Joyeux Anniversaire to me! Today is my birthday and it is also a little over a year since I embarked on my Parisian adventure. I've been thinking about Paris frequently as of late and about how much I've changed this year. Last year I was sitting alone in a dark, Italian restaurant in the 6th arrondissement, drinking wine and eating pasta... ok maybe that much hasn't changed. I still eat pasta and drink wine, but I am rarely alone these days. Solitude is something I have complicated feelings about now. I mostly loved being alone, but there were moments when I forgot what it felt like to hug a real friend or sometimes weeks went by before I would hear my own genuine laugh. Those are small, but precious, things that I realized I couldn't live without for long. Those short months in France changed me for the better. I returned with a newly acquired sense of capability, a quiet confidence...that is sometimes loud after a bottle of champagne, and lastly, a solid gauge of what I want out of life and more importantly what I don't. These lessons are invaluable and have made me eternally grateful to Paris. If you want some advice from a girl who has had 20 different phone numbers in the past two years, it's this... make the big (scary) choices and don't listen to people who tell you what you should do or want. You already know and you're right.