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La Vie Parisienne |


La Vie Parisienne

MILLINER MUSINGS - Mich L. Dulce - The Philippine Star

Today marks exactly one year since I packed my bags and moved to Paris.

Let me begin by saying that as someone who has gone to Paris for work at least twice a year for the last six or so years, I have always said that I would never, ever, ever move to Paris. As beautiful as this city is, I have always spent my days in Paris just wishing I was back in London; hence to this day I cannot believe that I am actually living here.

Never say never, as they say.

You are probably expecting me to tell you about how my year in Paris has changed my mind, and that now I love it and can’t imagine myself living anywhere else. Well, you are wrong. I love the job I have and the company I work at  (the whole reason for my move here) but I can’t get myself to say that I love living here just yet. 

I will, however, share with you a few things I learned in my first year of being here.

 Paris may be the hardest place in the world to make friends.

Erwin Romulo once told me that me and Quark Henares could probably be class president anywhere in the world because we were both good at making friends. And when he told me that, I believed he was probably right. After all, I’ve always had the habit of making friends in every country I’ve ever been to, no matter how short a time I spent in a city. Paris, of course, had led me to doubt my social skills entirely. I’ve been here a year and have hardly even built any real relationships outside work with anyone new. While casual first conversations lead to “Oh, we should go get a drink sometime” and blind you with the hope of a new pal, that drink is unlikely to ever materialize. A friend from my French class explained this to me: Parisians don’t want to make new friends. They are content with the friends they already have so they are not exactly open to new people in their groups. FML.

A day job is effing exhausting.

Yes, I am 33 years old and yet I have never ever had a proper day job in my life until I moved to Paris. I have always worked for myself, or worked freelance and have always, always managed my own time. While I work hard and until the wee hours of the morning for my own business, I never had to commute anywhere daily (my studio is at home) and never had set hours every day since I was my own boss. Nothing prepared me for the exhaustion that came with routine, the daily commute to and fro, and nobody told me about the bliss of returning home after every workday. I often wondered how people could be so boring and too tired to meet for a dinner after work and say “I really just want to go home” but now I know exactly how they feel. I’m sorry I judged you, 9-to-5ers of the world.

Paris is the land of bizarre occurrences that you cannot do anything about.

And I mean bizarre. Like for example: After a month of waiting for the appointment day to come, I could not have my WiFi installed because when the technician tried to connect it to the main branch, they couldn’t, as some random person was living in the basement and they couldn’t enter. I then called my landlord, who said she couldn’t do anything about it, and so the technician left and I never got my WiFi. Or how about when you are expecting FedEx to deliver a massive box which you never receive, so you call them and find out they left it with your neighbor — only trouble is that they don’t know which neighbor so you are reduced to knocking on every door on your building and all the ground floor shops on your street. Nightmare. Don’t even get me started about the struggle of normal things like opening a bank account, renting a flat and all that stuff.

At the end of the day, Paris is still the most beautiful city in the world.

Even with its flaws — the dog poop on the street, the fearless pickpockets, the smelly metro, et cetera, et cetera — a walk through the Tuileries garden towards Louvre or a stroll by the Seine is always guaranteed to take your breath away. It never gets old. It took me nearly a year to realize that the trick to surviving Paris as a new Parisian is to constantly take breaks, look up, and pretend to be a tourist all over again.

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