Do not trust the American to pick the restaurant

Strolling around the streets of st michel looking for a good place to eat is actually harder than it may seem with all the choices but thankfully we had a recommendation to a small bistro haah at we decided to try. Yeah, let me rephrase that, I attempted to try.

First impressions were pretty good; lots of people, huge menu and the sparklers being brought out on top of desserts and rather large mugs of what looked like cola. Now with a big menu comes the hard part of choosing what to eat of course, but I opted for the vegetarian salad only because it came in a cute bread bowl. Yes, I am one of those people who buy food because it looks cute or as others would say, so I can be a foodie and Instagram it later.

Note: if you ask for water in Paris, don’t be surprised if they bring you one normal size glass meant to be split between everyone at the table. Apparently our water consumption in North American is abnormal to the french. That being said, we asked for more within a couple minutes but the waitress never ended up returning to deliver it.

I must say the service was fast, almost too fast. Our food as delivered and Grayson’s came out with a lovely sparkler for the “birthday boy” . First impression of my salad? Pretty amazing actually for a salad… Until about 2 seconds later when we all noticed the huge strand of black hand intertwined in the salad itself. I don’t know about y’all but I prefer my food without articles from other people in them.

I actually can completely understand the frustration of the waitress bringing food back to the kitchen because I’ve had plenty of I counters myself, but I’m sorry, if I’m in paris and I’m ordering french food, I’d like it without hair. After my plate was taken away, the smart guy sitting across from me says ” how will you know if they just take the hair out or actually make you a new one.. We should have poured salt on it” Now I was pretty sceptical that they would just do that but I figured I’ve give the restaurant the benefit of the doubt.

About 5 minutes later and my bowl is back! Looks delicious , they even added a container of this dressing.. But wait ! The hair Is still there, only moved about 2 inches to the left…

This is where frustrated Canadian girl comes out to play and when the plates taken again, I say I don’t want it anymore. I wasn’t hungry anyway but I really just wanted to prove a point that it’s really not expectable to do that. Yep , I was that bitch.

Needless to say, i got a free glass of champagne ( obviously in france they’re going to give you the cheapest possible thing for free to try and make it better). Not complaining though, it made for a good story. We even got to chat with a couple of women travelling from America who pretty much asked us for our life stories but hey! They were friendly which is something you don’t find all too often.

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Happy monday

Note to self: never ignore a person trying to talk to you in paris.

First day of school. Rain. Missing that someone special.
Already knew that today was going to suck.

My first stop on my way to school was coffee and a rest to catch up my blogging before heading to school. Oh, and yep I chose mcdonalds because I can actually afford their 1.90 cafe alonge.

After wasting an hour there I decide to head over to the school even though I was an hour early just to a,me sure I was in the right place. It was still raining so of course I had my parsian black umbrella out. Before crossing the street there was a woman who asked for money, but I wasn’t really affected by it because I’m so used to seeing people do that all the time and I just say desolé and continue on my way. Really though, I’m living on an au pair budget here and you don’t see me going around asking for money.
Well today I decided to hid my face under my umbrella, yeah don’t do that…. Ever

6 seconds later I find myself on the ground in a puddle of water with a crazy french woman yelling at me. Needless to say next time when I pass someone asking for money, I’ll put on my most apologetic fake face that I can attempt because I am not going through that again.

Getting over the awkward first weeks i

With any new job or experience the beginning is never easy even though we typically expect things to be perfect. I can honestly say that during the first two and a half weeks with my shot family here in paris I thought that I had made a horrible decision with my choice and was even looking at new families in the area requiring an au pair. I felt such a tension between their daughter and me because he didn’t want to open up to me or try and become friends. I don’t know why I expected her to just instantly love me upon arriving, I mean looking back I don’t really blame the kid! I’m a stranger coming into her life expected to replace the same nanny that she had for the whole 6 years of her life. The daughter also doesn’t speak english which I was told she knew enough to have a conversation with so there is a lot of frustration that goes on when we try to talk to one another. As any kid, she tries to take the most difficult possible path of doing things, so instead of trying to understand my broken french, she just pays no attention and says she doesn’t understand.

