I’ve now passed my first week in Paris.
It both is and isn’t a big deal. After all, I’ve been away from home now for coming up on two months, living among francophones and trying to blend in. And the fact of the matter is, I don’t think I can.
I love Paris. It’s a cool city. It’s big, of course, but it’s beautiful and old and full of interesting things to explore. Every corner whispers of some thing that’s happened, some life that’s passed. There are churches and saints everywhere–I mean, half the streets seem to be named after Saint So-and-so. It’s a place where people come, and have spent generations coming, to be inspired. And my host mom is both very kind and absolutely hilarious.
There are four stages of culture shock: the honeymoon stage, frustration, adjustment, and acceptance.
I don’t know if I’m in stage three or stage four.
It varies from day to day. This city, this country, is beautiful and very cool, but it’s also simply not home. I have to practice the phrasing at least a dozen times in my head before I ask a question. You go to half-a-dozen different stores to buy all your groceries. And there are little things that drive me insane, little idiosyncrasies (most of which are bureaucratic) that make me want to tear my hair out.
I actually kind of like the specialization of stores.
Paris is really cool, but this is really hard.
I don’t have friends yet. I’ve started making them, but I’m (1) only three days into school and (2) relearning how to make friends. It’s harder when you’re working in a different language. Most people speak English–and fairly well, too–but I want to make friends with natives and practice, well, French.
This is neither long nor well-written, but it’s what I’m working with right now. I’ve got some amicable prospects and fun future plans, but my current goal, besides surviving French grammar and becoming okay with being foreign (because, let’s face it, I am foreign and I have an accent and I am, as a person, a lot more culturally laid-back than Parisians), is to make some friends.
If nothing else, I’m done eating alone.