On the 4th of July it will be exactly a year since I arrived in Paris and it is looking increasingly likely that at the end of July my flatmate and I will have to move out of our apartment. This calls for all sorts of potentially life changing decisions to be made. Moving to another apartment in Paris, in July as well, would be so hellish due to the heat, the multiple flights of stairs and the organisation it would probably be less stressful to move back to the UK. However, this alone is not a good enough reason to do so.
I certainly don’t dread going to work in Paris like I used to in London but, having said that, it doesn’t take long for my mood to plummet proportionally according to the number of fresh orange juices, café au laits and milkshakes I have to make. On top of this I’m not exactly furthering my career but I’m not prepared to justify my career choices to some starched collared executive at a big corporate firm in London so I’m not too concerned about that. The thought of returning to a stifled office and career obsessed colleagues from 9am – 5pm is terrifying. Sunday nights would, once again, be accompanied by the ‘Sunday horrors’ at the prospect of another week in the office and my time would be spent ironing five work shirts and polishing my shoes. No thank you very much. I’d much rather be where I am for the moment.
The colleagues at Breakfast in America continue to be among some of the nicest I have ever worked with. The atmosphere is open, relaxed and friendly and I am continually amazed at how fast the days go by. Ian, who I have written about before, together with his girlfriend Lisa and Bobby, one of the chefs, have become good friends of mine and we regularly go to Ian’s pub quiz on Sunday nights. Ian is the kind of person who will get steaming drunk and shave all his hair off but is, in fact, hugely intelligent. We have spent many an evening discussing all manner of philosophical topics such as religion, politics and literature. He and Lisa make the perfect couple – I never know any of the answers to his quiz questions but she gets lots and claims it is not a result of her general knowledge but her knowledge of Ian himself that allows her to divine the answer. These kinds of personalities are so far removed from those I encountered at my office job in London that, together with the type of work and lifestyle on offer in the UK, they provide a solid argument for staying in Paris. On top of this my French continues to improve.
Learning a language is a funny business. I’ll go through plateaus of struggling with simple phrases, verb conjugations and tenses and then, suddenly, I’ll notice a vast improvement and find myself having a perfectly normal conversation, using all the correct tenses, as I would in English. I joke with the customers in the restaurant, speak naturally on the phone and give updates en masse to the people standing in the queue as to how long the wait will be.
So, really, I’m no closer now to deciding what I should do in July than I was at the start of this entry. Any advice would be very much appreciated. In the meantime, perhaps I’ll do a pro and con list.