I also felt very constrained in their house and was treated like their own daughter. The parents were very protective which I really thought at tthe time was overwhelming and unnecessary but looking back, they are responsible for me and I am also responsible for their daughter. I took their abundance of love as a sign of annoyance when really i should be appreciative to be in such a loving family. Yes, I must say I still feel uncomfortable at times especially when i’m not technically working but still in their house; its hard to determine a work-life balance when living with your employer. I find that I’m constantly wanting to help clean or play with the girl but then again, if I were at my own home in Canada I would be doing the same. As the weeks have progressed I have changed my outlook on the reason why i’m here. My first couple of weeks I was so focused on going to Paris and making sure I went out with all of the other au pairs in order to meet people. I can honestly say that I think I’m done with drinking my ass off every weekend and feeling like garbage the next day. I also used to spend my weekends in paris, even if I was alone because I didn’t want to be home with the family because I was convinced it was awkward. Lesson learned: It’s only awkward if you make it awkward. Once I got past the fact that hey! It’s okay to come downstairs on Sunday at lunch with a hangover and they aren’t’ going to judge me, then it’s been a completely difference atmosphere and lifestyle in general.

I’ve realized that the main reason i’m here is not to go party and hang out with my friends every single chance I get, but I’m an au pair and like any job I have responsibilities. That’s not to say that I will not continue to spend my own time with my friends and doing the things I enjoy, but I need to find a balance.

I just kept thinking every night before I shut my eyes at night; give them a chance… So that’s jsut what I did. I waited and played things out

You only turn 21 once in paris

Imagine waking up in the city of love on your 21 birthday, walking downstairs to hear your host family singing happy birthday to you, making canadian pancakes with maple syrup and surprising you with a cashmere sweater.

wait, and this is all before 9am. I figured the day couldn’t get any better, boy was i ever wrong.

After our saturday morning ritual of going to the market and library as a family we set off for Paris to out for my birthday lunch which was chosen by my lovely host sister. She’s obsessed with Fontain de mars but I was pretty hesitant of the restaurant because i’m pretty picky when it comes to food, and just go for the typical easy choices and this place was hands down a classic french place. Apparently Barrack Obama ate there, so now it’s known by the tourists.

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So its not even 2pm and i’m already feeling quite intoxicated but hey, when in paris right?

I walked for an hour, and when i say walked I really mean trekked it like a madwoman because I didn’t want to be late to meet mon copain. I hadn’t heard from him so I really had no idea if he was going to stand me up or be there at all but I figured i’d give him the benefit of the doubt. So, he was 30 minutes late, which really didn’t matter at all, just the fact that it was less time spent with him on his last night in Paris.

We ended up walking along the seine trying to find pet stores so we could pet the cute animals but I guess they moved the stores? My american tour guide seemed to a wee bit too much confidence on his directions. Oh, but wait who needs to pet dogs when you can have birds land on you!

The time came to meet my friends for my “birthday surprise!” I had literally no clue what they were planning just that I had to meet them at 5 by the Louvre. There in the middle of the park were my friends with 3 bottles of wine, picnic snacks and a Laurderee cake! I don’t know about you, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE picnics, especially at this park! I also waited until then to open my cards and presents form my family back home and was pleasantly surprised with 2 new pandora charms.

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Oh and the cake by the way; pistachio… my all time favourite flavour. You can say my friends are pretty awesome. So there I was on an all time high and then I get another unexpected surprise, this gal is going to DISNEYLAND PARIS with her 3 best friends.

After getting drunk for the second time before 6 pm we made a little pit stop to get changed and refreshen we’ll say before heading to Belushis for pre drinks. A couple rounds of ride the bus and rum and pineapples and we were on the road. Now this is where I start to lose recollection of what happened next, but you only turn 21 in Paris once right so you might as well do it right.

Couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend your birthday. Friends, wine, laughter and lots of kisses.

What’s better than spending the day and night with someone who makes you feel like your the only girl in the world that matters? I never thought it would be possible to have that feeling, and even though it’s been taken away I believe i’ll find it again. Who knows, maybe in japan.

How did you celebrate your 21st?

I really am in the city of love

do you ever have moments in your life when you feel like you’re living a dream where you just never want to wake up.

