1st Journey Update: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing.

C.S. Lewis

April 2016

As of today…

I have been in Paris for one month and 12 days.

Time spent in the City of Lights has been a roller-coaster of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Nonetheless, in an attempt to leave you with a smile, let’s start with the negative and end with the positive.

The Ugly:

I still haven’t found a job in the café industry. Stress is at an all-time high. O.O

The Bad:

There’s only a month and a half left on my visa. Time is a tickin’. ><

The Good:

I’ve made three new friends who’ve changed my outlook on life. ^^

Let me introduce them to you:

1. Daenerys* taught me that true friends will always come through in times of need. When I first visited Paris last year, I stayed with a wonderful Couch Surfing host, who introduced me to his friend, who then, introduced me to her friend, and that friend let me stay at his house for the entire month of March. When April peaked its head above the snow, it was time to find a new place to stay, and Daenerys was the first to the rescue. I get to stay in her lovely Madeleine abode until my next move, which will be into the flat of my second knight in shining armor, Bastien*. After that, who knows. Coincidently, it was through Daenerys that I met Armand.

2. Armand* taught me not to be afraid of failure. When I first arrived in Paris, I went about finding a job in the easiest and least imposing way I knew how: e-mails en masse with CV attachments. Obviously, that got me nowhere. Then one Tuesday night, I was having a few drinks with Armand (Yes, on a Tuesday! Parisians somehow go out for social drinks EVERY night.), and upon learning that I still haven’t found a job, he slapped me in the face (figuratively, of course) and gave me the kick in the butt (also, figuratively) that I needed. He remarked, “What the hell are you doing everyday? You’re going about this in completely the wrong way. You have to actually GO to each café, talk to the owners, and give them your CV. What are you afraid of? Too shy?” 

That night, I missed the last metro and walked 45 minutes home with Armand’s voice ringing in my head: What are you afraid of? What are you afraid of? What are you afraid of? The truth? I was afraid of failure and rejection. I didn’t want to be that silly girl with silly dreams. And I would have to speak to them in my broken French. How embarrassing! Yet, I didn’t want to be afraid anymore! I’m a strong, independent woman after all (*•̀ᴗ•́*)و ̑̑ So, the next day, I sat down with my laptop and fixed up my CV and lettre de motivation, translating them into French and Japanese (with the help of a couple other friends, Link* and Machi*), printed out a stack of copies, made a hit list of cafés that I want to work at, and set out on a quest across Paris. And that’s how I met Belle.

3. Belle* taught me that opportunity is just around the corner. The thing about the café community in Paris, it’s very small and tight-knit. Everyone knows each other and the only way to get an “in” is to be in the “in” crowd. That’s just the way the game works. Through Belle, I was given a peak into Wonderland, and met a few kindred spirits in the process.

*names changed to protect the privacy of the individuals

A Peak Into Wonderland:

Validation from the Parisian cafe scene

Since Armand’s revolutionary speech and Belle’s introduction to the “in” crowd, the world seems a little brighter. I learned about the brand new hospo.jobs; a job board for Paris’ hospitality industry started by HolyBelly‘s co-owner. I also found my second “home” (Boot Café) and my coffice (Café Craft), and lastly, L’Arbre à Café shared a blog of mine and now my viewership has skyrocketed. These are all really small things to the world, but they mean the world to me.

Of course, life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. I’ve also received a few rejections because of my lack of barista experience, but rejection isn’t so bad. It feels disappointing for an hour or two, but then, you quickly move on.

Well, now, it’s back to the grind.

Oh! Don’t worry!

The grind isn’t a semblance for bingeing on Netflix. When I’m not job hunting,

Back to the grind while a cat sleeps on your lap

I’m learning about the coffee world by reading a chapter a day of Café by Hipplyte Courty and attending latté art classes at Café Lomi. I’m studying French by using the Babbel and Duolingo apps, watching French movies, and listening to French music on lyricstraining.com. I’m making YouTube videos about traveling for my former students and writing café reviews for Ka·e·ru Domicile while Daenerys’ cat sleeps on my lap, which is surprisingly harder than it seems. I’m also cooking new vegetarian meals and socializing Parisian-style. Because what’s life without a little R&R!?!

As always, thank you for reading and joining me on this #internationalcoffeejourney

Actually, the best gift you could have given her was a lifetime of adventures.

Lewis Carroll

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