Goodbyes Are the Hardest Part..

I knew when I moved to Paris, that I would get attached and it’d be hard to move away.

I knew that after spending a year of my life with a family separate from my own and caring for children who weren’t mine, I’d find it difficult to leave.

I knew that I’d fall more in love with Paris than I’d ever been before.

But nothing prepared me for how I truly felt today after my last day with my kiddo.

Let me start by chronicling the past week because it was full of adventures.

I spent my last few days with my family in their apartment instead of mine due to the immense heat wave that has enveloped Paris and the lack of air conditioning anywhere in France. Living under a metal roof on the top floor of your building can be difficult at times – I found that out this week especially. However, I loved sleeping at the flat with my family and waking up to have breakfast with them in the mornings; it’s something I hadn’t done at all this year. Even though the unbearable temperature has been miserable, it was well worth it to spend my last few days so close to them.

One of the things that A and I did for our last few days was go to the carnival that just opened up this week. I was so glad he wanted to go because I’d been dying to since I first saw the colorful equipment going up. Taking care of kids it’s only fitting that I’m still a kid at heart myself, right? We rode rides and had a grand ole’ time all afternoon but I gotta say, the best part was the first thing we did. The Donkey Kong ride. A runs over to the line and starts jumping up and down excitedly and grabbing my arm and screaming. He kept repeating how he’d never ridden this ride before but he’d been wanting to for over a year. He kept screaming all the way through the line, while we climbed into the boat seats, as we were slowly being pulled up the big slide and as we swiftly dropped to the bottom of it. He screamed with glee the whole time and I’d never seen him so happy. The rest of the day didn’t even matter because I’d made my little guy ecstatic by riding along with him. 

 The next day we went to the movies and saw a surprisingly hilarious franglais kiddie film. Half of the movie was franglais and English and the other half was French.. Jokes like, “(In a thick French accent) I am so happy to be your new French tee shirt,” had me in hysterics the whole time.

Along with the wonderful time at the carnival and movies, this week my host mom and A took me to a nice sushi dinner and guess what.. I found out I like sushi! I hated it two years ago when I tried it for the first and only time but this go I loved every bite. 

 We laughed and talked and drank over dinner and I could feel myself becoming more and more aware that I’m leaving in just a few days..

As the final day approached, I didn’t allow myself to think about how this was the last time I’d walk my kiddo to school. Or the last time I’d pick him up. Or the last time we’d play Connect 4. I couldn’t bring myself to face the fact that tonight I was going to say goodbye to my reason for coming to France and the reason for my happiness in Paris.

A and I spent our last night together playing Connect 4 and listening to minions songs. When my host mom came home and it was time to say goodbye, A hugged me for a long time and wouldn’t let go. As he and his mom walked out the door to catch their train, he kept looking back every two seconds to wave again. When he finally got through the door, he turned around again to blow me a kiss goodbye.

The Beginning of Goodbyes: An Au Pair’s Last Two Weeks at the Job

This week was a spectacular one.

My host parents were out of town for the second half of the week so I spent 72 straight hours with my kiddos. And on top of that, my oldest kid S got out of school last week so she was completely free all day every day. Most au pairs would shudder at the thought but I actually had a blast. So, let’s start off with our first day together.

Wednesday, A and his best friend and I went to the Lego expo, which I’d been wanting to go to for weeks. We get there and the boys run in and start running around looking for the “kid” stuff. I say this because the entire expo was artwork formed out of Legos – pretty intense and beautiful stuff but the boys were not having any of it. They wanted to just play with the Legos. They had no idea that it was just artwork. Running through everything to the gift shop at the end, they were finally happy. They spent 15 minutes perusing all that the gift shop had to offer and decided on a Lego shaped box full of Legos to take home. I pay and we leave. Then, we get outside and open the box.. Turns out it’s just a box for the Legos you already have at home! The boys were so bummed. I personally thought it was quite funny.. 

    Later that night I made some homemade chorizo pizza and A loved it. He ate half of the whole thing and then was upset when he couldn’t eat anymore. Absolutely made my day hearing him so excited about my food. I love to cook.

Then Thursday, S and I went to the Paris Aquarium and I got to see the sharks again! They were just as cool the second time around. Then, A had a school concert at night for all the parents and I got to go. All the kids sang their hearts out and had such a blast doing it, I loved it. After, there was candy and cotton candy and drinks and all other kinds of goodies that the kids went crazy on – A shared his cotton candy with me and S because he’s such a sweet little kid. 

   I then made the mistake of Americanizing my meal Thursday night and in addition to pizza, I made pizza breadsticks. The kids barely touched them. So guess what I had for breakfast the next day? Yup, pizza breadsticks. So good cold. 

    And finally yesterday we went to the cat and dog expo. It was actually quite entertaining and I learned lots. There were dog/cat games of Guess Who? and a quiz to play with friends on a big screen and a Where’s Waldo? and all other kinds of fun informative things to do. It was better than I expected. 

 After returning home and eating dinner, the kids and I snuggled up on the couch and watched The Lord of the Rings together until my host parents came home. We then had a couple of drinks with the movie on and I tried my best to stall because I knew that once I left, I’d never see S again. Since she’s out of school, she’s going to her grandma’s this weekend and not coming back until after I leave Paris. So I was trying my hardest to stay longer until A announced that he was going to bed and I realized that I should probably skidaddle. I got up and hugged S for a long time and neither of us could let go. My host parents told me how much fun she had with me this year and I hugged her one more time and walked out the door. Overcome with sadness, I realized just how quickly this year has truly gone by and how soon I’m leaving..

But I refuse to think more on the subject right now because I still have 9 days left in Paris. So, I’ll just leave this here where it is.