Settling in

Second week of work.

The weirdest part of vacation ending was coming home. Home to Chambourcy. I think because I had just barely got to France before I jetsetted my way over to the south and Spain. I never really got the opportunity to settle in here. So although I am going on 4 weeks of being here, I am just now finding the groove. Last week I made the attempt to set up my bank account and cell phone. For those of you who know me, you understand that I have always been fortunate enough to have the help of my parents for almost anything difficult I have had to do. So the complexity of setting up a bank account and a cell phone contract, in a foreign country I must add, was a little frustrating to say the least. I decided to do both in the same day– all while watching a cranky 3-year-old. This was definitely my worst day since arriving in France. Overwhelming and frustrating beyond belief. I thought everything would be easy and work out the way I wanted but this experience is slowly helping me realize that is not the way the world works. Fortunately, I have Callie and after a nice walk over to Carrefour* for some fromage**, I was calm and life was good again. I realize I can’t be in control and have everything I want the way I want it. But that is the beauty of what I am doing. I am learning.

I do have to say jet lag was awful. They say you are supposed to give yourself a day for every hour difference. For some reason, when you mix in traveling and such, your body gets very confused. Now I finally think I am through it, though sleeping at night still is a little tough.

Work is good so far. Luckily, the way it worked out has allowed me to ease into it. Last week we only had the little one, Edgar, and this week we only have Victor. It’s nice to just have one at a time at first so I can get my bearing. The kids are great. I am so fortunate to have a great family. I hear au pair horror stories and thank God everyday for bringing me here. I mean, don’t get me wrong, kids are kids and that means that they can be little devils sometimes. But, I have to say overall I am very lucky.

This weekend Callie and I decided to stop being lazy, (sorry but our Spain trip took a bit out of us!), and go into Paris. I needed a few things but one of the things you need to know about being an au pair is that it is the life of being eternally broke. So she decided to take me to an area where I could get a purse– Montmartre. Wow. It is so funny when you take the Metro and as the stops get further from out little bubble outside of Paris and closer to areas like Mont Mart how the crowds change. As soon as we stepped out of the Metro stop, the streets were lined with cheap stores and bins over piled with poorly made purses, shirts, shoes–whatever ever you can imagine. It was like a street of garage sales with stores packed with more cheap things. People filled the streets rummaging through the 2 euro clothes and fought over the 6 euro purses, which colors included puke green and metallic purple. Although the prices were good, a large part of me does not think the hassle of dealing with crowds worse than Ross at Christmas time is worth it. So after forcing our way through the crowds of bargain hunters for about an hour, we decided to call it quits and head over to a nicer area, Opera. Ah, much better. Unfortunately, we couldn’t enjoy it much since all of our energy was sucked out of us by the land of cheap goods.

There is something I must say about Paris in August. There are no Parisians here. It is all tourists. Complete with oversized backpacks and maps in hand. Yes, I know that I cannot call myself a resident just yet or anything close to a Parisian. But I can complain about the crowds of tourists filling the streets, stores, and attractions, making it near impossible to do anything without getting extremely frustrated. This is why the Parisians have it right. Go on holiday for the month of August and avoid the mobs of tourists.

After our hours of fighting the crowds, Callie and I headed home to eat dinner with Sian before we got ready to go out that night. I hadn’t been out in Paris yet so I was very excited to finally hit the town! After dinner we took the Metro to Paris. We got in at like 11pm and decided to go to Grand Boulevard. In Paris, bars and clubs do not get crowded or fun until about 1am, but because of the bus and Metro schedule, we really had no choice. I was disappointed with the bar scene at first. Because everyone is on holiday and it was early, the first few hours were anything but exciting. However, as the night went on it picked up. We ended up going to a few bars, even taking the Metro to Cafe Oz in Chatlet and back to Grand Boulevard again. Eventually, Corcorans managed to hold our interest. Again, because of the Metro schedule, you either need to decided to leave at midnight or stay out until it starts in the morning. Obviously we chose the later. Eventually at about 6am, we left to go some breakfast with people we met at the bar. It was so weird that instead of the usual Mexican food at 3am in San Diego, that I was now getting a croissant in a café in Paris with the other locals. Exhausted, Callie and I made the trek back to Chambourcy. A truly successful night in Paris.

*Carrefour is like a Super Walmart. It is the grocery store in Chambourcy but it is more than a grocery store. There are clothes and all sorts of goodies.

**Fromage. One of the most important things to know in France. Fromage=cheese. Clearly I will be using this a lot in my blogs.

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