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I’ll never forget my first fall in Paris. I was studying abroad and I didn’t know a soul, a word of French, or much about the city at all. I set out to discover the city by myself. I wandered without a specific destination in mind and without a game plan.
I soon realized that not only did I not mind being alone, but that I in fact loved it—a feeling which can probably be attributed to the fact that my time alone in Paris had a very defined beginning and end.
Fall 2018 was my first actually living in Paris. It was filled with reminders of that earlier autumn I’d spent discovering the city: the scenery, the changing leaves, and the crispness in the air. The memories brought excitement. It was as if I had insight into what was going to come next even though everything seemed to be a bit up in the air.
The season flew by as I figured out my new normal. I wasn’t exploring as many new places throughout the city, but rather trying to root and establish myself in my new neighborhood.
This time of year is very much a checkpoint for me to assess how things are going because it always takes me back to that very first fall in Paris. This year, I’m meeting autumn in a much more grounded place in my life. I can check the boxes for the three things that I didn’t have that first year: friendships, language, and a familiarity with my surroundings.
This feeling of calmness has allowed me to again experience the season with new eyes. Everything enchants me: the golden afternoon light on the buildings, the deep blue skies, the yellowing leaves on the trees and ground, and an infectious autumnal energy. It’s an exciting, happy time, and a time when I feel like I’m once again renewing my love for this city.
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