Saturday, December 20, 2008

Joyeux Nöel!

The past week and 1/2 have been busy busy! I started my new job last week, had class, and then continued with the internship all this week. There was no time to for a break, no time to stop and think about all the change that has occured in my life in the past month or so. I basically just jumped into everything headfirst and went at it full force. I've been extremely tired and haven't allowed myself a lot of time for fun but luckily Christmas vacation has finally come and J and I are headed to my parents home in the US for two glorious weeks!

Paris has had one chilly winter and I've been sick of the wind and the snow that turns to icey rain. Atlanta might not be that much warmer but at least I can enjoy the holidays sitting by the fireplace, drinking "real" hot cocoa with mini marshmallows and listening to my father belt out Christmas songs while playing the piano. This will be J's second nöel with my family and he is more excited than ever! I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!! See you in two weeks!

*picture taken December 9th while freezing our a**es off at Trocadéro!

Monday, December 8, 2008

After a week of waiting anxiously for a decision on my candidature, I was finally called back on Friday afternoon with some amazing news: I was accepted as an intern! Never have I been so excited about a job before; the company is seriously amazing I can't wait to start.

I really wanted to begin today but of course my current job told me I had to respect a preavis of 48 hours, and as they wouldn't count the weekend I'd be stuck here until Tuesday. Yes, stuck. I tried to explain to them that it was pointless, that I wouldn't get much work done in two days. Of course they didn't care and just wanted to show the other employees that we can't just do whatever we want.

The new job is a located right by the beautiful Musée du Louvre, which is a lot closer to where I currently live and where I'll be living (no, still haven't moved yet). Everyone is young and funky and I think it will make for a cool work atmosphere.

This is also my last week of school before winter vacation and I'm happy that I'll finally be able to take it easy; it's been hard with only one free day per week! Overall, I have a lot of things to be excited for...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

School and Field Trips....

Classes (seem) to be going well.  I haven't gotten my exam grades yet but apparently if I don't pass a test I can still redo it during les rattrapages.  This is basically a week where you can retake exams, allowing you to "catch up" to la moyenne (12/20).  Of course I'm hoping I don't have to go through an extra set of testing but at least I know I'm not completely in la merde.

Although I find my courses way too long (3-5 hours each), I really like my professors and the class sizes.  My masters program of 75 people is split into two sections and we have class with the same group of people each time.  It's helped us get to know one another better and feel more comfortable speaking up in class.  I've made an effort to meet everyone from my group but it's obvious that the foreigners (mostly Asian) and Frenchies tend to stick to their own kind.  I am, however, the only Anglophone so I don't really belong in either group.  Some of the French girls seem very catty and tend to exclude me, which kind of sucks.  It just confirms my belief that it is nearly impossible to make French friends unless they have already had a study abroad or an international experience!

Last week we had a sort-of field trip to Versailles for class.  Apparently my professor is a historian because he knew the history behind each room, painting, sculpture, chandelier, etc within the chateau!  It was really insightful...we were actually there to learn about the history of luxury and how it began with Versailles so I got to see the castle from a very different point of view.  Did you know that as a way to show his elite status (and to draw attention to himself while dancing), Louis XIV used to have the soles of his shoes painted red, influencing this very well known designer?  Hey, I was impressed!

I will finish my job (for good!) in a couple weeks and I'm still on the lookout for a cool internship.  Cross your fingers for me!  I've had some cool interviews so I'm hopeful  :)

Monday, November 24, 2008

With my new acquired student status I was able to apply for the Carte Imagine R, the heavily discounted metro pass available to Île-de-France students. Not only does it allow a reduction on transportation but simply flashing the card will get me discounts at the cinema, McDonalds, FNAC, Jean Louis David, and several other French stores. I decided to test the card out last night and see The Duchess with my sister at one of the many movie theaters on the Champs-Elysées. I'm a huge lover of English and French history and especially, period films. The lavish fashion and architectual details that are so heavily accented within these types of movies seem to make history come to life. The Duchess was no exception as it's main character, Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, played by Keira Knightley, was a fashion icon during the late 18th century. The costumes are quite elaborate: ornate dresses with metallic brocades, tiny corsets, extravagant wigs and feathered hats, even a menswear influence that includes rows of gold buttons and sharply tailored jackets.

