Totally Frenched Out

From the blogger formerly known as Samdebretagne

Saturday, August 30, 2008

So my ten year high school reunion was last weekend. Most of my friends went, and it sounds like it was fun. I had mixed feelings about not being able to go - part of me was disappointed and the other part was glad, because it meant I didn't have to answer a million and one questions about how things were going in France. A friend sent me the reunion bio book though, and I've been having fun going through it. It's surprising how many people have children, and multiple ones at that. One girl has four of her own plus five step children. I mean, good Lord, can you imagine??

I was really lucky to have had such great friends in high school - most of whom I'm still in touch with today thanks to the wonders of the Internets and sites like Facebook. To this day, one of my favorite things about Christmas vacation (besides seeing my fam of course) is getting to hang out with them because I know I'm guaranteed several nights of gut-busting laughter. Of course that only served to remind me how laughter-less my life in Bretagne was, but still, it was always nice to reunite the gang again.

Here's the bio of my good friend T***, who I think should try out for SNL:

Spouse/sig other: I fell in love with the most beautiful creature I'd ever seen. We spent the most wonderful winter together an had a lovely February marriage. Unfortunately she turned out to be a snowman (or snowwoman if you want to be politically correct) and she melted away on our honeymoon in the Caribbean.

Children? Who can remember all of their names? I think there is a Frank or a Fred in there somewhere though...

What did you want to be in high school? A ninja-pirate

What is your career now? A pirate-ninja

Fondest high school memory? You guys remember that one time when we played that awesome prank on the up-tight principal right before the big game? That was awesome. Classic us moment. Oh wait, that was an after school special.

Something you still own/use from HS? I'm still rocking my Zoobas, hypercolor tees and slap bracelets. Don't think I'm not turning heads here in LA.

Most interesting place you've been since HS? The back seat of Christina Ricci's limo, if you know what I'm saying. High-fives all around!

What do you miss most from HS? All those super cute girls. You know who you are. Look me up when you're in LA - I'll show you the "sights".

If Hollywood were doing your life story, who would play you in HS? Zombie James Jean. Or Tina Turner if he is unavailable

Mom & Dad were right about.....The fact that life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Wait....that was Ferris Bueller. Mom & Dad were right about Ferris Bueller being an awesome movie.

What have you been doing since HS? Taught butterflies to dance, cured cancer (but kept the cure to myself) and killed the president of Paraguay with a fork. You know, the usual.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dinty Moore Dads

I came across this on Non, je ne regrette rien and just about bust a gut:


Thursday, August 28, 2008

As September 1 approaches, we are hearing more and more about "la rentrée". Literally, it means "the come back", but it's so much more than that. It's got its own identity. Its own (huge) cultural significance. It means the end of summer, the return to the city, the start of the school-year. It's a milestone, a way to say, hey, I made it through 3/4th of the year. I guess the closest American equivalent would be Labor Day, but even that doesn't carry the same kind of weight that la rentrée does.

This whole rentrée here in Paris seems so backwards to me. In Bretagne, I couldn't wait for la rentrée to come around - it meant that the thousands of tourists who had descended on the city for the summer would finally go home. It meant no more traffic jams, no more slow drives to the beach and no more hearing snooty Brits at every turn. It meant the return to normal life.

Here in Paris, it's the exact opposite - the rentrée means the city is starting to fill up again, and traffic jams and crowded metros will once again become de rigeur. Though to be honest, I don't drive and with the exception of some of the local shops being closed, I really didn't notice much a difference since I live in the heart of Paris. Others who live farther out though have mentioned their neighborhoods are like ghost towns. Put 2 and 2 together, and I guess who know who was causing traffic jams in V-town now, don't we? I'm telling you, seeing ''75'' license plates caused just as much fear on the road as British ones!

But I guess this rentrée is a special one for me - it's my first in Paris. It marks the end of what was essentially a three month vacation, as well as the start of my new (single) adult life, my new home and my new work contract. Hopefully it will be a good year!


