Monday, 23 December 2013

Comme ci Comme ça

There's been a lot of soul-searching in my life lately.


I'm not quite sure where I'm going with this, so bear with me.


I'm leaving Paris.


I knew I'd be out eventually, as so many things do come to an end. Work permits expire and your welcome mat gets yanked out from underneath your feet. Sure, staying is an option, but I don't want to, even having a bit of a laugh when it was suggested. I mean, it's a lovely place to live. Much less stressful and hectic than New York in so many ways, and just so pleasing on a sunny day. I always felt a bit wrong bitching about living here except with other expats who are going through the same thing, and then it just becomes a gripe fest. I mean, so many people dream of living in Paris and want to, so I feel a bit wrong criticizing their dreams and being a downer about the whole thing. It's a beautiful city.


It hasn't been easy- pretty much everything we did has been a struggle right out of the gate. No one makes it easy to live here. Also, mon aéroglisseur est plein d'anguilles.


I've met a lot of nice people. I've made some friends, but no one who I would consider to be close or anyone I would do anything other than party with. Truth be told, almost everyone I could consider a friend has already scattered around the globe as their permits run out. I've also met a lot of pretentious assholes, but you'll find those not exclusively in Paris (although it did seem to attract them like flies here). But overall, it's been lonely. It's hard to be someplace where you aren't fluent in the language, even after years of working on it. I'm still lost in conversation and all those odd expressions that don't translate at all. It has not been les doigts dans le nez "fingers in the nose", or easy, as one might say.


I went to buy a baguette at the bakery down the street the other day. From the bakery that I tend to buy bread from on most days. I asked, very clearly, in French, "Un tradition, si vous plait!" and the woman, who I buy bread from daily decided to mock my accent in a rather mean fashion. Which is just a rotten thing to do. I glared, she handed me the bread, I will not be back. The locals here can just be kind of mean- this is by far not the first time I've been mocked for attempts to communicate, but for some reason this especially annoyed me. They don't really care for outsiders, and they are threaten by anything or anyone that is not here to carry on tradition, and I felt that way from the get go. The more French I learned, the more I wish I didn't hear. I think this is what keeps Paris from being anything else but Paris- a provincial attitude when it comes to foreigners. While I've had plenty of people be patient and kind and helped me, they have been few and far between.


The chance to travel, to see a part of the world I wouldn't have time or the ability to see otherwise. That totally made it worth it. I loved hosting and entertaining friends here. The museums and parks are unbeatable. Picnics! Oh, how I'll miss sitting around with a bottle of wine and some cheese and lazing about on a lawn with friends. My diet in summer here is picnic. Everyone should picnic more.

WED_2461 WED_2488

Also, I will miss that this was my breakfast on most Sundays:

Musée des Arts et Métiers

That's very good. That makes me tear up a bit thinking about how that is no longer an easy option. Very few of my Sundays will now be spent wandering the Marias, eating falafel and faire du lèche-vitrine, and that is just enjoyable.

WED_2787 WED_2394 Paris

It's a touching, romantic city. That is, until you step in dog shit because Parisians refuse to take responsibility for themselves and their canines.


Some other thoughts: My skin has never looked better. Between the fact that I've gotten very little sun damage and the amazing amounts of skin products to slather on every chance I get, my skin is gorgeous. I've gone through several tubes of red lipstick. I've been inspired by the way the women here dress- less makeup, more stylish chic clothing. Showing cleavage is just too brassy and trashy for the Paris crowd, but legs are fair game all the way up. Wear your hair long and messy, never perfect, but perfectly just so. And never, ever leave the house in anything other than your best. None of this sweatpants and no makeup when you are out to run errands. And, whatever you do, don't work too hard an put any extra effort. The minimal will do, with plenty of long lunch breaks to keep your stress level down.


The movers came, packed up what little I have here, and sent it off to a new place. Which, I don't quite know where yet, but it will make it to the correct country I'm sure. One good thing about shipping things by boat is you don't have to give them a delivery address for a bit.


I am ruined on wine and cheese, and I can't even bother eating bread once I leave. T'is the hazard of spending too much time in Paris

I'm headed into the ether for a bit, which means there will be crickets invading my blog. I'll be back eventually, I just don't do really well writing on the road so I don't bother trying. I'll be here and there before settling for a new adventure anyway, and I'll tell you all about it when I get there.


A true fact: saying "Adieu" means a final goodbye. "Au revior" is more appropriate to say to someone on a day-to-day basis. So if someone is saying Adieu to you that you are likely to see in the future, they are basically saying they don't want to see you again as long as you are living and breathing on this earth. Harsh!


Adieu for now, Paris. I can't say it's been great, but it's been an experience that I wouldn't trade for le monde.


  1. Thanks for being so open about your experience. It was very interesting reading and also disconcerting in places, especially where you mentioned that the Lady who regularly sold you bread made fun of your accent. At least you were making an effort to converse in her language.
    My short stay in Paris was one where I was glad I visited but wasn't sorry to leave. I do not speak French and was subject rudeness and at times arrogance. Many other places to visit in the world that are way more beautiful.

    1. For whatever reason, any time I had friends in town and we were doing touristy things, the locals were really nice to us and applauded my french. It's kind of cute. I felt like a double agent.

  2. Sara, it's been wonderful to follow your adventures in Paris vicariously through your incredible blog. I genuinely look forward to seeing where you take your life from here. There are people who let life happen to them and then there are people who shape theirs more directly and profoundly, as you are doing. I can't wait to see the next chapter!

  3. It's been fantastic to hear about all your adventures in Paris! Also interesting to read about your reasons for leaving. I've lived in France for 3 years now and will stay for family reasons, but wow, is it tough sometimes! Best of luck for your next adventure, can't wait to read what you get up to next!!

    1. Hi Jill- Good luck with that! I hopped across the channel to London, and I'm feeling a bit more at ease here. I loved my time in Paris (still) but I'm happy that the everyday trials of being there are no more.