I arrived in France Tuesday, September 1st, and I thought I’d share a few quick thoughts. I’ll try to avoid generalizations about France or the French as a whole, as I’ve only been here two weeks. Although, for the most part, I’ve been pleasantly surprised.
On Learning a Second Language
Just living in France feels like an intensive French course. I definitely prefer learning the language through immersion than with cumbersome books and recordings. Yesterday, I went to the beach, the grocery store and a festival. At no point did I set aside time to practice French, but I feel I received the equivalent of 3-4 hours of practice.
On Adjusting Your Expectations
An ability for successful traveling (or even successful living) is being able to adapt your expectations to the environment. My apartment hasn’t had internet, gas or even electricity for the last few days and won’t until at least Tuesday. I also don’t have access to a car or bicycle and I am completely unfamiliar with the bus transit system.
I’m sure those temporary conditions would have frustrated me if they spontaneously occurred in Canada. But, here, they are just another part of the adventure as I use the toilet by candlelight or take a cold, acrobatic shower in a bathtub without a curtain.
On Starting Fresh
A new city is often a blank slate. A chance to start over with new friends, new relationships and new experiences. I was very happy with my life in Canada, but I’m taking advantage of the new canvas living in a country can create. Often we hold ourselves back, trying to conform to our past image, and often it requires a shattering of that image to move forward.
A few readers were worried that the website would discontinue during my travels. I’d like to let everyone know I’m not going anywhere. I’ll try to sprinkle some updates and observations during my year abroad, but aside from the occasional mention, the website will continue as it has for the past three years.
Now I’m heading out to go buy wine for dinner, à bientôt!