did pick up but it took 3 months.
So since I have been back I have been lucky to average around 20-25 hours of work a week, some weeks more, some less. Far less than I had anticipated and as a result I have basically turned into a hermit. I felt like a failure. All of the grand plans I had for Australia just never came to pass and no one was more disappointed than me. So as the days turned into weeks I found myself completely withdrawing. My only social interactions were at work and with my family. Being a typical Virgo perfectionist I didn't want people to know things weren't working out as I had planned so the best solution was just not to go out at all. The only connection I had with my old worlds was on Facebook where I was constantly bombarded with friends celebrating 'The Australian Dream'. People building/buying houses, renovating, getting married and having babies. Then there is me living in limbo with my head in Paris, my belonging scattered between here and Melbourne.
With all the extra time on my hands, I started thinking about what I really wanted. I have never been someone who has known what they wanted to do with their life, but the one thing I did know was I wanted to travel and explore the world, and that I did. At 18 years of age I moved to the USA and from then its been almost 13 years on the go. I have lived in Sydney, London, Adelaide, Melbourne and Paris in the years since graduating from Uni in 2005. So that is 5 cities and many more apartments in almost 8 years. I don't regret for a minute my decision to travel around and experience life in these great Cities. I've made some wonderful friends and had some amazing experiences, but after 13 years my constant thirst for new cities has dried up, I'm tired and shock horror, wait for it, I feel finally ready to settle down. So this is where I have had a change of heart about going back to Paris. Being now in a place where I feel I'm finally ready to settle into a city and maybe meet Mr Right, do I really want that city to be Paris?
So here I am, torn between 2 countries. I didn't expect such a change of heart and I am not even sure when it happened, but it happened.
Do I want to move back to Paris?!
Honestly, I don't know, but what I DO know is I wont know until I try.
So try I am, in 10 days. Maybe I will love it and wonder what all the worry was about. Maybe I will hate it and come home, but whatever happens, no regrets. What do they say?! You only live once.