1. Spend atrocious hours of time sitting in a café sipping red wine
Prior to dinners, not only do I expect two hours of pre-dinner chat outdoors over red wine. I also expect cafés to have heaters in the winter so I can sit outdoors and chat over red wine. Very mild temperature fluctuations in Paris facilitates this year-round activity, as temperatures rarely fall out of the 40-75 degrees range.
2. Regret eating a whole baguette before I start my meal, but then continue to do it every time
In New York, bread comes with dinner - that's pretty much it. In France, it comes with breakfast, lunch, drinks, and dinner. Yes, baguettes are everywhere. You cannot miss, hide or run from them. If you have a weakness for baguettes, avoid leaving your apartment on Sunday morning, because you will inevitably run into a whole city of French people carrying very long baguettes - which will then prompt you to go to the nearest Boulangerie to do the same.
Anyway...this means that prior to eating my dinner, facilitated by the slow service (expect, on average a 15-30 minute wait for your meal), I shall inevitably down at least half a baguette. Upon the arrival of my meal, I begin to significantly regret my decision, yet nevertheless continue to make the same bad decision every time.
3. Drink espresso instead of coffee
Coffee is a large cup of diluted espresso. Three months after my arrival in Paris, I've discovered that I can no longer drink coffee. Unless it is a latte, regular coffees taste very watered down in a very strange way.
4. Elegantly complain
In New York, complaining and criticizing is somewhat looked down upon. In Paris, there is an art to criticism. Remember to incorporate a bit of wit and humor, and feel free to throw in a frown or shrug now and then.
For example in restaurants, do not give anyone the immediate pleasure of knowing how much you like the food. Instead: Frown. Pause. Nod. Pause. Then slowly say "pas mal" (meaning not bad). Finally, towards the end of the dinner, when the waitress asks you how it was, you can say that it was GREAT! Don't ask me why but this is far more appreciated than overwhelming enthusiasm from the very start.
5. Invite friends over instead of dining out
In New York, hitting up the latest restaurant trend is a key bonding experience with friends. In Paris, this bond happens in the intimacy of the home. Prepare to invite and be invited for dinners chez yours and others. And make sure you have at least two bottles of wine.
6. Feel completely undisturbed that we have yet to see the sun in 10 days (or that it is has been raining for the last week)
With the exception of knowing you may become deficient in Vitamin D, I've become completely okay with not seeing the sun. In fact, having cloudy days makes those cloudless ones that much more appreciable. And rain? Well, there's something dreamy and grey about walking down Parisian streets drizzling rain. And of course, not to mention how it gives me even more of a reason to do activity #1.
7. Decide that it's not only uninteresting, but unhealthy and strange to do any form of work after 8PM
8. Decide that instead of working after 8PM, I should cram the same amount of work into earlier hours of my day. Unfortunately, some things just never change.