Sunday, July 17, 2011

Italy and packing

So, Italy was amazing.  We lost a bit of money on changing plane tickets and had to skip Venice, but I got to see a good friend who is studying in Florence, saw the major sites of Rome, and hiked the 5 towns of the Cinque Terre.  And, surprisingly, Etienne and I didn't hate each other by the end of it.  I haven't put pictures on my computer yet but I will soon and upload a few here.

Otherwise, since we've been back, I've been hanging out a bit more with Etienne before he left for another trip in Normandy.  We said goodbye yesterday, the first of what will be several goodbyes in the next 3 days.  Yep, that's right, 3 more days in Paris then I hop on a flight and get on home for good.  Still mixed feelings.  I've never been much good at goodbyes.

So my time as an American Au Pair in Paris is coming to an end.  Off to the WOS to say au revoir to some of my favorite people in Paris.  Not looking forward to all this packing and cleaning...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The day I should have spent in Venice

Wake up at 4 am
Catch bus at 5 am to Gare de Nord
Catch 5:30 RER to Aeroport Charles de Gaulle to catch 6:50 plane to Milan and begin my week vacation in Italy.

At least, that was the plan.

Instead, however, we printed out the wrong "boarding pass" and had to check in even though we were told we wouldn't, missed check in, and therefore missed our flight.  So, a 60 euro change flight fee later and we have a booking for tomorrow at 1:40.  And Venice has been scratched off the itinerary.

I'd just like to say that I didn't print the faux boarding passes, my travel companion did.  And as soon as I saw them I said "I don't think these are right..." but he insisted we were fine.  I've been doing a good job of resisting my natural inclination to take charge and risk eye-rolling and bitchy/bossy under-the-breath accusations to make sure that things are planned correctly.  But I did, and look what happens.  If I had been there during printing, I would have known they weren't the right ones (I've printed Easyjet passes before) and we would be in Venice right now.  But pointing fingers now won't do us any good.  Lesson: if you want something done right, don't leave it up to a man.

Oh well.  At least now we had an extra day to sleep a bit and be well rested when we finally do make it.  But I'm still disappointed that we won't get to see Venice, ride a bus-boat, and see the Murano glass factory.  And I'm out the 80 euros we spent on the hotel.

We're still gonna make it, we'll just to straight to Florence from Milan and continue our trip as usual, just a day late.  So I can't complain too much.  But I hope I never have to deal with the stress of missing a flight again.  And this is gonna be a pretty frugal trip.  But at least we're being cheap skates together.

Next post better be post-Italy, and not just post-airport fiasco.  Cross your fingers.

Friday, July 1, 2011

"Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty we are free at last"

So my last day of working with French children.  Ever.  I even stuck around for an extra couple hours to help fix dinner (hey, it was one last free meal).  And the girl whined and didn't want to eat.  And I smiled to myself and thought, "well, there's one more thing I won't miss."

Although there were more smiles than tears at our last goodbye (on both ends, I think), it was a little sad.  I shouldn't say sad, maybe I was mildly bummed.  Very mildly.  Not because I'm particularly going to miss these people, but because this is it.  The beginning of the end.

From here on out there are less than 3 weeks before I leave.  3 weeks to hang out with friends, to make the bar rounds, to picnic by the Eiffel Tower or jog by the Seine, to do all the Parisy things that maybe I've been putting off or neglecting because I kept telling myself that I have plenty of time.  And now I don't.

I'm really not terribly sad about leaving, I feel like I'm ready, I just have some mixed feelings.  Mostly I know that when I get back I'll be back to school, back to working, back to grad school apps, back to all the normal life things, back to everything that is NOT living in Paris.  This may be the most exciting and adventuresome year of my life and it's almost over.  Is it bad that there's a tiny part of me that's glad it's over?  I do miss doing things for a purpose...taking classes to get a degree, to get into grad school, working to make money for school, interning, etc. etc.  Now I'm in Paris...just to be in Paris.  It was a nice break, but I have other more important things I need to get to.

Still, I can't help feel like, no matter how many walks or deep breaths or pictures I'll take in these last few weeks, I still won't appreciate it like I should, like I'll wish that I had when I get back to the states.  How does it feel to "fully appreciate" something, to take advantage of each moment?  I don't know if I'd even recognize that feeling if I felt it.  Right now I just feel like I'm not taking advantage of my last opportunities to eat croissants and eclairs and pain au chocolat...but that will come.  Oh yes, that will come.  I guess I need to make one last "bucket list" and cross something off each day.  Any suggestions from readers would be helpful.

On another note though, 4th of July is coming up and I realllllyyyyy really really want to make this cake.  It's amazing.  It's beautiful.  And it's not even all that difficult.  Diet be damned, I might just do it.  I just need to round up cake mix, food coloring, a couple 8 inch baking pans, and a 4 inch cookie cutter...oh, and an oven...

Oh well, at least I'm free.  This weekend will be celebrating freedom from a tyrannous King over 200 years ago, and celebrating freedom from a tyrannous French family 2 hours ago.  Independence Day has a double meaning this year.

EDIT: I also just realized this is my 100th blog post.  I know a lot of people do "100 things about me" or something for this occasion, but 1) I forgot, and 2) I don't know if I'm that interesting and if people will sit through 100 things about me.  But maybe tomorrow I'll come up with "101 things about me" just to keep the blog juju going.  Maybe it'll even relate to being and American Au Pair in Paris.  Bonus.