Because I couldn’t avoid Valentine’s day in Paris…

Oooh what a flurry of activities and plans! I love it but boy does it get confusing and scary at times..!

I found out on Tuesday that I have an interview for this internship in London.  They offered to let me do it over the phone, but seeing as I’d been thinking of going home for a bit anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and just fit it all in together.  What followed felt like a horribly confusing and rushed scurry to book trains and flights as cheaply and effectively as possible, which even for my obsesively organised personality almost got to be too much.  Anyway it is done now.  I’m getting the eurostar over to London on Wednesday morning (very excited, not been on the eurostar since the first time I ever came to Paris), interview, spend the day with my old old friend Jo who lives in London at the mo, then get the virgin superdooper fast train back to Preston.  Kinda sad that the latter is superdooper fast cos I’ve got myself a window/table seat with a power point.. and honestly I would gladly sit on a train with my laptop for days 🙂 I miss trains!!  Then I decided to fly back because there’s no need for me to go back via London, and flying makes it all an awful lots quicker, so less time wasted travelling (and more time at home :p).  And the flight was £19.

My only gripe in all this aside from the stress, was the fact that a Eurostar single is the same as a return?!!  I suppose that’s how it has always been in England.. I’ve just got used to the same trip same price system in France. 

On Wednesday I had an odd whole free day which really chilled me out.  The only thing I did was to go and see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in the afternoon.  I knew what was coming but I still wept.  I was beautiful, but so so sad.  I don’t appreciate how all the emotionally challenging films are all released the one year that I’m away from home, living in a foreign country, feeling slightly lonely and alienated, away from all the people I love.  Why couldn’t it have been Hairspray and Mamma Mia this year huh??!

Friday was a WIERD day.  (Skip down a few paragraphs if you don’t wan’t to end up as confused and emotionally exhausted as I was that day).  So right back when I first got to Paris, I really wanted to try and get onto some university courses.  This had been recommended by people at my uni before we left, but once I got here, no-one, not even people back at the uni seemed to know anything about it or had much to say to help me.  So I searched a little but eventually couldn’t find a thing and gave up.  Technically, with my program, I’m supposed to be able to sit in on lectures as an ‘auditrice libre’  (basically someone who just sits in on lectures) but, like I said, no one seemed to have a clue .  So a few weeks ago one of my tutors at uni contacted me asking if I was still interested in doing this as she’d been in touch with some tutors at a university in Paris who would be willing to let me do this.  I told her I wasn’t sure I could now, what with having a two week school timetable and baby-sitting.  Still, she assured me they were happy to work around my timetable.  After eventually getting in touch and arranging a meeting with one of these tutors (be it the French or be it the older generations, how do people not realise that email is usually far more efficient than telephone, argh!), we cut to this Friday where I was to go into the university and meet with her.  I went in not really having a clue what to expect.  She’d mentioned a few brief details on the phone, but none of which I’d really understood.  So I got there and, well my problem was that I had assumed she would sit down with me and look at a list of the courses that were available to me so that I could see which interested me and work out which I could fit in.  In fact, when I first got there that’s what she said we would do.  However what happened was that she spoke at me for 5 minutes, listing all the possible courses while trying to ask me about my timetable and seeing what would work.  It was all I could do to understand everything she was saying, let alone remember the courses and times she had mentioned.  (Bear in mind that at this point I’ve still no idea what the actual department is that she teaches in, i.e. what the core  subject of these modules even are.)  I tried to explain that babysitting every other friday morning along with my two week timetable meant I only had Wednesday and Friday afternoons always free, which meant there was only one course that I could possibly do.  However I did say I could possibly ask to stop babysitting on a Friday, which I think meant I could do two other courses in the morning too.