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Drumroll please.....

If I'm posting this so late in the morning, it's only because I finally got a good night's sleep last night.....due to the fact that I now have a home! After over a month of hardcore looking and 21 (mostly shitty) apartment visits, I have a place to live. I am so relieved.

I'm sure you'll all wondering which place I took so..................I took the studio a little farther out. It's in a nice building, in a safe neighborhood and I really liked the apartment. It's the biggest one I've seen so far and is decently decorated. Of course, it doesn't have the views I get from my chambre de bonne, but it does have nice big windows that let lots of light in. I also realized that it's closer to chez Kendra than I previously thought - it's probably only a 15 minute walk. So I signed the lease and forked over my 1500€ and I now have the keys in my possession. And mille mercis to William for having accompanied me.

The guy I'm renting it from has some stuff in there still, but I can start moving in Friday after noon. After being let down so many times, there's a part of me that still thinks this is a scam and that they took my money and then changed the locks or something like that. So I won't be fully relaxed until Friday when I can get in there and see that it really is mine (at least until June 30, 2009)!

PS. To answer your comment on the other post Rochelle, 90% of particuliers won't accept a check for the deposit. They've all been screwed over so many times that now they want cold, hard cash. The guy I'm sub-letting from actually took a check from the original guy he'd found last week and it bounced, so this time he said "I learned my lesson, pay me in cash".


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Those of you who know about my previous life in Bretagne will hopefully find this post as funny as I did!


Monday, August 25, 2008

I love music, all kinds of music - French, American, oldies, rock, pop, country, rap - I love it all. The funny thing is, I'm not capable of telling you who the singer is or what the song is called, but lyrics I can do. I have a photographic (or is that phonographic) memory for them. I often blame my bad memory on it - my brain is so full of songs that there's no room for anything else I can't remember what I did yesterday but yet I can remember every word to a song I haven't heard in ten years. But yet just hearing the beginning notes of a song can immediately transport me back in time. Things like the song that was playing during my first kiss, or when I got in the car on my very last day of high school, or what was on the radio when I found out my dad died. I guess that's one good thing about living outside the US - I'm usually spared from some of those memories because it's not music typically found on French radio.

More recently though, I've been hearing the string of songs that were playing during that last month I spent in the gîte, alone & lonely. There's a handful of them that, every time I hear them, immediately give me un gros pincement au coeur. I see myself in the gîte, crying & broken-hearted, and I can feel the extreme sadness I felt at that moment. The utter humiliation of it all. It still surprises me that your heart really can feel like it's breaking in two (or conversely, bursting with happiness).

Thanks to the summer hits, I've been spared from listening to the worst offenders since moving to Paris. But for whatever reason, a good chunk of them have been playing non-stop this weekend. On TV, on the radio, in the supermarket, on my mp3 player. There was no respite. My twitter buddies will know that this particular weekend, the song "Repenti" was following me around like a bad case of herpes. I posted about the song here, just one day before Fab and I broke up. What used to be "our song" was transformed into the break-up song. Suddenly the "j'ai trahi" took on so much more meaning.

But I love music too much to stop listening because of a few tainted songs. I have the radio on pretty much all day while I work. It's one of the reasons I prefer taking the bus instead of the metro - better reception. Given my song history though, I just have to accept that certain songs will forever be linked with certain memories. And I have to laugh at the irony of this song being part of the group. Fab, this one's for you.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Paris by night

The night time is when Paris really shines. I like Paris during the day, but with all the tourists, the traffic, the noise - I don't love it. But at night. Oh, at night! Walking home at 2am in the silence. Looking at those old buildings all lit up - it's then that my heart really swells and I realize how much I love this city. Have you ever watched the sun rise over the Seine, with Paris as a backdrop? I've had the occasion to do it several times this summer, and I'm telling you - the light, the colors - it's so beautiful it just makes your heart ache. Combine that with the gorgeous sunsets I get behind the Eiffel Tower every night and you've got one happy camper.
Paris, you've stolen my heart.


