Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I Love School

I started my French class yesterday and I am very excited about it.  I was getting anxious to be a student again and study French.  My class meets for two hours, two times a week, Tuesday and Friday.  It is located near Opera, right in the heart of the city.  My Metro stop for class is Opera, so on my way to class I will see the gorgeous Opera Garnier when I climb up the Metro steps! 

There are maybe 13 or 14 girls in my class from all over Europe.  They come from Germany, England, Switzerland, Russia, Spain...and I can't remember where else.  Anyway, I am the only American...actually, the only person from my half of the world.  This is kinda cool.  Last year my class consisted of people from all over the world, but there were several Americans in the mix.  My teacher is fabulous.  Her name is Isabelle and she is very kind and funny.  I felt very comfortable talking in class, which is not normal for me, so that is a good sign.  I am really looking forward to going to class again on Friday.  My teacher suggested that we all read a novel in French.  She said it's best if we read one we've already read in our first language.  I saw The Da Vinci Code on the shelf in the living room, so I think I might try reading it.  I have always wanted to read it while in Paris since so much of it takes place running around this city.  Maybe I'll give myself my very own Da Vinci Code tour of Paris!

I have to talk for ten minutes in French to my class sometime soon.  I can talk about basically anything.  Any ideas?  

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Adventures

It is now Monday and for some reason (I think it has something to do with a Jewish holiday) I have the day off!  A three-day weekend.  How I love the little things in life.  Since I have been slacking, I figured it would be the perfect time to write a blog about the weekend.  After all, weekends are usually my only source of inspiration. I guess my weekend started Friday afternoon.  I stayed home all Friday with a sick 2-year-old.  However the grandmother arrived around 4:00, and after I went to pick the girls up from school, I was finished.  I got all ready to go out and joined friends for another fabulous time at Rosa Bonheur, my usual Friday night hangout.  Unfortunately Crystal had to work until 9:30, so she could not come.  I had fun anyway.  It was Sylvain's little send-off since he left for New York City today.  He will be doing research there for the next three months.  

Saturday was a very fun day.  Crystal and I met for lunch with no plans for the day.  This is normal for us.  After all, we do tend to just be wanderers.  After we finally found an open boulangerie for a baguette, we ate lunch on the steps of Musee d'Orsay.  This happens to be probably my favorite museum in Paris with all of its fabulous Monets and VanGoghs.  We decided to spend the afternoon in Bois de Boulogne, a park with lakes and paths right outside of the city.  To our surprise, there was a carnival set up and we couldn't help ourselves...we had to partake in the fun, especially after we saw this...

We only went on the swings.  After all, these rides were sort of expensive!

Then we went to the Bois de Boulogne.  It was a perfect day filled with sunshine, warm weather, and families in canoes. 

Sunday was also very fun and started with no plans.  We started the afternoon with bread from our new favorite Boulangerie.  It was the best bread I have ever had and the name of the place is Eric Kayser.  We looked it up and found out there is one right by my Metro stop!  We ate our lunch on the terrace while we enjoyed the perfect view of Paris.  

We then decided to go to Jardin des Plantes, which is a huge garden with lots of plants, flowers, and museums. We decided to check out the inside of Saint-Etienne du Mont on the way since it was open.  Beautiful!

I will bring my mom to Jardin des Plantes because I know she will love it.  Walking around looking at all of the different kinds of flowers reminded me of my grandmother because I remember walking through her garden and in the woods with her and learning the names of the flowers.  She would have loved it.  I wonder if she went there when she visited Paris years ago.  

Later we decided to relax on the lawns at the Louvre, where we met some nice French guys who wanted to take our picture.  It was pretty funny.  Now they are our facebook friends.  Overall, I would say we had a very nice weekend.  It was just what I needed after a stressful week. 

Saturday, September 26, 2009


First of all, sorry for not blogging all week long.  It has been sort of a stressful week.  Thank goodness it is officially the weekend.  