Of course the costumes weren't the only thing I adored about the film. The story is about an intelligent beauty, socialite, and politico stuck in a loveless marriage at a time where women had little rights and often had to tolerate marital rape and life with a live-in mistress. I am no Keira Knightley fan but I believe she gave a great performance; I definitely recommend you give it a go!

Saturday, November 22, 2008


So I got through my first set of French exams....I won't know for a week or so if I've had la moyenne on each exam (12/20 at my école), but for the time being I'm just glad they're over! I had one class this morning and afterwards caught the metro to La Muette so I could take a relaxing stroll down the Rue de Passy. For once the sun was out in Paris and I was able to take advantage of a lovely fall day. While browsing all the cute winter clothes in Zara, I decided to check out the little girls section. I'm super short so sometimes I can fit into little girls sizes and the clothes cost around 30-50% less than they would in the women's department. I walked out with a winter coat, dress, belt and purse for under 100 Euros!

I am still working part-time when I'm not in school and will continue until J and I leave for the states over Christmas holiday. Afterwards I plan on finding an internship that corresponds with my MBA program. There's really no point in continuing my current job except for the money--I absolutely hate it (and my boss and her ridiculous requests) and it's not what I plan to do for a career. The search is on again for a new boulot and this time I plan on being more picky. I won't just accept anything just because they are willing to hire me! No, not this time!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Bare with me, people.  I have 5 exams between tomorrow and Thursday and they are all in French.  This is the first time I have taken classes in French as opposed to French classes, and subjects include : Comptabilité Analytique, Comptabilité Générale, Marchés et Produits de Luxe, Marketing Fondamental, and Droit Commercial.  I think there's a tie between Accounting and Business Law for my least favorite but we'll see after the exam which one takes the cake.

I have been spending way too much time on the internet and have been eating far too many gateaux.  First exam, tomorrow at 11:30AM!  Dear lord, pray for me!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Sorry for my recent absence; not only have I lacked the motivation to write anything but I've also had no time! I didn't mention anything because I didn't want to jinx myself, but I decided to apply to an MBA program at the last minute. I was told there might be an extra spot in the program and was asked back for an interview. I felt it went very poorly...the woman didn't seem impressed by anything I said and then told me not to take it as a failure if I didn't get in. If that doesn't say "rejected," I don't know what does!

Then, a week or so ago, I get a phone called saying I had been admise. The poor woman had to repeat herself 3 times because I didn't think I had heard correctly! So, in a span of three days I got into a university program, told my employer I could not longer work full time, and became a student again! I'm now working Mon-Wed and am in school Thurs-Sat. It's quite intense and I'm wondering if keeping my job is such a good idea. With 25+ hours of class per week plus work I don't know when I'll have the time to study, go to the gym, or even see my husband. I'm still trying to get used to the new schedule but already feel my body cursing me for not giving it enough rest.

I had class last week until Saturday evening then came home and immediately went to sleep. Sunday I woke up early to pack for a business trip to London and only came back this morning...and went immediately to work from the train station. It's like I'm swimming and can't even come up for air! What to do??!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Welcome back, America!

Watching his victory speech for the third time today, I feel chills run up and down my body. The American people's ability to unite in the desire for progress has given me great hope and has filled me with a level of pride in my country that I have not felt in a very long time. The record turnout, the crowds, the crying, the dancing in the street.......we, as a a nation have acheived history.

Obama may have inherited a terrible legacy but I believe he is what this country needs to begin the healing process. I hope that McCain's supporters take his concession speech to heart and set aside their hate, anger and fear. Obama can not lead our country without the support of all Americans.

 Yes we can, yes we did, and yes we will. Congratulations to the new leader of the United States, President Barack Hussein Obama!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

La Crème de la Crème

Lately I've been dreaming of cupcakes (fairy cakes for all you Brits). Moist mini cakes topped with creamy frosting and sprinkles (or jimmies). Just saying those words makes my mouth water. I mean who doesn't love cupcakes? For me it brings back childhood memories of birthday parties and classroom goodies. After almost a year of tartes, macarons, and meringues, I long for that sugary goodness that can only come from what I believe is a real gâteau. What can I say I truly am gourmande (and American).

