Meant to Be in Paris
While traveling to the U.S., I rented my own apartment as I usually do, to a lovely woman who has been reading the column for a while now. It was arranged on the last minute and we had little chance to chat by phone or email. Fortunately, she arrived the evening before I left so I had a chance to show her around the apartment before taking the flight west bound and then had no contact with her until my arrival yesterday.
By phone from the taxi headed home, she said she would wait there till I arrived as she had something very amazing to tell me.
While she was staying in Paris, an old French friend came to visit her at the apartment. Immediately her friend was struck with childhood memories of the apartment. She described the apartment as it was then, when, incredulously, her aunt and uncle had lived there! (These were not the same people from whom I had purchased the apartment in 2000.)
I quickly found the “Acte de Vente” in my files and there in the description of the provenance of the apartment, were the names of her aunt and uncle, clearly noted as having sold the apartment in 1972 for a whopping 134,000 French francs, the equivalence of 20,428 euros. Twenty-eight years later, I purchased the apartment for ten times that amount, and now with six years of ownership, the apartment has tripled in value.
I spoke with my renter’s friend, their niece, who gave me a bit of their history. Austrian Jews, they immigrated to France in 1938 to escape the Nazis. He was a dentist, but because he couldn’t practice legally in France (perhaps as difficult then as it is now to obtain working permits!), he set up a dental chair right here in what is now my living room (from where I write this) and saw patients “au noir” (“under the table”) — we imagine other Jewish immigrants and neighbors.
The niece described them to me as very upstanding and “correct” people, who adored their children who adored them in return. They were lucky enough to survive World War II here in Paris and live to ripe old ages. They have both since passed away, but their son is a doctor here in Paris and one of his children lives very near by in the same “quartier.” I easily found them all by searching on “Pages Jaunes” (the Internet-based Yellow Pages at http://www.pagesjaunes.fr).
The amazing “synchronicity” brings chills to my spine. I have always felt the apartment had “good spirits” — even from the first time I visited it, before my friend whose daughter had owned it previously, had even told me of their own good experiences here. Now, it is even more meaningful to me, that this Jewish family who sought refuge here, prospered in France and built a life, in spite of the difficulties of immigration and French bureaucracy. It mirrors my own personal story.
“Synchronicity” is something that happens to me virtually daily. I first started to notice it long before moving to France. Then the more I was aware of these “temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events” (as coined by the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung to describe an “acausal connecting principle,” or a pattern of connection that cannot be explained by direct causality), the more these events seemed to take place.
More simply put, synchronicity is “the experience of having two (or more) things happen coincidentally in a manner that is meaningful to the person or persons experiencing them, where that meaning suggests an underlying pattern.” It differs from coincidence in that it implies not just a happenstance, but some other underlying dynamic that is meaningful in some way to those experiencing the coincidence.
Synchronistic events put me on the path to a life in France, and most significantly, to
the apartment in which I live and love. It is because of this apartment, too, that the path has taken me to work so closely with others to find their own dream homes in France.
It all seems to have been “beshert.” For those of you who don’t know Yiddish, beshert means fated, destined or meant to be.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
Email [email protected]
P.S. Don’t miss the Parler Parlor French-English Conversation La Rentre Hot Dog Party this coming Saturday. Everyone is welcome to join us and there are discounts when you sign up that day. Scroll down for more information or visit http://www.parlerparlor.com