I'm starting a stint in Paris - somehow I have been able to convince my work that this is integral to the process and it has all happened fairly quick. Having said that, nothing in Paris happens quickly at all and it has taken the month of January to get internet access in my new flat.
Even the French are supposed to dislike Parisians but so far they have been very tolerant of my distinct lack of language skills and I seem to have arrived in the middle of the grand soldes so all the shops have -50% plastered on their windows which has really helped to make me feel welcome too...
The one downside is that I am out here on my own and I can't help thinking the whole journey would be all the better for being shared. I am, however, making amazing progress at eating out alone. I refrained from putting myself in that embarassing situation to begin with but there are so many bistrots and bars that look so good that I was quick to develop a thicker skin. I've found if you go mega early (6:30pm ish) then the restaurants are still empty, you get served quick, waiters are more tolerant of you umm-ing and ahh-ing through basic French and I don't have to pretend to be reading a book to look as if I am not listening in to all the conversations around me. It's quite liberating actually, each meal is like an extra boost of confidence (as well as completely delicious!). I think I may even try it when I am back home.