It’s a cheesy title, I know, but I believe it. “Au Revoir” is a way to say “good-bye” in French but it roughly translates to “until I see you again”, too. Though I’ll be leaving Paris in the next 24 hours, I am confident that I will see this beautiful city again in my future. While some of this may be a bit repetitive, I want my last blog post to be a summary of everything that I’ve learned here in Paris, both professionally, personally, and maybe even a little randomly, too.
1) French people aren’t mean, stereotypes are.
I truly will miss my co-workers and host family. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet people so different, yet so similar to me. They’ve helped me not only grow as a French-speaker, but as a person, too. While becoming closer to these people, it’s been easier to look past our differences and understand the biggest similarity that we all share: no matter what stereotypes or cultural differences might exist, at the end of the day, we are all human.
2) The food here really is better.
It’s insane how fresh the quality is here. I always wondered if this was an exaggeration, but it is not. The French take pride in what they eat and it shows.
3) It is possible to fall up the stairs in the metro.
Need I say more? I guess I’ll never be as effortlessly graceful as the Parisians, no matter how hard I try.
4) Asking questions is the key to all of your confusions.
I used to feel embarrassed asking questions in English, let alone stumbling over how to even ask that said question in French! Communication is powerful and whatever may get lost in translation or in conversation, I’ve learned that it is always better to clarify than to make a mistake. I’m happy now that I can get over my pride of looking “stupid” and can ask the questions necessary to do the right thing the first time.
5) Being early and/ or on time is very much an American priority.
With this being said, I’m glad I have this ingrained into me. My co-workers and bosses always seemed so impress that I was so early and would even try to beat me sometimes (they never did).
6) Social media for a company can be tricky.
Someone needs to design an app or a website where you can plan posts for Instagram, twitter, Facebook, etc. all in the same app. It would make the lives of all community managers much, much, easier. Hootsuite and Trello just don’t cut it.
7) Double, triple, quadruple check everything.
The French highly value the quality of your work (rather than the time that it’s completed). This has made me take a lot more pride in the quality of the projects assigned to me. Instead of racing to get them finished, I ensure that they are done right and in a timely manner. I think I can transfer this work ethic into the states, too.
8) Following-up is not always said, but it is implied and important.
One of the best pieces of advice my supervisor gave me was to always follow up on something that is assigned to you, whether explicitly told so or not. Either way it makes you look good, whether that means looking for results or just going the extra mile. For example, when I was assigned to handle our social media, he advised me in our mid-term meeting to start providing results of that week at our team’s weekly de-briefing meeting. At the next meeting, I was better able to explain what I had accomplished during the previous week and my co-workers seemed more interested in what I had to say.
9) The re-usable water bottle market is severely un-tapped here.
I’m looking at you, S’well.
10) The French really do take the time to enjoy life.
I’m looking forward to bringing some of this lifestyle back to the USA.
What can I say? Paris has given me so much. I’m so grateful for this opportunity and how it has helped me grow. While I am still not sure as to whether I will actually become and ex pat and live here one day, I am looking forward to taking a few vacations or, better yet, a few business trips here in my near future. Paris, Je t’aime!