Internet, I have finally done it. After eight intensive and increasingly discouraging days of searching, I have finally found somewhere to live! And I can even afford it, AND it's closer to Paris. I'll actually be on the RER line, which is the metro that runs from Paris to the suburbs, instead of the regular train line. It's farther from where I'll be teaching, but for a 15 minute train ride into Paris, I will gladly make the sacrifice.
My new roommates, or colocs, as they call them here, are two men, which will surely shock and horrify my parents. (This is only an added bonus for me, as after 28 years of fairly smooth sailing, and remaining ever piercing-, tattoo-, and addiction-free, I think it's about time I did something to shock and horrify my parents). The first is a dignified gentleman in his forties, who looks not unlike Mr. Big of SATC fame, and so I think I will call him, quite unoriginally, Mr. Big. The second coloc is in his twenties, dark-haired, twinkly-eyed, and is, if it's not already apparent, quite good-looking. And as he is dark-haired and vaguely olive-toned in complexion, and as he hails from the south of France, and no television characters immediately spring to mind, I think I will call him The Mediterranean. Happily, one is too old for me, and the other too short for me, so I don't foresee any complications.
The house is...well, let's just say it's painfully obvious that it is inhabited by two single men. There are children's toys everywhere, as Mr. Big is recently divorced and his children come to visit often; there are empty fast food containers on the coffee table, which is actually the only table, since it seems the ex-wife took quite a lot of things with her when she left (including the dishwasher). The house is large and semi-furnished, the washing machine is broken, and where there should be lamps, there is quite often instead a dark, lamp-less void. (Big showed me the bedroom by opening the blind to let in light from the street). Internet, can you imagine me, perfectionist and neat freak supreme, living in such a place? And yet I find myself delirious at the prospect. I don't know if it's the exhaustion and stress of wondering if I would remain homeless forever kicking in, or the bargain basement price, but I find myself quite content with the situation. And besides, I do love me a project. I imagine myself whipping that place into shape in no time. We're already talking about taking a trip to Ikea. It's hard to describe how I feel about this place, other than to compare it to the house I visited (just down the street from it, in fact) last night. It was owned by an Asian couple in their fifties who seemed very sweet and spoke French haltingly, accompanied by a lot of nodding and smiling. The house was large and marble-floored and filled with fake flower arrangements, and accompanied by a quite impressively manicured Asian garden. It was clean and orderly, and I sat with their son at a large dining room table under a chandelier discussing leases and security deposits and my salary and social assistance until my head spun. I left with a hollow feeling, knowing I didn't want to live there, and knowing also that I might be forced to, if I didn't find anything else. I felt an approaching panic inside at the thought. Though the house was inhabited by three other people, in it I felt cold and empty and alone. But tonight, with toys and boy stuff strewn about, and a bathroom full of dirty clothes and wet towels on the floor, I felt...well, I felt at home. (Thanks, Mom and Dad, for ensuring that a messy house will always fill me with nostalgia). But a home, I finally have a home!
Voilà. So, we have Mr. Big and The Mediterranean, and now cue The American Girl. (Does anyone else smell a sit-com in the making?) The adventure begins.