If you're thinking of moving abroad, whether it is to study or just to experience new things, don't be scared. Go for it!
I'm not going to lie and say it'll be easy and that you won't have bad days. Days where the only thing you want to do is hop on a plane and be back home, in the comfort of your bed and your mom’s cooking, or simply the warm weather and sunny days you kind of took for granted back then.
Don't get me wrong I'm no expert, and this is all just coming from personal experience, but I know it would've helped to at least read about these things before flying off.
Living abroad, your priorities change, and the things you used to care about transform just as much as you do. Just like you, the luggage you'll carry changes, but that's the fun of it all. Before, I used to care about nothing but school, everything else was pretty much settled: food, housing etc. all taken care of. Cooking for myself wasn’t really a necessity, or paying bills, and I didn’t know much on how to finance a budget meant to last you a month and not just two weeks (lesson now learned, promise). There weren't that many worries back then. But then suddenly the minute you leave, you feel like everything gets thrown at you.
Now you find yourself reminiscing a lot. Thinking about all those times you imagined what growing up was like and realizing how wrong and naive you were.
In the blink of an eye you find yourself lost in the “adult” world, and it’s terrifying. And you think to yourself “why didn’t anyone teach me any of this?”, even though chances are deep down someone did and you knew this was coming, but weren’t ready to accept it. Bills, bank procedures, buying food, motivating yourself to go to Uni, are just a few of the things that become a part of your daily routine. You start to collect items, experiences and memories of all sorts. Relationships change, and go from seeing the same people everyday, to meeting new people everyday, often in a foreign language. Traditions evolve, and the ways in which you do certain things do too.
Over these past two and a half years, I‘ve built friendships and relationships that are now scattered all over the globe, adapted and integrated what I grew up with with the ways of the French, and have had to get use to leaving some things behind.
Coming to Paris, I left behind the group of friends I grew up with. Some stayed in Mexico and others came to France but are in different cities. They are like family to me, so meeting new people abroad was strange at the beginning. But now, not only have I kept the relationships I had, but I also made new ones that have gotten me to where I am today. I’ve gotten attached to people, places, activities, traditions and routines that are now a big part of my life. There’s just one catch behind all of it.These things won’t always be a part of it.
As soon as I leave France and go back to Mexico everything changes, and I go back to old routines. I'm constantly adapting, and this is just a little part of the experience. The more you get to know of the world, the more your mind-set about certain things will change. You learn, and you definitely won't like everything you experience. There'll be days where the distance will hit you harder than expected, others where realizing that not everyone around the world has the opportunity to do what you've done will make you reconsider the path you want to take. You’ll have to fight the urge to give up more than ever, and find the balance between your idea of “freedom” and being responsible with the opportunities you’re given.
But after a while, the days where you feel ready and settled will out grow those of fear and incertitude, and you’ll accept with a little bit more ease whatever this journey throws at you. So, if you feel like going abroad might be the right thing for you, just keep an open mind and get started!
How often do you just stop and look around you? Are you are a part of those who are constantly analysing? Wondering what the guy in the front is listening to, or why the lady across the street is trying to avoid any human contact at all costs?
Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware that there are some places where doing this might not be ideal. A restaurant for example, because let’s be honest here, no one likes to be watched eating. But nonetheless, me, being a part of this group of people, I can’t help but feel amazed by those surrounding me whether I’m at the mall, the park, a store or the metro. Living in Paris though, this isn’t necessarily the best trait of personality one can have.
See the thing is Paris, as most big cities, comes with a set of unspoken rules. Rules no one tells you about before coming, but that you acknowledge the more time you spend here. And probably the biggest one out of them all is: DON’T STARE. I’m serious, for some reason, Parisians feel really uncomfortable when they make eye contact with somebody. So needless to say, because of this the metro ends up being quite an interesting experience.
Out of all the places in Paris, the metro is probably the one with the most unspoken rules:
Among all of these, you should always keep in mind the whole not staring thing. Looking at the others in the metro it’s a particularly awkward situation. But allow me let you in on a little secret: if you do it for long enough, something changes.
People are just afraid of what others are thinking of them, which is completely normal. But at the end of the day, metro journeys can be quite boring. Which is why, I gave up on such rule pretty early on after moving here. There’s also the fact that back home, people don’t really care if you look at them and might actually smile back most of the time, so I find it really amusing now, watching the different stages people go through after they realize I won’t look away.
It usually starts with a really awkward/angry stare, that then goes into a confusing glare, ending on them realising nothing actually happens if you maintain eye contact with an other human being. Now there are obviously different reactions depending on the person, time of the day, etc. But at the end of the day, who doesn’t like to be noticed? Imagining the story behind the mask it’s all part of the fun isn’t it?
So, if you’re planning on coming to Paris, but feel intimidated by the stories of how everyone’s in their own world, keep in mind that we are all curious to look around, but most Parisians don’t dare.
If you are reading this, congratulations! Somehow, somewhere, in the mix of all the things you had to do today, you managed to find your way to the WUTAS blog. A blog... Now, out of all the things I saw myself doing, this was never one of them. Having people read what I write has just always been a scary concept for me, but hey! There's a first time for everything right?
I'm not going to lie though, it took me a while to build up the courage to start this. And, as I'm sitting here in my room writing this, I keep wondering why?
I believe that there's always a bit of fear of the unknown when you share something that has a meaning to you. But, as I said before, I finally feel ready to do this, so lets's give it a try!
Anyways, I'm sure that my anxiety will get better as I go. But as for right now, I'll leave this one a little short.
'Till next time! xxx