Can I Go Back?

This morning a few colleagues and I were talking in the kitchen about the wonderful weather June has brought us. It has honestly been winter since November with maybe 2 weeks of sun total. The only thing that got us through those tough months was the hope that summer would bring warmth and sunshine

Well. It’s June. No sun. No warmth. Just rain, rain, rain.

The last few days haven’t been too cold which causes another issue of humidity. Metro rides are not very pleasant in the first place but when it is hot and moist, it is a recipe for disaster.

Complaining was not the purpose of this post…

One of my colleagues compared the constant rain and humidity to the feeling we were in Bangkok. And I was struck with a flood of memories. I slowly looked up from my cup of tea and exclaimed, “yes, but Bangkok has sun and the people smile there.”

I miss Thailand. I miss it so much it hurts. I can’t help but let my mind wander to the days I spent there. I was ridiculously happy. Thailand is honestly my favorite place in the world. I just want to go back to my little hut in Pai and escape the world for a bit.

As much as I love Paris, I can’t live in a place without sunshine. It needs to step it up in the weather department or my future plans are truly going to start to sway to living somewhere else…

Rain, Rain, Go Away

I do not love Paris in the springtime right now. Cold, rainy, gray. I am curious when spring will actually start to show. It is quite tough to enjoy the ‘beauty’ of Paris in the spring when you don’t want to go outside due to crappy weather. Here’s to hoping April showers bring May flowers…

I have started to adopt the French way of thinking about weather so I don’t slip into a depression. “Oh it’s ok. A bad spring means a great summer.” I think this is the one area of their lives they are optimistic and I think that is partially due to the fact they don’t want to admit the weather here completely sucks. I feel bad London gets the bad rep. Paris is the same way.

23 years and I have always had sun on my birthday. Paris is really making me think that birthday number 24 won’t be so lucky. But of course, I just love Paris for always keeping me on my toes.

Speaking of birthdays, it is weird having my second one here. That means all of 23 was spent living in France. It is weird how plans can change so quickly. I was only supposed to be here a year and now I am pushing two. I think I will leave the end of this year but now I don’t know. It honestly changes daily. It is difficult because I am so happy here and I feel like I fit, but there are so many things I miss about being in the states… mostly, my family. If I could just ship them out here to live I think I would stay forever.  I am in this whole not thinking about it stage though. December is still 8 months away. I have time.

It is also strange to have my birthday here because I used to have large birthday dinners and huge nights of going out to celebrate. Just as last year, I work. And most my friends are on holiday. I am sure I will spend the night having a few drinks with Frenchies and I am perfectly ok with that. I am really liking the Frenchies lately. I think I even have to retract my previous statement that Coco and Frenchies don’t mix—I am currently being proved otherwise. To be honest though, my real gift is my mom coming. I haven’t seen her since Christmas and I can’t be more excited.

So maybe Paris is trying to drown my good mood in the rain but I am tenaciously fighting back. Life is good… despite the horrible weather.

Spring… Are you here yet?

There has been a record-breaking amount of sun lately… 3 days in a row! I can hardly believe it. What has gotten in to Paris?!?

It is beginning to stay later longer and I have the feeling Spring is just around the corner. I had almost forgotten how beautiful this city is in the sunlight… I know this is all one of Paris’s sneaky tricks and spring is much further away than I think but I like to pretend that maybe sometime soon the forecast will have temperatures all in the positives. I cannot wait to picnic or leave the house without four layers of clothes on. I like the seasons but it is time to move on. I want to see the blossoming flowers and take walks along the Seine.

I want my favorite Paris to come back. It is like I have missed an old friend.

Fail: Journey to the Doctor’s

I needed to go to the doctor. Because the French has something terribly against working, the hours of operations of things are never convenient. I mean why would a doctor’s office be open on the weekend? No one would ever imagine to get sick on the weekend… Anyways, I decided to wake up early and try to squeeze a visit in before work. I knew this was overly optimistic but I thought since I had no other choice I would give it a try. I went exactly where I needed to go and stared at this large building with a sign in front for the Cabinet Medical. It was there. There was a sign. After careful examination of the outside of the building, I finally figured out how to get it. Once in the building, I was led into a huge open courtyard. No doors unlocked. No signs. Not a human being in sight. How very French. I finally found stairs and walked up to the 1er etage. Now I was in a place that resembled an apartment building. Reluctantly I gave up. There truly was no other ideas I could pull from my hat. After having searched for doctors online, I remembered seeing another place a few streets away. I proceeded to go to that one. I managed to get in, but same issue–all locked doors, no humans, no signs. So I went back to the front of the building (can i just add in that it is pouring rain at this point?) and called the number listed for the doctor. I called and did my utmost to speak in the best French I could master at that point. The dialogue went something like this:

 

Me: Bonjour, le cabinet est ouverte? Hello, is the office open?

Awful witch on the other line: Oui, vous avons un rendez-vous? Yes, do you have an appointment?

Me: No, je n’ai pas un rendez-vous, mais je suis ici maintenant. Je ne peux voir un docteur maintenant? No, I do not have an appointment but I am here now. Can I not see a doctor now?

AW: Vous devez un rendez-vous. You need an appointment.

Me: D’accord. Quelle heure? Ok. What time?

