Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My Relationship with Paris

I'm probably going to catch a lot of flack for this post but I'm going to proceed anyway because it's something that's been on my mind a lot.

I have an understanding with Paris, I accept her for who she is and for the most part I don't try to change her. I may not always agree with everything she does but at the end of the day I accept her the way she is. I think my philosophy has really allowed me to find contentment here. When I first came here (and even now) I never actively sought out many of the comforts from back home. For me there was so much to explore and discover about Paris that I wasn't caught up trying to replicate the lifestyle I had back in NYC. Did I miss certain things? Yes! Was I about to set out to find all things American here in Paris? Non.

Which brings me to my point, I think a lot of anglophones here in Paris get so caught up with what Paris is missing or how Paris differs from city "x, y or z" they end up pretty unhappy because they are focused on the negative.

The way I see it, one's relationship with Paris should be like that of any romantic relationship; if you go into that relationship looking to change the other person or if you are constantly pointing out his/her faults then that relationship is doomed before it ever has a chance to start and develop into something truly amazing and unique.


misplaced texan said...

No flack here - it's something I think about often, too. The "relationship" idea is something I've just recently discovered and accepted. I never had any dreams or intentions before coming to Paris, but I'm just now realizing the great opportunity I have to experience living here. Even if I'd rather be living somewhere else, there's no point in picking out all the flaws of the city or trying to make it something its not, when its individuality and eccentric originality are what make it so brilliant. I could write a whole post about this, too (and I just might).

Rochelle said...

I completely agree with you actually. If you actively move to a country (and it's your own choice) you should accept the country or city for what it is and ultimately that will lead to living a real and engaged life here.

It took me 9 months to get to that place where I am now very happy and glad to live in France. But I consider myself lucky for only needing 9 months to do that. For some people it takes even longer. I think you were super lucky to have been able to adapt as soon as you got off the plane but I will say that being judgmental towards people who still grapple with adjustment issues (and who very likely read your blog) isn't doing them any favours but probably causing further demoralisation.

Your post also makes a lot of assumptions about people, not everyone has a hard time of it because they simply failed to do x, y and z.

L'Étrangère Americaine said...

First of all Rochell, that you very much for your comment. However, my post was meant as a general observation and not meant to pass judgment on any specific individual or person that I consider a friend.

Secondly, I am a firm believer that we as individuals are solely responsible for our own happiness and constantly focusing on negativity will never bring one to a state of happiness.

wcs said...

A great way to look at things. As for me, I felt comfortable in Paris right away. Then after returning to the state, would find myself comparing the places I lived with Paris, wondering why they couldn't measure up!

katja said...

How true that is! Thank you for putting that out there. For having the guts. And I know what you mean. I've been living in America now for 20 years. Do I love everything about it? No. Do I still miss some things Swedish? You bet. Do I gripe and complain about both countries? I do. Do I also profess my love for the things I am more than content with? Always.

john MILLS-PIERRE, III said...

Well said! In fact, your philosophy applies to all facets of our lives.

Thank you for the insight.

Stacy said...

I so feel you on this one! After living in Paris for a while, all I could do was whine about things the city lacked-- 24/7 metro, decent sushi. Its so much easier (and more fun!) to sit, cross your arms and complain. But after getting some distance, I realize that what I love about Paris is that the city is stubbornly consistent. Everyone knows about the ridiculous bureaucracy, the gloomy weather, the lack of a concept of time... but it's Paris, take it or leave it. It reminds me of a feisty old aunt who drives you absolutely mad. At the end of the day, she's a part of you and you just can't help but love her anyway-- in spite of and because of her flaws :o)

Leesa said...

I do sooo agree with you... What's NOT to like about Paris?! I'm from L.A. and though I detest it, there are many good things about the city itself!
When I visited Paris in the pictures of my French lang. text books in school- I felt a connection with the city, before ever visiting! In 1990, I visited Paris for the first time, for a week in the heart of winter time- though it was rainy and not really cold... I loved it then!! I love it now... I think it's a city of history, culture and beauty and sooo much to see and do. I love living in France, it's a great country to live in and I feel blessed to be here--
it took me about about a month to get out of my "culture shock" when I first moved here... and then after that, I realized how much I enjoyed being here... esp. after finding my way around, making friends and feeling comfortable my new language!

Katia said...

What a wonderful post.
Life is what you make of it, wherever you are. When you spend lots of energy focusing on the negative things, which in turn negatively impacts your life, you have no energy left to focus on the good things.
I like to focus on the negative things, and rather than turn that into negative energy, I laugh about it and turn it into a positive thing.
I REALLY like the analogy of Paris as a crazy aunt that you know is completely kooky but you love her anyway.

Samaria said...

I totally agree. What would be the point in moving to a different country if one isn't willing to experience everything.

Pretty Woman said...

I have recently moved to Paris and I was googling for information when I found your blog! Totally agree on that...I am learning and loving the Parisian life as they see it...and its a great new perspective! :-)

Will come back to read more and to get to know Paris more...great blog!

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