I finally did it. I packed all my stuff and moved to Paris to be with my lovely, crazy boyfriend. And now that I am over the initial shock, I feel I can finally write about a few things I wish someone had warned me about, such as the high cost of living in Paris. Ok, some people did mention it but they said something like “Paris is a bit pricey”, instead of the truth: “Paris is so damn expensive even buying a fucking banana is a luxury”, and don’t even get me started on avocados. Since I moved here I have been fluctuating between middle and low class so much I have become immune to the feeling of anxiety.
One of the things I will never forget is apartment hunting in Paris. In other places where I’ve lived, searching for an apartment or house can be a long process but not necessarily a difficult one: you make an appointment with the realtor and then you check out the place to see if you like it or not. Simple. In Paris, however, the realtor sets up a day to meet with a group of people and shows the apartment (in my case, a studio) to the group… On the same day. At the same time. All together. Then they ask us to turn in our portfolios stating our economic and working situations so that they can choose the ideal candidate. Ten strangers, all crammed in a 12m2 staring each other down to see who will break first and leave. Talk about the Hunger Games. A friend told me that in London they even interview you to see if they want you as a tenant, so I guess it could be worse.
After looking at numerous studios I finally found THE ONE — that nobody else wanted — and by Parisian standards it was a good studio, as it had the toilet inside instead of in the corridor to be shared by the whole floor. I was actually very excited about living alone. I moved out of home when I was 18 but always had roommates. I could already imagine myself taking long showers in my non-shared bathroom, reading in the morning while having breakfast, keeping all my makeup by the mirror and my shoes neatly organized in the shoe storage cabinet (very popular thing over here).
Then, reality hit. I only got about 4 hours of sleep on the first night. It was so cold I think it was actually warmer outside of the studio, so I had to sleep with layers of clothes and leave the medieval heater on all night. The walls were as thin as my chances of ever fitting into a size 4, I could hear absolutely everything going on in the street and what the neighbors were doing, so I can only imagine they could hear all the gunshots and explosions when I watched Narcos. I once woke up in the middle of the night because a truck drove by making such ruckus I thought a plane had just flown by. And I had my own bathroom alright, a bathroom the size of a closet. If I sat down on the toilet I had do matrix moves to clean myself, otherwise, if I moved my arms too much I would hit my left elbow with the sink and the right one with the wall.
Anyways, it was a very humbling experience. In the end I learned how to survive the cold and understood why bears hibernate (note to self: best hiking period is winter). If you ever plan on moving to an expensive city, research how expensive it actually is. With that being said, I want to add that Paris is one of my favorite cities and so far, the only one I can imagine myself living in for a long period of time.
The crazy boyfriend and I are currently crashing at his brother’s place. But check out this amazing view, we can’t complain.