Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Good news and a bullet list

I'm simply overjoyed at the news that a friend from home is going to be moving to the Paris area in less than three weeks! We had just started getting to know each other before I made my way over at the end of last year and again in June when Gui and I visited, but we've kept in touch through blogs and emails as she's continued working towards getting her visa to be an au pair in Paris. She got news a couple of days ago that she'll be arriving on September 7th, which is just insanely soon! Unlike the first time I packed my bags and headed to France, this will be her first time travelling outside of the US - ever!

Walking to the marché this morning, I started thinking of how I felt the first time I traveled across the world and what thoughts and emotions were running through my mind. My first trip outside of the States was to Trinidad and Tobago (yeah, that was awesome), and then I took a trip to England before making the big move to Nottingham for a few months. I was young, so carefree, so wide-eyed. My summer in Rome was the first time I'd been in a non-English-speaking country, and being in a school setting, having friends and knowing people in the same situation as myself was, I think, what made communication so easy and kept me distracted from my nerves or self-inflicting complexes about speaking another language.

Having lived in and around Paris for a total of about seven months, I can say that many of my initial ideas about this city have changed, but not all for the worse. Reading blog, after blog, after blog of people who've been here and done everything I've done has undoubtedly made the transition so much easier. I thank the blog gods for giving people a place to rant and rave about their woes and joys so that we might all learn from them and feel just a little more normal when our lives begin to unfold like a comic book.

So, in an effort to offer my Paris-bound friend some advice about what to bring, what to leave behind and what to expect, here are a few odd things that cross my mind about my move here.
  • I desperately wish I would have bought more shave gel on our last trip to TX. I seriously can't bring myself to pay 5 euros for a can of Gillette shave gel when I know I can get the same for less than half the price on the other side of the world. Some things are just too hard to let go of.
  • I'm cursing myself for thinking that I'd somehow expect my mom to go through the bags and boxes of clothes that I've left behind in order to pick out what I might need for the winter time so that she could send it to me. I should have been more organized and made more of an effort to gather and label my things for easy reference and shipment to France instead of pawning it all off on my poor mom. Now, I'm left with a very boring and monochromatic wardrobe that's getting old really quickly and will no way last me through the crazy winter we're bound to have. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I find a job so I can do some guilt-free shopping at the winter soldes.)
  • Flats are my best friends here. I wish I had the insight to buy more flats before coming (even those cheapy Target ones) because one really can't have enough with these crazy cobblestone sidewalks popping up all over the place. If I could, I'd buy a new pair everyday, but we all know that's not possible!
  • And, by flats, I don't mean tennis shoes. I brought four pairs of "trainers" or "tennis shoes" with me here, - and I don't mean the New Balance track & field kind, but the cute brown and gold Coach tennis, sporty Pumas, and stylish Diesels - and I've found nothing says not à la mode more than a girl in sport shoes. So, my tennis shoes only come out when I'm moving stuff or actually running (uh, that's pretty much never). Comfy flats are where it's at!
  • Resisting the urge to pass a friendly smile to strangers hasn't been as difficult as I imagined, but the guilt I feel after flashing a blank face out of habit to someone trying to be friendly is mortifying. For me, it's harder to revert back to being smiley after I've already conformed to my newfound survival tactics.
  • All the friendly peeps in Paris make up for those unfriendly ones. I've learned to take the bad with the good here - it's usually not always one or the other. One friendly smile, or short conversation about the weather from a complete stranger (especially an older one) is enough to keep my spirits up for the rest of the day.
  • I don't mind walking around the city or through the marchés and shopping centers, but I really hate walking to my metro station. It's only a 6-8 minute walk from our apartment, but it's the walk I despise the most. I don't know why. I'm thinking it's a subconscious reflection that comes from my years of car-dependency, and walking any further than the garage makes the part of my brain that deals with laziness start going crazy with fury. Hmmm.
  • As much as I gorged on Tex-Mex on our last trip, I wish I would have eaten more.

12 comments:

Evolutionary Revolutionary said...

It is virtually impossible to convey a proper girly squeal over the internet, but I'll try:

IIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!

I'm so excited!!! ...And you TOTALLY just gave me a reason to buy new shoes. For this, I love you.

I reward you with Mrs. Butterworths. :)

Lulu said...

I lived in Paris myself a couple of years ago and am now thinking about going back... Loved reading this!

misplaced texan said...

Evolutionary: Oh yummmm!! Bring on the Butterworth's!!! Merci!

lulu: Thank you! If you decide to move back, let me know and we'll grab a coffee. :)

Lulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lulu said...

Lulu said...
I will difinately do so! And in the meantime I'll keep reading your blog! Btw, next month I'll be meating another Texan girl in Paris. A good friend of mine that I met when we studied together a couple of years ago. She's back in the States now but Paris is the place for the reunion :)

ellemabelle said...

Cheap shave gel ... monoprix brand in the pink and white bottle 2.50 euros. Or at Auchan ...you can get goodtwo for one deals from time to time on name brand... last week I got two for 5.60. I wish I had brought more jello and more canned pumpkin... too damn expensive here.

laeyn said...

i really hated walking to the metro station too! i don't know why, either. it wasn't like it was out of the way or far, i just didn't like walking to it. i thought i was just super lazy but maybe there's something about walking to metro stations...

Leah said...

Hi! The bar is called Footsie and is on Rue Daunau in the 2nd close to the Opera. Last time I was there I realized that the 5 euro beer was the 25cl and I haven't been back since. Its a great bar, but hard to swallow the 10 euro pint. =)

Leah

Aychu said...

Hello,

Well I was fooling around on the net, and through the blogs and suddenly I found myself on your blog.
I like this post or article it is funny.
I must say that I am somehow amased by the laziness you are talking about. A 7-8 minutes walk till the metro is not much, some people I know in France have like 2hours trip to go to work or to go back home.

The Gilette shaving gel ?
Excuse my lack of information concerning how many times you ladies shave or what amount of gel do you use ... but, how long does a bottle last ?

Moreover... I like the name of the blog and I think that it is pretty interesting to have a texan point of view of Paris and Europe in general.

Jenica said...

Chocolate chips! You can find them here, but the 12-oz bag ($2.50 in the US?) is 7.50Euro here! It's obscene.
Brown sugar
Mac n Cheese

Misplaced Texan - I'm also an Austinite-moved-to-Paris. Care to have un cafe sometime?

misplaced texan said...

elle: Thanks - going to grab some on my next trip to monoprix - Auchaun's too far from us, which is too bad because they have good cheddar!

Leah: Thanks! Yeah, 10 euro pints is way out of my budget, but the concept's great. Maybe we'll check it out when we have visitors.

Aychu: Thanks for reading my blog! I really know I'm very lucky to be so close to a metro station, but for me, it's an adaptation thing. I still have a lot of adapting to do and getting the motivation to walk to the metro is a far cry from hopping in my car parked in the driveway. It'll take time. Oh, and a can of shave gel lasts me about one month.

Jenica: SWEET! Another Austinite around town - we most def. need to meet up for a coffee!

Jenica said...

Lovely! I'm new to this blog thing, so forgive me, but, um, how do I email or text you?