One of the best, honest and appreciative essay about life abroad by journalist Olga Kotrus, author of unique walks in Paris. < Website published an article by Olga unabridged.
Only fools never change their mind, - says my boyfriend for whom I have moved three years ago from Ukraine to France. And he is certainly right. It is impossible not to change at least a little, when you change a way of life to another.
The daily routine, everyday habits - just a drop in the sea of all that was suddenly different. Last Sunday I was sitting near the playground in the Luxembourg Gardens - watched as the beautiful, tall guys play basketball. And suddenly I caught myself thinking that three years ago, my weekends were quite different, otherwise I had breakfast, walked on other routes, and, more than that - looked at the world with different eyes.
This text - my conditional trait that we can sum up under one of the defining moments of my life - the decision to move abroad. So, ten things that I learned from the French.
1. Being polite always, everywhere, all - how to breathe h3> I do not remember that I ever was boorish or rude to strangers. Saying "hello" and "thank you," I was taught as a child, and for me it is a constant. But only after I move:
- began to apologize when his leg in transport come to me;
- do not just say "goodbye" to sellers, waiters and postmen, but also wish everyone "good evening / good day / excellent weekend »;
- to greet and say goodbye to the neighbors with an interval of 45 seconds, when we go in the elevator;
- use polysyllabic (multilayer?) apology« pardon-excusez-moi », because that one word, obviously, not enough for a total of politeness;
- to skip at the checkout supermarket those with a bottle of water and a bag of apples, when I have the goods on one hundred euro;
- to greet residents the county in which I live, even if I do not know them (of course, I do not know), but we all somehow secretly neighbors.
2. Always demand more and better. And yet - be brisk with waiters h3> Anyone who has lived in France for at least a couple of years, will tell you that with the service at the local big problems. Well, they are not able to come to the consumer so that he felt like the king of the party, whether it is buying a sofa, a glass of chardonnay or "Bentley". And about French waiters and all you can compose the sinister legends. Many of them began like this: "His icy indifference could chop into pieces and thrown into a cocktail ... if he even brought it." I do not hesitate to attract attention at the table arm raised high, reminding that "nearing midnight, and the first all there is," and do not leave a tip if the service kind of was, but at the same time was not .
3. Buy food in the market, meat, cheese, fruits and vegetables - in specialized shops h3> Market in France - almost like a small open-air museum (I wrote about one of the most beautiful of them here). Food is so beautiful, clean and so photogenic lined on the shelves, almost smiling at you. In short, a trip to the market here - it's a pleasant event, rather than a duty. Supermarkets, on the background of pale and huddled in the corners, though, vegetable departments in them is also very cool. But the market - it's a different story ... The atmosphere fragrances - when, after all seen and bought back home, ready with great pleasure. Supermarkets do not inspire.
4. Go for food with a cart, basket, durable, reusable bag or cloth bag h3> Conventional plastic or plastic bags here, of course, also sold. And people take them at the checkout counter in stores. But it is likely to happen when you've forgotten to take out of the house one of the above items. There is no habit each time to drag home a new package if you can buy one and use it lasting a year or two. And if to be a large-scale purchase, people take with a trolley, which in Ukraine called "kravchuchkami." For us, they remained an echo of a certain time, a certain "grandmother" attribute. And here they are at all. And sold everywhere. Bright, beautiful, with pictures or plain, two ordinary wheels or on special, which is convenient to go up the stairs. I - red. She is my boyfriend marker wrote: «See me rollin!» And the baskets - three. And I understand Jane Birkin - it's the most comfortable bag that you can imagine.
5. Stop being afraid of the age, to respect old age, because it can and should be beautiful h3> In short - the French pensioners looking at, you just stop being afraid that once you will be 70, and all of life's joys for you over. Because here people of all ages do not forbid myself to enjoy life and savor every day. It does not matter to them 50, 65 or 80.
6. Planning a vacation in advance. Very beforehand. That is very, very advance h3> This summer, the circumstances were such that I and my French did not know until recently, in exactly what date will rest. Therefore, book accommodation and tickets are almost sitting on their suitcases. It's something out of the ordinary. Because here adopted deal with the summer vacation somewhere in February. The only way you can choose the most advantageous offer, save on air travel and, finally, just to save a couple of hundred of thousands of nerve cells, without delay such an important matter for later.
7. Enjoy the moment. Not in a hurry. Appreciate your right is the rest. To be able to relax h3> So, what I'm saying, is best illustrated by the ability of the French to drink one glass of wine on the terrace of a cafe for an hour (that's what I do at the pictures in the post title). And just - dinner for four hours. People at the table talking, tell stories, share experiences, but gossip, finally. Food and alcohol - is accompanied by celebration of life, which they arrange themselves every day. How to spend an unforgettable day? - Carry out and memorize it. That's about it. Do not run, do not fuss, do everything measured. Everything is done with pleasure.
8. Always keep in the refrigerator for several kinds of cheese and a bottle of white wine h3> Someone keeps red. Not in the refrigerator. But the permutation of terms, as they say ... I've always loved the cheese, but only after moving to Paris to see how different, unexpected and delicious it can be. Cheese plate - is the answer to all the questions when I'm too lazy to cook, when suddenly came to visit when you need to figure out a snack for watching movies ... just like when. And where cheese and wine there.
9. Dress up and use cosmetics, primarily for yourself h3> But here it is not only moving, but also in growing up as such. 20 and 27 years - a different look and approach to it. Different perceptions of femininity, attractiveness and promise that is in your manner of dress, painted and comb. A bonus in the form of acquaintance with European relaxation and ease in this matter, in my opinion, the best thing that can happen to a woman who grew up in a patriarchal culture. In a society where women are supposed to dress so as to be attractive to men. Where is her appearance priori to be tuned for live bait fishing. Europeans, by contrast, want to be attractive to you. And they want to keep your feet do not hurt, so - hello, flat sole, beautiful shoes, ballet flats refined and so on. With the make-up is the same story. Emphasize the best - yes. Dorisovyvat new - no.
10. Thanks for the incredible beauty around and a huge opportunity, which gives life in France h3> Even if you will not leave Paris. Even if you spend all weekend here, all holidays and vacations. It's like an endless pit, art, history, aesthetics, taste and discoveries. And if you travel ... all of the cost of tickets for loukost and there is no need to do a Schengen visa, each time gives a fantastic feeling that you could hug the whole world and not to drown while in the depths of bureaucracy.
formula by which one way or another all immigrants live (if they are, of course, grateful people for life), is: do not forget their roots and be grateful for the opportunities.
France, thank you.