Find Your Own Happiness
“Plenty of people miss their share of happiness, not because they never found it, but because they didn’t stop to enjoy it.” -William Feather
Bonjour mes amis! Translation: Hello my friends! It’s Winter Break here in Paris. At first it sounded odd to me to have 2 weeks of vacation right now (not that I am complaining). So when I met with my academic advisor here at AUP last week to talk about my internship, I asked him about it. He explained that seasonal depression is a very real illness in Paris and other places where they go weeks without sunshine. The French and most Europeans are very anti-medication, so instead they have a 2-week holiday to go find some sunshine elsewhere.
So, I thought I’d write a bit since I have some time. I am planning on going to see my friend Manu in Normandy this next weekend and I am really looking forward to it. I haven’t seen him or any of my old friends in Mortagne-au-Perche in almost 4 years! Hard to believe it’s been that long but he and I have kept in touch in spite of that fact that he does not have Facebook or any social media accounts. I know… he needs to join 2016 with the rest of us. But he’s very “small town France” which is why I love him and wouldn’t change a thing about him. A couple days with him and my friends in the French countryside is going to be so nice.
I’ve been here in Paris the first week of Winter Break just enjoying Paris. I’ve been out every day seeing different parts of the city I’ve never been to before and enjoying some real quality time with some of my Parisian friends that didn’t leave for the break.
Which leads me to my second set of tips and advice that I have learned since I started my Masters at the American University in Paris last fall…
I still hold that #1 and #2 from my last article are absolutely crucial for survival in graduate school especially if you’re in another country.
3. Be mindful of your budget, but don’t obsess over it all the time. Yes, go to the grocery store and cook most of the time otherwise you’ll be broke before you know it. But do get out and enjoy some good food, especially in places like Paris. Do go out with your friends once in awhile. I am by no means advocating that you go “party”. That is not what I am saying. But having dinner and some wine with good friends is good for the soul.
4. Along with #3, if you are in Europe and can afford to take a relatively cheap weekend trip a few times a year you should! It’s only going to cost me about 50 Euros to go spend the weekend with my friends in Normandy. And I really should have been out to see them sooner considering I have been here since August. No, 5 days in Italy is not in my budget but I am okay with that.
I’ll admit initially I was sad that I could not afford to go to Istanbul, Berlin, or any of the other interesting places my AUP classmates are visiting right now. But then I remembered I’ve been to Rome. I’ve been to Amsterdam. I’ve travelled to a ton of awesome places in my life; and I plan on staying here in Paris long term so I will have many more opportunities to travel around Europe. And I have actually had some beautiful weather this week as you can tell from the picture!