On April 1, 2013 we celebrated our 1 year anniversary of moving to Paris. I posted a while back about some of struggles and accomplishments that I’ve experienced and continue to reflect, especially when the 1 year mark hit. Recently, I was asked in a job interview what I had learned about myself in the last year. I paused and said that I have learned to live with less. Of course sitting as an unemployed person the first thought would be about money, and that is true but that’s not all of it. It’s more about the general French culture of consuming less: less food, less gas, less space. There is a general appreciation to quality versus quantity and the size of things is just less (I tend to call it “euro-sized”). My favorite are these small kleenex tissue packs for your purse.
The language is still a challenge and will be for many months and possibly years to come. Though I am becoming more confident with practicing the few scripted phrases I’ve learned. If there is a deviation, that’s when I get into trouble Maxime and I practice short phrases about what we’re doing, where we’re going, if the other person wants coffee etc…so the other morning I said “Je vais a la banque ensuite la coiffeure.” = “I am going to the bank then to the hair dresser.” But the way I said was: “I am going to the bank then to the jam.” since coiffure and confiture sounded quite close when I said it. We got a good laugh. Also, a few months back I was at the doctor’s office getting some general blood work done. The receptionist handed me a bag with the tubes to bring to the technician and pointed down the hallway to the door where I was to go with the simple phrase: “tout droit ensuite a gauche” = straight ahead then left.” Then, she handed me a little cup, pointed to it and said “pee pee” I laughed and said “je sais” – “I know.”