Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Kiwis in Paris

I sat in the train that was taking me to work, rolling through sun-drenched French countryside. Two strong emotions swept over me: gratitude and happiness at being where I am right now.

For the past 48 hours I have, for the most part, managed to let go of my fears for the future and just occupy my space in the present. Those two wonderful emotions were my reward. Perhaps warmer temperatures and sunshine helped. Maybe it was the encouraging comments from my matter-of-fact book editor. It doesn't take much to 'pick me up' and give me a better perspective on things. It also helped having more social contact with interesting people, especially expats and more especially fellow kiwis.

I've tended to avoid expat groups as I've really wanted to be integrated into France but lately the idea of chatting in English to fellow New Zealanders has seemed more inviting, so Jean-Claude and I went along to a France New Zealand Association meeting in Paris at the Brooklyn bar near the Pompidou Centre, fourth arrondissement. It's a bilingual group and this was my first time there. I met organiser Claire whom I had only corresponded with on Facebook and I met those completely unknown to me with such interesting backgrounds.

I met Rob who'd spent years in the French Foreign Legion. The first things I noticed about him were his very easy kiwi accent and his gentle smile. He's seen a bit of life many of us wouldn't want to see. He misses the beaches of his youth in NZ but doesn't seem to miss a lot else. I met Alistair who does project management and has lived in France for quite some time. Sankar was born in India but moved to NZ. He chatted away to me about all sorts of financial and immigration matters as he works for the OECD. Then there was Roger. To my amazement I discovered he is the retired publisher of the Harry Potter books. He's such an unassuming guy but with a lifestyle we can only imagine.

It's interesting to meet these talented kiwis who fly, pretty much, under the radar but who work and contribute in this fascinating country. I think I'm developing a taste to do more of this networking.


Post a Comment

I welcome your comments, contributions and feedback.