I had some issues I needed to bring up with the parents having to do with my hours, etc.  I was very nervous about bringing up the topic with them, but I know I had to because it was eating away at me.  Already it feels better even though there are still some things that urk me.  At least they are aware that I was working a lot more than I should have been and have been making a conscious effort to keep my hours to those specified in the contract.  I had to stay home all day yesterday with a sick child and they told me that they would pay me extra.  I am not sure that would have happened if I would not have talked to them about it. 

The oldest child is still giving me a lot of trouble.  I still deal with a temper tantrum everyday, but my tactic of ignoring her seems to be working and really makes her mad.  Hopefully things will start improving soon. If they don't, I don't know what I'm going to do...probably go insane.  Crystal was able to witness one of these fits on Wednesday and could not believe how horrible she was.  Crystal says she has never in her life seen a child behave like that.  At least she is very sweet when she is not being horrible.  

As for my Paris adventures, I was not able to do a lot because I was sort of glued to the house 2 of the 5 days.  Crystal and I did participate in our normal wanderings.  On Tuesday we went to Place des Vosges, where Victor Hugo once lived. 

On Thursday we went to Monoprix to buy stuff for sandwiches and ate it on a nice lawn near Invalides.  It was the perfect spot.  We could see Invalides of course,  Pont Alexander III (a beautiful bridge), the Eiffel Tower, and Grand Palais.  Then we went for a walk around Champs Elysees before heading back to my area to pick up our kids.  After the long week, I did have a very nice, relaxing weekend, which I will talk about later.

Crystal has hopefully found a wonderful family to work for.  She has been staying at the foyer where I first stayed for the last week.  The family is actually an American family.  The kids are very sweet and the parents are kind.  Crystal knew this family must be "important" when she received contact information on U.S. Senate stationary.  Apparently the mother was an advisor to Obama.  I'm not really sure, but we're hoping to be around when he stops in for a visit someday.  That would be so cool!  Hopefully she will move in on Wednesday once her background check goes through.  We ran into the family on Sunday while walking so I got to meet them...and their security guards.  Crazy.  Anyway, that's all for now. 

Sunday, September 20, 2009

We Did a Lot of Nothing This Weekend

The big question running through my mind right now is, "What can I blog about?"  The truth is that I really have nothing too exciting to describe.  Crystal and I didn't really do anything this weekend, except for our usual wandering.  However, we are in Paris, so our "nothing" is probably more than whatever we would be doing if we were home. 

First amazing news of the weekend: The family was gone all weekend and I got to have some peace and quiet!  Yes!  They wonder why I would rather stay in Paris than go with them to a nice house in the country.  Hello... I need a break!  I had a wonderful time being without children this weekend. 

Second amazing news of the weekend: I was finished early this Friday because the family had to leave, and therefore was able to get to Rosa Bonheur on time.  I know nobody reading this (other than perhaps Sylvain or Crystal) has any idea what Rosa Bonheur is.  It is a very fun bar in a park in Paris.  It consists of good times and LOTS of dancing, but it closes at midnight and is very popular, so it is important to get there around 7 or 7:30.  Last week I was very bummed because I did not leave the apartment until around 9 and on my way Sylvain called to say that they were not letting anyone else in.  My whole Friday night was ruined.  Totally not cool when you have little time to do whatever you want.  

Third amazing news of the weekend: I am a total rebel.  I am not supposed to eat in my room.  Nothing...not even crackers.  However, I LOVE to snack all by myself so I have decided that civil disobedience is the way to go.  I'm not giving up my comfort because someone has a crazy OCD about cleanliness.  After all, I have to vacuum my room everyday anyway.  That's another story...

Friday night, J'adore!  Ah yes, I live for Friday nights at Rosa Bonheur.  I have many new friends because of these nights.  When I say "many," I mean about 4.  Trust me, that is a lot when you know nobody other than Crystal and Sylvain.  Actually they are Sylvain's friends who I hope have adopted me.  I think I burn off all of my snacking calories from the week at Rosa Bonheur because of all the dancing.  I also have a few foot bruises from Friday night...I guess it was worth it.  Here is a picture of me and some of my new friends.  Yes, we are very sweaty.  

