Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Parking in Paris

How to park in Paris:

1. Back up until you hit the car behind you.
2. Go forward until you hit the car in front of you.
3. Back up again until there is no more than an inch between you and the other cars.
4. Voila!

(They really do say "voila."  A lot.)


The girl has been good lately.  I don't know what's going on, but I can't complain.  She even apologized to me the other night for misbehaving (which I think her mom made her do) but she was polite about it and seemed genuine, and invited me to play a game with her and her mom before bed.  I don't trust it...I think there's a storm coming.

I have a French conversation partner, finally (because I speak English with everyone I know).  I hung out with a kid named Andres from my class, he speaks Spanish so we're both forced into speaking French which is frustrating at times but good for practice.

Tomorrow starts VACATION!!! A whole week with no kids, no school, just me and Paris.  I wanted to go somewhere but I still have no debit card and therefore no cash (I can't use a credit card at an ATM, can I?), so I'm staying here, but there's still a lot I haven't done yet (Eiffel Tower, for instance).  Also good news, starting in November, Sainte Chapelle, the Towers of Notre Dame, and the Arc du Triomphe are included in the free first Sunday of each month. November 1st will be exciting, I think.

I need to start running, also. But geez it's cold outside...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Bureaucracy is a french word, after all.

Skipped class Monday to go to OFII (Office Francais d'Immigration et Integration) but they were too busy so they told me to come back Tuesday. Skipped class again Tuesday to go early.  I now have an appointment (November 15) to get my Titre de Sejour, which I need to get my Carte Vitale, which I need to get social security to pay my hospital bill.  So now I guess I wait.

The girl hasn't been bad but has started being a bit rude.  She'll ignore me, or she's do that annoying little mimicky voice when I tell her to do something (which, I noticed, she does to other people too, not just me), or call me crazy under her breath (in French, which she thinks I don't understand).  She even told her mom (in French) she didn't want to eat dinner with me (saying "pas avec Sarah!"), and was a bit surprised when I answered, "Yes, with Sarah, sorry to disappoint you."  She was decent all night.
So today after lunch I told her I didn't like how rude she's been to me and that I wasn't going to tolerate that kind of behavior from her, and that if she wanted me to do something for her she was going to have to be pleasant.  She pouted for about 10 minutes, but after she was lovely, even held my hand and said please and thank you.  Maybe she's just testing her boundaries?  I guess we'll see how tonight goes.

One thing's for sure, if I have a kid and it's a girl, I'm putting her up for adoption.  I can't deal with this princess bs.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The most epic nights always start with football games.

Thursday I had the kids alone, and it went quite well.  The girl is so much easier to deal with when Christine isn't home to be a distraction!

Saturday was the boy's birthday, Christine made a chocolate souffle, which was quite possibly the best thing I've ever eaten.  It's like chocolate mousse, but warm and baked.  Phenomenal...I need to get that recipe.

That night I met Connie at WOS to watch the football game at 6.  We really did have every intention of leaving after the game...we started chatting with the bartenders (Pierre, the owner, and Matthew the manager) and Pierre ended up convincing us to walk to Jennyfer (a cheap store kind of like Charlotte Russe) with him where he bought us costumes (skirts, tops, ties, and stockings) on the bar credit card for the School Uniform party they were having that night.  In return we had to host the trivia game of the night, giving lollipops for correct answers and giving "detention" to people who got the answers wrong.  We drank free for most of the night, including 2 irish car bombs (my favorite).  We left at 6 am because we were pretty at risk of face planting at that point.  From 2-5 we just danced because it was better than falling asleep at a table somewhere.

Slept until 2 today (when Pierre told me on facebook he was just going to bed...insane) and satisfied a McDonalds craving with Connie.

Oh, and I tried Macaroons.  Not nearly as good as the American version.

          American Coconut Macaroon                                      Weird, wanna-be flavored oreo French macaroon with creme in the middle

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pros: I have friends and a life now. Cons: I forget to write.

Connie introduced me to the best chocolate ever, it has SALT in it (cue my raging salt addiction).  I may never forgive her for this.

Saturday Nicolas and I went to Sacre Coeur, it's on a hill that overlooks all of Paris, and the basilica is free to see, but there was a food and wine festival going on so it was too crowded.  I definitely want to go back there. After, I met Isabel and Connie at WOS at 2 am for the FSU vs. Miami football game (which got dropped by ESPN so we had to watch Florida all night).  We waited until 5:30 when the metro started again, and I came home to find we killed Miami, so it's alright.  I would have really liked to see that game though.
Sunday Leanne and I had a picnic on Champs Mars with quiche we got at a Boulangerie (my favorite place in the world, after McDonald's).  The weather was great all weekend, I think this might be my last glimpse of warm(ish) weather for a long time.