I've been imagining cupcake combinations...strawberry with buttercream, , blueberry cheesecake cupcakes, chocolate-peanut butter, even red velvet with vanilla cream cheese frosting. I know one thing I plan on buying when I'm in the U.S. over Christmas holidays....a cupcake tin! When we move into our new apartment I will finally have my first oven while living in France and I can't wait to christen it with these itty-bitty treats!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

God I don't want to go to work tomorrow!  Have I mentioned that I hate my job?  I'm not gonna get into details but let's just say I'm already on the lookout for something new.  Yes, it's only been a month and no, I don't care.  It's amazing how you can talk your self into thinking something is a lot better than it is and then reality sets in and you're miserable.  

On another note, I'm obsessed with this new application called Poladroid that lets you turn any digital photograph into a polaroid-like picture.  You drag and drop your photos into the mini polaroid camera application then wait for them to pop out and develop (you can even shake the picture to make it develop faster!).  Then look at or print your new Polaroid picture.  I love this thing; it's so fun (and a great distraction from my employment woes)!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Emily - 1, France - 0

Or at least that's how I felt today when I finally got my hands on a Carte de Séjour Vie Privée et Familiale!  After a long process of trying to change my "statut étudiant" to a "statut conjointe de francais" (which didn't work out and I actually ended up having to return aux USA), I was finally given my récépissé for a CDS application this past June.  I was summoned again to the préfecture in September and they gave me a second récépissé as well as a date for a sort of "integration day."  That was today.  

It included a collective meeting to "welcome" (ha) newcomers.  This took place at the ANAEM office in the 11th arrondisement of Paris and included a short video called "Vivez Ensemble en France," which basically said how important it is to learn French and understand the organization and functions of l'Etat as well as the fundamental principles of the French Republic: la Liberté, l'Egalité, etc.  I honestly laughed out loud when I walked into the room and saw a big French flag, a buste de Marianne, as well as a photo of President Sarkozy in all his glory.  It made me want to break out in song to the Marseillaise.  Seriously.

After the video I was called for a short interview to assess my French language skills and sign the "Contrat d'accueil et d'intégration."  I was then off to the visite medicale where they measured my height and weightchecked my eyesight, and of course gave me the infamous topless x-ray.  Trust me folks, it isn't any more comfortable the second time around!  Gah!  At least I now have a souvenir (they allow you to keep the radiograph).  I then had to purchase 275 euros worth of ANAEM stamps and was presented with my CDS.  Finally!  It only took 6 1/2 months, a round-trip to Atlanta and 7 visits to the préfecture, and *I can't wait to do it all again next year!  

*only kidding.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crunch Time!

It's only 13 days until election day in the USA  so that means everyone needs to get out there and exercise their right to vote!!  I've never been so excited about a presidential race before, nor have I been so passionate about a candidate.  The US is in such a rut right now.... the economic crisis, the never-ending war in Iraq, the insanely high cost of healthcare premiums, dependency on foreign oil...all this and a $10 Trillion debt!  We really need someone who will turn the country around and get people back up on their feet.  Someone who is ready to make fundamental policy changes and reverse this unsustainable course.  Of course I've chosen my favorite player and I expect others to respect my choice, just like I respect theirs.  But why do people feel the need to write me snide comments, telling me I'm wrong, that I shouldn't even vote as I'm less of an American for living abroad?  I mean, WTF?  Are people that ignorant?  I don't go around trolling people's blogs or facebook pages so I can disagree with their voting preferences!  I constantly receive little messages telling me I'm misguided, that I need to do my research,  that my choice makes them sick.  Will things like this sway my decision, hell no!  It's called tolerance, people!  And when I see these inconsiderate, insulting and uncivilized remarks it just gives me even more cause to stick with my candidate.  Come on- why would I want to join a group of supporters that don't even know how to have a clean debate?!

Ok well that was my rant of the day...but the purpose of this message can be summed up by something a wise old friend of mine recently said: "Who cares who you're voting for, just as long as we can all agree that Peach Cobbler is delicious."  A very wise friend, indeed!  

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

"Paris, why oh why do I love Paris?"