Saturday: A day of wandering...big surprise. (I must mention this right now before I forget. As I type this, I keep thinking of words in French and it is kinda throwing me off my game. I am thinking in French!  Well, sometimes.  Today, as I was writing an e-mail, I could not figure out why a word was mispelled, and then I realized I had spelled it in French! So exciting for me!) Anyway... Crystal and I slept in on Saturday and then met up in the Latin Quarter.  Right away we went to the nearest Monoprix to buy some lunch meat, fruit, and a baguette for lunch.  The next monument for lunch happened to be the Sorbonne.  We both attended the Sorbonne for  a few weeks last summer. It is the University of Paris and is way older than the US.  It consists of several building, but we ate right in front of the main one on some fountains at Place de la Sorbonne.

After lunch, we walked down to Luxembourg Gardens just in time for the start of the Techno Parade.  I have no idea why there is a techno parade, but it was nuts.  Well, it was not as crazy as the gay pride parade, but it was definitely something to see...very European.  It consisted of extremely loud music, lots of dancing, crazy costumes, and who knows what else.  Luckily we are open-minded and always up for an adventure.  

That night, after watching the Eiffel Tower from Crystal's terrace, we went to a grocery store to get some beer before going to a bar.  What can I say, we are on a budget.. We never even went to a bar, but we did end up back at Place de la Sorbonne with our giant Heineken's to finish the evening.  And yes, this is totally legal here. 

Sunday: Absolutely nothing happened today...seriously.  We met up at Place de la Concorde (I love how we meet up at monuments full of history. This happens to be the former home of a guillotine that chopped a few royal heads from their bodies, including none other than the heads of Marie Antoinette and her hubby, Louis XVI.). We wandered in search of food.  However, Sundays kinda suck around here when you are in search of inexpensive food because everything is closed, other than restaurants.  Well, we found  McDonald's, aka McDo, and then we headed back to Crystal's place to relax and eat.  Later that day we decided to walk to a Roman amphitheater, Arenes de Lutece.  We decided we should do something productive with our day, and well, being history people, we thought we should see some ruins.  They were pretty small compared to other ruins we have seen.  It was pretty cool that they were in the middle of Paris and happen to be one of the oldest monuments here... actually, they might be the oldest.  Arenes de Lutece once held gladiator games and you can even see where they kept the animals!  

That is about it for our weekend.  It was fun while it lasted.  I just have five days of kids and then I can have another weekend.  It gives me something to look forward to.  My mantra keeps me going. "I live in Paris."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Black Wednesday

Today, along with every other Wednesday, is referred to by me as "Black Wednesday."  This was not my idea at all, but it seems to fit.  As an au pair in France, Wednesdays can be a bit daunting because many French children do not have school on Wednesdays, or only go to school for part of a day.  Sophie, the mother of the family I live with, introduced me to this name, which was introduced to her by her previous au pair (thanks Janelle!). 

Thankfully, this Wednesday was not too bad.  Well, I'll just say it could have definitely been worse. It could even be referred to as a "Gray Wednesday." This morning after breakfast, things turned bad quickly.  All three children were complaining and not listening.  Luckily the father of the family was home for a little while and straightened them out for me.  After that, I just stayed on top of it, not letting them give me any attitude or whatever without being disciplined, and it was fine.  We went to a nearby park and then came home for lunch and a nap.  I love nap time, even though the oldest stays up with me.  It's just nice to have some calm.  I only had one huge temper tantrum to deal with today, which was shorter than most, so all in all, it was a good day.  I'm over the hump and the weekend is in sight.  Weekends are the best part of being an au pair.  Sorry for the short, boring blog.  There has not been a lot to write about, especially when I spend most of my time during the week with the kids.  

