It’s Only Life :)

Sorrry! This is the last time I will apologise, but I am sorry for now or for any future instance when I don’t write for a while!  I think I just needed to spend some time getting into the life here without reflecting on it constantly!

Last week (6th-12th) was pretty hard at times because I started to feel really underconfident with my language.  I think it makes sense because until I started the babysitting and at school, all the situations I had been put in were all ones where I could think through to a large extent what I would say beforehand (i.e. with the bank).  Now with my jobs most of it is completely spontaneous and thus ALOT harder.  I know it’s okay and i’ll get there, but last week it felt like a major confidence setback.

Other than that, most of last week was babysitting, in school and our teacher training which was largely uneventful.. though fellow assistants Agnes, Holly and I found a really lovely but insanely cheap restaurant/cafe on Boulevard St Michel which was impressive.  Oo and also we had a welcome drink thing in the Sorbonne which I took a few pics of because you’re not normally allowed in!

La Sorbonne

La Sorbonne

On friday night Paul came to visit and we had a gorgeous 2 nights just hanging out and watching movies.  On the saturday we went for brunch at the amazing brunch place at the end of my road, and spent a lovely 3 hours there sitting in the sun!

So Sunday morning comes; Paul has set his alarm; it goes of; we go about getting up sleepy and grumpy for various reasons of earlyness, having to end such a good weekend etc; on the metro; get to gare du nord; I walk down to the platform with him where he’ll get the RER to the airport.  Paul brings his phone out of his pocket looking confused.  I assume he is just worried that he might have forgotten it.  Then in some blur of confused exclamations and looking at the times on Paul’s phone and the station screens, we realise… Paul hadn’t changed the time on his phone from London to Paris time.  His phone was an hour forward.  Over at Charles de Gaulle airport, his flight check-in was closing this very minute.  What could we do? We both just stood with bemused expressions for a minute or too, then had no choice but to turn back and get the metro to mine.

We found out that he could pay a transfer fee to get on the evening flight, but that would require him going back to charles du gaulle, 2 hours before that flight, with no guarantee that there would be space on that flight.  So in the end he booked a new flight for Tuesday morning.  Mixed blessing really! Fair bit more money, but we did get 2 extra days together 😀 which were as fabulous as the first couple.

On Tuesday evening I had my first venture outside of Paris (kinda)! I took one of the suburb trains out to where Lauren lives.  Even though it’s barely out of central Paris, it just felt so nice just to pretend I was getting out of the bustle.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it’s nice to be able to breathe a bit more.  Lauren lives in this gorgeous little village; so so quiet and very french villagey :p (I’m soooo good at describing thing right?!).  Didn’t get pics but will next time!  She was warning me how bare her apartment was but when we got there I personally though it was gorgeous.  Bigger than mine with the bedroom separate from the living area.  She got it unfurnished but has done a perfect job filling it out and decorating it to look homely.  We had an uber girlie night, munching whole pizzas each and lots of other junk, talking for ages catching up, then watching the Sex and the City movie that Paul so kindly brought over for me 😀 Fabulous night that I hope to repeat soon!

On wednesday I had a whole day free and really enjoyed just relaxing a bit and having the time and space to get started on alot of thing I need to do.

Yesterday my mom and her best friend (with whom she worked in France and Paris, lots of summers when they were younger) arrived at Gare du Nord for the weekend. 

The very very cute looking espresso from the Hagen Daaz cafe in Gare du Nord!

The very very cute looking espresso from the Haagen Dazs cafe in Gare du Nord!

We had another lovely meal at Chartier last night.  They used to go when they worked here (that’s how my mom knows of it) and it was so cute watching them when they got into reminiscing :p



Mum and Sue in Chartier :)

Today I was looking after Ginger over lunch, and had some work to do, so they’ve gone out for the day and I’m meeting them this evening to go to the Louvre.

Also, the technician from France Telecom called today so it seems like in the next few days I will FINALLY have my internet up and running! And that’s the last thing to be sorted! Yey!

Au Revoir! xx

My first evening of babysitting!

They are a really gorgeous family! I feel wierd using their real names so there’s a girl who’s 10 who I’ll call Ginger, and a boy, 13 who I’ll call Fred.  Good times!

When I first got there no-one answered the door bell so I just waited in the foyer.  Then Ginger came in, and we had a little chat in french (we had to wait for her bro with the keys).  Once he arrived we went up to the apartment and Fred showed me around in pretty damn good english!  A few minutes later, their mom came and she went through the rules and what they would do when I’m there etc.  I spent a bit of time with Ginger looking at the kind of homework she had.  I had my first experience of french ‘poesie’ which is a pretty standard thing, at least in primary schools where they have to learn whole passages by heart.  I know this used to be done in England but it certainly isn’t any more.  Their mom was explaining how they do it to help improve their memory skills, and personally I think that makes a lot of sense.

