Cheerio Paris!


Every love affair has an end. Or at least takes a long break.

This time, it’s me and Paris. Though I never planned on creating a life in Paris, it appears that, well, I did. It’s been nearly eight years since I stepped off an Air India flight from New York – now discontinued – with two suitcases, a job, and absolutely no idea how to be an adult. 

Lessons were learned hard and fast in 2008, as I tried to get into my new apartment, only realizing that I was on the 5th floor and not the 4th, having counted the ground floor as “1” and not “0.” Rookie mistake. But many jobs and two degrees later, I find myself at the end of one spectacular journey and at the start of another.

I’ll be moving to land that is just as grey and expensive as Paris, but where, I hear, the scones and musical theater are much better.
That’s right. I’m off to London.

OK, it’s not really the most exotic move in the world, especially since London is often hailed as “France’s sixth biggest city.” There are a lot of them, er, us, there. The move, however, is a practical one.

Teddy is helping me pack my most precious items...

With my PhD in hand, I have been poking around for jobs in Paris as a journalism teacher, but it’s not happening. The only exciting potential job opportunity I found in France is down in Marseille, but I’m not going to move there to continue teaching in French – even if the sunshine is tempting. I want to teach in English and to express myself more freely. I can handle the French, that doesn’t mean I need to.

So one night, while haphazardly scanning journalism teaching positions online, I came across one in London and I shot off an application. It was all fairly straightforward, and I thought, “Why the hell not?” I had already applied to jobs in Amsterdam, Rome, and Hawaii, so it wasn’t the weirdest location I could have chosen. 

Well a few weeks later, an email invitation arrived for an interview in February. Before I knew it, I was on the Eurostar, in a suit and tie no less, heading towards the University of the Arts London.

After giving a sample lesson to group of students, I moved on to the interview with the adults. The first question about data journalism caught me off guard and I left fairly certain that I had bombed it. It was a textbook case of how not to handle yourself during an interview, and I stuttered my way through it. I sulked my way back to the train station afterwards, stopping at Tesco for some Cadbury eggs to make me feel better.

But I apparently underestimated myself. A few days later, back in Paris, the school called and offered me a position as a lecturer beginning in September 2016. Only 2 months after my PhD defense and a job in London was on the table – my number was called fast. 

Boxes packed. Paperwork en route.

The timing couldn’t be better. I knew I wanted a break from Paris, and with my French passport, I can go anywhere in the EU (which for now includes the UK). I just didn’t expect it all to happen so quickly. But it did. And I am ecstatic.

I have spent so little time in London, despite the fact that it’s a mere 2.5 hour train ride from Paris. I feel like the next year will more than make up for a lack of visits. I can – and will – hop back to Paris from time to time. I’ll need to stock up on cheap wine after all. But as far as I’m concerned, I’ll be a Londoner by the end of the year. 

I just hope I can pick up the language quickly enough. Cheers for now (that’s British, right?).