Monday, September 14, 2009

Crystal's Rescue

Crystal, my Parisian nomad partner, decided to switch au pair families.  Her family was not nice to her at all and they lived pretty far outside of Paris.  The father of the family told her there was "no solution" to her troubles of not being able to stay in Paris past 7 pm, which was greatly affecting her social life, and that she should try to find another family.  She did, and when she told him, he was pretty mad.  On Sunday morning he confronted her and told her what a horrible person she was and that she better be out of the house by noon. This happened around 9 am.  Well, she did get out before noon, luckily having packed her stuff in advance and prepared Jacques with an SOS taxi text the night before.  We spent all day Sunday with Jacques celebrating her new freedom...and homelessness, or in French, SDF (Sans domicile fixe).  Jacques bought us a nice lunch at a cafe, which did help us feel better about our situation. Here's us with Jacques and our much-needed coffee.

After Jacques had had enough of us for the day, we just kept wandering and found some Subway to eat on our next monument.  We both agreed that eating Subway in Paris was pathetic.  Here we are in the land of amazing bread and sandwiches, and we chose good old Subway. Pathetic. But it definitely made us laugh. 

Crystal said, "I bet nobody has ever done Paris quite like us, Betsy. We're two wandering souls who eat on monuments. At least we have each other." We laugh at ourselves all the time and constantly tell each other that we don't know what we'd do without the other. 

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Une Sieste...a nap in the heart of Paris

I left the apartment today in search of something to do.  Sophie, the mother of the family I am living with, suggested an art exhibit.  It is at the Louvre for about a month and has pictures of Paris before people like Napoleon added all of their self-decorating monuments (at least I think this is what Sophie was all in French, so I am only half sure of what she said).  I decided I might as well go.  Plus...and this is one of my favorite is FREE!  

I had all day to wander and just hang out, so I stopped on my way to get a fresh baguette and some turkey slices for lunch, which I ate on a bench at the Louvre.  I got into my book and probably sat there and read and ate for an hour.  Then I went over to some nice grass to continue reading.  I was so relaxed and comfortable in the warm sun that I almost fell asleep. Instead of getting up and heading to the exhibit, I decided to find another plot of grass to take a nap.  I couldn't help myself.  Nice place for a nap, don't you think (notice the Eiffel Tower in the background)?  I can always go to that exhibit another day. 

It felt so nice and calming. I turned my ipod on, which brought me reminders of all the people I love at home and the memories I have of them and these songs.  The sun was so warm and brilliantly bright behind my sunglasses and closed eyelids.  There was a gentle breeze that was perfect and calming, and the grass was a little moist beneath me.  Every once in a while I would open my eyes to surprise myself with my surroundings.  Here I was, taking a nap on the lawns of the Louvre.  I was surrounded by it's beauty.  In the distance I could see the Eiffel Tower and the Orsay Museum, which houses several masterpieces by artists such as VanGogh, Monet, and Renoir.  

The first song on my ipod was "The Longest Time" by Billy Joel.  It just made me happy and in a great mood.  Then another, more powerful song came on.  As I stared up into the blue heavens, half-blinded by the sun's rays, good old Michael Jackson's "You Are Not Alone" came on.  It was really comforting, even though it brought tears to my eyes towards the end where the voices increase an octave (I think that's what happens anyway...I'm not an expert in the music department).  

You are not alone, for I am here with you
Though we're far apart, you're always in my heart

It made me think of everyone I miss back home.  Everything like this does.  I am already an emotional person.  Music impacts me very much and can easily bring about goose bumps or tears with its power.  While this song reminded me of people I miss back home, it was also very reassuring.  Even though I'm far apart, an ocean apart in fact, I can look up at the sky and know that we share a moon or sun, and know that we are really not that far apart in the grand scheme of things, and that being in each others hearts and on each others minds helps us to stay close.  After 45 minutes of peaceful contemplation and contentment, I decided to get up and leave.  A smile came to my face as I stood up and saw my surroundings.  I am in Paris, the city of my dreams, filled with history, love, beauty, and culture.  I am following my dream, and I am just a phone call away.  I switched my ipod to the Mamma Mia! soundtrack, and was so happy to walk to the beat, just like my mom does when she takes her morning walks.  I miss you all.  There are hard times of course, when I want nothing more than to sit on my front porch and drink coffee, but I am so happy to be here.  I love it.  I am on an adventure and have no idea where it will take me.  That is part of the excitement. 