Friday, August 22, 2008

So I need some opinions here- I looked at an apartment share yesterday, and I'm trying to decide if I should take it or not.

-It's still in my neighborhood (just behind the Cluny museum)
-It's a block from the RER, which will be nice when I need to travel
-It's a block from the Finnish Institute where I'll be talking classes in the fall
-It's on the 3rd floor, so the walk up the stairs isn't bad
-The area is really safe
-The apartment is already fully furnished & has a washing machine
-The room is a decent size and has a spot where I could set up a little office
-The price is in my budget, if on the high end

-The other roommate is a 50yr old Indian man (though I'm not really sure if this is a con - he's a librarian at George Pompidou & he seems pretty laid-back. He has two daughters in their early 20's and he also has a girlfriend. His previous roommates have all been over 30 and foreigners).
-He smokes at the window in the kitchen, meaning the kitchen sort of smelled like stale smoke.
-The rooms are right next to each other.

Right now I'm leaning towards taking it - the smoking thing is sort of an issue for me, but I don't have any other options in sight and I won't have a lease to sign so it's not like I'm tied in for a year or anything. And the fact that it's just two blocks up from where I am now is HUGE for me. But vote away and let me know what you'd do if you were in my situation!


Thursday, August 21, 2008


I am dying laughing right now because I just went to look at an apartment that had NO LIGHTS. None whatsoever. I walked in and it was pitch-black and I couldn't see a damn thing. The owner didn't even bring a flashlight or anything, so I was left to try to see what I could by the light of my phone. The bathroom ceiling was so low that I couldn't even stand up straight in it and I hit my head upon entering (again, lights would've been useful).

Also, to make things even weirder, the owner was carrying two naked plastic baby dolls with him and gave no explanation whatsoever as to why he had them. And there were major travaux going on just on the other side of the wall that were supposed to last for at least six more months.Any bets on whether I took it or not? :)


Unfortunately I still have no good news to give re: my housing situation. I have seen places ranging from disgustingly appalling to barely decent & livable. Nothing has blown me out of the water yet though. Also, to the person who posted an ad for an 20 sq meter 8th floor walk up, no elevator, for 750€ a month - you should be ashamed of yourself! You've really got some balls to charge that kind of rent. But unfortunately he/she is not alone in having that kind of nerve.

Some of the more interesting places I have seen include a place with a hole in the ceiling, left-over from a pipe leak several months earlier. Or another place completely covered in cat hair and with a pipe that was about to burst but that the owner "didn't want to fix until it actually did". Gee, sign me up.

I also saw a fairly decent place owned by a 50 yr old English man who traveled a lot and who didn't want to leave his place empty....but it was on the 6th floor, no elevator, and I'm a lazy ass. Yesterday I visited a similar set-up: a huge apartment right on the place de la république, owned by a retired Italian who used to be an EU lawyer. The owner was really interesting and spoke at least five languages fluently, and the apartment itself was nice - each room had it's own full bathroom and it even had a dryer. I think I would've taken it had he not been retired or if I had a real office to go to. But the idea of working from home everyday with an old man puttering around the house was just not that appealing to me.

Out of desperation, I finally made my way over to the American church, but there wasn't much in the way for ads and there were herds of people writing down the ones that were there. An 50yr old Greek man also followed me home from the church, spending 30 minutes trying to convince me to go have a drink with him. I'm sorry Makias, but your landline (and cell and email address) went straight into the poubelle.

So September 1 is rapidly approaching, and I still have no solid leads in sight. The good news is that I technically don't have to be out of here by Sept 1, but the bad news is that if I stay longer, that means more watching of the childrens. On a positive note, at least all this apartment visiting is helping me discover more of Paris (and the long metro rides are giving me time to figure out how to work my new phone).


