Five French things that have changed my life
Moving to another country can change you, if you let it. The change takes one part openness to new experiences, one part willingness to try new things, and one part destination. So far, in France, I’ve experienced quite a lot, but here are the five things that have impacted me the most.
The food. I’m not talking about foie gras or the fancy schmancy things you can get at one of the many amazing French restaurants in Paris. I’m talking about the fresh, local, delicious foods like fish, bread and produce that are available daily at local shops and markets. Sure, there are some great farmers’ markets back home, but they just don’t compare to the markets in Paris. The food tastes better, the variety is greater, and I can walk to several markets right in my neighborhood.
The wine. I started loving wine long before leaving my homeland, and it’s for that very reason that French wine has changed me. In the States, if you’re a wine lover, yet novice, like I am, you would have known that there are several varieties of red: Merlot, Cabernet, Shiraz, Bordeaux and maybe a few others. But after getting acquainted with the local wine shops in Paris, I now know that what I saw on the menus and at stores in the US was just the tip of the wine iceberg. There are so many varieties of wine in France alone – not to mention the rest of the world – that I’m confident anyone can find a wine that suits them. I happen to have found several.
The men. Okay, that’s an exaggeration. The man, is more accurate. But what I’ve learned about love and relationships in the last few months is enough to balance the things I’ve learned in my previous 28 years. Every relationship teaches us something, whether small or profound, and I’m certain that each day leaves me as a better person than I was the day before, thanks in large part to the Frenchman I’m choosing to share my life with.
The lifestyle. Do I still work nights sometimes? Yes. Do I still work the occasional weekend? Yes. Do I still miss important events in friends and family’s lives because of my job? Even more so, I’d guess. But I feel so much less stressed than I ever did before. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but I can tell you that I’m encouraged to take my time instead of hurry, to spend my free time actually being free, and to appreciate all that life has given me. I’ve always had people in my life who inspired me to live like that but, for one reason or another, it seemed impossible before now. And, as you can guess, I’m in no rush to go back to my old ways.
The city. Much of Boston is beautiful and quite sentimental for me. New York is one of my favorite cities on earth and every time I go I’m reminded how much I love the energy of The Big Apple. London has art and music and culture galore … but there’s just something about Paris. It feels vast yet charming, foreign yet friendly, proud yet welcoming. Whatever I do always feels a little whimsical, and a lot magical.
Where else in the world can you grab a nice bottle of wine (without breaking the bank), some warm, fresh bread, head to the steps of a world-famous, centuries-old monument and relax while watching the sunset? Probably lots of places; but, they wouldn’t feel like Paris.