I’m sitting here at the park across from the apartment where I’ve lived for two years, waiting on a blanket for a friend to get here and help me with this cronut and this muffin while I wait for my apartment’s property manager to give me the heads up that there are no longer people meandering through my apartment, judging the wall of whimsy that hangs over the couch.
I’ll be leaving this one-bedroom, the birthplace of the 15fiftyfive dinner parties, at the end of the month, driving and camping across America for two weeks, staying with family in North Carolina for a time, and then moving to France for a year to study for (and, ideally, receive) a Masters in International Tourism at the Sorbonne.
(I say all this with the practiced pragmatism of the COVID-19 era where all plans are subject to change, and any existing plan is pronounced with a silent but capital-A *Asterisk*, knowing full well there exists a likely timeline where I end up living in North Carolina for a year, freelance writing and brewing beer because the US decided to shut down every border in every direction without advance notice, nullifying all visas, passports, postcards, and streamed versions of The Trip.)
With that, I’ll also be leaving my job of five years as a senior producer on a daytime talk show.
It’s a lot to take in, especially when all I want to do right now is eat this cronut.
Mostly, I feel good. Sometimes, I panic. But that passes. Ice cream helps. Maybe this cronut will, too.
I’ve thought about this decision from a few different angles. The creative one (I can write stories from most anywhere, so an apartment in Paris seems okay), the interest one (given the tour company I got the chance to help launch in Rwanda, and volunteering at wineries in France, international tourism has been in my purview for a minute), the language one (you mean, I could speak French instead of just studying it?), the wine one (settling the eternal box v. bottle debate), the distant one (I miss her), the television one (I will miss it, and the kind, ambitious, weird people with which I’ve had the pleasure to work), the financial one (I’m working to start a sort of exchange program of words for nickels), the flaky layered pastry one (I don’t like them, but maybe pastry immersion will help me overcome that aversion), the lack of Griffith Park one (binging now, while I can), the culinary one (I hear good things about béchamel sauce), the a-year-is-a-lot-of-time-when-you-think-about-it one (it is a lot of time when you think about it).
I’ve said I’m never not surprised by the difference a year makes, but I’ve said that within the relative comfort of knowing more or less where I’d be in a year. Now, I don’t know what next July will be like, what I’ll be doing, or where. Here’s to being pleasantly surprised, a few months from now.
It’s far from a sure thing, this idea of studying tourism when the world is shut down. It’s far from a sure thing, this idea of becoming a better writer by leaving behind a job in which I wrote constantly. It’s far from a sure thing, this idea of not knowing what the next year will bring when I had a contract telling me exactly what the next year would bring.
But despite all that, mostly, it feels right and I feel good.
I’m ready to put in the work to see where this all goes. With plenty of ice cream along the way.
P.S. Thank you to all of you who read this and continue to support these myriad adventures and whims.
P.P.S. Here’s that cronut I talked so much about, evidence that I am already meeting flaky pastries halfway.