by Melinda Gallo

Adapting to life in Paris

Being in Paris is a big change of pace for me. My life in Florence is generally much slower and calmer. It took me a few days to adapt to life here. Besides having to commute to work, having a set time to work each day, speaking French, not seeing the sun until 8am, and, of course, not spending time my marito (husband) and suoceri (in-laws). On the other hand, I am extremely fortunate to have many friends here with whom I have reconnected.

Iím not used to commuting to and from work since I generally work from home. In Paris, I have to deal with the commute traffic in the mťtro to and from work. After so many years working solo, I have however enjoyed being in an office again. I usually only email people and rarely see anyone, so itís a big change for me. One of the greatest perks is that every day I eat lunch with my colleagues.

One of the biggest changes is that I have made is that I speak French, and not Italian, all around me. It has been 15 years since I last spoke French on a daily basis. Since I moved to Florence, I had to set aside my French so I could learn Italian. When I first arrived in Paris, an Italian word would pop out of my mouth while I was trying to speak French. It took me a few days to get back into the language and then I realized that I was talking to myself in French again. Living here again has brought my French back to the forefront, and Iím enjoying it. French was my first love. After studying it in university and then moving to Paris, I never thought I would leave France. When I did, I always assumed that Iíd return until I moved to Florence in 1997. What was only supposed to be three months turned out to be eight years.

Every night this week, I have been exhausted by the many changes. After sleeping in this weekend, I ended up seeing more people than I did the city itself. I also took the mťtro a lot to take me everywhere I needed to go. Meeting up with people whom I havenít seen in many years was a true joy for me too.

This trip has reminded me a lot about a part of myself that I set aside. The part of me that loves all things French, loves speaking French, and loves living in Paris. Iím so fortunate to have this opportunity to be here for brief stays for work. I couldnít ask for a better way to reacquaint myself with Paris and the French part of me that Iíve kept at bay for so long.

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