The internet has finally arrived….hooray! It’s honestly been a good experience to live without it for a couple weeks; it allowed me the time to be very productive around the apartment, as well as to explore the city! However, it’s nice to be back in touch with my friends and family. It’s been a little isolated out here.
I thought I’d share a few of the things I LOVE about living here, and a few of the things I’m not too sure about. Keep in mind I haven’t been here long and I’m sure a lot will change over the coming weeks, months and years. Enjoy!
How welcoming people have been
- This goes against all the stereotypes I’ve heard about the French and particularly the Parisians, but so far it’s been my experience that people here are really, really nice and will go out of their way to help you. A little example – Murphy and I walked to a pet store a couple blocks away and ended up buying a 15kg bag of food. Even that was nice of them- generally the big bags need to be ordered, but the woman gave me one that they had ordered for someone else who didn’t need it right away. Faced with a bit of a walk carrying this bag and with Murphy, the woman offered her car and dropped Murphy, the food, and I back at home. How nice is that?
How dog friendly it is
- The three of us went for a picnic beside one of the lakes in Bois de Boulogne this past Sunday. The weather was stunning and it seemed like half of Paris was there: families, children, dogs, bikes, etc. The entire couple of hours we were there, Murphy was off leash. He wandered around, played with other dogs, said hello to children when they approached him, inspected peoples lunches….and no one complained. It is completely acceptable to have a well-behaved dog off the leash here. Even in dog-friendly Switzerland, I received several complaints about him being off leash around children/crowds. He is welcome in restaurants, bars, and shops (just not supermarkets).
Our big and bright apartment
- Well, it’s not really big (73m^2) but it is so well laid out it feels huge. It faces three different directions so it gets sun coming in all day. I love it here.
- So far, I don’t miss having a car at all! Last week I walked an average of 16km a day. Now, this is going on the ‘love’ list because the weather has been amazing, but it might fall to the ‘hate’ list on rainy days!
Food and wine
- This almost goes without saying. It will be it’s own blog post at some point.
Weather (so far)
- It was 25 degrees and sunny this past weekend.It’s been my favourite kind of weather: cool and crisp overnight and in the mornings, and pleasantly warm during the day. It’s perfect for huge morning walks and then afternoon laziness in the sunshine. I spoke with my mom this afternoon and it’s dumping snow in Calgary. It seems very far away!!
- When Murphy and I go for our walks in the morning, we are surrounded by other dog walkers, runners, and cyclists. We saw the Paris Marathon run 500m from our apartment on Sunday. It’s inspiring!
Complications with the bank and ensuing complications with everything else
- I’m sure this isn’t a surprise to anyone who has moved around internationally, but it is REALLY difficult to set up a bank account as a foreigner. We still have active Swiss accounts (including a Euro account) but we’ve discovered that so many businesses here will not accept anything except a card from a French bank. For example, we’ve been unable to order our appliances online or get a phone/internet until HSBC gives us a credit card. Fine- it was similar in Switzerland….except for the fact that my cards came almost right away, whereas we’ve been waiting for the French ones for over a month. It was a struggle to even get approved, as the bank wanted tons of documentation, including three months of electricity bills in France. Hmmmmmm….kind of difficult when we’ve just arrived!
Having my fruits and vegetables picked for me in the supermarket
- I’m actually sightly unsure as to which list this belongs on. I kind of love it and kind of hate it. On one hand, it’s a nice chance to interact with people and practice my French….but on the other hand, I’d really like to choose WHICH apples I get, squeeze the avocados, etc. I’m a grown woman, why can’t I pick my own produce?!
Not having a dishwasher/oven/internet
- Pretty straightforward. The delay in getting these appliances was a direct result of the first point on this list…the lack of bank account. Happily, the dishwasher and microwave arrived a couple days ago, and the internet is working now.
Ants in the bathroom
- A new discovery. They’re not bad, but they’re still there. Sigh….
And that sums it up for today. There are a few more things to add, but this is getting long and I have a lot more internet to catch up on….two weeks is a long time to be away! And don’t get me wrong, living here has been an overwhelmingly positive experience- the three of us are so happy and so excited for the adventures to come. It’s just fun to complain sometimes…
Lots of love from the Perrets.