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I have housing ads coming out of my ass. Will be back when the problem clears up.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I'm taking a break from my housing search to blog quick about this past weekend. I had an absolutely wonderful time though I probably gained about 5lbs from all the yummy food consumed. And can I just say that those ladies have some good-lookin' French husbands!!! I will leave you with some pics taken near Château Antipo. Who knew such a lovely little village could exist just a short train ride from Paris??


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Just a quick update to say that I'm feeling much better today. I woke up in the foulest of moods yesterday (as my twitter pals will tell you) - I really just felt like sh*t. So I made myself some blueberry pancakes and then went back to bed....and woke up at 3! I couldn't believe it. I felt a million times better when I woke up though - just goes to show that a good sleep can do you wonders.

Princesse Ecossaise and her lovely Frog Prince came over for pizza, and then we went to join Kendra and her boyfriend for a few drinks. We ended up playing pool, girls vs boys (or blonds vs browns or anglophones vs francophones, take your pick) and it was a ton of fun. That just might be the first time I've played pool since moving to France - I really enjoyed it, I should do it more often.

And now as I write, I am off to the home of the fabulous Mrs Antipo, who will whisk me off to chez Doc, where I will spend the weekend drinking martinis and eating petit fours with the likes of Aimee, Vivi and hopefully JennC, in the most ladylike of ways. Okay, okay, there are husbands and a herd of small childrens involved, so in all likelihood there will be no martinis or petits fours, but there WILL be copious amounts of food and drink from the sounds of things. Doc is a brave, brave woman for taking us all on at once!
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cry me a river

Tonight I felt lonely for the first time in a long while.

It was brought on by the fact that I lost out on an apartment, a sub-let. I'd been trying not to think of it as mine, but when the current renter asked me to meet her tonight with the deposit, a month's rent and proof of income, I assumed it was mine. Then she canceled at the last minute, I'm still not sure why. The problem is, I made the mistake of letting my guard down. I started imagining myself inside, and how I would rearrange the furniture, of where I would put the few positions that I have left. I was so happy to have found a place in my quartier, a place that would still allow me to keep walking every where. A place where I would be safe, and among friends.

But most importantly, it was to be a place of my own. A chez moi. I haven't had that since April. And while in my head I know it will turn out okay and that I will find something else, my heart is aching over everything I've lost. What should've been my beautiful new house in Bretagne. My belle-famille. Fabrice. My life. How did I end up in this situation? I am truly happier now and I really do believe that everything happens for a reason, but it doesn't make it any easier for me tonight. I'm a Cancer, I need roots, a home. And I'm tired of living without that.

Don't worry about me - tomorrow will be a new day, and I will be fine and get back up and start looking for housing again. But I just need to night to feel sorry for myself a little while longer.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Okay, so apparently the book idea doesn't interest anyone. Scratch that, lol!! Oh well, I'm not sure I'd ever be motivated enough to fully go through with it. There are so many other interesting things to do in this city right now. Speaking of which, it's funny, because I thought I'd be bored these past two weeks with K&K out of the country, but while I've definitely missed them, it's given me a chance to branch out and meet/hang out with other bloggers a bit more. I saw Jasmin again, met Olivier from O Château, had a picnic with Heather and Michelle, went to the Grace Kelly exhibit with Eileen, did some star gazing with Seb & Kathryn, met up with Laura while she was in Paris, spent a Sunday afternoon with Princesse Ecossaise and did a movie/drinks with Sarah and Emily. I will also hopefully be meeting up with Justin and his friend Thursday night. Am I forgetting anyone else? Either way, it's been a fun two weeks and I enjoyed meeting all of you!


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I haven't really mentioned it much on this blog, but I've gone on a fair amount of dates (or semi-dates) since I've been here in Paris. Obviously none of them have been anything to write home about, or you would've read about it here already. But since people keep telling me I should write a book (and I don't think my life is interesting enough to write about), I've been tossing around the idea of writing something along the lines of "A year's worth of dates in Paris". See, now that would be something I'd like to read.

