It’s the little things in life

You know when you were little and sang Christmas songs at school in front of the school, but you really only had one objective; to catch your parents eye and waive at them with that proud feeling. Today I was that parent.

“I will take P to school this morning because the cake needs to be dropped off for her Christmas concert” the mother proclaimed as I brewed my first cup of coffee this morning.

“Oh I can do it considering i’m going to watch her” I replied.

The mother stared at me with a strange look then said “oh really?” I explained that P had invited me the day before probably knowing that her parents both worked in the mornings and was used to not having anyone there. The mother was more than pleased with my decision to go and seemed more surprised than anything. When I was asked to attend there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I would miss it, especially considering her parents couldn’t make it.

I stood in the farthest back row of the parents but managed to stand on my tip toes t catch a glimpse of P on the stands singing her little heart out. When my eyes finally found hers a big smile appeared across her face followed by a 15 second period of waiving to no one other than myself. My heart melted in the thought that here I was, the only one under the age of 40 in a crowd of parents, and this little girl was singing for me. My hand shot up above the crowd with an equally long waive to let her know that I could see her among the other children.

Once the group of children were finished singing their Christmas carols, they all flocked to the tables full of delicious french pastries and cakes. Apparently as I’ve learned that cake is 100% acceptable to consume anytime during the day, especially chocolate. I felt a tap on my back and quickly turned in hope that it was my little artist. Sure enough I was greeted, some could argue attacked, by P with her arms open ready for a hug and a big bisous.

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These are the moments I will remember when i’m looking back on my life.

Also, I’d like to point out how amazing this family has been. To any Au Pairs out there that are skeptical about starting their journey because of horror stories they have read. Don’t be afraid and go into it with an open mind because you never know where the experience will take you. This evening the family and I celebrated the ending of the school year with 3 bottles of delicious red wine might I say, traditional french sausage, fois gros and macaroons. Do I like these foods? Not particularly, okay red wine and macaroons taken out of course because who doesn’t like those. The point is that they are trying to make this the best experience possible for me and god am I ever appreciative. Upon everything they have already done for me a petit pere noel  surprised me with a present, but not just any little gift. Saint Laurent perfume… first a cashmere galleries Lafayette sweater for my birthday and now this? I”m truly blessed.

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Mom, if you’re reading this I now understand the excitement and joy you had when you sat and cheered me on at every sporting event. I never appreciated the fact that my parents would take time off work or rearrange their own plans in order to be there for me but now I realize how lucky I am to have such a dedicated family.

 

 

 

2014, you were a year to remember

I don’t even know where to begin when reflecting on this year.

What I do know is that 2014 was MY year.

If you had asked me in January 2014 at this time where I would be today I can honestly say that it would not have been close to where I actually am presently. I had no plans to leave the province let alone travel across the ocean and begin a whole new life abroad.
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Spent the summer with these ladies
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I graduated college with honors with distinction.

Made the crazy decision to not start my career right away. Later to find out that it wasn’t unrealistic but actually one of the smartest things I’ve done with my life.

Worked my butt off all summer to be able to make enough money to come to france and live comfortably for the year. Looking back I don’t know how I managed to go 4 months without a day off but I guess that’s what happens when you actually enjoy what you’re doing.

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Became apart of an amazing family of 3 in Paris.

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Met the most amazing friends whose friendship will last long past this year.

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Travelled to 6 new countries all within 4 months of each other.

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Experienced one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had, and no it’s not because i’m 21 and now legal everywhere in the world.

Met someone special and spontaneously went to Rome which then led to many other places including new york.

Gave my family a surprise for christmas and made a trip back to Canada.

Ended the year with a couple days in Mexico (another new country) and a quick trip to New York to ring in the new year with a special guy!

After actually looking at what I did this year and how much I was able to accomplish, i’m in shock. Never would I have thought that the Alexa I was even just a year ago would have chose this current path i’m on but I can’t say it’s a bad thing. I’ve learnt the hard way that change is good, and ESSENTIAL.

