I’ve been thinking a lot about my move and the things I’ve come to like most about being in France. There’s no doubt that a lot of things are different here, and I’m definitely missing some of my home comforts but I’m going to start by sharing the things I like most.
- My host family. They have been so welcoming and kind since I arrived and have made sure that I feel right at home. I think I’ve been really lucky in this respect and fully appreciate that this experience would be so much harder if I didn’t get on with the family so well!
- The cheese. With my host family cheese is offered after both lunch and dinner every day. I LOVE this, it’s such a nice way to round off the meal and gives me an excuse to eat even more French baguette than I already am. It’s a little tradition that I could definitely welcome into my daily life.
- Melon as a starter. In my first week the family explained they often have melon at the beginning of a meal rather than the end which might seem a little odd to me…it’s certainly not something I’d come across before. It’s also something other au pairs I’ve met have mentioned too. It takes a little getting used to but I actually quite like it!
- Being active. I’ve found that I walk or cycle everywhere where I live. As I’m in a suburb outside of central Paris the roads are quieter and it means I’m not scared to ride my bike – I learnt to ride a bike in the countryside as a kid and don’t have much experience with riding a bike on roads. With the school run and dropping the children off/picking up from activities I’ve been so much more active than I ever was in London. I feel really good for it and it’s also encouraged me to go running more often too, I’m just a 10 min walk from a super cute little forest that has the perfect 5km running route.
- This little forest also has a long path leading up to it with benches dotted along the way that has become my favourite reading spot (when the weather permits). I’m trying to read more and going there is a great excuse to take an hour out to sit and enjoy whatever book I’m currently on.
- Parisian architecture. I simply love being in Paris and walking through the streets soaking up the atmosphere and all of the beautiful buildings. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to how beautiful this city is and there is still so much of it left for me to discover.
- French snacks…I’ve already mentioned this one on my Instagram but there are so many that we don’t have in England. I’m particularly a big fan of the Lu brand, so many to choose from!
Now there are obviously things I miss about home or are finding a little difficult. I don’t think I’d be normal if there weren’t. I’m settling in properly and the madness of moving is over so I’ve found I’m noticing them a bit more.
- This first one is obvious, my friends and family. I’ve really felt it this week and I’m going to make a conscious effort to try and meet more people over the coming weeks/months to try and combat this. I’ve already met some really great people from my course which is a good start especially as I was so worried I’d be super old compared top everyone else but the mix of ages is pretty broad which was a relief.
- English tea. This one sounds silly but I am a big tea drinker, until my mum sent me a little care package this week I hadn’t had a British cup of tea in THREE WHOLE WEEKS. Boy did that first cup taste good. It’s still not quite the same as fresh milk isn’t the norm here but I can live with that. It’s been nice to be starting my day with an English cuppa again.
- Not being able to speak the language. This is obviously going to be a difficult one, and one that will take time and patience. It makes everything a little bit trickier when out and about by myself, but I’m trying to speak French as much as possible. A lot of the time people will automatically switch to English as soon as they detect you aren’t French but I’ve got to keep trying otherwise it’ll never get better.
- The above leads on to just being generally out of your comfort zone. Not knowing the transport inside out, actually not understanding the transport would be more accurate. It’s going to take me a while to get my head around the metro, the RER, the normal trains, SNCF and the rest.
That pretty much sums it up, there’s obviously more but they were the ones that immediately sprang to mind. I’m still absolutely loving my time here in France and I know the things I find difficult are going to get easier over time but it’s important to share both the ups and the downs. It’s not always going to be sunshine and roses, perfectly demonstrated by the torrential rain currently outside my window.
Until next time 😊