Being A Part Of This Passionate Place
My oldest and closest friend had a nine-hour layover in Brussels on route from the States to Tel Aviv and asked if I would like to meet her there. At first I said, “How can I?” and then it dawned on me — of course I can, it’s just one day missed at the office and I can work on the train on my laptop. So, while you’re reading this, I’m on the Thalys TGV (Train de Grande Vitesse) headed to Brussels, a one-and-a-half-hour ride from the Gare du Nord to Gare du Midi for a mere 49 Euros round trip.
It’s one of the things I love about living in central Europe among a population of engineers who have figured out how to get from point A to point B at the speed of light for a song.
Just this week, however, I was reminded by one of our readers that I portray life here in Paris as awfully idyllic. She wrote, “I can only imagine how much you must have been through to reach your happy point of living in Paris after 9 years of trials, tribulations and triumphs.” And she asked, 1) “Were there times you just felt like giving up and going back to the US?” 2) “Did you ever feel like it was just too foreign, or too difficult, or were you ever just tired of the extra effort required to get the simplest things done?” 3) And if so, what or how did you overcome those times and feelings?”
Laura K., those are great questions and since you’re reading while I’m riding, I’ll tell you.
1) No. “Giving up” is not in my French vocabulary. I’ve seen only a few folks “give up,” too. It’s like the old song…”How ya’ gonna keep ’em down on the farm, after they’ve seen Paree?” You simply get hooked and then with each hurdle, it seems like less of one. Plus, once you’ve broadened your scope and seen life from both sides of the Atlantic, going back is just that…back. So, creating a life here is forward, positive movement.
2) No. Even when I didn’t understand a word of French, I felt at home here. Even when accomplishing the simplest task seemed to be monumental, I realized that life isn’t about being “easy” — it’s about being “enriched.” And with every bit of extra effort spent on making those simple things happen, came a sense of true accomplishment and pride, so rewarding.
3) To overcome any moments of despair…like when you’re at the Préfecture at the mercy of a “fonctionnaire” whose only bright spot in her day is belittling immigrants (true story)?…or when you’ve waited a total of one hour in three different queues to buy a regional train ticket only to discover that none of the “guichets” have been the correct one and after all that you’ve missed the train (true story)?…or when the teacher of English is giving your child bad grades just because her English is better than the teacher’s (true story)?…
What did I do? I got out and walked the streets of Paris. Nothing is more uplifting or fulfilling…to know that you’re a part of this beautiful, exciting, romantic and totally passionate place.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
E-mail: [email protected]
P.S. If you are interested in moving to France, there are several ways to make the hurdles easier: 1) Rose Marie Burke’s “The Insider Guide to Working and Living in France: The Ins and Outs” is a great start. 2) France: The Country Kit is a complete and current guide about living in France. 3) Attend the Living and Investing in France Conference March 19 – 21 in San Francisco 4) Take advantage of our one-on-one consultation services