I am generous (mostly), I am passionate, I am dedicated, and I am a good friend. I am a lot of things, but at the same time there are lots of things that I am not. I am not easy-going, I am not particularly kind, and I am certainly not patient. Whenever somebody says the well known expression, “patience is a virtue” I always mentally say, “a virtue that I just don’t possess”. It really is terrible. I roll my eyes when people aren’t promptly on time, I huff when I am asked to wait, and I avoid lines at all costs.
Being here in France has taught me more about patience than I ever thought possible. I find myself constantly waiting for one thing or another and I definitely don’t hate it as much as I used to. I have compiled a small list of things that I now wait for regularly which low key annoys the hell out of me (but I’m working on that, don’t worry).
- bus and RER and tram and train and uber and and and. IT NEVER STOPS. Unfortunately the bus that I take for school comes only once every half hour. Which is especially annoying when I arrive five minutes early only to find out the bus decided to arrive six minutes early. I feel like I am constantly waiting for transportation, which I am not used to seeing how in Canada I just drove myself everywhere (or my ever so gracious parents drove me around).
- children. I get off my bus at 4:15 everyday right outside of my girl’s school (which finishes at 4:30). The timing is pretty much perfect, except for the fact that her class is never actually dismissed until 4:45 or later. It’s terrible. I also have to spend an hour waiting for her at horseback riding once a week. Not only that but children truly do “test your patience”. Whether it be by having to explain something multiple times, never cleaning up after themselves, or just by constantly bickering.
- my apartment. When I took this job as an au pair I was told that I was going to have my own studio in my family’s garden. It was originally supposed to be finished on September 1, then the 2nd week of September, then November 1, so on and so forth. Needless to say the apartment is STILL not finished so I am still “patiently” waiting. (The good news it it will definitely be finished by December, yay).
- French Bureaucracy. Holy Hell, I can not begin to tell you how difficult the French are with all of their bloody paperwork. I just finalised my OFII (Visa stuff) yesterday after being here for almost 3 months!! I feel like there is definitely a faster system.
- friends. I have pretty great friends, we are unorganised but I guess that’s all part of the fun? ANYWAYS, whenever we decide to head into Paris I normally meet them on the train because I live a few stops away from them. In saying that they never get on at the time they are supposed to so I end up having to wait in the cold for 30 minutes to an hour. I definitely wouldn’t mind it as much if there was a way to wait inside and not in the freezing cold weather.
- language. This one has probably been the hardest for me to deal with. I have no idea why, but I had this unrealistic expectation that after a month of living in France I would be almost fluent in French. It has been three months and that is the furthest thing from reality. My French has definitely improved, but it is difficult, tiring, frustrating, and it takes a lot of patience and effort.
Patience is something that being in France has forced me to work on and I can definitely see small improvements in my attitude towards waiting around. Patience is something that I feel like I will never master. I need to continue to working on it, but hey, nobody’s perfect, right?