Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Cheers, Madame! Reflections

  Today is the last day of our Cheers, Madame! series.  I'm so sad that it's coming to an end.

Amy from Créatrice Mondial and I have had a blast with this series.
We are both Americans that have adopted another city as our own.
Amy lived in Paris for several years and I'm currently in London.
So, we wanted to spend some time comparing and sharing the two sister cities.

We started the series in week one talking about our first impressions.
London      Paris

During week two, we described the perfect day in our favorite city.
London    Paris

Week three, we switched it up.  I shared special memories in Paris and Amy shared about London. 

And through it all, you've been participating by joining our twitter chats and the link up.

Selena making a duck face

Okay.  So, this is NOT me doing the duck face.
Well, it is me doing the duck face, but I'm not trying to do the duck face.
I'm trying to make the flag all flat and pretty for the camera.
And in the process, making my face not so flat and pretty for the camera.

(Aaaaand making the duck face. 
But, not really.  Let's move on.)

This week, we're wrapping up the Cheers, Madame! series (for now) with reflections on London and Paris
and how living in these cities has changed us.

I can't believe that I've been in London for almost two years now.
Some days it feels like it's just flown by and other days it seems like I've been here forever.

What parts of the UK culture have I absorbed?
How has London gone from feeling foreign to feeling like home?
How has living in London changed me?

During the early stages of this move, I read as many expat blogs as I could find.

And they all experienced the same thing.
Eventually, they got to a point where they were no longer an expat learning
their way around and figuring things out, but they were just living a normal, everyday life.

I often wondered if living this life would ever feel normal.
 (Let's face it.  For me "normal" is a sliding scale.)
 But, they were right.  Somewhere along the way, I just started living a "normal" life.

Oh, things are different.  Very different.

Flip flops and high heels have been replaced with flats and boots.
 Dangly earrings are gone and now I have dozens of scarves.

Sunkissed skin is now a shade of white that is almost translucent.

No more fresh Texas air and wide open spaces.
Now I play Frogger on a daily basis dodging cars and buses.
I might even occasionally use the phrase "smog boogies."
I said goodbye to my full-size washer and tumble dryer and 
the bakers rack in my kitchen has been replaced with drying rack.
(Don't even get me started.)

Open floor plans are a thing of the past and every room has a door
that is closed to keep in the warmth.
Apparently, window screens and central air have not yet been invented.

I used to walk down the street...
Actually, who am I kidding?  I never walked anywhere.
But, I used to make eye contact throughout my daily existence.

Now, I avoid eye contact when walking down the street.
I learned quickly that making eye contact implies that you actually see someone coming
and will get out of their way.  You will never get anywhere like that.

I haven't driven a car or had decent Tex Mex in two years.  Two years!
(I'm so ready for a trip home.)

Life is different and I am different.

I think I'm a little bit braver.  My comfort zone has grown much bigger.
I hope that I'm more open minded, accepting of things that are unfamiliar and different.

I'd like to think that I'm much stronger.  As great as this move has been, it's also been really hard.
I've spent a lot of time alone and I'm learning how to be more independent and self-reliant.

I've been exposed to some fascinating people and places.
Someday, I'll look back on my years (however many) in London with a deep fondness.
As well as pride and joy that I was able to make this place my home.

With my second Christmas in London looming
(yeah, I admit I'm struggling a bit with that) and my two year anniversary as a Londoner coming up,
I've been reflecting quite a bit on the new me.
I don't think I'm fully aware of exactly how I've changed.  But, I know that I have.
And for now, I call London home.  And mean it.

I have had such a great time hosting this series with Amy from Créatrice Mondial.
She is just amazing and I'm so glad that she invited me to join her in this project.
You must read her reflections on Paris.

And you!  Thank so much for joining in all of the fun.
I've loved reading about your London and Paris.

If you'd like to participate, the Cheers, Madame! Link Up is still open.
While you're there, check out some of the other terrific posts.

We also have one more Cheers, Madame! Twitter Chat happening today.
at 12 Noon EST/5pm GMT.
I hope to see you there!

We'd also love to have your feedback on this series.  What do you think? 

Cheers, Madame!

What parts of your new culture have you absorbed?
How has your new city gone from feeling foreign to feeling like home?
How has living in your new home changed you?


  1. I had some similar thoughts on my blog yesterday and Gina and I were commenting how alike our experiences moving here had been. It is fun reading blogs of those who've been here longer than you, and those who've been here less and seeing how your experiences all line up. Plus, then I get to see ahead that in two years, maybe I'll actually feel like this is my home. {Just in time to move again...isn't that always the case...}

  2. LOVE this Selena - especially the "Flip flops and high heels have been replaced with flats and boots.
    Dangly earrings are gone and now I have dozens of scarves. Sunkissed skin is now a shade of white that is almost translucent." You are now a Londoner :)

  3. My daughter called yesterday to ask if she could have all of heels that are sitting in storage. I absolutely refused! Oh how I miss wearing flip flops. "sniff"

  4. It is amazing to see how we all follow each other on this path. Pretty cool and so nice to know that we aren't alone :D

  5. I love your post!! It is so true all the little habits that we change, and the major lifestyle changes we adapt to (washing machine in my kitchen? drying racks?) Yes, all these little details really add to the charm of European life, and once you adjust to them, you actually miss them once you leave!! :)

  6. Have you tried Cafe Pacifico? It's no Pappasitos, but it's pretty decent Tex-Mex (or maybe I don't even know what decent tex-me is anymore :-/)

  7. Great series :) I really enjoyed reading!

  8. It's lovely to hear about how you've changed and grown as a result of moving abroad - I am always looking for those changes in myself, but they always manage to surprise me! I wish I had seen this earlier for the Twitter chat!



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