The problem is, I've been really lazy about calling most of the guys back, and I figure that something like that might motivate me a bit more, or at least to do one a week. Many nights I'm just like "Hmmm... take the time and effort to get all gussied up and make small talk with a stranger for a few hours or sit on the couch with a glass of wine and catch up on Desperate Housewives". Most of the time, it's not really much of a contest. I have obviously not reached the point of desperation (yet) lol. Plus I'm so busy most nights anyways that it's kind of nice to have a night home every once in a while. I don't know, I guess I'll see. Here I was thinking I'd be super bored in August with everyone out of town, but it's going by in the blink of an eye!


Monday, August 11, 2008

I've been laying in bed for the past half hour trying to fall asleep. Funnily enough, that's also what I was doing at this time yesterday - but because I'd just gotten home, not because a client called me way too early.

I think I'll work these past 24hrs backwards. Last night, I went to see the perfect apartment - a little more than 40m2 (huge for Paris), furnished, on the top floor of the building with a balcony and vue sur Paris for only 600€ per month. I figured there had to be a catch, and there was - it's about a ten-minute walk from the metro and is in a sort of dodgy neighborhood filled with all sorts of back alleys. The apartment itself is lovely - nice furniture, good color scheme, lots of light - but the building is in bad condition and looks like an HLM (which it very well may be, given the price). I just did not feel safe enough there, despite the great price.

Lots of people have been asking about the hôtel de ville place - I sent them another email yesterday and they replied back saying the girl is now thinking about staying. Either I was too convincing when I told her how hard it was to find a new place or she was too convincing when telling me what a great place it was. Either way, it sucks and my housing search continues.

Yesterday afternoon, I finally met the lovely Princesse Ecossaise and her dear Frog Prince. They came into Paris and we had an over-price drink at a café, walked through the Luxembourg gardens and then went to a movie ("Le premier jour du reste de ta vie" - I recommend it). It was so nice to finally meet them and I look forward to hanging out again soon. I promise to not be semi-hungover next time though!

Now on to why I was getting home at 7:30am. So. Saturday night, Kendra and I met up with Laura (ex-assistant and blogger) and her friends on another péniche. The soirée started off a bit boring - there weren't as many people there as last week, the food wasn't great and the drinks were hella pricey. But the company was good, which made up for a lot. Some of the girls left to catch the metro and the organiser was ribbing Kendra and I for having stayed in the same seat all night and not mingling, so we got up and started walking around. We ended up talking to these three boys - one French, the other two half-French, half-English. They were all really cool and we hung out with them for the rest of the night, dancing until the boat/boite closed at 6am. After that, we all walked back along the Seine and watched the sun rise over Paris - is there anything more beautiful? Going from place de la Concorde to St Michel by foot took quite a while but we still took the time to grab a last drink at a café at place St Michel before parting ways.

It was a great night, and it reminded me a lot of being in the US and hanging out with the guys, talking and laughing, and not feeling pressured in any way. We didn't get their numbers at all - it was one of those one-time things I think. Though now I'm sort of regretting not asking for the number of the Frenchie, he was cute and really nice and I could do with seeing him again. ;) Either way though, as I lay in bed that morning with daylight streaming through the window, I thought "If only Fab and his friends could see little old coincée me now - they'd never believe it!" It's nice to realize that I'm not really secretly a 50 year old woman like they accused me of being - it was just the company I was keeping.


Saturday, August 9, 2008

Last night, Kathryn, Seb and I braved the ever-changing weather and made our way over to the Parc de la Villette to attend the 18th "Nuit des étoiles" (night of the stars). It was way different than I was expecting - for one, there weren't many people there (probably due to the weather) and two, it was outside. It was a bit cool, but we lucked out with the weather and the sky stayed fairly clear for the night.

