Whilst trying to concentrate entirely on my essay about morals in 19th century novels my mind has been wandering to the different problems that one comes across as an expat in Paris. Obviously most expats like myself tend to choose to remove themselves from their native shores in order to become more acquainted with other lands but that doesn’t mean we don’t love Blighty and less. In fact sometimes it makes us love it more.
I was taking a photo yesterday of the Arc de Triomphe in the classic tourist pose – standing in the middle of a crossing zooming in and marvelling at the architecture. I spied a few locals giving me quite bizarre looks and this set me off thinking. Obviously I don’t look like a tourist. You’ll see no bumbag or overcrammed rucksack on my person but all of my behaviours dictated that I wasn’t a true Parisian.
I marvel at the beauty of the buildings. Looking up in awe at the magnificence of the matching awnings on the windows and how the sun glimmers on the gilding of Les Invalides are things that no Parisian would be caught dead doing. My aim when I first moved here was to become more native than the natives but the longer I live here I realise that actually I quite like the surprises each day of a new things to go and find and new places to explore. I like some parts of the Frenchness - high quality chocolate eclairs and baguettes being available on every street do tend to help everyday life but there is no point in taking the extraordinary aspects of Paris for granted like you see so many locals doing. I think what I’m trying to say is – don’t just exist somewhere, experience it.