View of Manhattan skyline from Williamsburg
First off, I would just like to apologize for the ridiculous delay in posting - between long hours at work, looking for an apartment and exploring one of the most dynamic cities on the planet, I realized recently that I was totally neglecting my beloved blog!
I have been living in New York City for 17 days (but who's counting?) And I think one of the things that has surprised me the most about my experience so far, is how easily I feel like I've adjusted to the city.
Don't get me wrong - I still get confused on the subway and ask people for directions constantly. But that sensation of being completely overwhelmed and engulfed by the city that I was expecting to experience hasn't really happened to me (yet.)
I think this is in part because I went immediately from living in one massive city to living in another. Although Paris is completely different from New York in so many ways, at the end of the day, a city is a city. I was already used to managing crowds on the subway, dealing with obnoxious tourists and being forced to walk around in terrible weather (one of these days I will live somewhere with no snow and no humidity...) So overall, the transition has been relatively smooth.
(That being said, I also have yet to venture above 29th street, which means I've managed to avoid some of the busiest corners of New York. Let's see how long I can keep that up...)
I'm still very new to the city, and it will take a while for me to really grasp the core differences between New York and Paris. But going off my initial first few weeks, I would say one of the big things I've noticed right off the bat is that there is an openness about New York (and New Yorkers) that I didn't always find in Paris (or from Parisians.)
Would Parisian restaurants serve plates w/ S&M mice?
I feel like in New York, anything goes. You can basically wear what you want, say what you want, eat what you want, whenever you want to. (I will admit, I love the 24/7 accessibility of New York - no need to sprint to catch the last subway at 1:30am!).
While in Paris I got stares for drinking out of my aluminum water bottle or for taking off my coat on the bus, here in New York a person could walk onto a subway car naked and I doubt anyone would bat an eye lash.
Living in Paris, I constantly felt the need to blend in, attempt to appear French as best I could and avoid standing out. In New York, I really feel a sense of freedom that I've never felt in any other city. New York has always thrived on being such a melting pot of people and has created an environment where, if anything, it's better to stand out in a crowd than to blend in.
Do not fear fellow francophiles - I still think that Paris is arguably the most beautiful city in the world, and I think of it fondly every day. But so far, I will admit, I can see why people fall in love with New York so easily. Although it's still too soon to tell how my feelings for this city will ultimately develop, I'm looking forward to finding out.
When I initially arrived in Paris last fall, I was expecting to stay for at least 15 months.
That all changed when I was offered a full-time job...
...in New York City.
So my glamorous life as a graduate student living in Paris has been cut short, to begin work with a company that I have long followed and admired.
As excited as I am to embark on this new adventure, tackle a new city, and be closer to my friends and family living on the East Coast, my departure is bittersweet. I have lived in France several other times, but this time has certainly been the longest, and I finally felt like a true "adult" making my way around this phenomenal city.
Despite the things that drive all us expats crazy (the crowds, the tourists, the rudeness, the dog feces, etc), I think we can all admit that there is still something magical about Paris - there is really no other place like it.
I will miss the croissants, the markets, the macarons, the cobble-stone covered side streets, the wine, the three hour-long lunches, the French sense of humor, the strikes...I will miss it all.
Aside from missing the city, I will of course also miss the fabulous friends I've made during my time abroad. I feel as though I now have family in so many corners of the world, from New Orleans to San Francisco to London to Kenya (all of whom are welcome to crash on my couch in my future tiny, over-priced apartment in New York!)
Although my time in Paris has been cut short, I have so many wonderful memories from the past eight months that I know will stay with me as I attempt to adjust to the crazy Manhattan lifestyle.
I still plan to keep up Ma Vie en Franglais, although I do apologize if there is a limited number of posts in the next month or so as I get settled back in the states.
I truly believe that hints of French culture can be found in any city around the world, and New York is no exception. The focus of the blog will clearly have to be adjusted, as I will no longer have Paris as a backdrop, but I am convinced my "vie en franglais" will follow me wherever I go.
I hope you all will continue reading, and join me on this exciting new adventure!