I walked back through the Tuileries Gardens and then entered the Metro at Place de la Concorde.  I love that I live here.  I am speaking French without thinking about it because it is becoming more natural, and I am always excited when a tourist asks me directions and I can actually help them without referring to any map. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A New Tradition

Crystal and I have a new tradition since my last blog. We spend most of our days during the week wandering Paris while the kids are at school. One thing we love to do, and joke about, is to eat our lunch on the steps of monuments. This all started last Saturday when we ate on Saint-Germain-des-Pres, one of Paris's oldest churches. 


We relaxed. We slept in, read near some fountains, strolled around the Eiffel Tower, and ended the evening in a cafe drinking Hoegaarden beer with Jacques (friend of Crystal's mother & Parisian taxi driver). We did not eat on any steps on Sunday, FYI. 


Happy Labor Day! Apparently France's Labor Day is not until spring. However, this is fine with me since the kids went to school and I had some time to myself. After I finished my cleaning chores, I met up with my French buddy Sylvain for some coffee. A few weeks ago he told Crystal and me that if you want the best coffee in Paris, you must go to this place. 

Well, Crystal and I never made it, so I went with Sylvain instead. Unfortunately, I forgot the name of this fabulous little cafe. It was charming. It was very small...only room for a few tables. They had more types of coffee than I have ever seen. I'm not talking about espresso, latte, cappuccino, etc. I'm talking about different types of coffee beans from all over the world. We both had Kenyan coffee, which was excellent. I had no idea what to pick, so I went with Sylvain's favorite. It was soooooo good. I do love my coffee! Since I had no real plans until picking up the kids except for wandering with my pal Crystal, Sylvain suggested we wander through some of Paris's passages built in the nineteenth century. So we did. They are really cool. Basically, they're like streets, but they're covered to keep out the elements. We found several, but did not venture too far from where we started. Some are very fancy. Apparently they get a little less classy the further North you go. 

Anyway, we had fun wandering and discovering new enchanting things about our favorite city. 
Oh by the way, we ate lunch in front of Bourse, which I found out is Paris's historical stock exchange. We opted for a baguette sandwich from a little boulangerie (basically a bakery with pastries and delicious ready-made sandwiches) instead of a do-it-yourself Monoprix sandwich. 


Well, Tuesday is not over, but I do not see anything truly exciting happening in my near future. I have to get the kids in a few hours. Today Crystal and I met up at Place de la Concorde at an Egyptian obelisk. Only in Paris... haha. 

We then decided to spend a few hours wandering the area near the Opera. We strolled past the first Chanel store, a true landmark in fashion. 

We finished our afternoon together by eating on the steps of the Opera. Apparently this is a popular place to eat lunch because most of the other people there were doing the same thing. 

That's all for now. Just some pretty pictures. 

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pure Class...

Crystal and I are taking Paris to a whole new level. Yup. Last night, before meeting up with newly-made friends, Crystal and I decided to hang out at our favorite little wine bar, Chez George. However, before we went there, we stopped at a Monoprix to get some food. This is how we do it cheap in Paris... we go to a grocery store, buy a small pack of sandwich meat, a baguette, some cokes, and whatever else we want, which was gummy candy last night. We were going to sit in a park to eat, but it was closed, so we found some steps that worked perfectly. These steps are no ordinary steps. They are the steps of one of the oldest churches in Paris, the steps to Saint-Germain-des-Pres. 

