When I first moved to Paris, it was all rainbows and unicorns. Or maybe more specifically, red potted geraniums and French wrought iron balconies. My rose-tinted vision of the City of Light was hopelessly romantic, the stuff that dreams were made of.
That was almost two years ago.
Sometimes that moment feels like a whole lifetime ago, when I catch myself thinking out aloud in French instead of English. Other times, when I’m up against (yet another) French administrative obstacle, I feel like my easy going Australian mentality and I just arrived and unpacked our bags on France’s doorstep yesterday.
Yet almost two years on, I can honestly say that Paris is just as beautiful and surreal. I don’t have the same rose-tinted lens on now. The lens is crystal clear and I see all the moods, faults and peculiarities of Paris. Nevertheless, she still retains that pale hue of rose, even without the help of my lens.
If anything, now that I know Paris even better, I appreciate this city even more.
To say that it’s been smooth sailing would be a complete and utter lie. But, with all great things in life, all the hard work, heartache and frustrations have been worth it. All the cultural differences I’ve struggled to understand, tried to decipher and made an effort to adjust to. All the day to day lessons for survival I have discovered, learnt the hard way and mastered. All the challenges I have faced, overcome and/or just learnt to accept and move on with. They say moving to another country changes you forever. You won’t quite fit back into to the country that you left and you’ll never quite fit perfectly into the country you have moved to.
But, after a while, you realize that it’s not just about you fitting into your surroundings but that it’s a two way compromise you make with your surroundings. It’s like a relationship. You start off not knowing each other, you then find out some things about the other person you weren’t expecting and to be honest, aren’t too fond of. Yet somehow, if it’s meant to be, if it’s the right fit, you grow to love this person so much that you accept their whole package. The good, the bad and the ugly. There are some things you will never understand nor be able to accept and there are other things you will be willing to compromise on. Eventually, the person you have evolved into begins to harmonize perfectly with your surroundings and the home you have chosen to build around you.
For me, I can say that Paris and I are now solid. We’ve had our honeymoon period at the beginning, we’ve then had our ups and downs and now we’ve reached a stable part of our relationship, we are going steady. Our “four seasons of love” have passed the test!
Paris and I have been seeing each other exclusively and we now have plans for our future together. There are things I can’t stand about her and there are other things that still take my breath away.