Sunday, October 18, 2009


For years I either lived alone or with a husband I had at one time. I have always preferred living alone considering I went through a string of roommate situations in my twenties that were always disastrous. Living alone seemed to be the best solution. Besides, I had a designer showcase home in San Francisco. I didn't want anyone to mess up my space. Then things changed as it always does and I found myself living in Paris with little money. I did (and still do) have a strong will to survive and my creative sparkplug kicked into overdrive to find free housing.
As a person fully aware of my energetic, spiritual nature I know I have to have some sort of energy exchange for my living experience. If I cannot afford the traditional energy exchange of dollars and cents, or in this case euros and centimes, I would have to figure out a different way to fulfill my obligation.

I have been in France for nearly a year now and I house and pet-sit for people while they are away on vacation. I stay in someone’s house while the homeowner can be at ease that their home and animals are well taken care of while they are away. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

Unfortunately, the French are not big on this concept. In fact, they don’t even have a word for it. So, my clients inevitably are fellow expats. I am happy to be of service to the other expats around Paris, but it does indeed limit the playing field of potential temporary homes.

When I first arrived, I stayed with a woman for five months. She offered her spare room to me and in exchange I would help her with improving her English skills. I also taught both reiki level 1 and 2 to her. Lastly, I utilized my skills as a professional organizer and stager from my former life and helped to make her house into a more comfy home. Alas, that situation ended and I had to move on to bigger and better things.

I have continued to offer the various skills I have as trade, not to mention running errands and cleaning homes for clients. I am frankly a Jacqueline of all Trades.

With the exception of a two week stint as a house-sitter for a regular client I have found myself not able to manifest a new living experience with a stranger. So, I have stayed with a friend, sleeping on her couch. A few years ago, I would have never slept on a couch for so long, not to mention burden a friend by overstaying my welcome. But life is here to teach us lessons and the Universe has kicked me into full gear for my classroom experience. This time around I have to say that my living experience here has been by far and away the best not only since I arrived in Paris, but the best for the last several years. Halleluiah, I can actually get along with people that I live with!

My girlfriend has two spare rooms that she rents out to travelers or for those looking for more permanent residences, but in the meantime need a temporary place to stay. It’s been a revolving door of both men and women and I have to admit that every single person has been wonderful.

The current incarnation of Chez M is myself (and I am from San Francisco), M from New York, T from New Zealand and E from England. Ages range from 25 – 44 and we all get along beautifully.

Three of us are driven by our spiritual beliefs while the fourth is not, but there is no judgment on anyone’s part. We are all here to learn from one another without forcing our ideologies down anyone else’s throat. We can take the information we want and store the rest on a shelf for safe keeping.

We share our cultural differences and try to mimic one another’s accents. Some of us are better than others in that accent department. I unfortunately am not one of them. Apparently, my English accent is far too posh for the average Anglo. C’est la vie.

M and I have gotten in the habit of sharing our food. When she is out of money, I take care of the grocery bill for the two of us and her two dogs. We are like a little family of four. We also share with the boys. So, it’s a lot more relaxed then normal roommate situations. We watch movies together, we chat together and it’s fun. I have gotten in the habit of doing everyone’s dishes. I don’t mind and everyone else seems to. So, it’s just another contribution to the communal dynamics.

Through various reasons in the next couple of weeks this home will no longer be available to any of us. All good things must come to an end. I am grateful to all who have stayed at Chez M and look forward to my next housing situation. Communal living can actually be a fun experience.

If life throws you curve balls, just remember there are always solutions, even if they are temporary ones. We can always make it through to the next step in our journeys. Make your version of “sleeping on the couch” fun and the Universe will reward you with more goodies. Remember, it’s about the journey, not the destination. It’s all good.

Thank you for reading and Namaste! (The Light in me recognizes the Light in you!)

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