One of the things that I knew would be the hardest when moving to Paris wasn't just learning the language but making new friends. When you are in your early twenties, most people are out to have a good time and it is easy to make friends. The older you get however, the harder it gets and you find yourself resorting to things that you previously wouldn't have given a second thought.
I started blogging late last year when I knew I was planning to move to France. I also joined the world of twitter and started looking for advice on moving to Paris and interesting blogs that would give me an insight into life here. The first blog I stumbled across was that of Miss Ella Coquine who was writing about her life after getting dumped in Paris. I was intrigued to say the least and started religiously reading about her adventures and life in Paris. From there I found new blogs and other websites with a wealth of information. I started making online friends, something I hadn't really done since the 90s and the days of chat-rooms and it made me realise this was a valid and important way of meeting new people.
So by the time I arrived in Paris I felt as though I had made a few blogging friends and it was through this I was lucky enough to be invited to a Paris Bloggers Soiree organised by the lovely Kristen of The Kale Project all within a couple weeks of my arrival. I was SO nervous when I arrived at the party but excited to meet some of the faces behind blogs that I loved. It was an awesome opportunity to make some friends and an awesome introduction into my new Parisian life. From there, nothing could stop me and I proceeded to go on several more 'blind girl dates' with other bloggers and people from twitter making some friends I still have to this day.
I was also lucky enough to find a job very quickly when I got to Paris and this was another great opportunity to meet some new people. The group of people that I worked with over the summer were very sociable and it wasn't long before I was tagging along to events and making even more new friends.
The first social outing I went on with my work buddies was during the festivities of 'Quatorze Juilliet' (Bastille Day). The weather for the first couple of months I was in Paris was AWFUL and this particular day was no better. It had been pouring with rain all day and with no sign of letting up I remember having a somewhat crazy conversation with myself weighing up the pros and cons of actually going out. Cons - 1. It was raining.... (yep, that's it) Pros - 1. Get to know some of the people I work with. 2. Hang out with some firemen...
Huh?! Firemen you say?!
No I hadn't found a new calling in life, but the first event on my workplace social calendar was the 'Ball de Pompiers' otherwise known as the Firemen's Ball.
Every year around Bastille Day, several Fire-houses around Paris open their doors to party-goers to celebrate and with a small donation at the door you can spend the night being served drinks from and dancing with firemen. Don't ask me why this happens, who knows why half the things that happen here happen, all I know is I wasn't miss this for the world.
Upon arriving to the Fire-House (conveniently located at the end of my street) we proceeded to line up with the rest of the revellers in the rain. It was at this point when one of the girls informed us it was actually outside. Feeling a little less enthusiastic we made our way into the complex and so the party began.
What a ridiculous and awesome introduction to Paris. We were all initially standing there hesitantly under our umbrellas but after a couple of drinks and some bouncy pop music, away with the umbrellas and so began an evening of dancing in the rain.
|Be gone umbrellas! - Dancing in the rain|
|Some firemen overlooking the shenanigans|
We laughed, we danced, we sang, but most importantly for me, it was the ultimate work bonding experience and the beginning of some lifelong friendships.