Is living abroad all the hype?
Moving to a new country is difficult, there is so much to organise and do and learn. Especially when you have to do it all in a language that is not your mother tongue. Speaking a second language all the time is tiring, I cannot wait for the time when words, sentences and structures come to me unconsciously all the time, does this ever happen?
It's so easy to feel inadequate, I'm not making enough friends, I'm not talking enough French, I'm not going to enough museums. Yet, if I'd moved to Stoke would I be so hard on myself? I doubt it, Paris is such an enigmatic and opportunity-filled place, I feel like everyday that I don't get the number of the hot guy on the metro or fall in love with a masterpiece at Le Louvre is a wasted day. It's made me live life more, and yearn for each new day, to know absolutely anything can happen, and that's the magic of Paris.
I won't lie that sometimes it's hard, I don't have "colleagues", I work one on one with children, I leave the apartment at 10am and get back at 9pm. It's so easy to use the "I'm too tired" excuse to not go for after work drinks, or to the cinema, or out for dinner. It's so difficult to meet people, this isn't exclusive to Paris, after school it is more difficult, and you have to be proactive. In fact, I'm still amazed I even have friends, some I met from an apartment viewing that turned into staying for the party they were hosting, some I reconnected with from study summers out here, one is an au pair whose charge is at the same school as the boys, another I found during a cheeky facebook stalk, yet another I befriended at an Eddie Izzard book reading. It's pure chance I got to know these people, I could equally not have, which is a little daunting.
Living in Paris isn't the crazy, wild, living your best life vibe people assume, don't get me wrong it is incredible but that doesn't mean there aren't low points where I miss my family, or cadburys chocolate or missing out on Birthdays. It can be lonely. Capital cities can be lonely. Anywhere can be lonely. I love living alone, but sometimes it would be nice to come home and just be around people without having to make plans. Or to have someone to help with the endless paperwork, or even be able to fill out said paperwork without using word reference a million times.
I was so bored with England, I thought I hated living there, but now I miss the "coming up next on BBC 1" voice, going to the chippy, being down with the "kids" and using slang effortlessly, just knowing how things work: how school works, what's polite or not, who to ring when your landlord won't give you back your deposit.
Despite all of this, living abroad is the hype, but it can be easy to forget that moving abroad doesn't make your problems disappear or mean your life becomes this always sunny, rooftop bar frequenting, wine drinking, cheese eating existence. Although, it can be pretty close.