The importance of siblings, in my eyes

She’s only 6. I need to keep telling myself this.

Tonight I explained what student loans were to Perrine and the fact that I had just made my first payment today. She responded with “Why aren’t your parents paying for your school?” I was taken off guard considering that’s not something that i would have even considered being a possibility. I then clarified that 1. I don’t expect my parents to have the obligation to pay for something that I choose to do with my life 2. The fact that I have three other siblings that will too someday be going to university. You wanna know what reaction prevailed from my reasoning?

A big old “sucks to be you”

This is when I became a bit infuriated, okay a lot. I tried to stay calm because she’s 6, only 6 but still! My response probably could have been a bit nicer put but it went a little something like this:

I could care less if I have to pay back my student loans for the rest of my life, work three jobs, or sacrifice my hobbies I will NEVER, and I mean NEVER regret those children coming into my life. I’m a proud big sister and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Yeah maybe things would be different if I was an only child, but in my eyes different being worse off.

Growing up for the first seven years of my life I was an only child and not until now do I realize how lucky I truly am that my 3 siblings came along. Of course having everything to yourself if great but never having those sibling rivalries, sisterly fights or constant arguments. I mean who wouldn’t want those right? Actually, the answer is right; more than right to be exact. Siblings are a blessing at least I know that mine have been. Yes we argue, a lot, but that’s part of the fun.

I often sit here and watch Perrine and think of myself when I was in her situation and her age. I played alone, she plays alone. She’s competitive with everything whereas competition was what I lived for. She strives for perfection; that might as well be my middle name.

Then comes the difficulty for me as I constantly have to come up with things to occupy her because she’s alone. That being said she is extremely independent as I was and still am today so she is able find things to do but playing alone is only fun for so long. She never complains about having to occupy herself or independently find things to keep herself busy but I know that she wonder what it would be like to have another sibling.

When I get annoyed at her, there usually a good reason, but then I have to think about the reason of why she acted out. Maybe she’s bored, annoyed, hurt, who knows. What I do know is that she didn’t ask to be an only child and it’s not her fault she’s spoiled beyond belief. Her parents longed for a child and they were blessed with one and only one, making her their miracle child. Logically speaking this could be a great reason why she is so fortunate but that’s how she’s been and no matter what I want to do about it I can’t. I too was once her too.
What I can do is to be there for her as not only an au pair but a big sister, a friend and a role model. I can’t change the facts or the situation but I can make this year one for her to remember.

winning the jackpot when it comes to finding a host family

Winning the jackpot, now wouldn’t that be nice. Though, I’ve come to realize that money doesn’t always mean happiness and that winning the so called lottery can actually refer to many other things in life, such as family. I really enjoy this quote as it’s been ever so true in my life so far here in Paris. The only reason that I’m even here is the fact that I essentially gambled with finding a family, not knowing what they would be like before arriving. In this instant I won but only because I made the decision to chance the unexpected in hope of hitting the so called jackpot, and here I am a winner.

I don’t want to sit here and boast about how amazing my life is here in Paris but boy, is it ever good. I’ve taken way too many things for granted in my life and being here is something I’m not about to let myself do again. I have the most amazing family here and am ever so fortunate to have found them or for them to have chosen me of all people to be apart of their family for the year. I’ve heard horror stories from other au pairs with their own situations resulting in many of them leaving which makes me that much more grateful.

This past Saturday, which is typically a day off for me, I was awakened by a slight knock on my bedroom door only to find that it was the father, inviting me to go to the supermarket with him to grab some groceries. Some groceries meaning 2-3 weeks worth. Of course I was more than enthused at this idea as it’s become a bi-weekly event for us, actually more like a language exchange date. We talk English on the way there so he can practice and than french on our way home for me. Following our expedition to Auchan we ate an Indian styled lunch that the father prepared and might I say was very proud about. That afternoon the family invited me to go to the cinema with them to watch Paddington, and I accepted the invitation of course. The movie was by far one of the cutest family films I have watched in a while, and being able to experience it with the three of them made it that much better, especially since I’m missing my own family over this holiday.

