We had the pleasure of sitting down with Pamela Michelle Tate, Ph.D., the accomplished Editor-in-Chief of The Self Care Magazine, as she shared her transformative journey to the enchanting city of Paris. In this exclusive Q&A session, we explore Pamela's unique perspective on self-care, her profound experiences in the City of Light, and the invaluable lessons she learned along the way. Join us as we delve into her insightful reflections and discover how Paris became a catalyst for her personal growth and a renewed commitment to self-care.
What was your initial impression of Paris when you first arrived? I was excited to be in a land that readily accepted blacks as citizens. I couldn't wait to get out and see the city.
How did you find the pace of life in Paris compared to your home city? The pace of things in Paris seemed non-stop because of the nine-hour time difference. The Parisians are laid back and take things slow for the most part. Since apartments are small, restaurants expect guests to hang out and talk for 30 minutes or so before they order their food.
We found ourselves asking for our check so that we could leave to get to our activities. I really liked how the Parisians really slowed things down and made us begin to relax as we planned our outings.
Did you make any efforts to prioritize your mental health while in Paris? I really did. I started by unplugging my telephone and working. I focused on just being present in Paris. There was a major storm back at home and that caused some long-term issues at the office we were planning to move into. I took in the news and decided that I would deal with that when I returned home. There was nothing that could be done while I was in Paris, so I decided to just enjoy my time there.
Can you share some of your favorite self-care activities you participated in while there? Walking was a big self-care activity for me. I loved being in the different arrondissements and looking at the shops, people, and scenery.
What are some must-see places you visited in Paris and why do you recommend them? There are so many must-see places in Paris and unfortunately, I did not get to visit them all. I am fortunate that I've been there before, but there are just so many things to do and see!!
I went back to the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre this time because they are certainly must-do's. I also went to the top of Montmartre to visit the Sac de Cour, which was absolutely beautiful and the view from the hilltop allowed us to take in the breathtaking view of Paris.
How did the beauty and culture of Paris impact your mental and emotional well-being? The beauty and culture of Paris really made a significant impact on my mental health and emotional well-being. Prior to traveling to Paris, I had a lot of work pressures and transitions that I knew would be coming up when I returned home. It was nice to be in such a calming environment filled with such beauty and so much history and world culture. I enjoyed walking the streets of Paris, even though the protests were just starting. I enjoyed the architecture and looking at the buildings and I honestly felt at peace.
Can you tell us about any experiences in Paris that particularly stand out to you? There were two experiences that stood out for me. The first was our welcome to Paris. We had a lovely flight attendant who was very kind. He gave us recommendations for restaurants and general information about Paris.
When when we got to the airport, we were surprised to find that our apartment concierge had arranged for us to be picked up in a private car from the airport, which was really great! Another surprise was the customer service levels that we experienced and Paris was amazing! With limited French people were still able to understand us when we spoke in English. People were kind when they only spoke French and we spoke English. We used Google Translate at one point and it worked out fine.
How did the food and cuisine in Paris influence your overall experience there? The food and cuisine in Paris were Magnifique! The pastries were amazing. The meals were amazing, and I love cheese, so it was better than amazing.
One thing that I really loved was there was no rush when you visit a Parisian restaurant. They expect customers to linger and talk and really enjoy their friends and dinner companions, as well as the meal. We found ourselves short on time and wanted them to hurry to take our order, and we discovered waitstaff wouldn't come for food orders for about 25 to 30 minutes after we were seated. Then the food would come 20 to 30 minutes after ordering. The waitstaff would linger and let us slowly eat before they would ask if you wanted coffee or dessert. Meals were some of our nicest experiences. I really liked the pace, because things are so rushed when we're here in the United States.
Was there anything about Paris that you found challenging or difficult to adjust to? The only problem I had adjusting to was the time. I flew to Atlanta before going to Paris and so there was a nine-hour time difference when we got to Paris and then I just never caught up. It took me about two weeks to get acclimated to the time after I returned from Paris due to my additional travels.
Lastly, how did your time in Paris change you or impact your perspective on self-care and mental health? My trip to Paris, certainly had an impact on my perspective on self-care and it improved my mental health. I decided I needed to slow down a little bit more and really take advantage of doing things that will lead to me having more relaxation.
This trip was leading me to take better care of myself in general. I've walked a little more since I've returned home. I am also taking advantage of slower meal imes and making sure that I'm adding time into my schedule to do things at a slower pace than we normally do here in the United States. I've also setup a retreat to go to Greece next summer with a group of people. I am looking forward to that, and of course, I always look forward to returning to Paris.