Wow. Here I am two weeks after arriving in France and I’m accessing for the first time not from McDonald’s free wifi or the middle school’s internet. How luxurious. I can finally indulge my internet addiction. So good.
I guess I knew that I was dependent, but I didn’t realize that there were people in the civilized world who weren’t—who didn’t feel the lack of internet to the same extent as me. But now that our trial separation is over, Internet and I have come back to each other excitedly, with open arms and open hearts. Ahem. A drug, or a lost lover? I guess neither is a truly appropriate metaphor, but I am glad to have it nonetheless.
Today I met up with other English assistants who are helping in collèges. Most of them are British, so even though we were speaking English we benefitted from a little bit of cultural exchange nonetheless. Plus we got to be the cool foreign people in the restaurant whom everyone was eyeing curiously, intrigued by what strange circumstances could have brought eight English speakers so far from the center of Paris’s main attractions to the mostly residential and untouristy banlieu, where normal French people and North African immigrants lead their lives barely in touch with the Parisian center that the world knows so well. Ah, but now I’m just being dramatic for no reason. Vincennes didn’t feel like a scene pulled straight from La Haine. There was no racial tension that was so thick as to be immediately discernible and disconcerting. Instead it just felt like a continuation of Paris except without any major sites around.
I’m already contemplating whether I will ever be able to convince my new English assistant friends that they’re bored of Paris and that they want to come visit me in the countryside. What do you think? At least for them it would have the allure of novelty…