We probably looked like homeless people with our trash scattered around our feet. We found it very amusing and decided that a picture of the situation was necessary, so...

After our little dinner, we made our way to Chez George. We love this place. We always go downstairs to hang out. It is like a cave that is centuries old with dim lighting, classic French tunes, and bottles of wine. I wish I had a recent picture to better describe this place. 

Crystal and I finished our wine and left to meet up with some of her new friends. They were very nice. We went to a bar and attended a little birthday celebration where we indulged in delicious chocolate birthday cake (haha... "Let them eat cake." Anyone know what I'm talking about?). Oh, by the way, a strange old man winked at Crystal on the Metro, so to amuse him, she made kissing gestures back as we were leaving. I wish I would have looked to see his facial expression. I'm sure it was priceless. I love how we find ways to amuse ourselves.

We had a wonderful night. We decided that we are a perfect pair for our little adventures, even though we may lack class here and there. Oh well, it makes it even more fun when we can laugh at ourselves. 

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Thank You Rodgers and Hammerstein

Proven by my previous post, today started out pretty bad. However, it is my day off and I needed to get out of the house and clear my head. After calling my mother, I decided to go for a walk. Since I do not yet have my unlimited Metro pass, I decided to stay in the area. After all, there are fabulous views of the Eiffel Tower nearby, so why not go for a walk. I first went into a nearby Monoprix grocery store to get some things for lunch. While I was there waiting in a very long line, the lady behind me started talking to me. I had my headphones on, so I couldn't hear her. I took them out, but still couldn't understand since I still have a lot of trouble with that. Anyway, right away she said, "Oh, you speak English! I was just saying how I'm old and standing in lines like this for all these years has really been boring." Haha. She was very kind. I then explained to her in French that I had just arrived a few weeks ago and that I am watching children over here while I improve my French. She told me that even though I had an accent (obviously), my French was very nice (haha. probably because I keep saying that phrase...). Her daughter lives in California, so she has had to learn English for when she visits her. Anyway, she was a very kind lady and helped to improve my spirits. It is amazing what one kind gesture can do for another person. 

As I continued waiting in that line, I started to cheer up and thought of Maria von Trapp and her struggles and triumphs in her adventure as the governess for the daunting von Trapp family children. Yes, this character from The Sound of Music and her journey were my inspiration today. As I walked out into the cool, fresh air, I set my ipod to play "I Have Confidence." It made me happy. Luckily, I am the kind of silly person that has this soundtrack on my itunes. I don't care what anyone thinks. I love it, I always have, and I always will. I used to watch that movie over and over again as a child and I still know all of the songs by heart. Those songs remind me of my mother, because I know she loves them too, and Lina, Sanna, and Lucas (the wonderful children I babysit in the USA), because we sang those songs together. I sometimes still sing Edelweiss to Sanna before bed. Even though I'm not so great, she likes it.  

I swear that the song "I Have Confidence" is perfect for me. I have to be strong, even though it's hard to be far from loved ones, and face this amazing adventure. It's what I have wanted for so long and who knows what will come of it. I have to "Climb Every Mountain" until I find my dream. I know, I'm cheesy, but even The Reverend Mother inspired me today. I found a nice bench on the ile Saint Louis (one of the islands in the Seine in the middle of Paris) where I ate my lunch. Then I continued my walk with a little more oomph in my step, spurred on by the music. Soon I found the perfect place to stop and take a picture. I found sepia tone worked best today. 

I was having a little trouble taking my own picture with the Eiffel Tower, and a nice man on a bike stopped and took it for me. How nice. Honestly. There's another great person who cheered me up. All he did was jump off his bike and ask if I wanted him to take my picture. Here's the result...

I continued my mini adventure towards the Eiffel Tower, and eventually arrived listening to "Edelweiss." Perfect. I love that song. I joined in with the tourists and took several pictures of the Eiffel Tower. After all, I didn't have any in sepia yet.

After seeing the magnificent Eiffel Tower, I decided to go back home. I wasn't exactly sure when Crystal was going to be able to make it into the city. 

