A Different Perspective

How often we go through life and make assumptions before really taking a step back to look at the other possibilities. I can say that I see myself doing this quite frequently especially since I am experiencing so many new things. Like a lot of things in life, first impressions are important BUT not always correct.

Today I had the pleasure, and yes I really do mean pleasure to babysit for a family in the center of Paris. It may have been my day off and I may have had to get up at 6am this morning, but I figured that if nothing else it would give me a chance to see a different Parisian lifestyle.

Once again an opportunity was presented so I took it. Also I had one of those “I feel like my grandmother Cress” moments and saw a way to make a few extra dollars to be stashed away for a rainy day.

Quickly enough, I realized that I had based my outlook on Paris simply on my perception of one family’s lifestyle. Today that perception changed.

I’ve realized that,

Living “in” Paris is not the same as living 10 minutes outside the center

Not everyone gets the pleasure of enjoying their weekends off like I previously had assumed, hence the fact of why I was babysitting on a Saturday

Not all french kids are brought up spoiled and fortunate as it may have come across in the beginning. I think this has to do with the area I am currently living in as well, as it’s a wealthy community.

As much as having the ability to buy fresh produce, cheese and baguettes from the market is amazing, it actually isn’t feasible for everyone to do.

The best part of my day was by the far the least expected when I had initially made the choice to babysit.

It came when I realized how much of an impact simply making a child smile can be. When the child begs you to stay and wants you to come everyday and be their “nounou” simply because you played soccer with them and showed interest in their happiness; That’s better than any kind of money can buy.

I’ll be honest, I saw that there was a family needing a babysitter and since I was free, I figured hey! It will be a good way to get some extra cash” when the end of the day came, the money didn’t matter.

The fact that I had made a child happy was more than I could have asked for.

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9 things I will take home with me from Paris 

And I don’t mean physical souvenirs…

It may only be a 8 hour flight away from home but the lifestyle I’ve lived in France has been a complete 180 change.
My year abroad taught me a lot in many ways than just one. Health wise I can tell you that they live a much healthier lifestyle than we do in Canada, well at least in my household. I was fortunate to live with a wealthier family in the suburbs of Paris so saying that all Parisians live this way is not correct but was still eye opening.
1. Meals should be enjoyed together with family and friends and never rushed. 
This was something that was actually on my contract when I signed it – that I would stay for dinner during the week nights and we would have a sit down dinner to discuss the day. I’ll be honest, in the beginning I hated it, simply because it was change but now I look forward to supper time, and no not only because I know there will be cheese and fresh bread!
 

2. Weekends are for relaxing, whatever that may mean to you.  

Sundays at my house in Canada  were the busiest day of the week. We would run from sport to sport and then be back for work only in time to start another work week. Here in Paris, it’s rare if the family leaves the house on Sunday and dedicate the day to family time and relaxation.

 

3. It’s okay to eat chocolate, cake and candy everyday. 

The french may be known for being slender but that doesn’t mean that they don’t indulge in their pastries. When 4 o clock rolls around that means gouter and it’s never carrot sticks and hummus but more like a croissant or multiple macarons. They indulge but they know when to stop.

 

4. Make once, eat for the week.

I can’t speak for the french as a whole but the family I lived with would successfully make a meal on a Sunday or Monday night that would last 2-3 days afterwards, making for easy mornings. What surprised me was that it wasn’t considered work for them; they didn’t even write down what they were going to make and then eat for the rest of the week. It was almost like it was second nature.

5. Food should be bought as fresh and as local as possible, and if not local than organic.

The markets in Europe are by far my favorite place to spend a Saturday morning. Nothing can compare to the endless stand of of fresh local produce or the pizza that is made right in front of your eyes. I’m not quite sure how I thought delissio was even considered the least bit tasteful all my life. I guess that emphasizes that we really don’t know what else is out there in the world unless we explore for ourselves.

 

6. Coffee is a luxury rather than a necessity. 

Luxury meaning that coffee should be enjoyed with friends, with a good book or along side a warm bowl of oatmeal instead of a 5 times a day drive through purchase. I look forward to the days when I sit myself down in a cute cafe with my Ipad and a fresh cup of coffee, even if it may be double what I’m used to paying. I’ve learnt that experiences are worth the extra splurge once in a while.