For the first part of the evening, everyone was sort of split up into three groups, listening to these nutty French astronomists talk about the stars. Our group was led by a man and a woman, and there was a really light-hearted atmosphere. The two of them sort of reminded me of mad scientists - they were using anything and everything (even themselves) as props. Here you've got these grown adults running around in a circle, of their own free will, pretending to be the sun, the moon, Earth, etc. Very entertaining. And Very un-French.

They also had this super-telescope they'd used to zoom in on Jupiter and some of its moons. After talking about Jupiter for a bit, they used the same telescope to zoom in on our moon - you could see the craters and everything, it was pretty cool. We also got a little sort of adjustable summer star chart (though mine was lost later on in a small incident involving a glass of wine) that you could turn based on the date and the time, and it would show you which starts were where.

My absolutely favorite part of the night though was the light-bulb moment when I realized that the Milky Way was indeed called.....wait for voie lactée. How hilarious is that?? I don't know what I thought it would be called, but I mean just say it - VOIE LACTEE. It even sounds funny. And it's literally a direct translation of Milky Way into French. Kathryn thinks they bable-fished it (lol). But maybe you had to be there. Also, this is a big tangent, but since when is "moine" masculin? Come on, un just sounds bad. And it's difficult to say. Une moine would be so much better. Right?? Who's with me? Ya hear that Académie de la Langue Française?? (End tangent).

Anyways there is supposed to be a big meteor shower on August 11 (though some websites I saw are saying the 12th will be the big night), so if it's a clear, we are thinking about trying to find someplace to go watch it - anyone interested in joining us? Or have any suggestions of a park in Paris that would be a good viewing point?


Friday, August 8, 2008

Just a reminder that it's time to sign up for your absentee ballot if you haven't already. And actually, that's another reason I'm leaning towards taking the place I talked about yesterday - I'm running out of time to register and I need to come up with a permanent address to give them ASAP!

Check out the Vote from Abroad website - and thanks to Emily for the link!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

So I need some advice here - I went to see an apartment yesterday and I'm really hesitating about whether or not I should take it. Here's my list of pros and cons:

1. Literally at the foot of l'Hôtel de Ville
2. Safe neighborhood
3. Excellent public transportation
4. Great view from the living room
5. It's sublet, so I wouldn't need to sign a lease

1. A bit more expensive than I was looking for
2. There are two roommates, and I was only hoping for one (though one of them is gone for work 95% of the time)
3. I'd been hoping to live with a French person, and neither of them are native speakers
4. The kitchen is quite small and the oven doesn't work that well
5. The hallway needs repainting but the owner doesn't want to do it because it's a sublet

I just can't decide - the roommate who's never there is a fashion photographer from South Africa and he's always traveling for work (though they did have a shoot for men's Vogue in the apartment a few weeks ago and the girl I'd be replacing said the place was crawling with gorgeous male models - definite plus, lol). The other guy is half-German, half-French and is some kind of designer for a women's clothing line. He is there more often than the other guy, and sometimes his girlfriend stays over (and sometimes he stays at her place).

I'm really tempted by the location though - I absolutely love being able to walk home every night, and not having to worry about getting on the last metro. And you really can't get more in the heart of Paris than l'hôtel de ville. It's also furnished and there's a cleaning lady that comes twice a month to clean the common living areas, so I wouldn't have to worry about always cleaning up after two guys.

But on the other hand, I'm kind of liking living on my own - the thing is, with the budget I have and the location I want, I won't get anything bigger than what I have now. So it's either live with roommates or live farther out. The timing is perfect too and I really haven't found any other viable options for the moment. I did see a really good apartment this morning, but it was at metro Stalingrad and I just did not feel super comfortable there, even in broad daylight. But so what should I do? Should I hold out for something else? There isn't much on the market now, but I'm thinking things might pick up after August 15 when people start coming back from vacation. But considering I'd ideally like to move out for Sept 1, that doesn't leave me much time. Not to mention the herds of students that descend on Paris every September, all looking for housing. Help!


