Major Life Update

Friends!

It’s been nearly a year and a half since last I wrote you from Paris, on Bastille Day 2017. How it must seem that I dropped off the face of the earth!

Apologies for the radio silence, but there are major reasons for it. My life has changed in just about every aspect since last we spoke. The transformation both in the external realities of my situation – and in the internal landscape I inhabit.


Sometimes when you’re shaking everything up, the need to narrate publicly what’s happening takes a back seat. You dive deep into the experience itself. You focus on the actions required to reshape your life from scratch.

I live in Valencia, Spain now, friends. I celebrated my one-year anniversary here at the start of this month.

From the moment I arrived, I felt so at home.

I have a large apartment with a sunny balcony in a neighborhood I love.

I walk to work where I teach English as a foreign language to wonderful adult students. Spanish surrounds me now, though I’m trying my best to keep up French. I worked so hard to learn the language! And it is thanks to becoming a French citizen that I could make such a smooth transition to another European country.

Valencians spend just as much time, if not more, enjoying life at cafes as Parisians. Bonus: warmer temps + cheaper drinks!

When last I wrote, this plan was not in place. There was an inkling, a vague pull, a little voice that started whispering “Valencia” in my ear. I had never been to the city and didn’t know a soul here. But sun, sea, Spanish – the call came louder and louder. I did not know I would actually decide all of a sudden that it was time. But I did. Like that Rilke exhortation “you must change your life.”

La Lonja de la Seda (The Silk Exchange)

An idea, a restlessness, then a command.

Dancing in the Umbracle

You may remember I left Paris a few months before the 2016 election to return to the States to do some get out the vote work and help my mother through knee surgery. Then, outraged at the political results, decided to stay and fight.

Well, when I returned to visit Paris that following summer I felt myself breathing again. The Trump regime is toxic. I honestly think the country is in collective crisis because of it. Escaping for a bit started to change my own calculus of what to do.

The back alleys of Valencia’s old town.

Then something else happened. Long-time blog readers might recall that I’ve had a finished novel sitting around for years and that finally, it was supposed to be published. I had a book deal.

In Cafe Artysana. There’s an active co-working scene in VLC.

The first small press that signed my book (for release in 2017) ended up closing right as my book was up in the queue. A huge blow.

Always half full

A few months passed, but then I found myself with another small press. Communication was not ideal, but all small presses are a labor of love and I know people do their best.

Then my editor ghosted. Literally stopped responding to all emails. The realization that another deal was evaporating again came soon after I last wrote you. Heart break, part deux.

It may seem strange to say, but this series of disappointments was actually lucky. Impossible to know at the time, but I’m certain of it now.

It was at that point that I decided to stop writing, at least for awhile. I know it’s not the story we’re supposed to present to the world (the officially sanctioned version is “never give up!”).

Calle de la Paz (Street of Peace), central Valencia

But the fact is, surrendering was the healthiest thing I did for myself. My perspective widened. Yes, publishing a novel has always been a dream. But what other dreams did I have? What other desires did I have inside that I had suppressed for so long?

The Botanical Gardens

With so much despair at the state of the world, I also started feeling a distinct case of carpe diem. We don’t know how long we have here or if the conditions will always allow us to follow our heart. What would I do if I wanted to be happy?

Remember how sad the lack of sunlight made me in Paris? Here, I have this.

Spain. Living in Spain was a dream I’ve held for as long as I can remember. And that was something I could make happen myself.

Amazing flamenco concert in a laid-back cafe.

I also wanted my days to have more human contact again. As an introvert, sitting behind a computer screen is a comfort for me. My love of words has been my compass since I was a child. But I also love to be amidst people in a more immediate way, to be of some service in real-time. Writing as a job can be a lonely one, full of constant rejection. What if I looked for another way?

Calle del Dr. Montserrat. The first street I ever stayed on in Valencia.

I signed up for a CELTA program and got a teaching certificate (with highest marks!) soon after arriving. I have now been in a classroom ever since.

Palm trees everywhere – a delight!

I could not be any more grateful for where this path has taken me. Because if things had “worked out” years ago, I’m not sure where I would be. But I don’t think it would be in the City of Joy (one of Valencia’s nicknames). I’m not sure I would have started a new career, which I’m learning from each day. I’m not sure I would have pushed myself to stay open to renewal and brand new starts.

Looking into El Carmen from the Torres del Quart.

And as it so happens, third time is indeed a charm. Without seeking, without even a thought that it was still a possibility, two publishers contacted me about my manuscript on two consecutive days this year. Completely out of the blue. Serendipity. A dream I had no longer been pursuing came to find me anyway.

In Fall 2019, my first novel, As a River, will be published by Jaded Ibis Press. It is amazing to finally have a real champion for my work.

I’ve wondered what to do with this blog. For 7+ years it had been an anchor, made me see the riches within my life. Paris would never have been the same if I did not have this open channel with you. It’s hard to let go.

And yet, I am most certainly not in Paris anymore.

