It’s been far too long from my last post, but I have a good excuse that I have a new job which has brought an entire new batch of learnings into my new life in Paris. From the clothes to the work hours, it’s been an adjustment getting back into “office life.” The new job has introduced me to many new cultures: Italian, Russian, German, Turkish, Iranian, Argentinian, Dutch just to start. This past week, I got a few tips from an Italian: 1. Don’t order a cappuccino after lunch. 2. Don’t order red wine with fish (that goes for France too). 3. Your pasta will never come as a side on a meal (like with steak or chicken). It’s its own dish. 4. Never ask for a pizza with pineapple. I had two separate Italians say that pineapple on pizza is weirdest thing they had ever heard of and asked “why would people want pineapple on their pizza? I don’t understand that.”
In addition to getting used to office dynamics, though I must admit I’ve witnessed little office drama, dressing for work has proved a bit of a challenge. It is how I imagined with many women in heels, stylish blouses, flowing dresses and perfectly cut blazer. I have noticed a lot of recycling too which coincides with my perception of the French philosophy of quality over quantity. This is great for me as I am slowly building my work wardrobe that it’s okay to wear the same blouse on Monday and again on Thursday. Shoes still are an issue with taking the metro and being stylish at work. There have been many days where I throw comfort to the wind and wear my heels and pay the price that evening. My wise friend told me after I complained about my shoe issue that I absolutely could not wear tennis shoes as my transportation shoe, no matter what and that I should crawl home if I had to.
One of the best parts of the job is that I get to do a bit of traveling. To start, I’ve visited Berne, Switzerland and Berlin, Germany. Traveling back from Berlin the other day with a colleague, I was reminded of one of my favorite people from my old job and time we traveled together. He was a frequent flyer (think of UP IN THE AIR). We were on our way back from a business trip and shared a cab from the hotel. Originally I had asked him what flight he was taking home and he said “I don’t share my flight information with colleagues because I don’t like being slowed down by them when I have priority check in, security lines and lounge access.” It didn’t seem like an odd position to take just like I don’t save movies for people. He had flown thousands of miles to gain his stellar priority status and why would he let some infrequent flyer inhibit his perks? Therefore, during our trip, when he suggested we share a cab I was flattered that I had made some sort of cut. When we neared the airport I realized I really wanted to change out of my jeans to my yoga pants for the long trip and my jeans would have to go into my checked bag, therefore, I had to change in the taxi. When we arrived at the airport I had my colleague and the taxi driver wait outside the car while I got my yoga pants out of the trunk, changed in the back seat (I have no idea how I did this during the middle of the day) then re-packed my bag. When I got out of the taxi he said “See, this is why I don’t travel with people.”
Year 2 in Paris could not be more different than year 1. It’s not better or worse but it’s adjusted to suite my strengths. I continue to be amazed at how life has opened up for me in this foreign land. There is an advertisement all around Paris that sums it up for me: “I was looking at the ceiling and then I saw the sky.”