Fred got a little difficult later on and his mom was saying it’s because he thinks he’s too old to need a babysitter.  But, she said it’s more because he just doesn’t like doing his homework and doesn’t want someone there to make him do it!  I think it’ll be okay, with a little encouragement and once we develop more of a rapport.  Interesting though, diciplining kids is just isn’t something I’ve had to think about for a long while if really ever, so it’ll be a learning experience. 

The evening went really well though.  Their mom also asked if i’d look after Ginger for two hours one lunch time, and asked how I felt about teaching other kids english if anyone asked her (she already knew one friend who was looking), so all that is fab!  Exactly what I’m looking for really, and if it’s all in my area then even better!  My week is filling up!

So one part of my life here is set in motion! Very happy with how its looking, and glad the initial stage is over!

Au Revoir! xx

French ‘Society’.

Saturday night was incredible! Lauren and I went thinking it was going to be some form of sit down dinner pretty much just with the family.  It turned out to be a big party and buffet with over 90 people, to celebrate the dad’s birthday!  Jessie, Lauren and I hung out most of the night and it was the lovely.  The food was mostly catered and very yummy.  We met the kids who Jessie looks after and they were gorgeous! The younger one was insanely active though!  We talked to quite a few of the family’s friends about what we were doing in Paris.  It was really nice to have just casual conversation in french.  Twas intriguing to see lots of regular parisian adults; what they wore, how they acted etc.  Fabulous people watching fodder! We stayed till about 12 then went for a quick drink in a nearby bar before Lauren and I got the metro back to mine, encountering some less than pleasant french boys along the way :(

On Sunday I went round to Molly’s at about 11.30 and we had such a relaxing Sunday! First we went to the market at Bastille (my first Paris market!).  It was so colourful and bustly!  Worth going to just for the atmosphere, even if you have no intention of spending money.  Once we’d wandered around and Molly had bought lots of organic veggies, we found a cafe in the sun by place de la bastille and had coffee while reading the sunday observer and discussing blogs among other things!  She invited me for brunch so went went back to hers and had yummy scrambled eggs with salmon, toasted baguette, salad, cheese and home made strawberry and banana smoothies.  I really need to get myself a blender asap so I can make my own! Later we went for a wander round the Marais and mooched in some of the clothes shops.. and I didn’t get home till like half seven.  By that time I was happily tired and had a cosy evening with cups of Tea! :p

This morning I had psyched myself up to go and give my bank man hell for my bank card STILL not arriving! So I get downstairs and check my mail, and the slip from the post man (for a registered letter from the bank) that I’ve been waiting for for over 2 weeks is finally there!  So that scuppers my plans for today as I can’t go and collect it till tomorrow.  I also recieved a letter back from the caf (housing benefit) people asking for some more documents, which is good cos it means they’ve recieved my application, especially as I wasn’t expecting to hear from them for another 2 weeks.

This does mean that I now have nothing to do today, which gives me time to get some writing done: mainly my french journal which I’m really starting to fall behind on!

I’m starting the babysitting tonight! So so nervous.  I don’t know if the kids will like me or if it will be difficult with the language barrier or what exactly I’m sposed to do?! Argh!  But all I can do is take it as it comes.  I am excited at the same time :p

Au Revoir! xx

Falling into Place.

I’m very happy that at least a few things are finally coming together!

Catherine gave me my timetable for my first 3 weeks of teaching today! This will all be observations so after that the timetable will change again but I’m so excited now! I can plan the next 3 weeks and look forward to them.  She sent the timetable to me and the other english teachers and there was a note at the top to the other teachers (and I guess sort of to me) about how it would work for the next few weeks.  The teachers are supposed to leave 20 minutes at the end of every hour so that the pupils can ask me questions! Argh! Cool but argh! I’m assuming (hoping) that this will all be in english.  I suppose it can’t be that bad just talking about myself.  I can’t wait for some of the stereotype questions though :p Shall be sure to document them here!

Another fabulous thing I’ve managed to put in place is the baby-sitting I mentioned I really wanted to do.  I called a woman who I found in FUSAC who lives really near me and went round to meet her tonight and it’s all sorted already!  It will depend a bit on what my timetable works out like after my observation weeks, but Catherine is being such a doll trying to make sure my timetable fits! I’m gonna be looking after two kids aged 10 and 13 for 2 hours, 3 evenings a week, basically just making sure they’re getting on with homework and stuff before their parents get home from work, and teaching them a bit of english along the way.  I reakon it’s gonna be great for my french too being exposed to these kids speaking it constantly, and I’m also really looking forward to getting a bit of a view of real French family life!  It also means I have little bit more money coming in which relaxes things on the financial front.  I do still want to get some tutoring set up and things like that, but I can do that in my own time now; there’s no presure money wise.

I also THINK I’ve made progress in the saga that is getting my bank card (if it wasn’t such a long, infuriating and repetative story I would recount it..), though I’m only going to believe that when I see it now.

I was buzzing so much a bit earlier, but now I think I’ve just managed to block myself from my flickr account :( so i’m feeling a bit depleeted!