I’m starting to believe that the best things in life really do happen when you least expect them. This past week has been one of the best of my life, and it’s all because of an unexpected occurrence. Let’s just say it started with a night of rain ruining our plans in St. Michel and us spontaneously deciding to travel to the northeast side of paris to Belushi’s for an international party that ended up getting cancelled. There we were three girls sitting at a bar, ordering drinks and preparing for a game of “ride the bus”. Apparently this isn’t an american game because so far I’ve had to teach it to all of my copaines americannes. THis game is NOT fun with 3 people so the social butterfly in me decided to go scope out the other bar hoppers. Obviously there was a guy that stood out, sitting alone with two beers. A couple things crossed my mind.

1. The beer belongs to his girlfriend so I don’t have a chance.
2. This guy can drink his beer.
3. He’s best friend is just upstairs changing his shirt and hes waiting patiently for him. (okay this obviously didn’t cross my mind but it happened to be the truth, thankfully).

After the two guys came to our table, I don’t want to be all cliche and say it was love at first sight.. but damn, there were defiantly some butterflies going on in my stomach and it wasn’t from the vodka either. After discovering that they weren’t models in Japan but really in the military we got notified that the international party downstairs had been cancelled. Already buzzing and ready for a good night out, we suggested Cafe Oz at Chatelet so off to the metro we went.

The best thing about this bar is that it accommodates to different crowds whether you want to sit down and watch sports, pick up babes at the bar, or dance the night away, its the place to be! I’m not sure exactly at what number drink I decided my confidence level was high enough to show this guy my intentions but before we knew it we were hand in hand. The night followed with countless blue pineapples, a name tag with IGOR, a 5 euro bet on a random from their hostel following us there and i’m pretty sure my heart had double in size towards this guy. I don’t even want to call him “this guy” because he’s so much more than that. Yes, I’ve known him now for almost a week but the happiness I get when I see him is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced before. The only thing I was unsure of was if the feelings I felt were mutual or if I was just dreaming of something that was out of reach.

Two days later we meet again (thankfully) and that day was the moment I knew that I had found something that I couldn’t let go. Unfortunately as the days pass I know that this feeling of complete happiness will eventually come to an end when the trip is over. I’ve learned to make the most of the time together because those are memories you will have forever and will never be taken away.

Tried Macaroons for first time! I swear, nothing beats a french macaroon.

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Saw the beautiful Sacre-Coeur and finally went inside!

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Yep, we did this and I couldn’t be happier with the decision. C’est la vie d’amour.

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First time EVER having someone dedicate and sing to me, in front of a crowd at that. Honestly, how did I get this lucky.

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We opted into Sumo Wrestling and of course he impressed his lady and won.

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The french do not understand the rules of Beer Pong. Needless to say, we lost. C’est la vie.

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My first time ever having Chipotle and it was AMAZING. Good thing it’s a 5 minute walk from my school!

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FUN FACT: He searched all over Paris to find my favourite mustard for me (somehow he remembered me saying it when we were drunk). I have been here for a month and haven’t been able to find it and he’s here for a week with no map access and finds it? Yep, he’s a keeper.

 

 

 

 

Never assume ANYTHING with children

The past couple of weeks I’ve noticed that my relationship with the daughter has been increasingly getting stronger the more time we spend together; to be expected I suppose. I’m starting to actually look at her as more of a sister than just “the kids I babysit” because she’s much more than that. I thought that since we were getting along so we’ll I would surprise her with something so I asked her parents what she loved and they had pointed out on a map the apparent best bakery in paris that literally has one location.

So After wandering around the republique area, we finally came across the shop ” le pain et des idees” bakery which had by far the best smelling pastries I’ve had the pleasure of being around since in
Be been here. So my first impression was fairly high and the service was super! They were patient and kind which isn’t something that you come across everyday here in paris. I bought two blocks of “le pain des amies” for the parents and a pain du chocolat for the girl.

I felt so good after buying it because I thought “oh she’s gonna really love me now”

….. Yeah skip ahead to the moment when she’s patiently waiting at he they for her grande surprise and I bring out the pain du chocolat and she literally shows no reaction what so ever. She just doesn’t speak and then after a couple minutes starts to cry. At this point I’m extremely frustrated because there I went and spent half of my day finding a specific treat for her and she’s this unappreciative of it. Yes, I do realize she’s six but come on its a chocolate pastry!

