Mon Voyage #5: The Simple Things

Hello hello, welcome back to my year abroad series in Paris where I bring you along on my time spent in the most visited city in Europe (now that we’ve left the EU). Nearly two months in now and it feels as though time is going way too fast. 


This week, it was announced that Paris and its’ surrounding suburbs were going into lockdown. Although this didn’t surprise me given France’s current Covid rates, it still took me aback knowing that at least a month of my time here would now be spent in lockdown. Yet a week later, and if I’m completely honest, life doesn’t seem all that different. If there’s one thing the French do well, it’s ignoring rules. Naturally of course I’m sticking to my bubble of friends. It just shocked me to see a mass of people chilling by the Seine on the first day of lockdown, especially in comparison to UK lockdowns. 


Like with all the restrictions, however, it’s made me appreciate the simple things. The warmth and serotonin of a sunny day. Still being able to pop to a boulangerie. Good friends. I even walked past an M&S the other day and the excitement I got from seeing baked beans, crumpets and English breakfast tea should be embarrassing. Plus the all-English product packaging really made me feel at home. Focusing on the positives in a not-so-ideal situation has definitely helped to put things into perspective. As I always say, things could be worse. 


Amongst the new lockdown news, I also had some of my first midterms recently. Getting back into a routine of essay writing was harder than expected; but I guess after such a dry-spell of essays which the past year has been, things are bound to feel more arduous. My first midterm, in fact, was a rather stressful one. After getting the due date mixed up I only had half a day to complete it. I’m sure you can imagine my stress upon realising my not-yet-started essay was due at midnight the same day. That’ll teach me for zoning out during class. Besides, as I keep telling myself, grades this year don’t count towards my final degree (thank goodness).


I’m nearly halfway through my time in Paris as I’m writing this, and the desire to stay for longer is already pertinent. This desire I believe has been heightened by the limitations on my overall experience. On one hand, I’m sad that despite being on my year abroad I quite possibly will have lived in Paris for six months and never had entered the Louvre or even eaten inside a Parisian restaurant. On the other hand, of course, I’m so grateful to be here in the first place and to experience the city at a time like none other – with the fewest tourists numbers for example. This internal battle is something I’ve tried not to focus on too much, to instead appreciate the present. Anyway, who knows how things will pan out over the next few months. Time will tell.


My main takeaways: enjoy the present as best as you can, even if it’s not an ideal situation. Having little things like an M&S brownies tub can make the world of difference. And please focus when a lecturer is talking about exam information.