Tuesday, 28 January 2014

It's Not Always Gay in Paris

What I’m doing is amazing; there is no doubt about that. To be able to spend this amount of time thanks to the wonderful University system but I thought it was important to mention some of the downsides. It would be very easy to paint a rose tinted view of life here but this blog is meant to be about everything in my life here so I can’t fail to mention all of the other bits.

You can be really put off by being in such a big city. I’m sure this isn’t unique to Paris but some days I get really frightened by some of the dodgy characters hanging around the place. Like I was in Carrefour the other day and this guy just started talking to me in a really pervy manner when I was looking at the lentils. He continued trying to talk to me right up until the till, luckily I managed to get away from him but I did feel quite uneasy until I got through my front door.

Some days when I’ve had a stressful day at work, not having understood anything any of them have said to me I lose all faith in my French. After a 15 minute conversation with my boss on the phone I sometimes have to text her asking what she has just told me, which is totally natural as sometimes it’s a bad line and I can’t always understand her accent but certain days it can really get me down.

When I have to force the kids to do some work and to stop watching un diner presque parfait and then they call me Le Mechant Kate it can be so frustrating. Sometimes it is really hard to not just walk out of the door and not return. This always inevitably happens when I have a deadline looming or nothing in the fridge to eat and it all just feels like too much hard work.

Occasionally living alone really gets to me. When I just really need to do something ridiculously silly to cheer myself up or have a hug from someone but can’t and then Adele comes on shuffle and hormones go into self-destruct mode on any happy feeling.  

Wanting to make the most of the opportunity as much as possible but not being able to because of all of the mundane stuff that I have to sort out can be so frustrating. But then I look out across the road or go for a walk to clear my head and everything is alright again. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was like this all of the time but it definitely isn’t easy.

I’ve learnt to appreciate the small things since living here and to not take everything to heart. Today J kept pestering her mum to make sure she had given me the jar of marmalade and I felt so special that she wanted to make sure I had some. Having to make her a hot-water bottle the other night almost made up for not being able to go out with all my friends.

This is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Some days I just don’t want to get out of bed, especially when the gardienne doesn’t turn the heating on until the evening but it’s all about making it your own, whether it’s writing a little something for the blog or experimenting with different flavoured pancakes I have to push myself to do something different with each moment that feels a bit too hard to cope with.

But it isn’t just me doing stuff to cheer myself up that helps me through the difficult times. It’s funny emails, weird articles to read and friends planning trips that makes it all better. Oh and a bit of M People – Moving On Up in the shower never fails to disappoint.

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