It's uncertain how long J and I will stay in Paris. Although it's been my dream to come and live in this magnificent city since I began studying French in collège, J has strong aspirations of starting a life together in the states. Nothing is planned for the moment...J still has to finish school and we definitely need to save money but it's something we talk about quite often. A plan is in the works.

I guess this is why I really wanted my Parisian wedding; I wanted to share my amazing home with friends and family while I'm still living here. To me the idea of being married in Paris was (and is!) utterly romantic....I know it's so cliché and you'd think I'd be over it after two years here- but I'm not. I wanted a classic American wedding (with bridesmaids and even a color theme) and a reception that was typically French. Overall, I wanted Paris as a beautiful backdrop and this is exactly what I got.

I spent my wedding day in a hotel suite getting ready with my mother, two sisters and best friends. When we were all beautified and had enough champagne running through our veins to finally relax and have a laugh, we were called downstairs to be transported to the church. My sister and I hopped into the old convertible excalibur J had rented for us; the rest of the group took a taxi. We all drove down the Champs-Elysées to the Quai d'Orsay in disbelief; what a gorgeous day for a wedding! Everyone was waiting on the steps of the old stone church to catch a glimpse of the bride. The ceremony then went by effortlessly; my sister and J's best friend read a short excerpt from "Le Petit Prince;" my father and baby sister sang. There was the kiss, the hugs between friends and family, the exit with bubbles. And then J and I were off to capture the Paris that I wanted to remember in photos......

Monday, October 13, 2008

Another weekend has come and gone too quickly in Paris. I spent Friday night babysitting my two favorite little French girls; it seems I still get to see them after all! Saturday was such a gorgeous day. I spent it lunching with my belle-mere, meeting a friend who is now teaching English in Amiens for an overpriced café at Trocadero, and window shopping on the Rue de Passy. Later on when the noise from excited soccer fans became too much for me in my tiny Parisian apartment, I decided to meet up with some other American ex-pats for some girl talk and delicious, homemade mexican grub. There is a huge blogging community in Paris and I've been so lucky to meet these women who I would have never gotten to know if it weren't for the internet! J likes to call them my "weird internet friends" but whatever. We chatted about jobs, strange things our significant others do (Is it just a French thing or...), missing Target, the works. Although I think I can hold my own pretty well in French conversation, it's always nice to be able to gab with the girls en Anglais. It's like a breath of fresh air after being stuck in a French bubble.

We also had a meeting with the ouvriers at our new aparment. They should start renovations beginning in November and we should be able (fingers crossed) to move in mid-December. I'm seriously counting down the days until I can stop living out of suitcases (not enough room in our armoire) and can get rid of all the piles that seem to find their way into every corner of our petit studio. Just 9 weeks. I have to keep telling myself that. 9 weeks.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

You know you've been living in France too long when...

-You're at a restaraunt with friends and instead of freaking out when you see a mouse run across the floor you just put your feet up for the rest of the night.

In the US, I would have called the manager, asked for my food to be comped, and left immediately. Here we just informed the serveuse, to which she shrugged her shoulders and said "What, you want me to catch it with my bare hands?" and walked away. We (my sister, Sam, Sarah, and I) just laughed it off. Anyone else have a similar experience? (not necessarily with a mouse but an "Only in France" experience?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Back to Reality....

So here I am, my second week at my new job. It's been quite an adjustment to get back into this routine: metro, boulot (9H-18H), metro, gym, dodo. I can't complain -this is what I wanted after all. Of course I never appreciated all the free time I had before and now I long for it! Luckily I enjoy where I'm working, I like my co-workers and I really like the special coffee machine key we have that allows us up to 5 espressos (or capuccinos or mochas, etc) per day. Actually, I think that's my favorite part. Working in France, I'll have the standard 5 weeks vacation plus one RTT (reduction de temps de travail) per month. I also have 50% of my transport paid for, a very good mutuelle, and tickets- restaraunts that cover my lunch every day. I'll have to get past my 3 month periode d'essai, but once that's up I'm pretty much set. You see, in France, once you get a job it's pretty much yours for life. This is why it's so difficult to find a job in the first place, why employers are so reluctant to hire jeunes diplômés.