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

So one of my first assignments as a full-timer is supposedly to go install a machine in Tunisia. This is a huge deal because it'll be our first machine in Africa, it now means that we have clients on every continent except Antarctica and it's my first big-time assignment. However I have two concerns with this - 1) is it safe for a blond American woman to go to rural Tunisia on her own? and 2) considering that I work essentially with men, are they going to take me seriously?

I've already had a difficult enough time dealing with some Frenchmen in rural areas - in general, they don't like taking orders from a woman, especially when it comes to dealing with machinery. So I'm thinking it might be even worse in Tunisia - but I don't know anything about the country, so I could be completely wrong. En gros, I'm hoping someone out there will be able to give me some advice. My main concern is obviously my safety - I've gotten used to dealing with macho men and am usually able to make my clients understand that if they want help, they've got to go through me. But my co-worker (the one who's job I basically stole) is getting me all paranoid, saying it's not safe and that I shouldn't go. He sent an email to my superiors with quotes from all these sites about single American women being harassed, robbed or kidnapped.

So I'm torn - this is my big chance to prove myself, but it's also a big unknown - I don't know anything about Tunisia or their working conditions. I don't know what kind of materials they will have on hand or who (if anyone) on site will be willing to help me. This whole thing could go amazingly well or be completely awful. So if anyone out there has any advice to give, please either reply here or send me an email - I need to try to figure out what I'm getting myself into!

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Job offer

I had a semi-interview for a job the other day, and can't take it because I'll (finally) be starting full-time with The Company. It sounds really fun and easy though, and they'd rather find someone through word of mouth, so I thought I'd post here. It's for a bilingual acting school here in Paris. They are looking for a part-time administrative assistant, about 4-5 hrs per day. The hours are really flexible, and you can work from home if you'd like (would suit a SAHM). The duties would basically consist of answering emails, contacting future students/clients and maybe doing a bit of work with their website. Their office is located just behind the Musée d'Orsay, but you wouldn't be required to go in there everyday. They do want someone who's planning on being in France for a while though, at least two years.

Anyways, if anyone out there is interested, send me an email and I'll put you in touch with the owner!

Update: I forgot to mention that you need to be able to speak and write fluent French, as you will also be dealing with some French clients & businesses.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I recently found a decent-sized grocery store near my place, and this afternoon I decided to head back over there and check it out a bit more. Now, I'm very lucky because there are 2 Franprix, 2 Eds and 2 épiceries within a 5 minute walk of where I live - but the selection is often limited and the prices high. So I was happy to find a Champion a couple stops down on my bus line.

I didn't have anything specific to buy, it was more of a reconnaissance mission, to get a feel of the lay-out of the store and the products they carried. As I was walking through the aisles though, I was surprised to see how many processed or pre-packaged foods they carried. They had one whole aisle dedicated to pre-washed/peeled/chopped veggies alone. It was really strange, like being in an American grocery store.

I've always thought that supermarkets were a good indicator of societal changes. Malgré tout, the French have less time to prepare meals à l'ancienne, so products that save time, such as canned, frozen or pre-chopped veggies, are on the up and up. I remember when I came here for the first time in 2001. I was so surprised that the frozen food section was pretty much non-existant. And now just seven years later, frozen food sections are huge and Picard is one of the fastest growing French chains.

While I'm happy that more "familiar" foods are available to me (especially here in Paris), it does kind of make me sad. This whole "americanization" of the world, the way that if I wanted, I could subsist only on McDonald's or Pizza Hut or Subway or Starbucks in Paris, a major food capital of the world. Though I guess if they're there, it's because there's a demand for it... I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, it's just some thoughts that were rolling around in my head as I unpacked my groceries.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Yet another night out on the town

Since I've been in Paris, I've been reading a blog called Secrets of Paris. She's got lots of good tips on there - it's how I knew that Les Invalides was free on Bastille day and how I saw what really happened at the Fireman's Ball just down the street.

