Living abroad

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I’ve been absent quite a while, but honestly this has happened almost all year so you must be used to it by now, haha. If during spring and summer the reason has been the amount of social events I had to attend, now it’s work related. All of you who read my previous post know that I’m currently in Paris for work. I had to be here for two months, one of which has already passed. Seemed like now would be a good time to share a realistic view on what it’s like to live abroad – my realistic view, at least. So here goes.

The positives

Let’s face it: who wouldn’t wanna live in Paris? You would be crazy not to. The city is so beautiful and it has so much to offer that you can never really get bored. I’ve been here a month and still haven’t seen all I had on my list and do everything there is to do. I promise that visually there’s a low chance you’d find a more beautiful city. The architecture is amazing and the buildings are so enchanting that most of them look like museums, so you have to take a moment to realize that people are actually living in them (and then daydream of what it would be like to live there). The parks and public spaces are so well thought out – I love how much the French love symmetry. Every walk in the park (and sometimes just down the street) is pleasing to the OCD and every park is beautiful because they pay extra attention to that sort of thing. Sometimes all I want to do in Paris is sit on a bench in the park and read, or listen to music, or just sit there, watching the people. The architecture and the parks make Paris a wonderful city to walk in (and those of you who know me well know I love to walk) – just walk around and enjoy the amazing view. I have a few places that have already become my favorite ones to walk around.

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Of course the museums and tourist spots will be crowded, but it’s so worth it to see them (and I still have a lot more left to see) and when you do, you realize that Paris is not only the city of love, but the city of art. I’m saying this and I haven’t even been to the Louvre yet (maybe I’ll have luck tomorrow). And it’s not only the paintings and sculptures that take your breath away, it’s also the spaces they’re displayed in.

There are a lot of people because it’s such a touristy city, but it doesn’t seem that crowded sometimes, you feel like there’s enough space for everyone. And even though it’s so crowded, it’s not a loud city – not as far as I’m concerned (I mean not when I compare it to Bucharest). So it’s not only beautiful, but it’s also a relaxing place to be.

It’s very hard to capture in a picture and even harder to explain into words how beautiful I think the city is. Some people would say that it’s dirty or full of homeless people, but I don’t think these two elements outweigh the good parts Paris have to offer. It’s not really that dirty and yeah there are a few homeless people, but the city is big and they are not everywhere.

The conclusion is that I really recommend Paris to anyone who loves art, culture, history, architecture and symmetry. It’s a lovely city to be in and a great place not only to visit, but to relax in as well.

The negatives

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The negatives have nothing to do with Paris whatsoever. I know I’m very lucky to be here, and for a long period of time (longer than a week at least) and I know other people aren’t as lucky as I am to travel for work.

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Random picture of a cat from Pere Lachaise cemetery because I miss my 2 cats and I gave this one a little love ^_^

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get real for a second. I am here alone. Not literally (because I came with my 2 colleagues from Romania), but figuratively. I don’t have the person I love with me, I am away from all of my friends and family, away from the people I care most for. Away from everyone I enjoy spending time with, away from everyone who makes me laugh, who makes me feel better at the end of a long day at work. I have even missed one of my best friends’ civil wedding because I was here. Let me tell you, that was not an easy day. Of course, through the wonders of the interwebs I was able to not miss the moment of the I do’s but I missed everything else – the party, the spending time together, the telling her in person how happy you are for her. I’m not being dramatic and I have to admit I cried, partly out of happiness but partly because I missed the event. Did I mention that we have been friends for 20 years? I’m not even joking or exaggerating. So you can imagine I was pretty upset about this – still kinda am.

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So there’s away from everyone you care about and there’s I don’t have that much time to see everything and walk around. Because everyone imagines that going somewhere for work means that you get to see everything and go everywhere and I don’t think they make the distinction between going on vacation and travelling for work. Let me break it down for you: working in another country is exactly like working in your own country, only you’re speaking another language. You get up in the morning, go to work, do that for 8-9-10 hours a day and then return home. Or in this case, at the hotel, which isn’t comforting you at the end of the day, because it’s not home. You don’t have time to do anything else during the work week. You don’t have time to visit. I get of work at 7 pm officially and shops close at 8 pm, museums close at 6 pm. The only thing left to do is take a walk or go for a drink. But it would get tiresome to do that every night.

So 1. it’s no wonder that I haven’t seen that much of Paris since I got here and 2. I think it’s perfectly normal that I be upset after a really hard day at work. Why am I saying this? Because ever since I got here of course I had my bad days, I had some sad days and I had some hard days (especially since I was very sick during my first 2 weeks in Paris). And whenever I talked to anyone about what’s upsetting me, their go-to response was you’re in Paris, try to enjoy it or yeah, but you’re in Paris, like my being here would make all the bad things go away. I think no one understand that it’s hard to be away from home on your own. I mean I know I would feel infinitely better if I had my partner here with me. But he’s home and I’m here and we’ve never been apart this long since we got together 4 years ago. I sound like a baby, but we’ve been living together for more than 2 years and even when we weren’t we saw each other at least once a week. Him, my family and my 4 best girlfriends are the constants in my life and I have to do Paris without any of them. And I know what you’re thinking I’m not like this, I’m independent, I could do this and maybe you could, if you have no attachments. Because I am quite independent myself and always in search of an adventure, I just like to share my adventures.

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So the next time you’re thinking about moving to another country alone don’t think about only how wonderful it would be. Take into account the hardships as well. Only then will you be at peace with yourself and truly enjoy your new experience.

Till next time, have a great October (because I’m not sure I’ll be able to write again soon)!

Kisses,

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