An afternoon with the Immigrant in Paris
As embarrassing as it is to admit, I spend most of my free time in the house, if not in bed, reading and writing, not exactly the kind of life I had imagined for myself before I started this job. And since all my friends have a different schedule, weekends are usually the only time when we can make plans to meet up and do things. Weekdays are, therefore, mundane to say the least.
However, last week, I came across a profile on Instagram, of a self-proclaimed immigrant in Paris, who, by the look of her posts, shares my love of books. Bored as I was, I thought to myself, why not message her to see if she would be interested in meeting up. I effectively slid into her DM, hoping she wouldn't find me too weird or creepy. Not long after my message was sent, she politely replied and agreed to meet me.
I arrived at the spacious Twining Tea Room on the top floor of the WHSmith on Rue de Rivoli and spotted Jacqueline (Jackie) immediately. Bare in mind this is our first meeting in person, yet as soon as we greeted each other with a kiss on each cheek (this video explains the French kissing culture - la bise - perfectly), we dived into a two-hour long conversation as if we had known each other for years! I thanked her for introducing me to this quaint little tearoom opposite the Tuileries Gardens, as we both agreed that Shakespeare and Company is too overcrowded and a bit overrated. We swapped books - she brought me Goodbye, Paris, a novel about love and heartbreak, and I lent her Milkman, an award-winning novel which I personally considered an exhausting read due to its unique style of writing and my lack of prior knowledge on the Irish history, which probably contributed to the traumatic experience I had reading the book.
Quickly bonding over the fact that we both moved to Paris not long ago and also both studied in England, we talked about our likes and dislikes of the French culture, our job situation (or the lack of) and our respective relationships. Although only two years older, Jackie seemed much wiser than I was, having been through a long distance relationship and now married, slowly but surely she is settling into her new life here in Paris. We shared stories about our respective homes and how we both feel very privileged for the opportunity to live in Paris, whether it'd be temporary (like me) or permanent (as in her case). I don't think it would be rude for me to say that she is very typically American, easy to get along with and maintains a positive outlook in life. I'm glad I slid into her DM because of it, I have made a new friend, someone who shares similar interests as me and I cannot wait to hear how she gets on with Milkman.
If you're thinking about sliding into someone's DM, for good reasons, I'd highly recommend you do it, because, what is there to lose?