Search: expat

Expat Life in Paris: Part 4

by Jackie D on May 18, 2016

expat life in parisCurrent croissant situation: Unchanged. Going for a record here. Literally I walk into my usual pain au chocolat place on the way to work and it’s always the same guy behind the counter — he hands me the goods, I hand him the coins, we nod, we part ways. It’s the best relationship I’ve ever been in.

Current bookstore situation: The other day I was headed into St-Germain-Des-Pres to meet up with a friend, and I turned a corner and suddenly there were bookstores everywhere. English-language bookstores. California-themed English-language bookstores. One was called San Francisco Book Company, another was Berkeley Books. One thing that blows my mind about Paris is that whenever I start to feel homesick for something specific — a bookstore, a normal-sized cup of coffee, doughnuts — I feel like I’ll turn a corner and suddenly, whatever it is that I’ve been missing will suddenly be there. I’m hoping this happens soon with Mexican food.

Current bike-riding situation: I’m not a huge bike person — in fact I spent most of my freshman year of college riding my bike around in terror, fully expecting to bring some sort of terrible accident upon myself or others — but for some reason, being in Paris makes me really, really want to ride a bike. It’s probably all of the people riding around with baguettes in their bike baskets (French people really do carry around baguettes as much as the stereotypes would suggest). So I took a day trip up to Deauville the other day, a tiny little beach town in the north of France, and rented a bike for about three hours. The neighborhood was adorable and very flat and easy to ride around, and the weather was perfect, and hardly any cars were around, and a few kids ran away from me and my bike in terror at one point, and it was a very idyllic afternoon. And true to form, towards the end of my bike ride, when I was approaching the rental shop, I was thinking about how proud I was that I hadn’t crashed or hurt myself or anyone, and at that exact moment I came within centimeters of crashing directly into a tree. Jackie travels!

Current vocabulary situation: Only one today, because it’s a good one: paperclip is trombone, because paperclips are shaped like little trombones. This is the cutest thing I have ever heard in my entire life.

Current French shoes situation: I wanted French shoes, I searched for French shoes, I finally found and drooled over and BOUGHT French shoes. And they are good, you guys. I actually saw a girl trying them on in a shoe store, and then literally stalked her around the store until she asked me if I needed help and I asked her where she found the shoes. I may be a creep, but I get the job done.

Current back pain situation: Bad. I’ve mentioned here briefly that I’ve been suffering from chronic back pain for several months now, and it only seems to be getting more frequent and slightly worse. At this point, my back hurts at night so much sometimes that it wakes me up. One of the only reasons I am excited to return to New York is that I can see my doctor again to get this figured out. I’m also thinking of trying acupuncture for the first time, though I’ve never really enjoyed the thought of strangers sticking needles into me, particularly now that I’ve been listening to so many murder podcasts.

Current murder podcast situation: Guys, I’ve been listening to Casefile, a podcast about true crime (I think it’s at least 95%, if not 100%, murder related) and it’s so good. The narrator has a very strong Australian accent, and many of the crimes took place in Australia, and if you know anything about the weird type of shit that goes down in Australia, that will tell you something about these crimes. My favorites are: The Somerton Man (this one is a great and truly frustrating mystery); Katherine Knight (one of the most famous – and intense – murders in Australia); and The Weepy-Voiced Killer (Pro: all the stuff that good scary stories are made of. Con: is so scary that it will keep you awake for the rest of your life, probably).

This is my second to last weekend in Paris! I can’t believe it. I need to buy another suitcase this weekend, start cleaning the apartment (shockingly no wine stains to clean up — although I guess I have two weeks left, shouldn’t speak so soon), make a trip over to the Musee D’Orsay (only went once, when I was around 21 I think), and if the weather is nice, I’m going to try to soak up the sun in Bois de Boulogne with my French Harry Potter book.

Share/Partager
Share/Partager
RSS
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

Expat Life in Paris: Part 3

by Jackie D on May 2, 2016

louvre parisCurrent visitor situation: My parents are here! They’re spending a full week in Paris and we’ve already covered a good deal of ground: we spent a rainy Saturday at the Louvre (my first time there in 10 years! Nothing makes me feel so old as saying I did something 10 years ago.), then a very sunny Sunday wandering around the famous Saint Ouen flea market and relaxing on a Seine river cruise. The other plans for the week: going to the top of the Eiffel Tower of course, some shopping at Galeries Lafayette, a trip to Versailles & up to the towers of Notre Dame (two excursions for them while I am at work); a morning walk for my dad and run for my mom along the Promenade Plantee — and then we’re playing the rest of the week by ear.

