One month in Paris.

Funny thing when you’re different in a place where everyone’s practically the same. Actually, no, scratch that.
Funny thing when you’re different in a place where you’d think everyone’s practically the same.
You wouldn’t think of that when you think of Paris. All you see are croissants, hot guys wearing berets, adorned with crème Chantilly and a hilariously delicious accent, who seem to eat cheese every freaking night (At least, that was how I saw them, maybe). But no. What I see here, is an incredible César salad of Africans, Indians (moustache guys throwing dirty looks at me while singing Indian songs in the metro. Yikes.), Arabic people, Turkish, Greek, Italians, Swedish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Japanese, and everything –ese people. And last but not least, the French.
When I first arrived to my apartment, I didn’t feel homesick, because there wasn’t anything that made me feel homesick about. My point is that it was hard finding a Frenchie amongst all the migrants. I don’t see it negatively, I actually think it pretty fascinating, if not completely hilarious. Imagine going in a metro and hearing at least 5 different conversations being conducted in 5 different languages. Once I was going to drop my shopping bags when I heard two fifty-ish guys speaking Mauritian creole just behind me.
In some way I think it’s beautiful, all these colours, all this culture, all this food.
And in some other ways I think it’s hilarious, all these stereotypes, and all these racist comments nobody seems to take seriously. Except me. I guess it’s going to be long before that Mauritian sensibility to racist comments wears off.
What shocked me was how the homeless lived. They have tents. Actual plastic/polyester tents that you bring on camp, with wood underneath to keep you warm. In Mauritius the homeless uses newspaper to put on the streets to sleep.
However I somehow understand why the French aren’t too pleased with having so many migrants concentrated in such a high-valued place. They are losing their identity in some way. It reminds me of the attitude of most Mauritians (Including myself, I admit) who are not too pleased with having so many migrants. Most of us just ignore them. But then again, we do not have a massive amount of migrants either. The little we have are there mostly for doing industrial/ manual work. But imagine if they were as much as the Mauritian population, and you’re lost in a sea of strangers, your Mauritian identity isolating you. You would eventually feel it’s not your country anymore. And I think that’s what some French people are starting to feel. Of course, I am not French, so if we follow my analysis, I am criticising myself. Even if I justify myself saying I came to Paris for my studies, it wouldn’t differentiate me from the rest of the migrants. I may eventually work here, or live here, or anywhere else for that matter. And in some way, I may end up in a place that isn’t my home country. And you know what? Most of the French people I came to know never made me feel like I do not belong here. They surely (and openly) talked about our differences, sometimes shocking me, because I wasn’t used to such openness in Mauritius. But I got to realize the way they matured over the years since immigration started overwhelming their territory. Most of them see you as a person above all. Of course, not everyone is super nice. There are rude people here. But then again, there are rude people everywhere. You may be different, speak a different language, look different, but you both smile when a baby laughs at you, you both complain when the train is late, you both hold the door for the other when you need to go out. And those are the little things that show that we’re all humans.
I suppose it is fun to joke about stereotypes, but once you get to know the real people, you’ll realise that Paris is just breathtakingly real.