Today I went to the Marais (a traditionally Jewish area) and had falafel for lunch...how did I never know about falafel before now?  It's amazing, and cheap.  The Marais is adorable, in the historic center of the city, and is also one of the only places you can get reasonably priced bagels, and, so I've heard, cream cheese.  It is also home to a store called Thanksgiving, which is closed on Mondays :( but has American groceries such as Cheerios, JIF peanut butter, and Kraft Mac and Cheese (which I don't even really like that much but it felt good to see it through the window).  I'll have to check that out one day that's not a Monday.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

"Barack Obama could kill a pregnant woman on live television and still be more popular than Nicolas Sarkozy." -Connie's French teacher (on the 2 presidents' declining popularity)

This city is so exhausting and living here brings out the worst in me.  I am not made for a metropolis.  There are too many people always in my way and it takes 30 minutes to go to the grocery store for 1 thing and it won't make up its mind whether it wants to be warm or cold.  I'm supposed to love this place, but it's just annoying me right now.

Went to WOS last night, I'm trying to become a regular.  Connie came, she's an au pair with kids that go to The Girl's school, she's American, and she likes beer and football, so I think we'll get along great.

The girl was good today, no problems at all.  She's crazy.  Yesterday she pitched a fit because she wanted to take the metro (which she knows we can't do) and she held on to the pole at the cross walk and screamed and refused to let go, so I just gave in (I can't drag/carry this 8 year old the whole way home).  When I talked to Christine about it, she didn't give me any real solutions, but she did say that when I'm with the kids, I'm the boss, not her, so at least she's supportive of that.  That's the best I've gotten so far, I'll take it.

Wine and cheese with Nicolas tonight, I'm apparently going to get a lesson on French cheese (they really love their cheese).

Internet tomorrow!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

"Every girl over 12 should be on birth control, and they should put Prozac in the water" - Dr. Christina Canody, my pediatrician

When I picked up the girl for lunch Friday (after her awful behavior which appears to have gone completely without consequence, of course) she was standoffish at first, but she gave be a piece of her chocolate, so maybe that was a peace offering?  I get the feeling she's at an age where she's developing a bit of an attitude.  Fantastic...I should have picked younger kids.

Friday Leanne came over and we watched my only movie, 500 Days of Summer (I still love it though), and Saturday she and I went to Nuit Blanche, a city-wide art exhibit.  One we went to was at an art school, and was pretty much a guy and a girl doing what appeared to me a choreographed interpretive dance (without music) of a sexual encounter (fully clothed, I should note)...interesting for a second and then it just got strange.  It was pretty uneventful, neither of us really knew a lot about what was going on.

           The interpretive sex-scene 
          Nuit Blanche lights at Hotel de Ville (city hall), I forget what they say

                                                                 Notre Dame at Nuit Blanche

Today, however, we went to the Louvre.  The museums are all free on the 1st Sunday of the month (and possibly free all the time, if I count as a resident, which I think I do...I have to look into that).  It was neat, my favorite part was the architecture more than the art though (then again, I've never been a huge art person).  We'll have to tackle the Louvre over time, it's wayyyy too big to do any damage in one day.
The pyramid from the 3rd floor window

Inverted Pyramid in the Galleries du Louvre, from the Da Vinci Code if you're a fan

The Napolean Apartments

Yesterday, for the first time, I felt a little guilty for leading these people to believe I was actually here because I like and want to take care of their children.  But then I thought, they led me to believe their children were well-raised, well-behaved, decent human beings, so hey, we're even.  The other day Christine asked me how many kids I wanted, and when I said I didn't know if I wanted any, she got this horrified look on her face, kind of like she hoped I was joking but she just didn't get it because of the language barrier, so I played it off and made something up.  I was hoping this experience would help me like kids more, but I don't see that happening any time soon, probably the opposite.

Dr. Canody was right, they should put birth control in the water.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Oh yeah, kids again.

The girl was awful today. AWFUL.  She refused to do anything I asked and would constantly run to and cling to Christine even though she was having a meeting with someone (and of course she did nothing to help me pry her out of her lap, or tell her something like "no you can't sit with me, go take a bath/eat dinner like you're supposed to").  She knows that Christine will not make her do anything and let her sit with her and so she uses that to get out of what I'm trying to make her do.  What am I supposed to do, yank this 8 year old child out of her mother's lap?  I feel like that's overstepping my boundaries a little bit.  Everything about Paris is seeming more and more like a bad idea.  Geez I hate kids sometimes.

After, though, Frank invited me to go see a movie with "us," which I though referred to him and Christine but actually meant him and his friend from New York.  So I saw Wall Street with 2 middle-aged men.  Kind of strange, but he's really nice, I wish he was around more.  Also, the movie sucked, I don't recommend it.

Nicolas made me crepes last night because I'm still missing my debit card...they pretty much taste exactly like pancakes, just flat.  There's nothing that phenomenal about them, except they're French I guess so people get excited.  Most French/European people I've heard from say they like our fluffy pancakes better.  They are quite nice with cheese though, or confiture (aka jam).

Oh, and I killed my first French spider today.  I'm sure my neighbor thought I was crazy after I screamed, pushed over the table to get to it, kicked the wall a few times (where the spider was) and then yelled "Ha ha, I win bitch!"  I don't suppose I'll be getting any "welcome to the 5th floor" cookies any time soon.