Besides her blog, Heather also wrote a book called "Naughty Paris - a lady's guide to the sexy city". She has a blog for the book too, which you can read here. Funnily enough, she also mentions Olivier from O Château in one of her posts. That guy must get around. In his flip flops.

Anyways, Heather's book is coming out in September and she did a pre-book party last night at the Curio Parlor. You know, one of those bars that is so cool that it doesn't have a name or an address on the outside, you just have to know it's there. Thank God people have to smoke outside now, or I never would've found it. I went in and was immediately extremely glad I'd made the effort to put on a dress and heels. Everyone was really friendly though, and there was a good mix of French & Americans. Things started to wind down around 1:30am, so I walked everyone back to the metro. After exchanging numbers, I started walking home again.

After a few meters, I stopped, took of my heels and my jewelry and put on some comfy shoes and a sweater. It's so funny how something as simple as shoes & jewelry can change what kind of men one attracts. I went from business men in suits to men in their 40's. Two different men asked if they could accompany me for a ways and another one told me I looked serene. Which is odd because he's the second man in two days to tell me I looked serene and serene is one of the last words I would use to describe myself. Maybe that's just the new pick-up line??

After helping a couple cute Frenchies find the right metro and stopping to chat quick with the local épicier, I finally made it home again safe and sound. I'm really going to miss living here - it's so nice not being tied to the metro and having the option of walking home at night. I love Paris at night, all lit up and magical. And I totally see what people mean about preferring the right or left bank - I rarely go over to "the other side". (insert ominous music here). Though considering how my housing search is going (ie. not well), I may not have the choice!


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Just another Friday night in Paris

Last night Jasmin & I went to a meet-up on a river boat/night club call Le Rivers King. For 12€, you got entry onto the boat, access to the buffet, an 1 1/2 boat ride down the Seine and 2-for-1 drinks til midnight. They also had salsa lessons in one of the salles. I really like this meet-up group - the people generally tend to be a bit older, generally in their 30's & working (read: cute men in suits). We were accompanied by Jasmin's friend John (or is that Jon? - it's not even your real name and I still don't know how to spell it!!) and John/Jon's friend Olivier. It turns out that Olivier is the Oliver from O Château Champagne cruise that K&K talk about in episode 130! It's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small world after all, it's a small, small world. Ha, just kidding.
We left the boat sometime after midnight to go pick up John/Jon's friend who'd just arrived in Paris, and then we made our way over to Kong, where we were refused entry because Olivier was wearing flip-flops. They actually almost refused him entry on the boat too for the same reason - so tourist tip, if you're going to go OUT-out in Paris, don't wear flip-flops. But really, that should be a given already. Jasmin sweet-talked the doormen into letting us in (ie. harassed him until he got sick of our faces) and we made our way upstairs. It was another one of those times when the whole thing was so surreal - like how did I end up going from middle-of-nowhere Bretagne to dancing and drinking champagne in a hip club in Paris? When are people going to notice that I don't belong here, that I'm just a small-town girl? (But until they do, I'll keep right on drinking that champagne).We finally left around 3am and while we were waiting for the elevator, I thanked the bouncer for having let us in. We chatted a bit and for whatever reason, he told us he liked Old Navy - how random is that?

Since it was such a nice night, I decided to walk home. I was about half-way there when all of the sudden, I realized I felt happy. Inexplicably, joyously happy. As in "Life is good" happy. I'm *this close* to signing my new contract with The Company, I've got great friends, and more things to do and people to see than I've got time for. I have a L.I.F.E. Imagine that. Pourvu que ça continue.

Now if only I could lose 15lbs and find a new place to live by September 1, life would be perfect. *S*


Friday, August 1, 2008

And much fun ensued

So Disney? Yeah, mega fun. 12+hrs worth of fun in fact. Though that may have had to do more with my companions than with Disney itself.

I think I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves. But please do note the hookah-smoking caterpillar. And yes, I did buy that feather boa.
And because I'm evil, here is the video I mentioned yesterday. Bwa ha ha ha ha!!!