AW: (She then continues in rapid speed French to word vomit out a ton of times)

Me: (I managed to hear a few and chose the one closest to the time it was.) Excusez moi, je suis tres desolee parce que je parle un peu francais. 9h20? Excuse me, I am very sorry because I speak a little French. 9h20?

AW: (Screaming at the top of her lungs now in a voice similar to what I think Satan would sound like) MADAME. 9h20. VOUS DEVEZ UN RENDEZ-VOUS. 9H20. (then inaudible angry french.) MADAME. 9h20. YOU NEED AN APPOINTMENT. 9h20.

Me: Desolee. Je ne comprend pas. 9h20 est correcte? C’est bon pour moi. I’m sorry. I do not understand. Is 9h20 correct? It is good for me.

AW: (yelling. screaming. anger.)

Me: (hung up.)

 

At this point, there was truly nothing I could do. She was clearly upset and I could not understand why or what else I could do to express I wanted the appointment at 9h20. As I am pulling the tears back from the frustrating conversation that was unsuccessful, I get a call from an unknown number.

 

Me: Hello?

AW: pourquoi voulez-vous raccrocher? qui est si impoli. pourquoi voulez-vous raccrocher maintenant? (yelling.screaming.anger.hang up.) Why did you hang up? That is not polite. Why did you hang up??

 

The tears poured in. A Frenchwoman had the nerve to call me back just to yell at me. Really? Confused, upset, and defeated I got on the metro and went to work.

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When I got into work, I told my French colleague (and good friend) the story. Not only was she sympathetic, but she also managed to get me an appointment on Monday at an office close to our work within about 2 seconds. She printed a map for me, highlighting the directions and wrote down all the information needed. Why is there not more Estelles in this country??

 

Lesson of the story/ongoing theme of my life: I hate the french. I love the french.

A Full Circle

“Sun is shining, the weather is sweet. Make you want to move your dancing feet” -Bob Marley

Tonight I was talking to my mom when I was walking to mosaic class. I am in such a good mood today it’s ridiculous. I usually deteste Wednesday. I’m going to have to give all the credit for the permanent smile on my face to the incredible weather. It was 22 degrees today (this is in celsius, for all your Fahrenheit people that’s around 72 degrees). Perfection. I tried to spend the most time I could basking in this new found fabulous weather. I am so happy France decided to become friends with the sun again. The break up was really quite hard for me.

Anyways, sorry about the rant on the weather. Ok, so I was talking to my mom. And I was gleaming. I was going on about how pretty springtime is with all the green and blossoming flowers. And how it makes sense that everyone talks about Paris in the springtime. And… wait for it… how pretty Vaux is this time of year. Yep. That’s right. I gave this hell hole in the middle of nowhere a compliment. That is when I knew my good mood had hit record levels today. But really. Vaux is exceptionally beautiful right now. The French countryside is definitely something to be seen. Paris is phenomenal, but it is a city. I have grown to love (well, mainly hate, but still) the countryside. There is just flowers everywhere. In every color. It is crazy.

Back to mom. She told me I sounded like when I first moved to Vaux. I was so happy, the weather was great, and I couldn’t wait to go to mosaic class. Full circle. I have made it. These past 9 months have been insane. Crazy ups and downs. A lot of hard times and growing. But with one more month left, I can say that I wouldn’t change this for the world. I have an incredibly fortunate life. Yes, there are many thing that would have been better to do without, but it is with those shitty (and sometimes literally shitty) times that I have learned and grown.

I am happy.

Tonight, I walked into mosaic class to a group of familiar faces. Women I see weekly, some daily walking their kids to and from school and sport. I gave them bisous, asked “ça va?” and continued on conversation. It felt normal. It wasnt until my teacher said, “Coco, tu parles français?!?” and I responded, “Oui, c’est vrai!” that I realized how much has changed. Now, I am not saying that I was able to hold an intense convo. It was small talk. I am nowhere close to fluent or even someone who can feel comfortable speaking the language, but as I sat there tonight listening to their little French conversations about their kids and husbands, I felt proud. I could follow what was going on! I laughed when they laughed! Très bien!!!

I realize a lot of my posts have been complaining lately. And to tell you the truth I have had a lot to complain about. (Pre-warning. I am going to the Dept. of Labor tomorrow so I am sure there will be another angry post coming shortly). But. Today is one of those days to sit back and be happy. I love my life. I love the struggles I am going through right now in order to get what I want. I want to stay in Europe. I want to be fluent in another language someday. I want to live in the city. All of these are happening or in the process. I cannot be more fortunate than that.

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Wanna look back on what I thought when I first moved here? Check it out.

C’est le printemps!!!

France has decided to believe in sun again and it just makes me so happy. I started to forget what flowers looked like!! I have to say, although I hate living in the middle of nowhere, the French countryside is quite pretty in spring. I just want to sit outside all day and soak up the sun. Too bad I work 13 hours today…. guess what kids? Lets play outside!

Seasons Change… Who Knew?

France has decided it is now Fall. The leaves are turning and falling to the ground. Even the French are breaking out their heavier jackets. I have never lived anywhere with seasons. I live in the land of Ugg boots and mini skirts, where the only season change is from perfection to a slightly less perfection.  I am slowly starting to realize my typical winter is just the beginning France’s fall.  However, I strangely like it.