My Year in Review

Its official. One year ago today I was landing in Paris and running into the arms of the girl who helped me get here. I had no idea what was ahead of me and I definitely had no idea what … Continue reading

Silly Sorrows

โ€œThe person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.โ€ย ~Leo F. Buscaglia

 

Life in France is strange. But I havent completely decided if that is France’s fault or the whole living on my own as an adult part.

Lately a lot has been going on and there doesn’t seem to be a break really. Dont get me wrong… work is incredible and so is my petite Parisien flat but damn, when it rains it pours.

Anyone who knows me knows that I talk to my mama a lot…. A LOT. She is always trying to lure me home and failing but when it comes down to it, she really wont let me give up. Today was one of those days where there is too much going on in your life for your brain to process it all. And there she was pushing me to look on the bright side of things. Honestly–my personal cheerleader. My mom has this ability to bring me back down to reality. The thing about me is I am pretty laid back and low-key until things get out of control and then its like all hell breaks loose… for about 2 hours until I calm down and see the crazy person I am being. ๐Ÿ™‚ But today my mom helped me realize all i have accomplished being here and that everyday I feel like this is another day that I am learning and growing.

I have always had an easy life. To be blatantly honest. Yes, things have gone wrong and I have dealt with major things. However, I have always managed to get basically everything I want. Not easily, but still. I have always had an incredible network of people around me. My family was never far away. But now I am in a crazy new place and i have to get used to things being different.

When I have a bad day, I can’t drive 50 minutes to have my mom cook me dinner. Or when I am broke I can’t have my dad come down to go grocery shopping and put gas in my car. I don’t live in a sorority house with 34 of my close friends and room with my best friend. I don’t have a social calendar anymore. I don’t have a boyfriend to escape to when I can’t party anymore or the girls are driving me mad. I don’t live in a country where they speak the same language as me and where nothing is convenient.

The thing is though…. that strangely that is all ok. Sometimes it bogs me down and I can’t see past what I don’t have. But then (after those 2 hours of craziness) i realize what I do have.

I have more than I ever have before. I have more courage and patience. More knowledge of other cultures and ways of doing things. More independence. More responsibility.ย More flexibility. More freedom. More experience. More choices.

It is completely my life now. 100 percent. And I couldn’t be more proud. I am so fortunate for everything that I have. With everything going on I have realized what is important and what isn’t. I realize how lucky I am and how important it is to never take a day for granted.

You are alive and breathing. Make the most of it.

Happiness

It’s been ages since I have written and usually that only happens when I feel uninspired… but this time it’s because i have just been too busy living. That sounds weird or like i am bragging or like im too good for this blog, (doesn’t it??) That isn’t the case though.

I have been in France almost a year. And honestly it took that long to get what I want. I finally have everything I wanted. I am so happy. I don’t really have much to say in this post but it feels weird not to write. But it would also feel weird to sit here and go on about how awesome my life is right now. So this is all I got. A short little life update.

Life is good.

And for those of you wondering if you should just jump in the deep end even if you are scared s@*tless… do it. It will work out.

When Being Civil Goes Out the Door

I always used to be one of those au pairs that said I was so fortunate because I had an incredible family. And I meant it. I really did enjoy my family and legitimately liked spending time with them. S … Continue reading

There is Always Something to Smile About

Today, early this morning, my door bell rang. It was the post and they had a package for me! My wonderful mother had sent me yet another one of her fabulous care packages. This one was my Easter present. While … Continue reading

Being in a Long-term Relationship

I have just recently realized I am in a long-term relationship. I understand this is quite a strange thing to realize and to not just know, but it wasnt until my very long conversation with my mom (i am sure y’all are now starting to catch on we talk quite often…) that I was able to articulate my feelings.

France. I have been here just about 9 months. It really has been the best time of my life. However, there are days I just want to quit. It honestly has been a roller-coaster of emotions… excitement, curiosity, disappointment, stress, satisfaction, happiness… the list goes on. The other day I watched a movie I had watched right before I came here, Julie & Julia. I remember the feeling I had watching Meryl Streep walk through Paris–it was a giddy, sort of butterflies-in-my-stomach feeling. I couldn’t believe I was moving there and although terrified, my excitement overwhelmed me. Recently when I watched it, it was a whole new feeling. Now, instead of adoration and curiosity of unknown territory, I merely was filled with happiness–happiness that I could point out what street or place Meryl Streep was on/in and that I too had fond memories of that exact place. I am in love.