After calling her father to figure out what the possibility could have been she finally opened up to me that she had a bad day at school. Apparently their was a child giving out candy and she only got 3 pieces when everyone else had 8…. END OF THE WORLD .

So here I was thinking omg .. This cant be happening , I really just wanted to laugh and say seriously. You should be happy I bought you the pastry which is 1000x better than a 5 cent candy, but I put on my grown up pants and showed her that I sincerely cared and at this time we had our first bonding moment. I could tell that she finally felt a sense of comfort that I wasn’t just her “au pair” and that I do care about her feelings. After a couple minutes of tears and many bisous to follow she was back to the little content girl she is foremost part of the time. I did however give in and offer her a candy from the cupboard that she is only supposed to have once a week .. Oops shame on me for using candy to heal pain, but it works.

Cheers, and remember don’t always assume that children are just being rude or mean for no reason at all.. Dig deeper and find out what’s wrong.

Xx

The absolute best way to have a good time and meet new people

When I first arrived here in paris I was using the au pair facebook group as a way to connect to with other internationals here, but of course they were all au paris with pretty well the same story of why they were here. I’ve met a lot of amazing au pair friends but I really wanted to get out there and try and meet others who were doing different things in paris so I use the magical search engine google to see what other options were out there. In the past month that I have been here I’ve been Abel to meet so many people and have learned so much about their culture just by talking to them! Here are some of my tips to get yourself out there, and be the social butterfly you want to be!

1. Join meet up groups! I’m on dozens of Facebook groups as well as a member on meetup.com and have gone to so many event already in my month that I have been here!

2. Get a couple drinks into you; I find that alcohol brings my confidence up to a whole new level. I find I am able to speak french 100 times better when I’ve had something to drink which obviously has to do with my confidence being so low when I’m sober.

3. Take a friend along with you if you’re too scared to go alone!

4. Be a social butterfly and don’t judge a book by its cover; literally. The nicest people may be someone you would never think by just looking at them!

5. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals where the best places are! You’ll be able to practice your french and typically you’ll know exactly there the hot spots are in town!

My past two weekends have consisted of attending international parties at a youth hostel in the north end of paris. St Christopher’s inn is attached to one of our a favourite bars in the area; belushis so it’s the best of both worlds in one place! They even have beer pong on occasion which is something that I defiantly miss about being home in canada! The only negative thing I have about this place is the location from everything else in paris. It takes me a good hour to get home and that’s when they trains and metro are running. If I wait to take the night train (which is not so easy as it may sound) it takes at least 2 hours because they only come and go so often.

If you’re anything like me and enjoy a good selection of cheap happy hour drinks and love music then belushis is the place to be! So far the two times that I have gone, I’ve played beer pong, had unlimited shots, and met amazing people from all over the globe travelling in paris. The hostel also puts on international parties quite frequently for any internationals in the area plus the people staying in the hostel so it’s quite the random collection of people that you will find.

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The dreaded medical exam, but now I’m legally allowed to work in France!

Wing I applied to get my France visa I knew that one of the requirements would be to go to the ofii within the first 3 months that I arrived in France little did I know what the appointment entailed. I originally thought that u would just show up and have a “talk” about my time in France but nope! I had a full out medical examination. For all of you non european citizens coming abroad to work and needing this appointment prepare yourself for a long day full of lots of questions and examinations!

First thing I was made to do was the good old “Pee in a cup” ..

She was not having it when I told her that I didn’t have to pee so this was probably one of the more difficult things I had to do.

Then the nurse weighed me and took my height which was easy as pie obviously. Then you wait for the next doctor; it’s actually like a line of different doctors and nurses that do their own things to you. There was a young girl in front of me who spoke english so I introduced myself and come to find out she was an au pair as well, and living only 20 minutes from my area! Thank god we were able to pass the time by talking and getting to know one another, and now I have a new friend from this horrid experience. So bittersweet!

Following that I was taken into a room to examen my eyesight, of course I forgot my glasses so she just was shocked at how blind I was. Thank god I can speak enough french to get by that I was able to explain the situation.

