Ok, so first off I do apologise for being tardy. Its not that I haven’t wanted to update ya’ll but more that I find it difficult to write a true account of my thoughts/experiences without first reflecting on them. You know, kinda like when you take a picture of something but its not until you look at it later that you might recognise and grow to appreciate all the things you didn’t notice at the time you took it. I hope that makes sense.
So I live in France! OMG, ME – from the other side of the world – I live in France. This statement represents so many thoughts, feelings, emotions right? Thats exactly why its weird, perhaps why I’ve always been weird, coz instead of feeling an overwhelming mix of exhilaration at discovering a new land and despair at having left my homeland, I just feel so normal. Normal in an absoloutly positively (Go Wellington!) good way and I dont get it.
Now before I go blabbing on about my life here in France – the good, the bad and the ugly (though to be honest, mostly just the ordinary!), I really MUST put a disclaimer here. “There is a certain stage you reach where your intent is to only speak your truth, not convince others of it. You begin to realize that everyone has their own path” – Unknown. And believe me, after 29 years of expending so much freakin energy trying to convince people to see things from my perspective, I just can’t be arsed anymore. Like the quote says, everyone’s got their own path and I respect that. And if me and my opinion really matter to someone, they’ll make it known. In most cases I expect it wont. In fact I’m sure I just piss people off (there’s always gotta be someone, right?). So anyway, the point of me going on this little tangent is because there will probably be many things I will be critical of, including France and French culture, New Zealand and Kiwi culture and god knows what else. But please keep in mind that just because I might describe something, like the pungent smell of Munster cheese, as completely FOUL it doesn’t mean I dont enjoy each delicious mouthful.
So anyway, back to my story. I’ve never lived outside of New Zealand before, so I guess living on the other side of the world is not supposed to feel normal. I know that having a language barrier impeding on communication is not normal and driving on the other side of the road (something I’m yet to master) also isn’t normal. Which is why I don’t understand how life can feel so unbelievably normal to me. Part of me wants to analyse it because I had so many expectations about how I would feel. But part of me just wants to experience things and allow these moments to pass without putting any judgements on them. I think thats one of the things that we often forget to do in this day and age. We forget to just enjoy being present and enjoy the moment. Too often we either get too caught up in the rat race that we forget to take a step back and breath and enjoy the simple things, otherwise we’re taking photos with the sole intent on posting them on Facebook to brag about how wonderful life is. For me, its much more important to be aware and conscious of what I’m experiencing than trying to formulate how I can brag it about (and really, there’s nothing to brag about – I still eat, sleep and **** like everyone else!).
The most important thing I can say at this point in time is that I don’t have anything to complain about because life is good. But it doesn’t require labelling things with superlatives because I’m not really doing anything too different to how I would have done it in New Zealand. I wake up, have breakfast, go to school (I’m learning French), go on Facebook, watch TV, go to the supermarket, read my books, go for walks/hikes, explore the region and visit family. I did all these things in New Zealand and while I enjoyed every moment of these activities no-one except my nearest and dearest asked me about them. Now that I’m in France, I feel there’s an assumption that my life is somehow more rewarding than it was in New Zealand. Thats not to say that life is not rewarding but I just don’t think it is any more rewarding than in New Zealand. It is certainly different in lots of ways but in many ways, its the same. In any case, I’m still experiencing things with fresh eyes, so it might take a while to reflect on these things.
So yeah, I live in France and it feels normal and I know it probably makes me sound like a boring fart but this is truly what makes me feel happy 🙂 This doesn’t mean I necessarily agree with the way things are done – and I will get to these things. But the point is that I live here now and my opinions – good and bad – won’t change the way things are done here, so instead of getting hung up on the differences, I’ve found myself trying hard to adapt and get on with things. Its called being pragmatic. Which I’ve read is quite a French trait. But I also think its very Kiwi – just to prove my point :-p