Last Saturday morning, uncharacteristically tired of cartoons, we flicked through the television stations, looking for something to watch whilst eating breakfast. We came across M6 Hit Machine, a long-running Saturday morning music show dedicated to showcasing current trends in music. They were doing a feature on the last ten years of music, from 1996-2006. The first five years had already been discussed in detail, and they were onto the last five years, from 2001-2006. As they started to talk about each song, I hummed along, unconconsciously, as I ate my cereal. Sylvain looked at me with his eyebrows raised and I realised with surprise that I knew all the songs... because I've been here for all that time. We calculated carefully - even with a 6 month sejour in Australia inbetween - all up, it's 4 years and counting that I've been living in this country.
As I read about my sisters experiences in PNG, I am intrigued to read about her experiences, the way everything is strange and new, how things are done.
I realise that, whilst not indifferent about being here, I'm certainly used to it and nothing really surprises me anymore about France, the French and their lifestyle. When I first arrived here, I promised myself that I would always look at this place with the eyes of a foreigner. I was so overwhelmed by all the newness that I thought it would never be possible to tire of it.
Today, whilst I'm not tired of it, per se, I'm getting a little sick of a thing or two. Like the way that people don't seem to give a shit about anyone else on the métro, in the street. When they nestle their umbrellas under their armpit, waving the end around behind them, with nary a backward glance at the people who are being stabbed when they stop suddenly. There are a lot of things I don't like about this country, but there are a lot of things I do like - curiously, I feel torn when asked if I like it here. My positive response is always accompanied by, "but I'd love to return to my homeland".
I feel restless. I want to go back to Australia. I want to go back to Ireland (it's funny, I think, how art reflects life. How creation reflects a moment, a feeling, at a certain point in time). I want to travel. I want to feel the sand between my toes and smell the ozone after the rain. I want to forget about concrete and bitumen and tall buildings.
Yesterday we found ourselves in the outer suburbs of Paris. We both looked at the rolling hills, the tiny towns nestled in the valleys, and sighed with envy.
Don't get me wrong, I love the city lifestyle - the accessibility to restaurants and a vibrant culture, not to mention the shopping. But it strikes me as ironic that I spent most of my early teens desperate to get away from the country, and I may spend most of my adulthood desperate to go back.