Life has been hectic, chaotic, and stressful lately. Many people find it very hard to understand why someone would put themselves through all this in order to stay longer for more torture. There are two things I know I am, loyal and stubborn. For one, once I am in a relationship, I find it quite hard to break away from it no matter how crappy the other person (well place in this case) is. And secondly, my mind is made up. I am staying in France.

There is another revelation I had in this conversation with my mom. A part of me never felt right at home. Dont get me wrong– I love the states and San Diego will forever be the greatest place on this planet in my eyes. But what I am saying is, there was always something a little weird about what I wanted or how I thought. It makes sense here. I mean there is a huge part of me that feels completely out of whack here too, but that little part I could never figure out just fits. The people I meet here and the way they see things seem to be more parallel to my thinking.

So here I am in my long-term relationship that I can’t seem to, and dont want to, break up with. It is right for right now. I have no idea how long we will last, but I am happy knowing I am in it right now for the long haul. I will take the tears along with the laughs and try my hardest to make this work.

I love you, France.

In the Labyrinth of French Administration

6 places. Yep. Count ’em. I have been 6 places. And 3 trips into Paris, (which I have to add is quite the journey from little ol’ Vaux).

I need to change the status of my visa. Seems simple enough? I knew it would be difficult and a long process but I had no idea that I would have been working at it for about a month and still have no idea where to start. I am starting to think this is like some kind of sick, life-size French board game. Got job- move ahead 5 spaces. Secured a studio in my budget- move ahead 3 spaces. Go to the prefecture- move back 2 spaces. Go to another prefecture- go back 2 spaces. Go to Le Centre de Miollis Demenage- go back 3 spaces. Go to the MOE (which was closed)- start over.

Some how this weird and twisted game has not got me down. So many people are asking why I am doing this. Well, to tell you the truth… I am stubborn. My mind is made up and I am going to make this happen. Is it because in the end I want to give the finger to France and say “haha??” Possibly.

I am starting to believe I may be the only American in the history of the world that wants to change my status. I am not someone who works for an American company that has a location in France. I am not someone who miraculously found a job for a French company while in the US and need to apply for a visa. I am a current resident of France. I am an American. I want to stay. I have found a job. I have all my paperwork. I have a place of residence.ย JE VEUX CHANGER MON STATUT DE VISA!!!!!

Oh la la la. C’est la France. ๐Ÿ™‚

Au pairing: A thankless job

You know sometimes when you are in the middle of something and you know it is difficult but can’t quite put your finger on one exact thing. Well, au pairing is difficult. And I can give you probably a thousand reasons why. But, my mom has brought to my attention one factor that makes a difference that I have never thought of before. It is a thankless job.

Let me explain.

Now, I have never been one to need praise and approval. I do whats right, I try my best. Done. I don’t need anything for it. But talking to my mom about this has somewhat opened my eyes. I guess I never realized how important it is to sometimes get confirmation that what you are doing is correct. Im not saying ending everyday in applause, but some sign of “hey, you’re doing ok.”

My friend Robin has a blog and one of her posts did a good job explaining the hierarchy of au pairing, (see the link below, for some reason WordPress is not cooperating with me and hyperlinks). It’s truly is sad how many of us fit into the slave category. Now, if you ask me, I always thought I had a pretty good deal. I dont have a family like some of the horror stories you hear. I do love them and through all my bitching and complaining that feeling is real. Somehow though, when all the newness wears off and you begin to look at your situation, you realize its not all roses and butterflies.

Inspiration for this post: Today. I decided to do a load of laundry. Normal, right? No. It leaked EVERYWHERE. We are talking multiple inches of water here. Anyways, whatever. I dealt with it. I kindly let the mom know and not once did I get a “sorry that happened,” “thanks for dealing with it,” I mean I would have settled for a “well that sucks.” And it made me realize. This is how it always is. I was put on this planet to serve them. Never a “sorry the kids are a bit tired,” or “you did great today with them. I know they can be a handful.” I know this may sound weird, but imagine being in a job for 9 months and never once hearing any confirmation of your work. I mean most jobs have a review or something.

This was never something that bothered me (consciously) until it was brought to my attention. Au pairing is just strange. And not for the weak minded.

Link to Robin’s post: http://rougegorge423.blogspot.com/2011/03/money-cant-buy-tact-hierarchy-of-au.html