Bonjour a tous! Forgive me for my prolonged absence, my internet has been down for a whole week rendering me completely incommunicado. It’s hard to believe I’ve only been in Paris for 12 days because it feels so much longer. The days are blending into the nights and I can barely keep up between work and sleep.
It’s been a jumble of emotions this past week. Part excitement, part loneliness, part helplessness, part utter joy. There is an excruciating vulnerability that accompanies being in a new place and although I have lived abroad before and travelled extensively in my lifetime, the language and culture barriers make this move a million times harder. It’s true what everyone warned me about….the Parisians dont let strangers into their social circle easily and given my work team is 100% French, there is little regard or compassion shown for the new kid on the block rendering me an outcast at best. Don’t get me wrong, they are all very very nice but that doesn’t make me any less of a stranger. I compare my welcome here to the welcome we would show new recruits in our Dubai office and I have an aching longing for the hospitality of my world and an agonizing knot in my stomach for the warmth, kindness and generosity I have left behind. I don’t mean to sound negative or judgmental; I know it’s too early to judge and I knew this move would be harder than my last two but it’s been a rather difficult week; both work wise and otherwise with extremely long hours, feeling home sick and being on my own. Still, I am impressed everyday with the kindness of strangers. Parisians on the street and in the metro will notice a confused look on your face and seek eye contact to help you. It is disarming and endearing all at once. I hope it is just a matter of time before I can infiltrate this Trojan horse that is the Parisian’s heart…after all, it will take more than a few days for this fake parisienne to develop any shred of Frenchness..if i may create such a word! To add salt to the wound, this past week has been a nightmare apartment-wise. My washing machine didn’t work, I lost internet access, and my neighbours are loud as hell. Between the freezing cold, the rain, the malfunctioning metro lines, all the apartment issues, having to eat alone, getting home after 9.30pm almost daily on my first week of work… it’s been a whirlwind to say the very least. Let me tell you something fellow corporate junkies…the corporate world is the same the world over. I’ve tackled it on 3 continents now and I can formally attest to that.
Still, despite the agonies of this new life, I am enjoying the new job. It’s different and I love that. I am also loving the familiarity that is growing on me slowly every day. And being within the confines of a cute Parisian apartment, overlooking an adorable Parisian street and sipping on chamomile tea almost every evening somehow makes it “c’est la vie“….and what a beautiful life it is. In the two weekends I’ve been here, N took the train over to keep me company and this has made my landing so much softer. We’ve already discovered a few new neighborhoods and some great little restaurant finds (more on that in another post!). and I continue to surprise myself with how well I know my way around this city. To spin this difficult week on its heels, Mother Nature surprised us with an incredibly warm and sunny Sunday ending the weekend on an amazing note. It felt like the middle of July in October and a very welcome change from the grey and rainy Paris I have seen since I arrived. Everyday since then has been gradually colder but clear skies all the way. For a desert baby like me, I need my daily dose of sunshine!
Here are a few photos from the past two weekends… isn’t it beautiful? You see, it’s not all doom and gloom…. I can still see a faint shred of a silver lining on what may have been a very dark cloud of a week. That tarte fine was probably the highlight of my Sunday…that an N of course. Have a great rest of the week everyone and may God speed the weekend our way!