For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what type of person you are. ~C.S. Lewis
Today, I have been in Paris for one month and 12 days.
This time spent has been a roller-coaster of the good, the bad, and the ugly. However, in an attempt to leave you with a smile, let’s start with the negative and end with the positive.
I still haven’t found a job specifically in the café industry, and external pressure is at an all-time high. Never before have I realized how much our society values “doing” rather than “being“.
There is only a month and half left on my visa. Time is a tickin’.
Let me introduce you to three new friends who’ve changed my outlook on life: Daenerys, Armand, and Belle. *names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals
1. Daenerys taught me that true friends will always come through in times of need. When I first visited Paris last year, I stayed with a wonderful Couch Surfing host, who introduced me to his friend, who then, introduced me to her friend, and that friend let me stay at his house for the entire month of March. When April peaked its head above the snow, it was time to find a new place to stay, and Daenerys was the first to the rescue. I get to stay in her lovely Madelaine abode until my next move, which will be into the flat of my second knight in shining armor, Bastien; and after that, who knows. Coincidently, it was though Daenerys that I met Armand.
2. Armand taught me not to be afraid of failure. When I first arrived in Paris, I went about finding a job in the easiest and least imposing way I knew how: e-mails en masse with CV attachments. Obviously, that got me nowhere. Then one Tuesday night, I was having a few drinks with Armand (calm down! Parisians go out for social drinks EVERY night) and upon learning that I still haven’t found a job, he slapped me in the face (figuratively, of course) and gave me the kick in the butt that I needed. He remarked, “What the hell are you doing everyday? You’re going about this in the completely wrong way. You have to actually go to each café, talk to the owners, and give them your CV. What are you afraid of? Too shy?”
I missed the last metro that night and walked 45 minutes home with Armand’s voice ringing in my head: What are you afraid of? What are you afraid of? What are you afraid of?
The truth? I was afraid of failure and rejection. I didn’t want to be that silly girl with silly dreams. But more so, I didn’t want to be afraid! I’m a strong, independent woman after all (*•̀ᴗ•́*)و ̑̑ So, the next day, I sat down with my laptop and fixed up my resume (CV) and lettre de motivation, translating them into French and Japanese (with the help of Link and Machi), printed out a stack of copies, made a hit list of cafés that I want to go to (i.e., work at), and set out on a quest across Paris. And that’s how I met Belle.
3. Belle taught me that opportunity is just around the corner. The thing about the café community in Paris; it’s very small and tight-knit. Everyone knows each other and the only way to get an “in” is to be in the “in” crowd. That’s just the way the game works. Through Belle, I was given a peak into Wonderland, and met a few kindred spirits in the process.
A Peak Into Wonderland:
Since Armand’s revolutionary speech and Belle’s introduction to the “in” crowd, the world seems a little brighter. I learned about the brand new hospo.jobs; the minimalist job board for Paris’ hospitality industry started by HolyBelly‘s co-owner, found my second home (Boot Café) and my coffice (Café Craft), and lastly, L’Arbre à Café shared a blog post of mine and now my viewership has skyrocketed. These are all really small things to the world, but they mean the world to me.
Of course, life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. I’ve also received a few rejections because of my lack of barista experience, but rejection isn’t so bad. It feels disappointing for an hour or two, but then, you quickly move on.
Well, thank you as always for reading and now, it’s back to the grind.
Oh! Don’t worry!
The grind isn’t a semblance for bingeing on Netflix. When I’m not job hunting, I’m studying French (by using the Babbel app, watching French movies, and listening to French music on lyricstraining.com), learning about the coffee world by reading a chapter a day of Café by Hipplyte Courty, attending barista classes (Friday: latté art @ Café Lomi), making YouTube videos about traveling for my former students, writing café reviews for 帰る Domicile (with a cat on my lap; harder than it sounds), cooking new vegetarian meals, and socializing. Because what’s life without a little R&R!?!
À bientôt & Bisou (ɔ ˘⌣˘)˘⌣˘ c)
Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.