Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Life skills

As we get closer to leaving Paris, I’ve been reflecting on the past couple of years and the experiences that I’ve had since moving here. I’ve definitely realised that Paris, France and life here have definitely had an impact on my personality and behaviour, for better or for worse.

Here are a few things about myself that I’ve improved from being in France, or to be more precise, from being in Paris.

  1. Imagination
    I’m able to completely imagine myself someplace else for hours while waiting in queues.
  2. Patience
    Pépé can tell you that I’m one of the most impatient people around. Waiting in queues has allowed me to develop the ability to be patient and remain calm in the most frustrating of situations (eg. the damn Préfecture).
  3. Perseverance
    If in doubt, or even if not in doubt, ask and ask again, then ask someone different. This is important when dealing with any form of French administration.
  4. A thick thicker skin
    I’m not fond of grumpy people that I don’t know and tend to go out of my way to avoid confrontation. Since I’ve been here however, confrontation seems to be a way of life and so, I now confront away and demand my right to be treated like a grumpy old Parisienne as well.
  5. Language skills
    It’s not so much learning to speak French as learning to be demanding and assertive in French.
  6. Writing skills
    I can now automatically write ‘decimals’ with a comma and not with a dot (this is especially important when writing cheques).
  7. Reading skills
    To avoid nasty surprises, never ever skip the little teeny weeny writing way way at the bottom of any paperwork that you sign.
  8. Motor skills
    For a tomboy who only ever wore heels on extremely special occasions, I can now walk 5 metro stops and run down cobble-stoned alleyways in 2inch heels without breaking a sweat (very useful when public transportation is on strike, late or disrupted, or when I’m just plain late for work).
  9. Fashion skills
    I’ve learnt to shop till I drop for hours on end (in 2 inch heels of course).
  10. Charm
    Sorry to say but being female and turning on the charm works very well in situations where miracles are needed eg. when dealing with French administration.
  11. The ability to talk to strangers
    I should probably stop doing this on the metro though.
  12. The ability to smile
    Sometimes, all you can do is smile and laugh at the situation that you’re in.

What skills have you improved lately?

1 comment:

IslandGirl4Ever2 said...

All of the above, except the one about commas in decimals and high heels... my back problem refuses that I wear heals when going long distances, so I reserve them for going out with limited walking.. I DO notice the French are very fond of tennis shoes (baskets) now so I don't feel back in my laceless Sketchers.. esp. since I notice from time to time people glancing at my COOL sneakers... they always match my outfits.. and I can't stop wearing Abercrombie for the life of me!!!!
BTW, I am adding more photos from shots I took several years ago... I should indicate that but didn't.. In summer of 05, Alex and I covered 5000 km by car (no climatization in 35 C)!!! So, I am just now starting to add these as I am caught up with all the recent stuff... Bonne journee'... Leesa