I’m going to be completely honest here: my relocation to Europe was not to “find myself” as I initially claimed on my Instagram. Rather, it was the result of a Mamma Mia/Notting Hill/Leap Year/Lizzie McGuire Movie-induced breakdown. I threw all of my crochet tops and sundresses into a bag, plopped a sun hat on my head, and booked a flight before my running mascara had even dried.
Am I saying it was a bad choice? No. I drink cappuccinos every day and my student loan bills get sent to my parent’s house, so when they call and ask me to pay them, I simply reply: “C’est La Vie.” They nod in understanding that I have reached a more peaceful state of living and confirm the second mortgage they are taking out to pay off my debts. Additionally, I enjoy a secret laugh every time I hear someone speak in an accent, so my endorphin levels have never been higher.
I opened a bookstore in London, with a little café and crepe paper decorations. It is the antithesis of everything I saw in America: quaint and soft-spoken. I sit behind the counter every day and read endless books, wipe down tables occasionally, and greet my sporadic customers. Is it very profitable? No. But I am content… and should maybe reach out to my parents about that third mortgage.
The real folly of my choice only becomes evident to me when I turn a page in my book and notice my embarrassingly barren ring finger. The movies had led me to believe that there would be European men lined around the corner ready to make snarky comments about my accent and say I’m “smashing.” The only suitor I have encountered was someone who shouted that I was “right fit” from a double-decker bus. I appreciate that he did it in the most European way possible, but this is not the storybook romance I signed up for.
Every day I stroll through the park in my sundress, pausing to look at trees and giving ample time for someone to approach me and teach me about botany. I go to the museums and cry about my loneliness in the hopes that someone will think I’m reacting to the paintings and console me and my empathetic intelligence. I have even taken to running into people on the sidewalk while holding a US History textbook so our hands can touch when they help me pick it up and they know that I am foreign! Since when did Americans deserve this type of treatment? You would think with that whole revolution thing that I would just be a tantalizing reminder of what they almost had!
But c’est la vie, my European adventure has only offered me history and healthcare, not the dark-eyebrowed Italian man that I crossed the pond for. Perhaps in an Our Lips are Sealed/Muriel’s Wedding-induced haze, I will try my luck down under.
Your Editor who has bloody lost the plot,