*sigh*: Culture shock and Paris

The first time I attempt to actually give a comment/opinion/try my best to contribute to the class discussion in my compared literature class, my lack of interaction with actual French speakers is minimal, so thus, I stumble over my words, realizing that in some ways I’m forgetting how to speak French, thus making a fool of myself. Did my professor understand what I was trying to say? Most definitely not. *sigh* Well that was awkward.

It’s rush hour, and in trying to get home the man in front of me as I walk onto the metro train stops right in the middle, not realizing that there are about 20 billion other people trying to get on. They start to push me to keep going forward, but I can’t because said man is in the way. Before I can say anything to him though, they push me just enough that I bump into him and the dumbass finally realizes, that oh “yes, sir, this is fucking rush hour in Paris, so quit being a selfish asshole and move into the empty spaces.” *sigh* I hate metro rush hour.

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A small fish bumbling about in a very large pond: finding normalcy in Paris

Today marks a month (4 weeks) since I’ve been living in Paris. It feels both like a long time and yet not enough time since I left the United States.

Last night I was watching the movie Midnight in Paris (ever seen that?), and all I could think was “Wow, if only Paris was actually this romantic,” because let’s be honest, my first month here in Paris hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing as well as the fact that outside of the center of the city, Paris has many parts that are the furthest thing from romantic. In fact, they are just downright normal. That’s right. Normal. Nothing too exciting about a good majority of it. Some parts can even be slightly annoying/repulsive, like the piss-smelling metro at rush hour. For some reason, some locals refuse to move out of your way, even though you keep politely repeating “Pardon, Excusez-moi,” because you needing to get off at this stop is your problem and why should they have to move?

That’s what my life has been about this past month: adapting to my life in Paris and creating a sense of normalcy here, something that has turned out to be the not so easy thing to do. Paris is massive, and I feel quite the small, tiny, microscopic fish in a very large pond.

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The struggle is too real: my first couple of weeks in Paris

I’ve always said to anyone traveling or moving abroad as well as to myself, that yes, you will make an absolute fool of yourself, no matter if you are just traveling or moving to a new country. Just face up to it. Accept it. Embrace it, because there is absolutely nothing that you can do about any of that, no matter how many times you’ve traveled or lived abroad. A new situation in a foreign culture, even one you are familiar with, means that the struggle will be all too real, and too real it was, at least for me this time around upon my move to France for the third time.

Yes, this is my third time in France. Yes, it is true that I am pretty used to how the French culture works, but I think re-adapting to the United States meant that I’d forgotten what living in France is like and what a struggle it is moving to a foreign country. The struggle this time around has been the absolute worst, the absolute worst.

However, instead of boring you with a long-drawn out story of all of the struggles, I’ll just give you the highlights, most of which, now that I’m finally settling into my apartment, I’m starting to laugh at and be proud of having dealt with and gotten through.

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“diverged, digressed, wandered, and…wild”: moving to Paris

“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me.” – Cheryl Strayed, Wild

These words struck a very deep core in me. I recognize I’m a little behind in the whole reading and obsessing over Wild. However, it’s been on my list for quite some time, and I thought starting a new adventure was the appropriate time to start to read it.

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