Defining 'Home'

Yesterday after class, with the help of a couple friends, I made the inevitable move from my apartment in the 15th to my new home for the remainder of my time in Paris in the 5th. For the days leading up to the move I had been battling my dislike of packing with my yearning for the ability to finally settle down and fully nest; trading my awesome roommate for a host family; being able to walk to school in 10 minutes versus...well, I still haven't figured out how I'm going to get there from the new place. In short, there were and still are many mixed feelings. 

The new neighborhood seems a lot more lively, and I'm not just saying that because when I moved in there was a police barricade around the corner. There's a better Sunday farmer's market, more brasseries and bars, and of course the mosque down the street that serves excellent mint tea. But, as a creature of habit, I don't like my daily routines getting interrupted and having to find new ones. 

This summer when I logged into Facebook I felt a small pang of jealousy each time I saw someone post pictures or a status about moving into their new studio/apartment/house. I wish I had that stability of permanence and the independence that comes with having one's own place. Not to mention the fact that many of my school friends live relatively close to each other and get to hang out and do "grown-up" things like go to happy hour together. I think one of the hardest things about living abroad is that, no matter how much fun you're having, there are times when you can't stop thinking about everything you're missing out on at home.

As I write this I'm sitting in an American-style bakery/coffee shop, the type that serves brownies, cupcakes and coffee in to-go cups, and that I used to spend hours at with friends while allegedly writing papers and studying for exams. I've missed the people from home since, well, maybe week 2 of class. But it's only now that I'm beginning to miss the other things, even those that I usually took for granted. 

An Australian friend recently asked me if Starbucks is much of a fad at home.

Being from Seattle, I replied, "It's not a fad. It's a way of life."

My peers at school sometimes make fun of me for shelling out €4 for a tall soy latte, but I say you can't put a price on nostalgia. And anything that keeps me awake during an 8:30am class is a worthy investment.