Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I'm alive!

Here's a long overdue post. Well, I'm now an Occasional and Purposeful Parisian rather than a true Accidental Parisian. I've moved to the UK but Mon Cher Mari is still in Paris, and we're trying to spend as many weekend together as possible - which is not many. I've only been back once since my move at the end of August. (It was a fantastic trip, except for a shockingly bad dining experience, which I will post about later).

I haven't forgotten all about you, loyal readers, or stopped thinking about material for the blog. It's just that the move was a bit of a nightmare (as various bits of my apartment just keep giving up and snapping off) and, while the new job is great, the hours are long and the learning curve has been steep. I do want to get back into blogging every two weeks or so. The best way to stay up-to-date? Become a blog follower, then you'll get an alert when I write a new post. It will save you the hassle of checking back.

I've decided that now that I don't live in Paris, I like it oh so much better. In fact, I think I really like it a lot. Given that my career options were so limited, I always felt trapped in Paris. I spent a lot of time freaking out, visualising my PhD turning stale like the baguettes, pining for an academic community, and struggling with obnoxious bureacrats. Since I spent my time in Paris underemployed and searching for a job, I was constantly worried about money and I always felt guilty about doing fun things, when I could have been finishing an article. Now that the career issue is a non-issue (well, at least for a year or two), I can go to Paris and just enjoy it. Here's a new set of lists:

Things I don't miss about living in Paris:
1. The rules, and the constant feeling that I was breaking one but not even enjoying it.
2. The dog poo. Everywhere.
3. The dogs. (Sorry, Mazarine - not your dog! He's a sweetie).
4. All the boring black clothing. Not so chic and edgy when everyone is wearing it, non?
5. The Prefecture. I shudder.
6. The arguing. I'll never understand when French people are really angry or not, but I think my blood pressure has gone down since I left France.
7. The defensiveness, territoriality, negativity and self-centeredness I would encounter in dealing with people in service positions.

Things I do miss about living in Paris:
1. MCM. This has been so difficult.
2. My local boulangerie-patisserie, Le Chant du Pain, home of the best pain au chocolat in Ile de France, possibly the world.
3. The wine.
4. The archictecture.
5. The quality of the light, and particularly the late afternoon light as it hits the stone buildings along the Seine.
6. Velib, and in particular whizzing through the wide, leafy boulevards of Neuilly in the summer, or sailing over the Pont d'Alma.
7. The restaurant selection. I absolutely love eating out, and I miss what I had in Paris, compared to what I have in Cathedral Town here. (That said, it ain't London...).

Things I really appreciate about being in the UK:
1. The banter and easy conversation I have with people - partly cultural, partly just because I speak the language so much better. Buying a pint of milk is a pleasant experience.
2. The prevailing relaxed, laid-back attitude.
3. The beer. Oh yeah!
4. The fact that you can go into a restaurant at 2.45pm and say, 'Sorry, any chance you're still serving lunch?' without giving the owner a coronary.
5. The fact that people who work in service positions actually see it as their job to help you.
6. The fact that I am treated like a real person, not just the wife of Monsieur.
7. Being part of a professional community.


Please leave me a comment! (As I am writing this blog anonymously, please address me as Accidental Parisian, even if you know my name in real life).