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.
I’m able to completely imagine myself someplace else for hours while waiting in queues.
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).
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.
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.
- Language skills
It’s not so much learning to speak French as learning to be demanding and assertive in French.
- Writing skills
I can now automatically write ‘decimals’ with a comma and not with a dot (this is especially important when writing cheques).
- 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.
- 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).
- Fashion skills
I’ve learnt to shop till I drop for hours on end (in 2 inch heels of course).
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.
- The ability to talk to strangers
I should probably stop doing this on the metro though.
- 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?