So, after being in Paris for just on 3 days, I have already discovered a few things:
1) I am NOT a natural adventurer
2) I don’t have as impressive a sense of direction as I would have liked to believe
3) Lost children are taken VERY seriously in Levallois
4) The metro can be a scary place for a non-adventurer such as myself but it’s not unconquerable either
5) Doors that open from inside onto balconies don’t necessarily open from the outside of said balcony
I have never been the type of person who took to adventure like the proverbial duck to water. I am a planner and need a pretty good idea of what’s going to happen (both good and bad) should I undertake any kind of adventure. I am much more at home piggy-backing on a friend’s fearlessness in this regard. Strength in numbers and all that.
Reminds me of a saying: I love spontaneity as long as it’s well planned.
I am cautious by nature but I do make decisions very quickly, which can appear as spontaneity to onlookers. I get too wrapped up in the detail to throw caution to the wind, after all, caution is there for preservation! However, one does not want to be over cautious as this can be as costly as hasty decision making.
I am a true INFJ and this trait is common–the need for guidelines and planning–in an exceedingly high percentage of us.
In Paris, most buildings look exactly the same! It is particularly easy to get lost here and were it that I had a good sense of direction, this would in all likelihood not be as nerve wracking to me as it is.
I got on the metro solo for the first time today and it went well. I changed lines and voila! I was outside the Starbucks that was a landmark for me when my host and I practised the route yesterday. (Just as well!)
It was when I was walking to the school that I got turned around. I had a teeny moment of panic before I took a breath and whipped out the iPhone and turned on the map – which works here with GPS only. Found my way within minutes and arrived on time. Victory!
Being lost brings me to my next point.
Upon returning from the market, my host and I happened upon a small scene outside a café. A young child being spoken to by a very elegant silver haired women, another woman on the phone and yet another woman barking orders and pointing at things. Peculiar? Indeed. This was all being witnessed by woman number 2’s husband and a child he was holding. No sooner had I turned my head, as Fabienne–my lovely hostess–started to translate for me, did I see a policeman running at breakneck speed, in our direction. We quickly moved out of the way as he passed us. Fabienne then told me that the child being spoken to by the silver-haired woman was without parents–presumably lost–and the woman on the phone was speaking with the police of Levallois. That is one mighty quick response time! Children in distress, most especially, are taken very seriously by the police here. Fabienne told me there was no doubt he would be reunited with his parents before long. I was well impressed by how complete strangers were immediately concerned with the boy and his welfare. Cue warm and fuzzies.
Speaking of lost children, this is almost how I felt when I was returning from my first lesson at L’Atelier 9 this afternoon!
I again got turned around but on the metro this time. Second guessed my initial decision and found myself heading in the opposite direction of home. Did not panic, changed direction easily enough and was soon headed home.
This victory however, was to be short lived.
I returned to my home in Levallois and had lunch. I decided to step outside on the balcony to take some pictures of the view for show and tell. Tried to open the door to the balcony and realised, you cannot do so from outside!
The time was 15h30 and Fabienne is scheduled to be back tonight at 19h30. I was in for an abysmal four hour wait.
Fast forward 10 minutes and a couple of messages to my mom and Mr M to tell them of my latest folly and after a quick prayer, the little voice in my head told me to try the window. Low and behold, you can open it from the outside!
I am finally proving to myself what I know on a cerebral level – that I can do almost anything. In the end there is very little to fear and sometimes that fear is what you need to stare down, if for no other reason than to prove to yourself just how resilient and resourceful you are. It’s an affirmation that is long overdue.
I guess what I’m really trying to say is; If I can do it, anyone can do it and there is nothing stopping you. Forget the reasons why it won’t work or why you cannot do it and throw–a measure of–caution to the wind and see what happens. You will end up being surprised in ways you never thought possible and the potential pitfalls are far less serious than you make them out to be. Add to that the great sense of accomplishment you feel and you’ll be more eager to do it again and again until you’re really not afraid anymore.
Maintenant, il est temps pour une verre du bordeaux française!
Until next time, thank you for reading!