– by Antonia
Since we’re still talking about black movement this month—how our geography can define us and how we can impact our identities by packing up and leaving where we’re from—I decided to throw back this Thursday to a classic Un’ruly article: Quit Your Job and Move to Paris: a Practical Guide to Pursuing Your Dream.
Having been here for over a year and a half makes the move way more than just a long-term vacation but it still doesn’t feel like enough time has passed for me to really be ingrained in French culture. It practically took me 18 years to really get American culture. So France still feels… “entry-level.” But I will say learning a different language has brought on immediate changes in the way I look at things. It’s forced me to challenge my idea of normal. There are some grammatical structures in French that are completely different from how we might say them in English and there’s no reasoning behind the structures except that “it’s that way” (c’est comme ça). So to really start to get a grasp of this language I’ve had to let go of my notions of what is right or normal based on my first language—my default. And doing this with language has made me start doing it in other aspects of life. This might be obvious, but witnessing something be right in one context and then wrong in another is kind of core shaking. You realize that normal isn’t as concrete and fixed as you thought it was; it’s actually quite fluid and hard to pin down. Understanding this immediately puts a huge range of possibilities in front of you.
So I guess I’m at a point where I’m fully open to new normals. And maybe they’ve already made their way into my DNA without me even realizing. I have to think about that more. But for now if you’re interested in how and why I even jumped across the pond, read the OG article here.