I'm approaching my three-month anniversary here in France, and I'm sure you want to know how it is. Have I settled in okay? Have I made friends? How's my French? I bet awesome, right? Am I loving Paris?
Well, let me ask you a question. On what day of the week are you asking? What time? Be specific, and I can more clearly answer your questions. I cannot answer generally.
If there is one thing I wasn't prepared for coming here, it's the giant swing from really sucky to really awesome. I expected this at the beginning, but still three months later, it's a constant. On any given day, multiple times a day, I'll find my mood changing dramatically.
When living in a different country, culture and language, little things become big things. Feeling stupid because I realize after the fact I've just asked two people for a "recipe" (recette) instead of a "receipt" (reçu). Why did I make that mistake? I learned these words years ago. I must have sounded riduculous. Then I am made happy by a warm baguette or a peaceful boulevard I see on the walk back. Delicious bread and ancient streets, things I could never get back home.
And big things are still big things. Feeling empowered and independent by going to the cinema alone. Feeling small and alone when I start hunting for apartments again.
Every day presents me with any combination of little and big things, good ones and bad ones. But this is the point, right? This is why I am here. This is The Experience. All I can say is that it's exhausting to feel so much and so often.
Did I explain this well? I don't feel like I did. Maybe some more examples would show my point better. But I am too tired to replay the last few days or weeks to find a good way to show what I am trying to say. Those days were challenging enough in real time.
Tomorrow is the day to think about. It could be a good day or a bad one. It could be a good day five times and a bad day six times. We'll see when we get there.