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)!

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.