The Big C

I am really not a fan of change but it only took me 2 luggages & a 14 hour flight to experience it. Even after 5 years of arriving France, I still struggle to the big differences but in the short years I have been here, I did a lot of progress & a lot of realization.

Coming from a developing country, it is quite overwhelming to arrive a city like Paris. It's beauty is not the tall buildings & wide roads but on how this city has conserved it's hundreds of years old architecture & historical values with so much care to remind it's people where it has been. It's development on the facade is not modern but it took France hundreds of years as well to be where it is now. It greatly evolved while embracing the importance of it's past. It is something that the Philippines has completely forgotten. Being a young country that has been occupied so many times, it's roots are buried deeper & deeper through each conquistador, leaving it at a lost & in constant struggle to remember what the Philippines is even before the Spaniards came. If there was a sudden twist in the past, the Philippines could have not been the only Catholic country in Asia, but then, what would it be & it's culture?

Like any other capital in the world, Paris is a busy city, where more business headquearters are located & thousands of tourists are welcomed. But being a tourist is completely different than living in Paris. When you have gotten over the idea that you are not a tourist anymore, of course reality sets in. There is a always a tinge of stress & pressure enveloping the ambiance of Paris. People are just always in a hurry. Well, unlike in the Philippines where being late is almost a custom, here in France it is really considered impolite & it is just exactly what it is. When I was going to my French courses, I felt like joining an ant colony. Even if I wanted to take my time, I find myself being propelled to the flow. And this is what I miss in Manila. It is not because the Filipinos work less than the French, but they just know how to balance work & rest. And maybe somehow the "bahala na" attitude makes the Filipinos less stressed & happier ;)

After a year & a half, we left the City of Lights, by the demands of my husband who cannot stand Paris, and we are now in the south of France, Marseille. Paris was a great prelude & to skim the surface of my new home. But the real changes & a bigger effort to adapt came when it truly sank in me that I am now living here, building a new life & that I have to indeed join the ant colony. This reality was a little difficult for me to handle. I was used to seeing my family everyday, be with my friends & having that comfort that there is always somebody in just a phone call away. But we all have to move on & grow. The thing is, movement does not always mean growth.

Well, after 5 years, I shouldn't even wonder anymore. I admit I have so much learning to do. But as I said, I am not a big fan of change.


From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.

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