When you have an office in Paris, a sales team in Paris, and a customer in Paris, is there anything keeping you from moving to Paris? Well, not really! That’s what Noveo Project Manager Tatiana thought - and now, deeds matching words, she shares with us the insider information about what it feels like to be a Frenchwoman.
On a beautiful summer morning, me and my three suitcases got into a taxi and, seizing the opportunity presented by the company, went fulfill a lifelong dream.
Three months have already passed since that morning. I've made decent progress in dealing with the famous French bureaucracy, learned to cross the street on a red light, and at 4 pm, I irresistibly crave a croissant - but let’s follow the order of events :)
It was a very wise decision to move before August, the hot vacation season. It was a very calm period at work, I took 1-2 extra days off per week and therefore had time to work in the sun on the lawn, go apartment hunting, and even, after the third attempt, get into a bank that unexpectedly closed at 5:15 pm.
I fully enjoyed the candy-bouquet period. Like in a magical dream:
- I went to a Rammstein concert
- saw Milen Farmer in person
- drove to Nice in 5 hours (5 hours to reach the real Azure Coast! For a person from northern latitudes this is something incredible)
- and took a walk in Normandy.
At the same time, I was gradually addressing non-touristy matters.
The main quest for freshly minted immigrants is finding accommodation. Due to strict French legislation that very much protects lodgers, property owners look for a super-ideal lodger with a long rental history and plenty of evidence of financial capability. That wasn't me :) But after three weeks of lazy searching, I was fortunate enough to rent an apartment on the top floor of a 100-year-old building with a view of La Défense and the Eiffel Tower. Now I can get to the office in 26 minutes, including a walk through extremely charming places.
So, by rentrée (the return of the whole world from vacations), I was already well settled. Therefore, integration into the office work went exceptionally well. The work itself consists of the same tasks I've been doing for the past two years, so from this point of view, it's as if the move never happened. But how nice it is to be in the same time zone with the clients, discuss the common weather outside, and famous French strikes! And also, to go for lunch at a nearby restaurant and taste high cuisine at a business lunch price.
Another challenging aspect of moving in another city or even country is building new social relationships. In Paris, there are numerous social media groups and chats. I was lucky to
- find a group of board game enthusiasts like myself
- go on a hike along the river in the outskirts of Paris in a nice company
- visit the Louvre on a day of free admission together with other art admirers
- and drink a cup of hot chocolate in one of the most famous coffee shops in Paris.
My French situation is… interesting :) A couple of months before I left, I spontaneously passed the DELF B2 exam, but it didn't help me much in everyday French life. Cashiers in stores politely switched to English, and when discussing the typical small talk topic of weather, I persistently said "minus 30." After all, it's one thing to discuss environmental issues from a textbook, and quite another to understand a colleague when he talks about visiting a new restaurant. But it was all the more pleasant to realize that when I watch a movie in English with French subtitles in the cinema, the French subtitles are easier to understand.
A whirl of activity returned to the office with the start of the autumn, smoothly replacing talks about vacations and new experiences. There is constantly something going on. For example, yesterday at lunch, everything was as usual, but a couple of hours later, my colleagues had already decorated (or rather, transformed) the office for Halloween. Due to an upcoming general meeting, colleagues from different branches are gathering, and at the end of the week, we have an Escape game waiting for us (I hope my level of French will be enough to actually escape from there).
Projects have also become easier to manage. When everyone is in the same time zone, it's easier to schedule calls and quickly discuss current issues instead of spending a long time figuring out when everyone can find the time. And if a question requires the involvement of many people, you can go to the client's office and sit down with everyone at the round table. In this way, decisions are reached more quickly.
For now, I am very satisfied. Living in a dynamic city close to beautiful, quiet and not-so-quite natural places alike is a joy. Doing what you love with people you like is an even greater joy.
Having visited several Noveo offices in different countries, I can confidently say: no matter where I am in the world, it's good to be surrounded by good people!