An American Girl in Paris: Part Deux

3 November 2017

October, October, October! How I always look forward to the symphonic melodies of autumn. A major cornerstone of my life has been anticipating the coziness and comfort of October and autumn. I would trade literally any other seasonal weather for a cool day with colorful leaves. It is the time of year when my inner child feels most protected and secure, and yet possesses a tinge of melancholy for the New Year and dreadful Chicago winter ahead. This year’s autumnal dawn is greeted with stronger feelings on both sides of the coin. My heart is swelling for my favorite city and my favorite time of year, but it also is enjoyed with the anxiety-inducing knowledge that my time in Paris is halfway over. But we’ll get to the tears later!

October was book-ended by seeing one of my favorite artists in concert and spending the week with my best friend exploring a new city. What started as another much anticipated concert turned into a truly emotional and visceral night (this may or may not have to do with the fact that I was quite intoxicated…but you didn’t hear that from me). Her latest album was even more anticipated that the concert. Ever since Lorde’s first album came out, her music with a “fading youth” mentality has been a staple for my most transitional periods of life. So many of my nights have been spent scream-singing “Ribs” in the car. The day she released “Green Light” earlier this year, I spent a full hour blasting it through my headphones and dancing as hard as I could. My favorite thing about Lorde’s music is how is evokes a sense of urgency and fondness for periods of life and impactful relationships. Being the painfully nostalgic and emotional person I am, her music has often served as a place of validation.  

Lorde’s spirit and presence on stage is just as you would expect: ethereal and damn vulnerable. Between her killer personal style -- manifested in three different costume changes -- and her raw emotional nature, I quickly became overwhelmed and felt so connected to her + her music. She surprised the audience and sang a cover of The 1975’s “Somebody Else,” and while I hadn’t heard the song before, I was hooked and continued the concert-high throughout the rest of the month by listening to the original version on repeat.

After celebrating my friend Mel’s birthday the next week, we jetted off to Lisbon. We had a blast and wished we could have stayed longer. While I would go into the details of the trip, I’ll instead point you to the direction of a pre-published Lisbon city guide. I then got my hair cut. One of my constant mantras is “sometimes when you can’t control your life, the only thing you can control is your hair.” It was exciting for all parties involved. 

On the plane ride home from Lisbon, I listened to a portion of a three hour long podcast of Pete Holmes interviewing Bo Burnham (faves!!!). If any of you are familiar with Bo’s work or have even seen any of his interviews, you know how he effectively dismantles the bullshit of our society. I highly highly highly recommend listening to this podcast and encourage you to not be intimidated it’s length. Bo’s zealous rants led me to attempt to regulate my technological intake, especially that of which surrounding mindless browsing and other low quality media. Part of my push to be more mindful of my media consumption is because I’m trying to create more design work for myself and read more books that have been on my “to read” list for months. So far, it has been great. I’ve created more work that I’ve been happy with, finally got my website to a place that I’m happy with, and take time to sit and read daily. I downloaded the app Moment which helps a lot but is also the equivalent to a self-righteous nagging mother telling you to put your phone down. “But I’m looking up directions!! But I’m answering an important email!! But I have to use my camera!!” I mentally yell at an inanimate cell phone app telling me how long I’ve spent on it.  

However, all of these great improvements went down the drain this last week whilst Victoria was visiting (which is totally natural since what little of a routine I had was fucked up). After she pranked me by pretending she missed her connecting flight to Paris which caused me to sprint up from the Metro in panic and almost shit myself, she arrived! In the following days, I had so much fun showing my favorite person around my favorite city to my favorite places. When I say there was never a dull moment, I really do mean it. Conversations between us ebb and flow from talking about life’s deepest issues, to expanding upon past traumas, and making complete fools of ourselves in public and laughing hysterically. If anyone has been following either of us for awhile, you know what kind of shenanigans we get into. Even if you haven’t, be thankful that we didn’t post as many stories this trip because they get so weird so fast (we think we’re hilarious but I’m sure no one else gets the same enjoyment out of it). I especially love when people whom we don’t know personally are able to laugh along and vibe with our esoteric humor. We constantly lament about the death of vine and the tragic reality that we’ll never have joint account.

Between stunning sunsets over the Louvre, smoking long skinny cigarettes al fresco, spending hours in Shakespeare and Company, visiting all the best concept and coffee shops, we were in bliss. I even got to introduce her to Mel and our other friend, Bonnie. They have all heard so many stories about each other, so it was as if we were all old friends.

Victoria’s visit ended with a trip to Barcelona. I’m currently working on a city guide for that lovely, lovely city, so that will be posted in the next few days (I have so much work to do pls send help). I am especially excited for this city guide just because of how amazing Barcelona was and how much I love exploring new places with Victoria. If you can’t wait for that guide and want some hot n’ fresh Victoria-on-Abby-on-Europe action, revisit our Copenhagen and London adventures from earlier this year.

Even though this month was kinda the best and I’m left with vat of happiness, I have constant subtle anxiety about my time in Paris being over. It’s as if a tiny fruit fly is buzzing in my ear: quite benign but so damn annoying. And ugh, do I have a lot of thoughts about moving back to Chicago. For one, I have to find a Jan-June sublease. Not fun. I have to find a job. I’m terrified for the homesickness I will feel once I’m no longer in Paris. Every moment that passes, I can’t help but think “you’ll really wish that you were back in this moment once you’re in Chicago.” And then it get antsy and anxious and it’s a bit of a mess. My time in Paris has confirmed my thoughts and feelings that I’ve outgrown Chicago, and am equally afraid to go back there in when I’m in a vulnerable state with unprocessed emotions surrounding the events of this last April.

Additionally, my plan was always to create a City Dossier-esque publication for Chicago upon my return, but now as more time passes and I give it more thought, I’m not sure if this is the right move. The question now is what other creative project do I want to start, and I’m at a loss for an idea that seems “right.” I have a lot to think about and a lot to plan for, and I’d hate to think that those things would take away from my time here. I’d love to hear any of your thoughts on any of the aforementioned subjects, so please do reach out if you have something to say!

Lest I end on a melodramatic note, here is my October 2017 playlist! This is actually one of the longer playlists I’ve made in awhile (I’ve not been diligent on my 2017 playlists oops). I rediscovered the Civil Wars at the beginning of the month, and rediscovered Andrew Bird at the end. The rest is scattered with this and that, and as mentioned previously, “Somebody Else” got the most play time, with “Roma Fade” being a close runner up. Give it a listen!

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