It's hard to believe that a week and a half ago I was holding J tightly on a scooter as we drove along the Italian coast from Positano to Praiano to Amalfi. Or that we were drinking 3€ Peroni and eating fresh mozzarella and proschiutto paninis at the local fisherman's bar just a few minutes from our hotel. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


So the past two weeks have been a crazy whirlwind of events....from two job interviews, my friends and family arriving in Paris, babysitting the girls for the last time, a crazy night with my girlfriends at Le Refuge de Fondues, the rehearsal dinner, setting up decorations at our reception site on the big day, getting my hair and make up done while surrounded by my mom and bridesmaids, to finally stepping into my wedding dress, hopping into an old-fashioned car and driving along the Champs-Elysées to the church and then walking down the aisle with my Daddy, then boogying the night away with all my loved ones by my side.  It all went by in a flash and before I knew it I was enjoying a romantic Italian honeymoon with J.  I can't help but continuously replay all the events in my mind.  After all my hard work the wedding went off without a hitch (well, despite a few minor incidents!).  Everything was amazing- the bilingual ceremony with two officiants, the flowers,  the music, the food, the dancing- it was so great to finally see everything put together and everyone enjoying themselves.  
I have to admit, the first day or two of the honeymoon I felt a bit depressed that it was all over.  Months and months of preparations for a night that went by way too quickly.  I wish I had gotten more time to just relax and enjoy everyone's company!  Luckily we plan on going back to the states over winter holiday and I also have some exciting things to keep me busy- moving into the new apartment as well as starting a new job (more to come).  All in all, I just had two of the best weeks of my life and I feel very blessed.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Dummmm dum dah-dum....

Planning this wedding has been extremely time-consuming and at times very trying on J and I as a couple. Sometimes it's easy to forget what the whole point of a wedding is (to get married!). I know the next couple days will be some of the most stressful of my life, yet some of the most exciting- and as soon as I walk down that aisle and see J's face I'll know it's all been worth it - all 9 months of booking caterers, finding hotels, picking the wedding colors , the cake and the flowers, bridesmaids dresses, everything (and in a foreign country)! Of course I want it all to be perfect but I'm sure all the little details won't even matter on the big day.

Anyhow, please pardon my absence over the next week and a half as I have a very good excuse- I'll be getting married and then spending 8 amazing days in the delicious Italian sunshine. Ciao!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fout la Merde!

This morning J and I were woken up by 10 French boys screaming "fout la merde!!!"  I happened to already be au courant of what was going on, but suddenly hearing shouts at 7AM isn't quite the way I envision the start of my morning.  You see, J's friends planned an all-day, overnight "enterrement de jeune garcon," what Americans like to call a bachelor party.  They had called me last week to inform me of their plan to kidnap J and bring him to Maastricht, the Netherlands.  I went to bed early the night before mais quand même; hearing there loud voices didn't exactly put me in the best of moods. However, when I saw the huge grin on J's face any resentment I was feeling just melted away.  He looked so darn excited I couldn't help but smile.  On the contrary, I spent the day visiting the florist, buying CD's to burn our playlists, and cleaning the apartment.  Perhaps a normal girl would be angry that her significant other was getting défoncé with his pals while she was busy organizing their wedding- but I'm just glad J's has such great friends that were willing to plan something fun for him.  

*Update*  J just called and said they're already on their way back to Paris.  Apparently they'll be drinking the night away at a friend's house and will go paint balling tomorrow.  Boys will be boys-- no matter what country they're from.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I woke up early this morning to help my sister get a French phone and pack her suitcases.  Her au-pair apartment was finally ready to be moved into so her new employer was coming to pick up her up.  I thought I could help her pile luggage into the car and get an early start on preparing for my interview.  I shuffled a suitcase or two outside and then I heard "clack."  SHIT! I had just closed the door to the apartment sans my keys.  I quickly called J to see if he could come home and open the door for me but-surprise!  He had left his keys in the apartment as well.  His brilliant idea- just go to the interview unprepared in what I was already wearing, which just so happened to be sweaty gym clothes. Hmmm....brilliant idea!  I'm sure I'll be hired on the spot!  

