When I had checked off the last items on my infinite to-do list, (pay tuition in full, apply for student visa through Campus France, meet with the French Consulate, pay off my car loan and transfer the title, move out of the apartment, find a new apartment in Paris, sign the lease, wire transfer the security deposit and first month’s rent, buy renter’s insurance, obtain international student health insurance, apply for an HSBC ATM card, notify Capital One of dates of travel and location, obtain copies of passport, birth certificate, and diploma to apply for permanent residency upon arrival, purchase plane tickets and transportation to and from the airports, learn French, and pack up my life for the next 9 months at Le Cordon Bleu into two suitcases), it was finally time for me to say goodbye to “The City of Angels” and bonjour to “The City of Lights.”
Los Angeles had been my first home away from home for the past nine years (more than a third of my life) and the thought of leaving it was quite unnerving… a year-long leave of absence from work without pay and a grueling life ahead of me at Le Cordon Bleu. I turned to Birdie Conrad from You’ve Got Mail for her comforting words of encouragement… “You are daring to imagine that you could have a different life. Oh, I know it doesn’t feel like that. You feel like a big fat failure now. But you’re not. You are marching into the unknown, armed with uh… nothing. Have a sandwich.” Or a baguette in my case.