What a nice walk. I really needed to just clear my head and cheer up. So, thank you friendly people in Paris and Rodgers and Hammerstein for The Sound of Music. I feel much better. 

Just a Little Lonely...

I'm sitting in my room right now really wishing Crystal were here. Actually I wish I were home sitting on the front porch drinking coffee with my mom, but at least I would have my lovely friend Crystal to talk to about anything and everything. Sure, there have been times since I've been here that I missed the people back home, but this morning is a little tough for me. 

Last night when I was online before going to bed my brother called me via skype and I got to talk to my brother, parents, aunt and uncle, and even got to see my sweet dog. It really made me long to be with them and just be completely comfortable being myself. I like the family here a lot and I am pretty comfortable around them, but I'm still a guest in their house. I like to have quiet alone time and snack sometimes in my room at night, but I learned I'm not supposed to eat in my room. It's not a big deal, but it just made me want to be in my own room at home where I can do whatever I want when I want. It's one of my days off and I'm sitting in my room skyping, typing, and looking up airfare. I think if I can afford it, I might come home for a few weeks over Christmas. I was not planning on coming home at all, but with about a year left here and already wanting be around those I love, it's becoming more important to me. I don't want to leave early or anything, I just want to know that I'll see my family in a few months rather than in a year. 

Well, I better get out of here. I think a nice walk in Paris will cheer me up. I get to be with Crystal later today, which will really help.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Back to Paris

I have yet to leave Paris since my arrival a few weeks ago, but it feels like I have returned. After a few days with the kids, hardly leaving the neighborhood, I felt like Paris was waiting for me, or rather I longed for it. 

Thursday was my first day of freedom from the kids. They started school and I got to leave and be all by myself for a while. I did not do any charming little walks or anything, but I enjoyed my time away. First of all, I had to take a placement test. I am going to take a French class while I am here, so of course, the school needed to figure out my level. I took it, it went well, whatever. I'm right where I left off last summer, so that's good. I'm surprised I remembered some of the stuff I did since I have not studied French at all in such a long time, except for tutoring once a week. For any of you who know Paris, my school is in the 8th arrondissement, which is pretty cool... near Arc de Triomphe. However, my classes will be in a different building than normal because of remodeling or something, so I'll be right by the Opera Garnier (think Phantom of the Opera). I love that building. It is so amazing. If you ever get the chance to go there, do it. It is breathtakingly beautiful on the inside... right out of a fairy-tale. I walked around and just thought about how lucky I felt to be living in Paris. It is still sort of hard to believe that it is real. I have wanted it for so long. I dreamed about living here since I first visited eight years ago. It is magical to me. Sure, some days are not perfect, but I am here and I am happy about that. 

Today I ventured out again. I met up with Crystal and basically just walked around and talked. I would be happy doing nothing but talking and drinking coffee with friends in my spare time. Paris is a great atmosphere for that. Who am I kidding? I love doing that everywhere. Did someone say coffee?!! 

Tomorrow cannot come soon enough. Well, yes it can. I'm tired and need to sleep first, but I am really looking forward to it. It is the weekend and I have two days off! My friend Matthieu invited me to come to a little get-together tomorrow night. He is the boyfriend of my former roommate Maddie. She lived with me last summer and will be in town this weekend. Crystal and I are going to join them, hang out, and then go out. I don't know where, but I really don't care. I'm sure we'll have a great time. Then Crystal and I are going to an event on Sunday. is a networking thing where you can meet people that are traveling in your area and hang out. We are going to hang out with people we have never met. Perhaps there will be some fun people there. At least we'll be there together if it's a bust. I'm looking forward to it... actually just to getting out and not having to clean or watch kids for a few days. Hopefully I'll have some fun pictures to post later from the weekend. 

Until then, a bientot!