I have a great time ahead of me now! There’s some meet up organised over facebook tomorrow for all the english teachers in Paris which should be interesting! I’m meeting up with Jessie and another friend, Lauren, whom I met on one of the teacher training courses I did back home; so excited to see her again!  In the evening I’m having dinner with all the english teachers at my school; I’ve only met Catherine so far so I can’t wait! I hope they’re all really lovely!  One of them has the name of my favourite French actress and I’ve got to keep reminding myself that they won’t look the same!  On Saturday evening I’ve been invited to Jessie’s host family’s for a dinner there.  The mom is English so I’m predicting lots of england reminicing.. which I would kind of reslish right now! Then on Sunday I’m heading to one of the markets with Molly I think!

After that it’s starting baby-sitting, some admin/welcome session for all the english teachers on wednesday, then starting school!!

I am SO SO relived to finally be busy with REAL things and not endless paperwork/admin/housing problems!!  Even though many of them are still there; at least I won’t have much time to worry about them now :)

Au Revoir! xx

I have a dragon in my back yard :p

Hello my lovelies!!

I’ve had a gorgeous weekend with my mom :) Like I said we pretty much just chilled out on Friday, but we did go for an explore around the area later.  The road that my street is off is definately the prettiest that we saw!  We had a quick wander through Pere Lachaise cemetary (where the god that is Oscar Wilde is buried) but we didn’t have much of an explore.. something I’m definately going to go back and do properly at a later date.  We also found Parc de Belleville which is a gorgeous little park on a hill nearby.  We sat down on one of the benches for a bit of a rest (very hilly around there!) and I could totally picture myself sitting there with a book on a Saturday afternoon 😀 

On Saturday we had a venture out to the centre to see Notre Dame as my mum has never been.  Unfortunately (but perhaps enevitably for a Saturday) the queues to get in were so so long, so we decided to leave it this time.  We did have a good wander and cafe stop around the Latin Quarter and St Michel though.  I picked up the new copy of FUSAC (the french-english magazine with lots of personal ads) to look for an extra job as I really could do with the distraction and the money.  I got myself all excited about the idea of doing a bit of childminding.  Jessie, the american girl I met up with, does this already and I really like the idea of it.  I love kids and I don’t think I’d find it too straining.  It’s good money and it’d be a great way to get to know real french life a bit more.  It will depend on whether it can fit in with my 12 hours teaching, but I’m really hoping it can!

I am still waiting on my bank card :( It has been 10 days now since I was at my bank and my bank guy was sat opposite me saying ‘you will recieve a letter in one to two days..’.  Yeah cos that’s happened.  I’m just getting worried now cos I’m gonna need to take money out soon!!

Internet on the other hand I think is getting somewhere.  Yes a technician was supposed to come ‘within 7 days’ to reactivate my phone line (the 7 days ending tomorrow), but I did manage to access online some staus report on my application and they do appear to be getting somewhere.  In the meantime, I’m still able to use the open wifi here and thus call people through skype too so it’s not too bad for the time being.

I’ve booked my two lots of flights for half term and christmas! I decided to come home for both because I know myself, and I know it will be better for me to have a bit of a break after all the stress of settling in.  I think after that though I’m gonna stay here for the other holidays and maybe travel a bit around here.  I should have more money to do that then too!  For half term then I’ll be home from Oct 25th- Nov 5th, and I should hopefully get up to Lancaster in that time to see everyone!! For christmas it’ll be Dec 22nd- Jan 3rd, and I really want to see as many people as possible cos I miss you all so much already!

This week I am probably going to be extremely boring in terms of blog posts :p (then again that assumes that I’m not being already.. I don’t know :s).  Mainly because I don’t have alot left to sort out for settling in and am probably going to spend this week cracking on with the following:

  1. Year Abroad Journal: Uni half module- Journal I have to keep in French of my experiences and observations of the culture.. i.e. translating this blog into French pretty much.. maybe with some extended rants about french men and the french service industry
  2. Year Abroad Project: Other uni half module- 6000 word project on an aspect of french culture.. I’m doing mine on the place of cinema in modern french society.  I haven’t done much on it yet but I’m hoping it’s gonna prove very interesting!
  3. Dissertation: How the narrative style of Madam Bovary is represented in modern adaptations of the story, mainly films
  4. 4th year reading: I have so much free time this year that I’m really hoping to get all the reading for my 4th year English Lit modules all done before I start them.

I may well post random things related to all this but I don’t think I’m gonna keep recording every single thing I do.  I’ll just post when I do something I feel worth noting or that I reakon you’ll like to hear about!  If there is anything you’d like to hear more about.. I don’t know what… the area/ random observations/ my feelings on settling in?!! :p whatever! Do send me comments or an email and I’ll try to cover things that interest people :p That said, I realise that a blog is first and foremost a totally self-indulgent hobby so I’ll keep writing on anything I feel is worth writing about too :)

Au revoir! xx