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“This is the paper you have to sign saying there aren’t any children under 10 living in the apartment.”

“… Or are there?”

Even if a joke is the first thing that comes to your mind when presented with a legal document, it’s probably a good idea not to say it. After implying that my future roommates and I may or may not be hoarding small children in our new digs, I went on to talk about my extensive mug collection (I really, really just like hot beverages. Plus, half of my mugs are currently sitting on a weird shoe-rack-cum-storage shelf in my closet, and I suppose I was giddy with the thought that they might see the light of day), giggling all the way. This led to discussing hot toddies with the realtor, which led to him giving us his card after everything was dated and signed, saying, “Let me know if you have any questions — and make sure I get an invite to that hot toddy party.” Not happening, dude — but still, I wouldn’t have wanted an official grown-up meeting to have gone any other way.

I’m back in America and I’ve never felt the weirdness of everyone speaking English hit me so deeply. It would be ridiculous to come back & act like I’ve never sat in automatic SUVs, gulped watery coffee and vegged out for hours during a Law and Order marathon (guilty, guilty, aaand guilty) because Europe has changed me so intrinsically I can’t even recognize myself, but — after so many days with my sister as my co-pilot and the beautiful, tiring places we visited as temporary homes, my dad’s ever-familiar Trailblazer and the road I’ve taken to his house so many times rang dissonant to whatever I was feeling then.

I feel changed, and its hard not to want to tell everyone and gush and bring up every minute story from a life you can’t ever really get back to again. The only thing, really, is to take everything I’ve learned in France and use it — not to act like an asshole, but to change the things in my life that were unsettling enough to want to move across the Atlantic for. Because there were people and things about New York that I missed so much & am so glad to have back & at my fingertips, but already I can feel myself slipping into the burrowing-into-my-childhood-bedroom mode.  The couponing-marathon-on-TLC-sign-me-up mode. Maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit. Maybe these are just symptoms of jet lag, and my magical European self will emerge, Angel of Uzupis-style, from nothing.

Family craziness in Berlin, Krakow, Vilnius, Kaunas and Paris to come!