 

7. Having to travel an hour to get somewhere is no excuse. 

If I want to get anywhere in Paris it typically will take me 30 mins to an hour depending on the metro, but that doesn’t seem to stop me. I don’t know how many times in the past I turned down meeting up with friends or going out simply because I had to drive 30 mins to the big city of New Minas. Now that I put it into a comparison with my life here, a half an hour drive is manageable to say the least.

 

 8. Friends will come and go

I love meeting new people but sadly it seems that as fast as they come into my life they disappear, especially when you meet them on your travels. In the past I was always so focused on creating bonds with people who were physically around me. Now I find myself proactively wanting to reach out and connect with as many possible people as I can even if I know that I may not see them ever again. There’s been plenty of people that I’ve met this year alone that have become a part of my life for a short time and sadly have left but instead of thinking about it negatively, I’ve begun to see what I gained from that relationship.

9. Travel is the best education

When we hear the word education it’s usually being referred to as the type of information that we learn in a classroom. For 17 years I was in a classroom and I can honestly say that I’ve taken in more information this year than I would’ve by continuing school. Now this isn’t to say that education isn’t important because I know that I wouldn’t be here unless I hadn’t of learnt what I had in school but by travelling I’ve been able to see a whole new side of learning, that I’ve grown to love. With every new city I see and every new person that I meet along the way I end up gaining knowledge that I didn’t have before. Travelling has allowed me to find out more about myself than every before, and honestly that’s been the greatest reward of all.

This year has changed me; I know that’s for sure, and even though soon enough I’ll have to go back to my hometown, I don’t plan on ever returning to my old lifestyle. That’s not to say I wasn’t happy living the way I was, because I’m a firm believer that my past has lead me to be where and who I am today. Every experience that I’ve done in my life I’ve taken at least something from and used in my own life, which is exactly what I will do after this.

The Power of Friendship Abroad

The best days always end up being the times when we have no set plans, no time limit and no care in the world, am i right?

Today was one of those days.

In fact, it seems that every time I meet up with Julie (my beautiful Danish friend for all of you who aren’t aware) we end up discovering something new and exciting, or at the very least enjoy the time we spend together.

I traveled abroad alone; was I scared?

To be honest not really.. Which really assured me that I was making the right choice in making the big leap across the ocean. I mean of course the fear of jumping on a plane alone and coming to a foreign country to live with a family who I didn’t have a clue would even be at the airport to pick me up is normal…. Instead of allowing that fear to change my outlook on the adventure I chose to be optimistic and to trust that everything would work out.

and you know what, it did.  

8 months ago, after only being in Paris for a week, I wrote on the “Au pair in Paris” Facebook group looking for someone to explore the city with, so I wouldn’t be alone. I received a reply from a Danish girl, and we decided to meet up on Pont de Alexandre III, which is probably one of the prettiest in Paris I must say.

Truth be told that day must have ended pretty well because here we are 8 months later and she’s become my best friend.

Did we know what we we doing today?

Nope.

Did we have a great day?

Probably one of the best since I’ve been here.

Julie and I are the queens of wandering aimlessly around Paris and finding the most interesting things to do. We came across a chocolate museum so we paid the hefty 8.50 to get in and come to find out, even for to see how chocolate was made. Better yet, there were samples, which let’s be honest, would make any girl happy.

The beans were used as currency and 10 would buy you a rabbit!  

Mustache cup!  

Selfies were needed      

 we were in need of coffee which didn’t actually happen for another two hours after as we made our way towards the seine. Oh! We even found a street with prostitutes in broad daylight. Don’t think we’ll be going back down that street anytime soon.

We grabbed some peanut butter danish bread and coffee and made our way to the Tuileries Gardens for some much needed relaxation, sun tanning, and some much needed girl talk. I mean we’re girls would you expect anything else?

Our day ended at the very same bridge that we met for the first time 8 months ago.

Little did I know the great friendships that would come from choosing to come to Paris. Honestly I had no expectations on what this year would bring but what I’ve been able to experience and take in already has been beyond anything that money could ever buy.

One thing that I’ve realized is that when you’re more flexible and allow life to work itself out for itself, incredible things happen.

I’ve evolved.

I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

My smile is once again real.