Once it was vaguely settled, she said well great that first course starts today so if you come back at 3pm you can start then.  It was 10.30 in the morning at this point.  I bewilderedly said okay and asked if there was anywhere I could wait/ use the internet (yes, and a big fat NO), and wandered out of the office.  As I walked down the corridor my brain tried its best to work.  Staying would mean I wouldn’t get home until around 6.30pm.  I was supposed to be going for a meal with the other english teachers from school that night, but my phone battery had died so I was panicing because I’d no way to contact them to find out the time/place etc.  Also the boy was coming that evening and I wanted to tidy the apartment, make him Valentines cookies (!!), and shower etc, which I wouldn’t have time for going straight from the uni, to the meal, to meeting him.  So I made a quick decision, turned around and told the woman whose course it was that I was going to have to come home but would come back later, to which she was just very nice and said fine fine don’t worry.  Once I got home, I did a shop and rushed around and realised I’d only have one hour to do anything before having to set off back to the uni (it takes about an hour to get there from me).  I so didn’t know what to do, and I didn’t want to be ungrateful to them, but all the same I realised the time was just too impractical, and besides, I’m trying my best to stop being so stupidly polite and worried about offending other people all the time :p  So I emailed her and explained that I hadn’t been expecting to start that day and that I hoped it wasn’t too much of a problem if I started the courses next week because I was very busy that day.  I wasn’t too thrilled with the reply I got, consisting of ‘Okay’ in french and that was it.  Maybe far too much was going through my head that day, but I thought as a university lecturer and someone who deals often with foreiners she might at least have some appreciation and sympathy for me not really having a clue what I was getting into, but giving it a chance all the same.

Anyway, all in all, it was just a confusing morning, and I will see what happens when I go in this coming Friday.  I want so badly for it to work out because it’s such a good oppotunity to improve my french.  I just sometimes wonder if I’m insane to put myself out there and try things like this when it often seems to cause me more upset and stess than benefit.

SKIP TO HERE! :p So the rest of Friday was taken up tidying, showering, and marathon cookie making.  This proved to be interesting and rather improvised as I attempted to use a combi oven and mistook some american measuring units and then had to compensate with other ingredients to balance out!  The meal with the english teachers was cancelled and rescheduled in the end which is a good job because I only just had time to sort everything out at mine before going to surprise the boy at the airport 🙂

Valentines Cookies :) (Yes I am a loser.  But it was fun)

Valentine's Cookies 🙂 (Yes I am a loser. But it was fun)

We had a lovely realxed weekend.  On Saturday we went out for a huge brunch and then wandered Paris until it got dark.  Sunday we had a cosy day at mine watching lots of movies and X-Files 🙂

The boy at sunset on le jour de Valentin :)

The boy at sunset on le jour de Valentin 🙂

Monday was the official beginning I guess of my 2 week half term holiday.  The French have two weeks so that they can all go skiing basically!!  During the day I tried to get my head around the mass of uni work I have to do :s In the evening Lauren and I went to see He’s Just Not That Into You.  Mixed feelings but was intrigued to see it cos I’d read the book when it first came out and kinda actually liked it.  To summarise, first half too painful to watch, second half very happy happy! (Finally an antidote to the Seven Pounds/ Revoloutionary Road/ Benjamin Button tear fests!)  After Lauren stopped over and we had a good girlie catch up 🙂

This morning we headed out to Parc de la Villette/ Cite des Sciences et de l’Industrie, which is basically a huge science park/ museum on the edge of Paris.  There was sooo so much to do and see, so it was exhausting!  But v v interesting, and we got to see a planetarium show and a 3D show as well as lots and lots of varied exhibitions.  Definately want to take the boy there next time he’s here.

La Geode at Cite des Sciences

La Geode at Cite des Sciences


3D Show at Cite des Sciences

3D Show at Cite des Sciences

So here I am now, at the end of that long day, very tired!  I’m feeling a little anxious about this day at the university on Friday, and a little about how little university work I’m getting through (I had a disaster the other day where my usb pen died with all my year abroad journal on it :s just praying I can get it back when I go home), but apart from that all is good.  Very nice to have two weeks to just do what I want.  Visitors this weekend, yey! And then interview excitement and London and home on Wednesday.  Summer is getting very close now too.  I won’t lie. I’m beyond excited and I’m pretty sure this is going to be the best summer of my life so far.  I appreciate every single thing in my life so much more now.

Au Revoir! xx

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