“I’m home,” I whispered in the taxi on the dark December night I arrived in Valencia. I had only 2 suitcases and some hope (this seems to be how I move countries) and I didn’t know what lay before me. But there was some strange alchemy drawing me here and I immediately felt I was in the right place.


 There’s a lot more color in my life. This photo was literally 5 days after arrival!

Are you still out there? How shall we stay in touch? I so loved the community we built here and would love to share with you my new adventures. But they are not Paris-based anymore.

Follow me to my newsletter? Sion’s Sparkle Desk. They’ll be like little lights in your inbox every once in awhile. I adore a good letter.

In Russafa

I’m going to keep this blog open as a record of my Paris decade. What a marvel it was. Perhaps I’ll post big updates about my book, too, as I would love you to join me on that journey. I wrote that novel in Paris. It’s connected to that city in a deep way.

I’ve missed you, friends. Tell me what you think. I’d love to know what’s going on with you and how we can still connect!

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22 Responses to “Major Life Update”


  1. 1 villalaluna December 13, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Thank you, what a perfectly lovely update. Looking forward to the publication of your novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 3 Linda Davies December 13, 2018 at 5:28 pm

    Bon chance, mon ami! I enjoy reading your take on things, and will happily follow you to Spain! Thanks so much for the update.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 5 japreau December 13, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    You are magic.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 7 Meredith Mullins December 13, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    What beautiful writing. What a beautiful life. May these chapters of adventure keep unfolding.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 9 I Say Oui December 14, 2018 at 1:14 am

    So glad to read this update! Glad that you are soaking in the sun and the joy. Congrats on the book– looking forward to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 11 GG December 14, 2018 at 5:05 am

    Good for you! I love Spain too. Maybe you’ll walk the Camino one day? I’m hanging in.Why don’t you publish that book via Amazon? That’s what I did and I’m loving it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 12 paris (im)perfect December 14, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Yes, I’ve always been attracted to walking the Camino one day! Have you done it, GG? And I did think about self-publishing. Literary fiction as a category doesn’t seem to do so well with that and I’m so happy to finally have a publisher who I really feel like is a teammate in getting the book out to the world. But I would definitely consider self-pubbing another book in the future. Glad you’re having such a great experience with it!

      Like

  7. 13 Tina Rubin December 14, 2018 at 9:42 pm

    What a gorgeous post, Sion. So happy for you!!! “What would I do if I wanted to be happy?” is the most important question of our lives. I’m not surprised that when you let go, you opened the channel for everything you’ve dreamed of! xoxo TIna

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 15 Karin B December 15, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    Watching you bloom and blossom via social media in Valencia has been a joy! What a lovely summary of the past year+. It’s gone really quickly. I’m so happy about your book finally being published! I’m so happy you are living your best life. As for this blog, you know, it’s still “Paris Imperfect” because you are now in Valencia, right?! Haha. Anyway, all joy to you. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 17 MsNomadica (Rebecca) December 16, 2018 at 10:37 pm

    I much prefer blogs to newsletters. And this may not be your last move, so maybe title it something non-location specific? You can post a link on this blog, so anyone stumbling across it can still follow you. I am so happy for you, and I need sunshine, as well. So I look forward to hearing more from Valencia.

    And many congratulations on having your book published. What an achievement that is. Wishing you the very best with all your new adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 18 paris (im)perfect December 17, 2018 at 3:00 pm

      Thanks so much! That makes sense about having a non-location specific name for a blog. Though paris (im)perfect did serve me so well for so many years 🙂 Whatever I do next, I will definitely post information here on the blog so people know where to go. Thanks so much for reading!

      Like

  10. 19 Lee Isbell December 17, 2018 at 5:46 am

    I’m so glad I scanned back several days in my inbox that contains more spam than anything else. I looked for paris (im)perfect for a while after you disappeared and am so glad to see you back and get your update.

    So Spain, huh? I understand your preference for sunshine and light. I’m a Californian. But for a city, Paris is wonderful. I do spend more time in the South where there’s more sun, though.

    I hope I manage to follow you henceforth.

    By the way, how do you pronounce Sion, like it’s Spanish, or some other option?

    Liked by 1 person

    • 20 paris (im)perfect December 17, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      Hi Lee! Great to hear from you! Thank you so much for looking for me and I’m glad you captured the update from a pile of spam! I’m sorry I dropped off the map like that, but I am happy with what I’ve been building in the meantime. Promise not to let another year and a half go by without news! 😉

      For now, please do sign up for my newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/siondayson

      Though for newsletters sometimes you do find those in the spam folder! Yikes!

      For *major* developments (like when my book comes out!), I imagine I will still post a message here. You all have been so important to me for so many years, I don’t want anyone to miss out!

      As for my name, it’s pronounced “See-on” (both of those words pronounced as English words).

      But in Spain, I accept the Spanish pronunciation, which is beautiful 😉

      Thanks for asking and hope you are well!

      Like


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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