I live in Paris.
Actually, I have lived in Paris for a whole week now.
You know when you reach some milestone in your life and people ask you “Did you ever imagine yourself here five years ago?”. I NEVER imagined a life in Paris. I certainly did not imagine an amazing frenchman for a husband. And to be honest there were some tough times in life were it was difficult to imagine being happy for a prolonged period of time.
But here I am, and no, I never imagined I would be here.
Let’s start with the flight. I would personally like to thank my doctor for helping me cope with my anxiety of flying. A lot of people who don’t know me well find it strange that I have a pretty high anxiety about flying in planes. With all the traveling I do, it just doesn’t seem to make sense. I agree with these people. I once took over 15 flights in one year. I thought for sure surviving all those flights would prove something to my subconscious but alas, it has not and I am still convinced I will die on every flight I get on. But I have resigned myself to the fact that this will be (one of my many) burden(s) in life to deal with. I hate taking any type of medication but I am now a fan of generic Xanax as it made my life pretty awesome for the eight hours it took on two flights to get to my new home. Merci beaucoup, doctor!
I arrived in Paris at 6:30am and ran straight into the arms of my hubby who I had not seen in over five weeks. I was a pretty happy girl 🙂
The weather forecast had predicted rain (as it has been doing for the last few months) but we stepped out into the sunshine and I kind of felt like that was my own personal welcome from the city of Paris herself. We made our way to our new home, a sublet in the area of Nation. My hubby was a bit nervous to show me the place as he had picked it out on his own and had the potential to be a bit smaller than most people would find comfortable. He had no reason to worry because I absolutely love it and find it to be utterly charming. Check out our window…
In Toronto we lived in a basement with no windows. This is a definite upgrade. And quite honestly I think that the charm of Paris will take a while to rub off for me and I will be happy with just about anything for the time being. And if you could walk down four flights of stairs and 15 meters (I’m in Europe now..) to the left to get this for breakfast, I think you would be ok with it too.
This first week has been filled with a lot of happiness. I have seen old friends, reconnected with even older friends, eaten a lot of ridiculously good cheese, drank some really good (but yet cheap) wine and spoke french that people have actually understood while understanding them at the same time.
But there has been some anxiety too. The first day I was on my own what I thought was the doorbell rang super loud and practically gave me a heart attack. Not because it was so loud but because thinking about answering the door and having to speak french and not understanding what someone was saying to me scared me straight. It was the first moment it clicked that I was in a french speaking country and not confident in my abilities to make it work. A little while later I ventured out for my first solo trip in the city and again, a wave of anxiety swept over me, “what if someone tries to talk to me?”, “what if I have no idea what they are saying?”, “what if I don’t know what to say back?”.
My fears were quickly extinguished when I remembered that no one in Paris talks to you so I really had nothing to worry about. But I found it odd, after traveling to a lot of countries where I don’t speak the language, and spending a few months in Paris two years ago, that I would even feel this fear. I guess I felt like now that I am a resident and no longer a tourist, I somehow had some obligation to the city to be a fluent speaker. Needless to say I am over that and now just accepting compliments when people are pleasantly surprised with what I know and laughing when I make a fool out of myself and show the doorman my bag when he didn’t ask to see it…..and all the other blunders sure to come.