Then came the fun part! I was told to undress and cover my boobs with my arm. I was directed into a room where a male doctor pretty much pressed me up against a machine and did some test thing and then it was over and I got dressed again. Defiantly weirdest thing I’ve experienced. Oh! And on top of it all, it’s another 58 euros to do this part of the immigration process!

Note to everyone going into this exam: read the list of every thing you need to bring with you to the appointment and if you don’t understand something, don’t just think you can say “well I don’t speak french so I didn’t know what it meant”. Tried that, I got no where with that and had to wait for my host father to send me a copy of his identification. Im actually shocked at the lack of english the workers at the immigration office spoke, considering the majority of the people coming in would not be fluent in french.

To all of the potential non european citizens out here thinking about coming to France to work, be prepared with the amount of work and money to involves. It’s not just a simple get up and go decision, there’s a lot of pre planning involved before actually being legally allowed to be in another country and work. Maybe it’s different if you were to go with an agency where there would be some guidance and help but to be honest I’m happy with my decision so far to go In it alone, and hey! I saved myself 700$ for the agency fee and have the satisfaction of successfully working abroad on my own!

Exki review

Wandering Through the streets of paris today you’ll be surprised to see more and more “sandwich” or “wifi” cafes popping up more often than none. In the Opera location, where i’m lucky enough to go to school, i’ve found several of these lower priced healthy lunch chains. For me as an au pair with a pretty tight budget I live for these kind of eateries not only because they have great prices but the majority of them focus on offering healthy options for its customers.

Today my closest friend from Denmark and I met to go over some travel plans for October and we ended up stopping at Exki for a light lunch and some free wifi in a new area of Paris that we hadn’t wandered through before; Chatelet les Halles. I had read up on this chain before online and had heard great reviews so of course I wanted to check it out for myself!

Their 9 euro Lunch Special includes your choice of soup or salad, sandwich (many options on fillings and types of bread) and a drink! Be aware that you will pay more if you sit in and eat instead of taking it with you, but good luck finding a spot to eat unless you are close to a garden. It’s almost worth paying the extra couple cents to sit and enjoy the meal.

Another great thing they offer to their customers is with their desserts, they include all of the ingredients as well as the nutritional values.

I couldn’t get over the amount of choices they offered.

For a cleaner and friendlier atmosphere and a much healthier meal than mcdonalds for relatively the same price I would choose this restaurant any day!

Lessons learned

For some reason it always seems like when you have the most fun or the best items there will be some sort of consequence that comes along with it. This past weekend i experienced my first glow in the dark party at a hostel in the 10th.. The night started off pretty bad to be honest because we started in bastille for so called happy hour.. Let’s just say being there 10 mins before means you will pay full price for your drink. 11 euros later and a gross drink down, we headed on our away to monoprix to find a bottle of 3 euro wine to get us.

In the mist of this adventure Julie my Danish friend and I came across a beautiful place in paris that we weren’t even aware of! It was canal St. Martin and was filled with people playing games and drinking beer and wine. The life that the Parisians live seems so carefree and beautiful.

I ended up drinking way too many different types of alcohol and then got lost on my way home at montparnasse. I ended up having to call a taxi because I was frustrated and it was 4 am in the morning so there went another 30 euros. After binging on baguette and sausage before crawling into bed.. I awoke maybe 30 mins later to find myself with my head in the toilet. I honestly have never been so upset and frustrated with myself in my whole life. Here I am supposed to be responsible enough to take care of a child and I’m throwing up in my host family’s house.
I literally looked like a hot mess. I was covered in glow paint and my hair was completely disorder. Thankfully the family was very kind and made sure that I was okay even though they shouldn’t of had to put up with me.

I spent the next day in bed until 1 then attempted to eat something and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to venture into paris to get mcdonalds even though I hate it normally. I got some fries which ended up making me feel even worse so bad decision on my part so back to bed I went until 8pm. By this point i guessed the family probably thought I was dying or something, but they didn’t say much. Thank god the young girl is only 6 so she really didn’t understand what was going on.

In all many lessons were learned and I will not be allowing myself to drink that much ever again.. Honestly I still feel hungover and it’s day 2. Currently enjoying a cup of coffee at my one and only love starbucks. Yes I know I’m in france and I’m drinking an American coffee but I needed something a little bigger than hot heir small expressos.