If there’s a difference between my Parisian life and my life as “Regiamontana”, it’s the SPACE. In Monterrey, everything is bigger than anything that I knew before.
I haven’t always lived in Paris, I moved a lot and I have lived both in apartment or house. As far as I remember, the biggest place where I lived was around 150 m2 and for me it was huge. I finally ended by living permanently in Paris, where rents are crazily expensive, and I made my home in a 30 m2. And you know what? I loved it! Still today I miss it: unbelievable fact for people from Monterrey.
In Paris, I had a bedroom, a living-room, a kitchen and a bathroom. In Monterrey, I have the same…but in 90m2 including the balcony! In Paris, I had to climb 4 floors without elevator while in Monterrey I live on the 15th, of course with an elevator! In Paris, I didn’t have any terrace or any parking space, while in Monterrey I have my own little terrace as well as two parking spaces. The building is also equipped with a common area which counts with two terraces, a pool, a gym, a little library and a room with TV and a pool table.
Now you are probably asking how can I afford this type of place. Well, it’s simple: the price difference with my Parisian rent is almost inexistent. Monterrey has the highest rents of the country and the cost of living is for sure high also (such as the one of Paris), but rents are still way lower than in Paris.
I heard at different times in Monterrey comments such as:
“Whouah, I don’t know how were you doing to live in a such small place”
“Gosh, it must have been so hard for you” (as if I had had to go through a misery life)
“Well, I understand that you decided to live in Mexico!”
I am still surprised by this type of remarks because I never felt any shortfall when I was living in Paris. To the contrary! I was working and earning a really nice living for someone who had at that time a simple Nurse’s Degree. I was 24 and I had what we call in French a “contrat cadre” as a Deputy Director of a Nursery, I was far to be able to complain. Most of my friends of the same age were living in less than 30 m2 (yes, yes, it’s definitely possible!) and I really liked my way of living. If I am totally honest, here are true facts:
-For sure my apartment was old and I had to make some refreshments myself as the owner didn’t care. But it was bright as I had 3 windows giving on the garden of the nearby building. This is pure gold in Paris because many apartments have no light. Believe me, I visited many unhealthy places before finding my little cocoon. Besides, I was living in the 11th area of Paris that I love, although it was “popular” it was safe. The fact is that social classes don’t mix in Mexico, rich stay with rich and poor stay with poor: I feel horrible when I express that but it’s sadly true. In Paris, even though some neighborhoods are way posher than others, people mix more, starting by the subway. Where I was, it was really mixed.
-But what I especially liked was the atmosphere of the place: the little bars and restaurants, students, young workers, families, book stores, church, canal, flower shop, markets…I had all the commodities from walking distances: three subways stations, supermarket, pharmacy, bakery, parks…and I had the oldest place of Paris where you can rent movies. It seems outdated now that we have everything on internet but if this place still remains, it’s because people who manage it have a real passion for cinema and transmit it. When you enter in the store looking for a movie, the owner immediately makes you propositions according to your tastes and you will see that he knows a lot about cinema. Actually, there was a real neighborhood life. There were even artist workshops in the yard of my building.
-30 m2 were not that much but it was enough and I had all what I needed. I actually even had more there that I have now: dishes, memories, books…I didn’t miss anything and I didn’t want more. The only thing that I desired and that I still desire was to travel but it was absolutely not about space or material stuff.
In my new life in Mexico, I have the impression to experiment a kind of “luxury” and for sure I like it also. Who wouldn’t like to have a pool and a gym, seriously? But it doesn’t mean that I was miserable before in my Parisian life. In Monterrey, I get along with some neighbors of the building but there’s no neighborhood-life. I have to take the car for everything because it’s simply impossible to walk. It’s a complete different way of living.
In Paris, I learnt how to optimize space: plastic boxes under the bed and on the top of the closet, item stack, multiple shelves. In Monterrey, I learn how to enjoy the space because for real, I was feeling uncomfortable at the beginning. I even see it in restaurants. Here restaurants are huge. In Paris, you have sometimes to fight to not hear the conversation of the next table.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t say that one is better than the other one (even if I have to admit that I miss a lot my Parisian commodities!): it’s simply different and this what makes you learn about the world.
And you? Tell me more about your way of living. In which type of place are you living? Do you prefer small or big places? What are you used to and what would you like to experiment?