Parisian Culture: Director’s Cut

Many of us have this idea or image of Parisian culture and lifestyle. Even I’ve had my own judgements and opinions about Parisian culture and what I expected it to be like. There is a big difference with picturing it in your head and seeing it in real life. Paris is nothing like I have imagined. To be honest, I never really had a clear image about Paris. Everyday I’m here I meet another side of myself that I unveil. The way I perceive things here such as: the places, the food, the people, and the atmosphere. To live in Paris is challenging and very exhausting. I’ve never lived on my own; I’ve never had roommates. Although I’m only here for three weeks, I’ve never really had to deal so extensively with a language barrier – At least it felt extensive. Like anything and anywhere, there are pros and cons. I fell in love with Paris for its history that still roams the streets. The architecture with such precise detail that surrounds the city. It’s so different from home it is my home for the time being.

I’ve been trying my best to fit into the Parisian culture. It’s starting to become a bit of a shock because the longer I’m here the more uncomfortable I feel. I now understand why people get homesick. The Parisians view the world very differently. They are very independent, very serious, and very complex. They display many other qualities as well, but for me these are the ones that stand out. I try to imitate the Parisian lifestyle to view the world from their eyes. I admire that they take great pride in their food, to them it’s an artwork. I noticed that they don’t show a lot of emotion, especially on the metro. The metro is a place of seriousness and silence. Rarely do people talk or laugh on the metro. It’s a place to think and reflect on life, but not share it. The people are different here. I don’t think they like it when I speak English. It seems like they have a different mindset I guess – I forgive them anyways. The sky is the most unpredictable entity in Paris so far. It can’t make up its mind as to whether it wants to rain, hail or be sunny. It’s quite an adjustment since I come from a place of what is known as “perfect weather”. People never really appreciate what they have until they experience places elsewhere.

I have to understand that I’m not the only one with judgements or opinions. I’m not the only one with stories that have been presented to me or need be told. The Parisians seem to walk the city comfortably alone. They are comfortable in their own skin. The women are very natural with their beauty. Majority of them wear little to no makeup and let their natural hair rest freely on their shoulders. The men dress as if they are going on a first date with the girl of their dreams. I was told by a Parisian woman that they dress to impress because it is a sign of self-respect. I liked that.

Everything I was ever taught back home, majority doesn’t exist here in Paris. The way I act publicly, the way I view life, and the structure of life I was raised in. I’m not saying I was raised the wrong way or that my culture is inferior or superior than that of others. I’m saying that there is a whole other world out there. There are many others like them that I still haven’t encountered. Ethics of life and self are different wherever you go. People think that traveling and living in a different country is great and easy going. The part that they don’t see or have lack of understanding is the raw experience. It’s not all rainbows and unicorns when you travel. Taking that first step out of your comfort zone is difficult and not everyone is going to be your friend. It’s the way you react to whatever life throws at you that determines how you become the change the world needs.

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