So, in my last post, I finished with the fact that I desperately wanted some chocolate and was going to create a little stash for myself. Well, I did it and it made me so happy. It's funny how the little things in life, like chocolate cookies, can really make a difference. I don't really know why I'm blogging about this...

Yesterday I got off the Metro and entered the Monoprix (French grocery/everything store), which I felt was desperately awaiting me and my purchases. I strolled through the aisles, knowing I needed several things, but for some reason forgot to make a list. I knew I needed toothpaste, so I got that, but I couldn't think of anything else other than chocolate. It was like my brain was fixating on one thing and everything else was given a rain check. "Do I need face wash, eye solution, ....? I don't remember..." I decided I better grab my chocolate so my mind could become a little clearer. Haha. It didn't work. Whatever. I waited in line feeling a bit embarrassed. Everyone else around me was buying normal groceries such as vegetables and bread, and I was waiting there probably looking like a fool. In my hands I held two boxes of these amazing cookies (le Petit Ecolier...Monoprix brand), a three pack of Milka chocolate bars, two Coca Lites, toothpaste, and a pack of gum. Chocolate, Minty stuff, and Diet coke (well sorta). Nice. Very healthy. Way to fit in. 

I ate several of those little cookies on my walk home and OMG, they were AMAZING. I ate half of a pack. Luckily, it is just what I needed and I have only eaten a few of those delicious cookies today. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Nice Little Boat Ride

The day started out very well. After all, it's my last day having the kids all day long since school starts tomorrow (except every Wednesday, since they don't go to school on Wednesdays...I don't know why, that's just how they do it over here). Anyway, we were having fun this morning... only the normal amount of fighting, yelling, and complaining. But in general, they were getting along pretty well together. Then I received an e-mail from their mother asking if I wanted to meet up with some of her friends and their kids and go for a boat ride on the Seine. Well, bien sur (of course)! It sounded like a fun little outing and the kids were very excited.

Then it started. First, Hannah (the oldest child) jumped off of a stool in the kitchen and hurt her leg, which was very dramatic (big bruises to come soon), and then Salome (the middle child), somehow fell off of her chair, so she was crying too, but I think hers was more for attention since Hannah was getting attention for her injury. Then, of course, Nathan (the youngest) joined in for no reason at all. Ahh! Whatever, after ten minutes of sobbing, etc. lunch was ready and everyone was happy again. After all, we had a boat ride coming up! The kids got all ready for the boat ride, we met up with the friends, and then walked to the river. Things were going great. We got on a boat right by the Eiffel Tower, took our seats, and took off. They were so excited. After awhile they, of course, became restless. We weren't even turned around yet to come back and they were already telling me that they were hungry and wanted to be done. They lasted pretty well.

Once we got off the boat, the main troubles started. I'm sure it won't sound bad for anybody else, but I was just frustrated. We found a spot and I got out the three bananas I brought along for a snack. The girls both grabbed them and opened them before I could even help them and the bananas fell on the ground. Crying. There was a little food stand right there, so one of the parents went there and we decided to get ice cream. However, Hannah gets sick when she has dairy, and trust me, this would not be good without a bathroom nearby (France, and I think a lot of Europe, lacks public restrooms). Anyway, she basically sobbed for fifteen minutes, because crepes and slurpies are not as good as ice cream. 

Next we had to walk home. These kids were tired. No nap today. Try walking through tourist Paris with three little children when you do not know the language well, they're tired, and they are not listening. Enough said. 

We finally arrived home. What a relief! I did some housework while they actually played pretty well together and then their parents returned home. Finished. 

But the story ends well. The kids went to bed and then I had a wonderful salad with the parents. We talked a lot and it was fun. I am very comfortable around them, which is so nice. We are all interested in learning each other's culture and language. 

To top it all off, I returned to my room and my bff Lauren started chatting via skype chat right away. Love her. Oh, but she was talking about getting some chocolate and I really want some and don't have any at the moment. I'm going to buy some chocolate tomorrow so I have a little stash. 

A tout a l'heure! Bisous!!!