After a small breakdown I decided I would either try to get in through a window (if open) or call the locksmith.  Our apartment is on the rez-de-chaussée (the bottom floor) and is enclosed by a little fence so people from the street aren't able to look in.  The fence actually has a door that opens up to a little garden, but only my neighbor has access.  She, of course, wasn't home.  I buzzed everyone in the building to see if they could help me and finally, a very friendly Monsieur Brun came downstairs with a ladder.  He held it steady while I climbed a very pointy fence, and kept saying "doucement" as [I'm sure] he was imagining the possibility of puncture wounds.  I made it safely over and no, the window was not open.  So I broke it.  I figure it's cheaper to replace a small window than to pay a locksmith.  I guess we'll see. 

On a happy note, I did make it to my interview on time and I think it went rather well.  Here's to hoping I get the job and that I was right about the price of the window......

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Today was spent walking partout in the Marais with my sister and two fellow bloggers.  We decided to have lunch at THE fallafel destination in Paris, L'As du Fallafel, located on rue des Rosiers in the Jewish quartier of Paris. It definitely didn't disappoint, and I wouldn't mind making their delicious shwarma sandwich a weekly, ok-monthly ritual.  Afterwards we decided to head over to Place des Vosges, one of the oldest squares in Paris and also the former home of many famous residents (Hugo, Sully, Richelieu, just to name a few).  If the weather permits it's a great place to relax with a book or even peruse the several boutiques and art galleries that enclose the park.  I had to leave to go pick up the girls from school but would have loved to stay longer.  

Tomorrow I have my first of two interviews and I'm trying not to set myself up for disappointment.  If they don't go well, or aren't for me, there are more jobs out there.  And I'm not going to let any letdowns get in the way of the next 2 weeks-my friends and family will soon be here for our big Franco-American wedding and then J and I will be off to Sorrento, Italia!  What could be better than that?  

Friday, September 5, 2008

5 Septembre 2008

A. and R. watching a spectacle

Yay! My sister is here!  J and I picked her up from the airport this morning and to help her get on Paris time, I had her tag along with me as I ran errands for the wedding and baby-sat the girls.  She's pretty much morte but I told her she's gotta stick it out!  When I come back to Paris after spending time aux States I always end up taking naps and then find myself awake during all hours of the night.   Naps are never a good idea when trying to get over jet lag!  

The family I sit for finally found someone to replace me and although I'm excited to continue a new chapter in my life, I'll be sad to say goodbye! I guess it's because I know in my mind that it's probably final this time. I'm 24, almost 25, and it's time to start a real career.  Next week I have two interviews, and I'm crossing my fingers that they both go well.  After having so many disappointments job-wise I've been a bit discouraged but I'm hoping something good comes my way.  I want to be another expat success-story in France, and je croise les doigts pour Sarah too!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back in Action

After a very relaxing week spent laying by the sea, eating way too much couscous and drinking delicious mint tea from silver-plated teapots, I'm back in Paris.  Although still sans-emploi, I am lucky that I'm able to babysit for the two little French girls I used to watch after school while working as an assistante d'Anglais.  After finishing up an internship in June, the family asked me if I was free to watch the girls during the summer.  Summer has now come and gone and I'm still babysitting.  With my recent vacation in Tunisia and the wedding coming up, it would have been very difficult to start (or even find) a new job and then take time off.  I have applied for several bilangue positions and hope to find something for the beginning of October.  I'm also preparing my dossiers for several French universities as I would like to begin a masters in 2009.   

I really can't complain- my nounou position is just after school and all day on Wednesdays so I have the time to send out my CV, interview, and meet with wedding vendors (ugh).  Today being la rentrée, I had to go meet with the girl's mother so that she could present me to their new maîtresses.  This way, it isn't a surprise when a stranger comes to pick the girls up from school. 

My younger sister will be arriving in Paris Friday morning.  She will spend the year working as a jeune fille au pair and I'm really looking forward to showing her around this beautiful city.  It's hard when you live with someone who's been here his whole life; J doesn't get excited about seeing the lights on la tour eiffel or walking down old cobblestone streets in le Marais.  Even after two years here, Paris still gives me goosebumps.  

