Monday, January 18, 2010

A post about France, to change things up a little

This weekend I got sucked into the suck pit of Facebook stalking. It started out innocently enough, and eventually turned into a full scale, internet-wide stalking of people I know in France. Let me specify that I was stalking French people I know in France, so don't get too excited France-dwelling anglophone readers. It was a huge, epic, legendary stalking experience. You can find out a lot about people even if you only know minimal information about them, like their first name, hobbies, and town in which they live. It's kind of creepy.

Anyway, obviously France is on my mind a lot these days, not only because I really enjoyed my time there, miss being there, and was hoping to be there again this year, but also because France is this magical place where I wasn't sick and was an independent adult, working, making money, paying my bills.

I wonder sometimes if I did enough while I was in France to meet French people and integrate into life in my town. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with the people I knew and the things I did. Despite the notorious difficulty that anglophones have making friends with French people, I did make friends and go out and do things, but I wonder sometimes if it might have been different, if there was an alternate life I could have led with other people.

There definitely are other people who I could have met and hung out with, but I really can't think of any ways that I could have met them. I joined a choir, I took a pottery class. I could have joined other clubs but those were the ones that interested me, and I didn't have unlimited time, I did have to work and make lesson plans. I was friendly with the teachers I worked with, who were all at least ten years older than me with families. I went out with the two teachers who were close to my age or single and made friends through them. I explored the town on foot all the time, I went to local festivals and music events. I suppose what I regret is that there are some people who I knew casually and wish I had been closer to.

Overall I'm happy with the ways things were. I guess it's just human nature to wonder what if....

10 comments:

Zhu said...

It sounds kind of sill, but I remember complaining during my first few years in Canada: "but I don't know any Canadians!"

It takes a while to make friends abroad.

I can count as half a French friend if you want (100% friend, only half French now, that is).

What did you like in Paris? I'm very curious because er... I have always hated this city. I just don't feel right when I'm there. Not sure why...

Monique said...

Man, I'm always thinking about going back. How I don't know how else I could live in a foreign country anymore and actually make a decent amount of money.

The whole teaching thing was cool, but I want to do something more than that!

And I always am thinking about going back. You're not alone!

Leesa said...

Hey Mir....


Haha!! I can just imagine you lurking around FB and stalking the people you knew... haha!! Crack me up... Sooo... let's see.. HCG? Was he on the list, too?

I know what you mean about wanting to know people more... I have a lot of French friends whom I really like a lot, but the trouble is we all work and don't get to "hang out" a lot.. Plus, I'm down here and they're up in Paris... I suppose I could make more friends here in town, though!
Anyhow... Take care and I'm sure you are going to be back one day!! In fact, don't forget that between me/Alex and Animesh... You have two places to "camp out" so you can get your 3 months in... I mean, if you come to visit as opposed to coming back to live again... And, then.. you and I can always go travelin' again... in search of ice cream and beautiful sights!!!
Hugs, Leese

shannon said...

I always have huge "what ifs". Like "What if I made more of an effort?", "What if I hadn't been so shy in the beginning?", "What if I had given that guy my phone number when he asked for it?", "Why did I let such and such a friendship fall through the cracks?", "What if I had taken the new foreigners under my wing and focused more on my French friends?", etc. And yeah, I'll always wonder, but I also know that I wouldn't trade the experiences I've had for anything. If I had changed something else, I might have changed something good that happened as well. You never know. That's life.

Sevonne said...

I can't imagine doing half the things you mentioned having done in France. I am embarrassed to admit that I have never even stepped foot in that country (other than in the airport which does NOT count). It sounds like you were quite busy when you were there, and that more importantly you enjoyed yourself. I definitely haven't done my share of European travel...
Ad for Facebook stalking, when I get into it, it seriously consumes all my focus and can last for hours...
Hope you're off to a better week this week!!

au soleil levant said...

Zhu - good to know that it's a universal problem! I'll take a 50% French friend :)

I didn't live in Paris, I was about an hour north by TER, but I did love visiting the city. I loved the ambiance, all the different people, the history, seeing these amazing historic things all the time. Also it has all of the diverse foods and stores that I missed in my little town. I think it's a lot different going to Paris as an American than as a French person. Maybe this topic is worth a blog post?

Monique - you and me both, huh? I hope you can convince your boyfriend to go with you!

Leesa - I don't have enough info about HDG to stalk him! Sad! Even if you don't see your French friends that often, you definitely have a packed social calendar. You know that when I'm back in France we will be traveling!

Shannon - very true that we never know if the "what if" might actually be something worse! Life in general has a lot of what ifs, but something about living abroad and wanting to take advantage of every opportunity makes them loom a little larger, I think.

Sevonne - You had that fantastic trip through South America, that's somewhere I would really like to go! Europe is definitely wonderful to travel through, would be even better if the euro were weaker. And I'm glad someone else is with me on Facebook stalking.

Leesa said...

Oki, if not HDG, how 'bout the hunched over guy who walked sideways on his feet??! The one with the cane?

au soleil levant said...

Something tells me that if I looked hard enough I could probably find some kind of facebook group about him! Too bad I don't know Hungarian.

Leesa said...

Hey Mir...

I just did an extensive "search" on google for "fake beggar guy" Budapest and couldn't find our man... Oh well.. I tried...

As for HDG, I doubt we'll EVER see him again, unless we go back to Anna and have ice cream there EVERY day and lay in wait.. hehhehehehe!!

That was surely a FUN trip, wasn't it?
Take care,
Leese

au soleil levant said...

I bet that if we knew Hungarian and did a search for the fake beggar OR the HDG we would find them both! They are probably local legends!

Or maybe HDG was a tourist? That would be sad. If we go back to Anna's can we get more spaghetti ice cream? hahaha.