Thank You, French Cell Phone Plan

The other Saturday I took advantage of the sunshine that made it just warm enough to sit outside, a rare winter treat.

I chose a quiet spot in the Luxembourg Gardens and called my dad. Cell phone plans have made leaps and bounds here within the past five to ten years. All the major competitors offer calls to the United States at no extra charge, which means that with a regular cell phone I can walk next to the Seine and speak with my sister, who is in the States. My plan costs twenty euros a month and includes unlimited calls and texts in France, unlimited calls to all phones in the United States, Canada, and China and to landlines in many other countries, and data. It is amazing.

About a month ago a friend and I spoke about what happened to our relationships when we left our respective countries and came to Paris. She said that she cut off her ties there, not because she had any animosity towards her circle, but because she wanted to be fully present here. She was actually quite happy before she left, but now she is immersed in her Parisian life. Our conversation made me think of a fellow college student I knew when I studied abroad here; he was adventurous and liked Paris, but he spent a lot of time Skyping with his girlfriend in the States, whom he missed a lot.

I think it’s hard to have strong ties in your home country when you live abroad because you will feel a part of you is missing. On the other hand, I value those ties. As I told my friend, although my close friends and family are not physically in Paris, they are present in my life. At one point I realized that much of my emotional support circle is not here. However, I don’t think that depending on them prevents me from forming liens in my current adopted country. I have some close friends here and am always open to meeting new people and potential “kindred spirits,” as my friend Donna would say. At the same time, I don’t consider people replaceable. I’m of the mindset that once you find a good friend, you better hold on to them.

Certainly, I am not still in contact with every friend who has ever entered my life. Sometimes people are there for a specific period, even a very short one. Sometimes people are not good at keeping in touch or drop out of sight with no warning. I’ve learned to let those go. It’s precisely for that reason that the people who stick around are all the more important.

Later that day, after my foray in the Luxembourg Gardens, I took a long walk with a friend in her neighborhood. Then I had dinner with two other friends, the couple that hosted me during my first week in Paris while I looked for an apartment.

I leave you with a photo of the Luxembourg Gardens on a cold, clear day with an uncommonly blue sky for Paris.106.luxembourg

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12 thoughts on “Thank You, French Cell Phone Plan

  1. I love these cheap plans that allow me to call home! Before, it was always my mom who paid for a special plan on her landline that allowed her to call me.

    Some of my relationships back home have changed since being here, but I do still have ties back there and here as well now. I don’t think it would be possible for me to completely cut ties. I don’t know how your one friend managed.

    • It’s funny how those plans mean that only one person can call the other. When I’m here I call my family on my birthday instead of vice versa.

      Yes, relationships change; sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. What’s helpful is to know who’s got your back.

      My friend “needs” people less than some other people do. She is very self-sufficient emotionally.

  2. I don’t really like talking on the phone, so I’m pretty bad at keeping in touch with people back home. I’m trying to keep up with my Tours friends through regular travels, which has the bonus of being a lot of fun 🙂

    It’s a bit chicken and egg I suppose. Someone who’s missing people back home a lot may be not getting out there as much, which in turn probably makes them more lonely and therefore spend more time missing the folks at home…

    • It is fun to travel with friends that you know well but don’t live near. That’s great that you get to do that often.

      I think it’s possible to find a balance between going out where you live and keeping in touch with those far away. But yes, if I learned one thing from my econ classes, it’s opportunity cost.

  3. Ooh, I gotta check out my plan. Whats app is a nice app for international chatting, too. I agree that I’m still divided: close family relationships back home, new expat friends who “get me” over here.

  4. That does sound like an amazing phone plan! Calling the US is not terribly expensive for me, but it’s not cheap either.

    I think about the strange dynamic of cutting ties or trying to stay in touch all the time. I hardly talked to anyone when I was here the first time, but this time I talk with family and friends often- which is really nice, but it does make me feel less involved here and makes me remember all that I miss there.

    Most of my ’emotional support’ does not live here either, and I don’t want to give that up. And you are so right that those kind of people- no matter where you meet them and where you both live- are worth holding on to. It’s such a strange balance.

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