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Big Day

Coming September 1st I know I'll be in major stress mode. You see, although legally hitched, J and I will be getting married at the American Church in Paris surrounded by our family and friends. Although I'm no longer pratiquante, I was raised in the Catholic church and have always dreamed of being married in a white dress, being walked down the aisle by my father, and saying my vows to the one I love before God. I feel like our September 20th ceremony will finally make the marriage official and I am so excited that my friends and family will be able to share in this special occasion. Our 10 minute cérémonie at the Mairie just didn't do it for me!

So with the big day looming ahead, I have a lot of final planning left. Hmm.....there's the meeting with the florist to pick out the flowers for the bouquets and boutonnieres, the finalization of the menu and flower arrangements at our amazing reception site, a meeting with the DJ so we can share our mixed French/American music selection, and the meeting with our French and American officiants so we can finalize the ceremony program. I've also got to pick up our wedding favors, go to my final dress fitting, pay the deposit on the apartment I've rented for my girlfriends, finish my DIY guestbook, and decide on our final headcount so that I can make table numbers and escort cards! Ugh! I never realized a wedding could be so much work! I guess that's why so many people hire wedding planners.

Lucky for me, I get to relax a little before turning into a panicky bridezilla. J and I will be spending the next 7 days in Djerba, Tunisia, with the beaux-parents so excuse-moi if you don't hear from me until September!

Friday, August 22, 2008

A nice change

Today we found out some great news...the offer we made on an apartment was accepted!! It's in the 9ème arrondisement about 3 minutes from Printemps and Les Galleries Lafayette (which might not be the best idea for this shopping addict). However, the quartier is very lively and will be a nice change from the quiet 16ème where we have resided the past 14 months. There is a lot of work to be done in the place but as it was well under our original budget we'll have the funds to renovate the kitchen and the bathroom. My favorite part of the apartment is the séjour: it's shaped like a triangle, allowing lots of light from 7 large windows and a view of the beautiful Église de la Trinité, a church built in the late 17th century as "part of the beautification and reorganization of Paris under Baron Haussman."

If all goes well we should be able to negotiate when we can start les travaux, and hopefully we'll able to move in by December. I can't wait to start fresh and really set up house! Now if I could only find a job.....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Une Journée Chargée

Today was extremely productive.  I got my butt to the gym, checked out several apartments, and tested out a restaurant where we might have our wedding rehearsal dinner.  I never thought being unemployed could be a blessing but on days like this I feel lucky to have so much free time.
Speaking of apartment hunting, I don't know how many shitty apartments you're obligated to look at until you find "the one," but I think I could possibly win a contest.  Today, J and I looked at not one, not two, but SEVEN apartments! The first three were awful, the 4th à réfléchir, and numbers 5-7, definite yeses.  After looking for 2 months I finally feel somewhat hopeful.  I've already accepted the fact that the perfect apartment in Paris (or anywhere for that matter) doesn't exist, that I'll always find at least one défaut.  J and I are very fortunate in the fact that we will be purchasing an apartment and if there are things we don't particularly like we can always do des travaux.  Tomorrow we will be returning to the 9ème arrondisement to revisit and get an opinion from our parents, and hopefully afterwards we'll make a decision and thus an offer.  I don't want to get my hopes up but I'm already imagining the housewarming party we could have!  After more than a year of sharing 30m2 with my significant other, I'm ready for a change.  I think Nala,our cat, is feeling my pain!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

About the Blog

So after several years of stalking other people's blogs I've finally decided to write my own.  When I came home from studying abroad in France in 2005, I couldn't get the country out of my head.  I read French books, watched French movies, and found a way to experience the French "life" while still residing in the reading ex-pat blogs.  Seeing France through the eyes of others gave me an even stronger desire to come back and like many Francophiles, I decided to return to France to work as an English language assistant.  In 2006 I moved to Paris to teach English in two French primary schools and it wasn't long after that I met my (now) French husband.  So here I am, still living in Paris and (still) an ex-pat blog addict.  Only this time I read because I can relate to the challenges of living in a foreign country: getting my Carte de Séjour, the infamous topless medical visit, attempting to find a job that doesn't involve teaching English, trying to find a Paris apartment, etc.  I find comfort in knowing that I'm not the only one, that there are others in similar situations, that we can rant together!  Voilà.