I’m a firm believer in not having regrets in life because I think that sometimes that’s just the way things are meant to go sometimes, c’est la vie etc. However, is there one that you’ve spent the last couple of years or so kicking yourself over? I kind of feel that way with Paris…
Basically, between my second and final year at uni, we had the option to do an exchange year abroad and one of the choices was Paris. I put myself forward, went to all the meetings, pretty much had my place at Sciences-Po and was in the middle of a complicated process to find somewhere to live for 8 months but then…I bottled it.
The U-turn came about when I was ‘stuck’ in Spain for a week longer than I should have been (remember the Icelandic volcano?) and although I was staying with family, I suddenly went into a complete and utter melt-down about how I’d cope being pretty much on my own in a different country, where the first language wasn’t my mother-tongue (even though I’d been learning French since the age of 11) and how terribly home-sick I’d get, despite only being across the channel. I was being sent tenancy contracts that were entirely in French (go figure) but I kind of became overwhelmed by everything and I thought that the change would probably give me a nervous break-down and I’d end up back home within 3 months.
Part of me now is telling my 19 year old self to stop being such a baby because it’s such a good opportunity but there’s no use in beating myself up over it. Some things are meant to be and I know I just wasn’t ready to take the plunge. By that point, it was also too late to change my destination and instead go to Australia with my two awesome girls Kiki and Sally (yeah another kick, right there) but then again, I didn’t have as many hangovers in my last year haha! I’m kidding, I missed them both terribly.
I know people move out at 18 and go away to uni and they deal with it just fine but at the time, it just wasn’t for me. I justified my decision by saying it was okay because within another year I’d be done with uni forever and then I could go to Paris whenever I wanted and enjoy it from a tourist’s point of view, without studying and fending for myself. Would I do it now? Probably not and part of me wouldn’t change anything because I obviously needed another year or so to feel ‘more grown-up.’ I might be the girl who didn’t go to Paris but since graduating, I’ve done some pretty awesome things so far.
Three years on from graduation and I still haven’t been to Paris but hopefully that’s all about to change because we’re looking to take a trip to the city that I’ve put on a pedestal for the last few years, in September.
I’m obsessed with anything Parisian so I’m hoping that it lives up to my expectations (sadly had people tell me otherwise) but if anyone has any tips/advice on where to stay for a couple of nights, which touristy things are worth doing etc, that’d be très super!