For twelve lively - but also at times lonely, lovely, long - months, the iconic Eiffel Tower played saving beacon each night I wandered in and out of its streets. It was a year of learning: At one of the most prestigious French schools, where the specially chosen, wildly ambitious, students gathered discussing what they thought were politically and intellectually appropriate. Under the bridges of the Seine, with newly-made life-long friends, making the most of our dreams with expiry dates, laughing and drinking and dancing until the new day began again with the first Metro.
But my dream wasn't without its worries. In the lurking shadows crept the future, whispering, provoking, approaching, the dark unknown. What will I do after the year? After my studies? What more can I, should I, be doing to ease the passage from student to professional lives?
Since then I have learnt, and even somewhat accepted, that these questions will never quite go away. In order to progress, I know I will never be quite happy enough to settle down - perhaps geographically, yes, but intellectually, no. Getting a job was never the final step. How can I improve here, for the company as well as for myself?
Life is a chain of events, and Paris had played a great part in it. Three years on, I am back roaming the still amazingly familiar and souvenir riddled streets, wondering how much I have experienced since those days. I like to think I am more comfortable with myself, enough to take regular risks in life. Walking along the Seine in the Parisian evenings with the Eiffel Tower guiding me once again, this weekend, I tell myself that things turned out well, even after that dream year had finally ended.
That I will keep trusting myself. That I will continue to improve. That my funny life will continue to lead me to wonderful places.