Nov 28th, 2022, 06:00 PM

Paris, the City of Self-Love

By Taya Elsewedy
(Image Credit: Taya ElSewedy)
How to fall in love with yourself under the sparkling Eiffel Tower.

In a romanticized world, you’re living in Paris, young, happy, and looking for the perfect love story. However, not everyone is blessed with that perfect scenario, because that perfect scenario doesn't exist. Through living in Paris I was able to find myself, and ended up with a not so traditional love story that changed my perspective on life. Through this article, I will let you in on what I wish I knew before moving to Paris, what has gotten me through and kept my life from falling apart. Here are five ways to love yourself in the city of love. 

(Image credit: Taya ElSewedy)

Give yourself time to adjust and don't be too hard on yourself

There is no doubt that everything takes time, but through my time here I was able to maintain a balanced lifestyle with self-love being the biggest motivator.

You're not going to wake up on your second week in Paris being able to navigate through the metro and finding places without using Google maps, but that's okay because in time everything will start becoming so familiar and it will feel like home. 

In addition, living abroad minimizes expectations, you stop waiting for things to happen and start living in the moment. You live and appreciate what you're in now, because chances are this is the moment you’ve always been waiting for. You have all the time in the world, since you're finally settled and this is your new home. You're in no rush of discovering new things because through living there you will subconsciously be doing that. You will learn so much about yourself, especially your capabilities, you will realize everything is much simpler than it seems. Through all these possibilities you will be driven to more success and happiness.

Find a balance between work and friends

Living in such a fast paced city, it’s so easy to find yourself wanting to get around to discover and roam around. However, the problem with this lifestyle is that it's so easy for you to find yourself two months in drunk at a bar in the middle of the Marais on a Monday night with a 9 a.m. lecture the next day.

It's hard. You find yourself in situations where you know you should just go back home and focus on what you need to do, but when you’re desperate and lonely the peer pressure rises just when you thought you were done with it and left it all in high school. It creeps on you, and you get lost in the thrill of the invite. But it's important to know that even if you somehow manage to find your circle if it doesn't adapt to the rest of your lifestyle it will simply start to feel like more of an obligation than something you do to ease to the days where working feels like too much and you’ll be stuck in situation where work and friends feel too heavy.

“I’ve been living in Paris for three years and I still struggle to balance my life, I get days where I feel like I don't want to work and all I want to do is go out, when my FOMO hits hardest, but once I get my priorities back in order I end up regretting not being able to balance,” said Mariam Osman.

Image credit: Taya ElSewedy

Get out of your comfort zone, socialize and make connections

After talking with people I've met throughout my time in Paris, I realized most, if not all, shared the same mindset and experiences. Living in Paris taught us to be more independent, made us not afraid to be who we want to be despite what others might think. 

Especially in a diverse university like AUP, there are people from all over the world and all different backgrounds. No two people are the same, and you learn so much about things you never even thought about because it is just so out of your bubble. 

While we were in school, we knew everyone, everyone was basically the same and we all grew up together. No one was too far off from the other, everyone basically grew up the same, and then you move countries, with hundreds of other kids from dozens of countries around the world. Everyone comes in with just a little to give back. You slowly realize that these people you’re meeting are shaping you into becoming the person you are today, a more well rounded, open-minded, and knowledgeable person.

Image credit: Taya ElSewedy

Exercise and maintain a healthy body

One escape I found that was a real game changer for me was working out. It is often overlooked how important and how big of a difference exercise does to a person. It does not only improve your physical health and appearance but also your mental health and well being. Studies show that exercise has a great impact on mental health. One study showed that adults who exercise regularly have 43% fewer days a month of bad mental health than people who don’t. Keep balance in mind, workout, but do not make it your whole life.

(Image credit: Taya ElSewedy)

Make the effort to learn French to be able to communicate with the locals

Coming to Paris I already had a base of French, I found that it really helped make me feel more at home, it was like I belonged. Through living here I was able to really improve my French. 

My friends who live here but don't speak the language find it sometimes difficult to adapt and go about their daily lives, whether that is asking for directions in the street or something as simple as trying to buy groceries. In a city like Paris where the locals are very prideful of their language, they often won't make the effort to reply, even if they do understand what you're saying, just because you're not speaking in French. 

In addition, it's a good life skill to acquire many languages and being a more rounded person, given you already live in the country, make the effort to learn the language of the country you live in.