Current weather situation: IT’S FINALLY SPRING WEATHER. The weather here hasn’t been THAT bad… in the mid fifties, mostly… but that’s not exactly the spring-est of weather, either. This week though it’s supposed to be in the 60s and then finally hit 70 on Thursday and stay around there for a few days. Can’t wait to wear some skirts and unleash my white legs on these poor unsuspecting Parisians. Also I want to take some baguettes down to the Seine for a picnic — during our river cruise we saw hundreds of Parisians lounging with baguettes and wine in the sun, and it looked absolutely magnificent.

Current holiday situation: So France has approximately 3000 holidays in May. Usually they get the following days off of work: May 1, 5, 8, 15. Almost one day off a week. This year, sadly for them, the 1, 8, and 15 all fall on Sunday, so they don’t get those days. I knew in advance I’d have the 5th off work, which is great because it coincides with my parents’ visit, but today I learned that we also get the 16th off for some reason. I haven’t asked too many questions and I don’t want to draw attention to it, just going to accept it and plan something awesome for that day.

Current vocabulary situation: I know a lot of food words in French. These words are generally pretty easy for me to remember, and I’m also always Googling menu items, so I sometimes learn 5-10 new words during a meal if I’m eating out in a restaurant that has a lot of menu words for me to Google. Recently I learned that breaded chicken is pain pané, and I don’t know why it made me so happy to learn this as I don’t have any particular affinity for breaded chicken, but something about the way the word sounded made me really happy.

Hanging out with my parents for the rest of this week, and then the week after that I am going to a Ted Talk, which has been a dream of mine ever since my very first Ted Talk binge in 2013 (many, many Ted Talk binges have followed).

Share/Partager
Share/Partager
RSS
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

Expat Life in Paris: Part 2

by Jackie D on April 14, 2016

expat in parisCurrent wardrobe situation: Guys, my wardrobe has improved! I think. I’ve done quite a bit of shopping in my few weeks here and I’ve added many more black items of clothing to my wardrobe. It’s at that point where it’s almost warm enough to start wearing spring clothes again, which is good, because all I’ve been buying are spring and summer clothes. And one really cute pair of sandals that I want to wear maintenant.

Current weekend getaway situation: One of the things I was most looking forward to about being in Paris was the fact that I would have so many weekend getaway options available to me. Everything is so close together!  I went to Morocco over Easter weekend, and I went to Belfast last weekend — posts about those to come — and I’m going to Bordeaux next weekend. That will probably be it for my weekend getaways — my parents are coming to visit in two weekends, and then honestly I just want to be in Paris for the rest of my time here. I’m still just kind of Leslie-Knoping all over Paris all the time, pretty much.

Current vocabulary situation: My favorite French words of the moment: cool is still my absolute favorite because it seems to be a crowd-pleaser whenever I say it with my French accent; la reine, which is queen, because someone at work referred to me as a social media queen in French and I actually understood what they were saying, so I was excited; it’s been raining quite a bit and so I’ve been using my parapluie (umbrella), which I like to say because I can pronounce it really well (with that guttural “r” in the middle);  poubelle, which is probably the prettiest word for trash that I’ve ever heard; a jamais — I asked my coworkers how to say one of my favorite phrases of all time, goodbye forever, and this is what they came back with. I love it because a demain is how you say see you tomorrow and so a jamais literally means see you never.

Current work situation: We just launched a contest at work that I helped put together. We’re sending the winner on a train trip through France and Switzerland and part of the trip includes a ride on something called the Chocolate Train, which is literally the greatest train ride of all time because you get to visit the Gruyeres Cheese Factory and the Nestle Chocolate Factory. And I am one of the people escorting the winners on this trip, meaning that I also get to ride the Chocolate Train. I’m probably still hyperventilating as you read this.

Current croissant situation: Unchanged since we last spoke. Still pretty much eating one croissant everyday — except today. Today I had two. Guys, croissants are only 1 euro at the boulangerie and they are always always warm and fresh no matter what time of day it is, I mean Jesus Christ how can I not.

Last weekend I was out of town, so this weekend it will be nice to wander around my neighborhood again, read more of my French Harry Potter, and maybe actually do some grocery shopping because I didn’t have time this week. This week was busy — and by that I mean that by tomorrow I will have spent 4 of the 5 nights bar-hopping with friends and co-workers after work, because c’est la vie and all that jazz.

Share/Partager
Share/Partager
RSS
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest