Leaving your hometown and all that’s familiar is hard enough. But moving to another country? That’s a whole different ballgame. There’s the airport, the flirtatious taxi driver, and the slightly giddy feeling that you’re in over your head and maybe you’re not quite cut out for your new adventure. Adjusting might take a long time, or just a few minutes, depending on how much wine you need to drink as fortification. It’s a new culture and language, and you may wonder, “How will I survive here?”
Not everyone experiences the joy and euphoria of being in Paris. For some, the culture shock is greater than others, and it’s hard to adjust to something that may be vastly different from back home. If this is your first time in a foreign country (like a friend I met recently - the person who inspired me to come up with this post, by the way), it can be difficult to come to terms with the sights and sounds around you, and you may feel overwhelmed. It could be similar to someone moving from an outlying area into a big city for the first time. Everything seems to be too loud, too fast, too confusing and frantic. Still it’s not all bad. You just need to give yourself time to adjust, or learn to slough it off and walk on, as the French do.
Here I was, bright-eyed and excited to be in Paris. In awe of this extraordinary city, I was soon drawn into the local culture. Not a bad thing, since Paris was to be my new home. But I still needed to find a home. And therein lay the problem. I’d spent so much time making sure my papers were correct and finding my way around town, that I neglected to research fully what was needed to convince a landlord to take a chance on me as a tenant. I assumed it would be easy to find a place and settle down. But I was so wrong. Here are some of the things I wish I’d learned beforehand.
Paris has so much to offer. It’s a cultural mecca, as well as a leader in the arts. But there is a wealth of information on just about anything, no matter where you go or what grabs your interest in the city. Educational opportunities (free and otherwise) practically permeate the cobblestones.
It’s December 2009, and winter has begun. I’ve arrived in Paris at long last, and la vie en rose is a beloved reality. I don’t even mind the cold. Okay, I do, but let me embellish, would you?
If you have just started working for a French employer, you may be a little confused when you receive your first salary slip. This is no simple pay slip and should really come with its own instruction manual. Here you’ll find some insight into those strange deductions and ambiguous terms.