Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You know you've settled down in France when...

I can’t believe how breathtaking it is here, and I can’t believe how incredibly lucky I am to have this opportunity. Living on the French Riviera is just the most awe-inspiring experience. Thank the Cosmos my mum encouraged me to learn French from Day 1, thank goodness that this program exists, that I am so well-provided for that I am able to do this, that I am here, seeing, hearing, eating, living these things.

I sort of asked myself today why I don’t just live here, but that answer’s pretty simple: I’d miss the people and the food at home. But I’m sure glad I can get to do this for a year. Just enough time for me to really get life here, but it’s a concrete chunk of time so that I can also look forward to (and better appreciate) all the people and things at home. And also so that I won’t take anything here for granted – despite the fact that I basically see it every day, the Mediterranean just stuns me every time.

And I love, love, love my living situation. At first I wanted to live at the sweet bachelorette pad of this middle-aged lady, and I was sad that she didn’t pick me, but now I realize what a blessing in disguise that was, because she wouldn’t have made a good flatmate and I wouldn’t have been able to go out if I lived with her – not to mention the fact that I have the coolest flatmates ever! I share my apartment with two girls, but the flat next to us is owned by the same woman, so the six of us all hang out together. I live with Vicky, a British girl whose accent I love listening to, and Gaelle, a French girl who is just the most serious gorgeousness.

Just the night before, I was hanging out next door and I sort of felt like I was living in the Tower of Babel – it was so cool! Lea, from Austria, was speaking to her boyfriend in German; Arantxa, from Spain, had her Spanish friends over and they were speaking probably even faster than I do in English; I was speaking this mélange of English and French with Hoda, who is Tunisian-French and teaches us to bellydance – she and I have an agreement because she helps me with French and I’m teaching her English.

So because I love lists so much, here is my latest offering:

You know you’ve settled down in France when...

-instead of fuming at the excruciatingly slow service, you laugh at how everyone in line with you is swearing up a storm (not that it necessarily means that they’d be any faster at their jobs)
-you cook your first ethnic meal at your place (i.e. you finally bust out the mini-cooker your mom insisted that you bring, which was especially mailed to you from Hong Kong prior to leaving home)
-you and your friends have a regular schedule for going out and such
-it’s second nature to double-kiss your buds hello and goodbye
-you’re able to start cataloguing the price points of everything so that you know immediately upon seeing a price whether you’re getting a good deal or getting ripped off, and so
-you can start taking advantage of buying things that are cheaper than at home (like chocolates and skincare products– yay!)
-you have Internet at your place (hm...guess I’m not quite settled down yet)
-you know where all the wireless hotspots in town are, which ones have a time limit, which ones are secured, which ones are fastest and most reliable, etc.
-you eat your meals on your personal balcony, which is just outside the windows of your room
-evading the many mounds of dog doo on the streets comes naturally
-locals finally start speaking to you in French first instead of English because hopefully, they no longer think you’re a tourist, or someone who speaks poorly
-you start dreaming in French and it feels totally natural until you wake up and randomly remember a scene

1 comment:

Sabrina said...

I love that you're even dreaming in French! I'm glad you're having a blast