MLP is interviewed in Paris
Something very exciting happened to Mama Loves Paris this month. First, MLP was invited to participate in a radio interview, then we were quoted in an article with The Times (UK) newspaper and finally, featured in a magazine here in Paris. These moments represent a huge milestone for this blog and it felt significant enough to share this moment with you, especially given the fantastic support and encouragement you have shown Mama Loves Paris since its inception.
As you know, I am an expat mum, with twins living in a city that proved so challenging to me when I first arrived here. When I think back to those first few months, or more accurately the first year, it brings back memories of a lot of tearful moments as I struggled to adjust to life in France, away from our family and friends.
I remember so clearly being in floods of tears, as we sat on the train pulling out of London en route to Paris, consumed with dread having never lived in another country before. I was also feeling quite anxious about what this new chapter of our lives would be like and harbouring a bit of guilt, knowing that most people we knew would give anything to be in my shoes…after all, we were going to live in Paris!
The stories and experiences we endured at the beginning, would turn this blog post into a version of War and Peace, so I won’t document them here.
But I will say, that as I sat on the train from London, sobbing so loudly that I had to sit away from my children so as not to distress them – I found momentary comfort in a separate carriage, seated amongst strangers, where I could blub to my hearts content. As I sat there, my constant sniffling caught the attention of my neighbour, a kind faced woman – who asked me why I was so sad.
Choked, I relayed to her my story – my husbands new job, the fear of flying solo in a new city with my then 4yr old twins, the looming distance from relatives and friends and the fear of living in the City of Light. She looked at my tear-stained, highly unattractive and contorted face, complete with dribbling snot, only partially hidden by my drenched tissue and she said…
“I understand! When I was 14 both my parents died, I was in Afghanistan and a stranger took me out of my country to Holland where I made a new life, it was hard but things got better”
The empathy I felt towards her at that moment was overwhelming. But, what were the chances that I would end up sitting next to someone whose story was so horrifying?
It was frustratingly impossible to feel sorry for myself now! Dammit!
I couldn’t help but wish I had sat elsewhere in this carriage to wallow in my pity party! It was certainly and quite rightly, a sobering experience!
I quickly dried my tears. We hugged (she was lovely) and I scurried back to my seat, ashamed and embarrassed.
Fast forward a few years and I often think back to that moment, exposed by the stranger on the train. It reminds me of the brilliant opportunity I was being given and the chance to start something new.
It is part of the reason why I haven’t used this blog as a platform to detail the difficulties that expats face, when moving to a new country for the first time, although I have considered documenting it at some point. Instead, Mama Loves Paris has focused on trying to share the good stuff as often as I can and investigating the great ways, this new city can be enjoyed. 18 months on, the hard graft is being unexpectedly recognised.
When Expatriates Magazine approached me and encouraged me to share the raison d’être behind Mama Loves Paris, I didn’t jump at the chance, partly due to being comfortably anonymous up to this point. But after some persuasion, by an inspiring woman I met called Dawn Bourrnand, who interviewed me, I decided to go for it, regardless of how nervous and reluctant I felt!
The magazine, which is free, has been distributed throughout Paris and the interview is now available online. The photographs were taken by Nancy R Jochimek, and you can follow her on Instagram @shurks
Thanks to all of you for reading this post, supporting the blog and I sincerely hope you continue to do so. Your encouragement, post likes, comments and follows on our social media platforms and here on the website are very much appreciated and valued. I, as well as the lovely writers and creatives who have contributed to Mama Loves Paris, pledge to continue to bring you good content that as promised, offers escapism for you and the kids.
Hope you enjoy the interview.
Merci beaucoup et Bon Noel