A few nights ago, I gathered with my friends to begin my final week in Paris. It was a wonderful night of wonderful things- despite the bar I wanted to go to trying to cancel my reservation earlier that day (there was a big soccer game on, which I obviously did not know!). The bar is the place where the Canadian Ex Pat Meetup group meets, and having met many friends there, I definitely wanted to go back one more time. I suppose I could have chosen a night when Paris St. Germain weren’t playing Manchester United, but OH WELL. I enjoyed yelling “SPORTS” whenever people cheered for something.
Several of my wonderful friends came to see me off (and one of them even bought my dinner without me knowing, the sneak!) and it was fun to introduce my friends to each other and watch them learn about each other.
My newly found sister also baked me a cake! I was (and continue to be) thrilled!
As we were eating and drinking and being generally awesome, I also read out the following lists of what I will and won’t miss about Paris and what I am or am not looking forward to upon my return to Canada. I thought I would share this list with you all now, in no particular order!
Things I Won’t Miss about Paris
- Cigarettes- Everyone smokes everywhere. People will light up while on an escalator from the metro to the outside. They can’t even wait!
- L’administration- I know I said no particular order, but this has got to be number one. The endless paperwork has been a drain on my energy since the very day I arrived, and no matter what I do, I always do it wrong somehow! Thrilled to be done with all the paperwork!
- Rude Waiters- Most of them are fine, though none of them have that desperate “oh my gosh how are you please tip me so I can eat” North American Server Vibe of Desperation. But some waiters straight up judge you. I had one guy scoff and call me a princess for ordering a hot chocolate once. It was not nice.
- Constant Harassment- So harassment is everywhere, but here there are just so many people you encounter it constantly. I will be happy to be away from the constant staring, judgements of my body/appearance, and weird prayers said to my legs. Also the requests for threesomes. Those are extremely awkward.
- Dog Crap- Paris is famous for the amount of dog doo that is left on the sidewalk and it is absolutely true! You really have to watch your step. On that note-
- Pee Puddles- There are many things that pee on the streets or in the metros of Paris. You just never know what that liquid may be!
- Gilets Jaunes- These folks have ruined Saturday for everyone else. It’s hard to get around the centre and tons of local businesses are losing sales because of these protests that aren’t really for anything!
- La Bise (for large groups)- It’s sorta cute and fun to do la bise at first- but when I walk into a room with 30 people in it I’m not going to greet them all with two kisses! Heck, even in groups of five I can’t be bothered. Just wave and move on!
- Terrifying Drivers- Bad drivers are everywhere. But Paris is particularly terrifying when you’re in a car with someone. They’ll do reckless things so casually you’ll feel like screaming at them.
- The Expensive Food- A decent meal simply costs too much here. I mean, everything is expensive. But the food expense I will not miss!
- Switching Languages All The Time- It’s very exhausting to do this. As much as I love being able to speak French, going back and forth in quick succession tires me out!
- Explaining what Saskatoon is and Enduring Jokes About It- So my go-to phrase when I say “Saskatoon” and people go “huh?” is “it’s in the middle” but you’d be surprised at how often people just laugh when I say Saskatoon! They make fun of the name, but they enjoy learning about its origin and also about how cold it gets!!
- Pollution- The sky in Paris gets pretty gross. The couple of times it snowed I had to remind myself not to catch any snowflakes because they would be full of pollutants from the air. Definitely won’t miss that!
Things I Will Miss About Paris
Tap Class- I take tap every Monday night here in a class for advanced adults. Saskatoon just doesn’t have the same type of class for adults with a lot of experience on offer! Plus my teacher is the greatest and I will be grateful to her forever. She has a saying- no tap class without lipstick. That’s all you need to know to understand how incredible she is.
Culture Everywhere- Simply walking down the street in Paris exposes you to so many things- architecture, galleries, theatres, museums, artisanal shops... you can really expand your mind in 1,000 different ways
Beautiful Architecture- Paris is one of the prettier cities you will visit (okay admittedly they went through a phase in the 70s that was not their best move, but you can just ignore those “modern” buildings)
The Paris Stories- I didn’t know this until after I moved here, but all of my favourite stories take place (at least partly) in Paris. Favourite musical? Les Misérables. Favourite movie? Moulin Rouge. Favourite Disney film? Hunchback of Notre Dame. Favourite non-Disney animation? Anastasia. All these stories were about places and people that I thought of as fantasy. And yet, I’ve visited all those places. I’ve stood before them (or inside them) and felt this incredible feeling of living out my fairy tale. I’m going to miss that feeling.
Easy Public Transport- Paris’ Metro system is the best I’ve been on. Despite all the problems with it, and all the strikes I’ve had to deal with in these two years, I wish desperately that getting around Saskatoon was half as simple. I’m still writing a play about the metro, by the way. It will just take time.
Le Cafe des Chats- This is my favourite restaurant because, you guessed it, there are cats! The food is also excellent. I filled up a few loyalty cards in my time in Paris because of how often I went. I’m going to miss the kitties and the atmosphere there.
Burlesque- teaching burlesque in Paris for nearly two years has been such a joy, but there’s no way I can continue to teach what I have been. So I am sad to see this go. But I do want to work up my own number some time soon, so hopefully I won’t be saying goodbye entirely.
All My Friends- As My Little Pony has taught me- Friendship is Magic. I am going to miss my friends a lot. They are so so wonderful. Making friends in a new country is hard, and I think that proves how powerful all of my connections made here are.
Things I am Looking Forward to In Canada
Food! (Goldfish crackers, good pickles, chocolate milk, saltine crackers, etc.)- I know Paris has great food, but the foods and snacks from my childhood that I love are all waiting for me back home. I can’t wait!
Friends- I have many friends in Saskatoon who I have missed and I am so excited to be able to see them again and spend a ton of time with them and make art with them.
More Artistic/Musical Theatre Opportunities- Theatre is so much easier to make and be in when you are connected to the people and the culture around it. I’m glad that I have some auditions to look forward to!
Speaking My First Language All The Time- Like I said earlier, constantly switching would exhaust me, and now I don’t have to do it! Huzzah!
Family- It will be great to be close to my family again. It can be stressful to be far away from your parents (moreso for them than for me though!) and I’m really looking forward to seeing them.
Space- The apartments in Canada are going to feel huge. The vastness of the prairie around is going to be mind boggling. I can’t wait to really be able to see the sky again.
Cheapness- France is too freaking expensive! I can’t wait to pay a reasonable price for an apartment.
Free Refills- It may be a small thing, but sugar is my only vice. So I really will appreciate being able to only pay $2 for a few glasses of Coke- because in France I once paid $12 for a single can (fancy bar, business meeting, cheapest thing on the menu, consumption required. Oy!)
Bilbo- Bilbo is the family cat and I am so happy that I can spend more time with him now. I was worried that I maybe wouldn’t see him again (he’s an old boy), but now I definitely will!
Things I am Not Looking Forward to in Canada
Distance- One of the best things about France has been the easy access to all of Europe (and even just other French cities) through the train system. I love to travel and I am sad that it’s so much harder to do so in Canada.
Bad Public Transit- Not only is the bus system in our city not great, but as I was alluding to earlier, getting to other cities was hard when I left. Since then, the intercity busses have stopped running, so I imagine it’s worse, or next to impossible now. What a foolish decision to get rid of this service!
Winter- Yeah I am not a fan of winter and cold. It was great to be in a city where snow was a rare occurance.
Have I left anything off my list? What do you think about your home or new country? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear about it!