What is it really like living the life of leisure, splitting one’s time between Rome and the South of France? Miss Expatria tells all.
I made a PowerPoint presentation to my bosses. They had no idea what I wanted to do, but they let me do it. They “fired” me and then re-hired me as a freelancer; I sold all my stuff, bought a plane ticket and, armed with a laptop and one year of self-taught Italian, moved to Rome.
I shared a taxi back around midnight with Lu, Mu, Sam and Janet. It was raucous and when we got out, Sunday night in Montpel welcomed us back to its silent streets, little bits of songs and lost logic and we bade goodbye in the street and we all made it upstairs and into the correct apartments.
I was taken up to my room and they opened the shutters and there was the most glorious view of the Bay of Biscay. I spent an entire afternoon laying on the bed looking out at the bay. This was also during my most glamorous, jet setting travel stint ever, featuring a drive to Biarritz just for lunch and a flight to London just for dinner and underwear shopping.
As the stewardess made her way down the aisle with an entire, enormous smoked salmon, she respectfully asked the woman if the dog currently sitting on her lap could be sent back down to the floor. “BUT OF COURSE NOT,” screamed the lady in her movie-style French accent, “MY DOG DOES NOT EAT FROM THE PLATE!”
In this country of impossibly thin people, the female half of which seem to have perfected adult bodies that mimic a 12-year-old’s, it is perfectly normal to see people with a baguette under one arm and picking pieces of some scrumptious delight out of a tiny paper bag while walking down the street.
Every man was Dr. McSteamy, complete with bed head; all the women were winsome twins of Esther Cañadas doing impossibly glamorous walks of shame. Other notable customers were Rex Reed with wicker shopping sack filled with the most improbably delicious foods; Georgia O’Keefe buying champagne; and Harmony Korine getting stuff for an American-style breakfast.
With documents in hand, I left my apartment and walked with great purpose until I realized I had no idea where I was going. I’ve never sent a fax in all the years I’ve lived in Europe. I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen a fax machine. So, I did what any experienced expat would: I walked into a bar.
But there is another kind of friend that visits, and they hold a special place in my heart – it’s the friend that calls me and in one tumbling go, tells me a story of heartbreak, disillusion, or unimaginable burden. And then: “Can I come over?”