Living in Paris for two and a half years
I’d been volunteering for two months in a hostel in Marseille, in the south of France. Then, I came to Paris for a short three-day holiday, where I stayed at an Argentinian friend’s house. As I’d worked in a hotel in Israel, I asked my former boss if he knew any hotel in France, since I was looking for a job. The very next day I got an email for a job interview and I didn’t even know who it was from. But I went anyway. I didn’t have “interview clothes”, given that I’d come to Paris on a holiday plan, so I put on the best outfit I could summon and went to it. And they took me. I was going to Argentina for two months, but they said they’d wait for me. I was going to be the event planner for hotel chain. That’s how I got to Paris. And I stayed, and I wanted to leave several times in between, but I just couldn’t, this city dragged me to stay. There was always a reason for staying. And sometimes it was great, and sometimes not so much. There were days where I pictured myself living there for the next ten years, and then the next I’d want to leave right away, no hesitation. That’s what these years were like.
As an Argentinian I was used to living in big spaces, therefore living in 39 ft2 wasn’t easy. I forgot what watching TV was like: my cellphone became my connection to the world, not only for texting, logging into Facebook or Instagram, but also for watching shows, listening to the radio, online shopping; it was my best friend in Paris. ‘Cause blending in with the society isn’t easy. I chose to live in 39 ft2 in Montmartre because I didn’t want to share housing and sometimes, I regret it. I think it would’ve given me the chance to meet more people. And I wanted to be in Paris’ center. I believe it’s because I’m from the Once neighborhood in Buenos Aires that I always enjoyed being close to everything. And I never ventured myself into “banlieu” (the suburbs) and now I regret it because, after all this time, I’ve met beautiful places in Ile de France. I believe it’s a city that, if you’re gonna live in it, you either like or you don’t. I know a lot of people that are in love with it and others who went south or moved to another city. All and all, Paris gave me a lot. I went there aiming to improve my French and I did, I took a couple of courses, took the DELF B2 and DALF C1 and passed them. It is one thing passing by for three days on a holiday and a whole other thing living there. Every experience is different. And that’s what’s great about it. I have only one Parisian friend who called me in December to ask me to clear my schedule for February the 26th — and sometimes I think that I don’t even know what I am gonna do tomorrow, let alone what I’m going to do in two months’ time. But I got used to planning.
And just now learning that “Ce n’est pas évident” means “it isn’t easy”. And keep saying “bonjour” and hearing “bonsoir” in return. I think I’ll never make it… I don’t know when the night comes…
And saying “normally” constantly when I’m speaking Spanish and gesturing with my mouth, talking with onomatopoeias. I got a little Frenched.
I love sending letters, replying letters and receiving letters for everything.
And seeing the snow in Paris, with even people skiing behind my house, at the Sacred Heart. And I watched France winning the World Cup in 2018 —I believe I was one of the few Argentinian rooting for them—, which was the best day I lived in Paris. Everything, from not getting into the Fan Fest at the Champ de Mars to coming back home at midnight with the Metro driver honking in celebration, was priceless.
Paris enabled me to have a steady and paid job while being in the center of the world; letting me travel, meeting people from all around the world and learning a beautiful language. I believe that in my old age I’m gonna look back on how lucky I was to experience the Parisian way of life for a couple of years. I’m gonna miss you, Paris! We might meet again sometime 😊.