Yesterday morning, before I left for Paris the family asked me if I would be home for supper this evening and as the majority of Sunday evenings the answer is yes. They were more than thrilled at this response for some odd reason and therefore explained they would be cooking my favorite sweet potato fries which I haven’t had in 4 months, accompanied by a new red wine he had bought of course. This family has no obligation to do these small things for me, but gosh am i ever appreciative. The fact that they are making such an effort to make me feel as comfortable as possible in this foreign country is beyond what I expected when being welcomed into their family. While the mother did the nightly routine with Perrine the father and I enjoyed a bottle of red wine and had a pretty in depth conversation about the importance of spending time with your children. That’s one thing I notice with this family, is that they really focus on making the weekends family time with just the three of them.

It’s just the small things that really make the difference for me.

– Coming down stairs every morning to a fresh cup of coffee already prepared for me.
– the dad gave me his train ticket to London and back (okay this one is a bit more than a little gesture but very appreciated)
– they make an effort to make meals that they know I will enjoy
– after my showers at night there’s always a cup of green tea waiting for me in the living room
– they invite me to their family events and social gatherings as if I’m another member of the family
– they are never more than a day late with my weekly pay

It’s as if I was given the best of both worlds here; a good job and a great family.

Don’t Skip the Museums in Paris

Flashback to a couple of months ago you would have heard me say “I have no interst in art or the history of paris, so why should i waste my money on museums”…. 

Boy was I ever wrong in saying that.

After four months of being abroad in Paris I am proud to announce that within the last 24 hours I have been to three museums and better yet, I enjoyed them! My host family was constatnly judgfing me on the fact that I had yet to expereince a museum while being here, so I finally bite the bullet and saw what they really had to offer.

Muse D’Orsay

The first one I went to was the Orsay located in the 7th arrondissement. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect when entering the building except the fact that it was well known and was a historical museum in Paris. Upon going through security I instantly knew that it was going to be an art museum and not so much focused on ancient history as I thought. I probably should have done a bit more research before just randomly choosing a museum, but I find the outcomes are always better when there are no specific plans.IMG_8102[1]

I now know that I am a HUGE fan of impression art which hung throughout the museum walls.

Musee du Luxembourg

The main reason that I went into this museum was because my host mother had proclaimed that the current exhibit was amazing. Let’s just say I was in and out within 30 mins, tops. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but I figured that it was bound to be good. I ended up having to pay 7.50 euros which was a bit much I thought considering it was only one exhibit and not a whole museum but nevertheless I did it.

 

Musee  de Quai Branly

One word; GO! This museum was incredible and filled with so many ancient artifacts from all over the world.  The museum features the works of art from Oceania, America, Africa and Asia. The best part though? The information regarding the artifacts are not only in french but in English too so I was able to understand everything without having to guess at the possibilities.

Whats crazy is the fact that the museum holds over 450 000 artifacts but only 3500 can be shown at a time. I can’t even imagine more history put into one building.

I was lucky enough that they still had their exhibit on Tattoos going on because it honestly blew me away. My thoughts of tattoos has changed completely after learning about the history and importance of body art.

After going to both an art museum and one focused more on history and artifacts I can honestly say that I’m by far more interested in history than art. That being said I now have a new found love and appreciation for art in general.

We all need a break once in a while

Rest. A four letter word that isn’t frequent enough in my life. I come from a family of people that are constantly on the go so it’s just been instilled in me as being the way to live. Yesterday was a remarkable moment in my life. I relaxed and did absolutely nothing but watch some good old Netflix.

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Maybe it was because I was still recuperating from my trip to London or the fact that I’m sicker than a dog but all I really wanted to do was to shower and watch tv, another thing I haven’t done in the 4 months I’ve been abroad. If you know me well enough you will know that this is something I NEVER do. No matter how hungover, sick, bored, tired I am… I always feel the need to leave the house and wander or do something. I like to think I get this on the go demeanor from both sides of my family. I mean, good luck EVER reaching my mother at home or my 75 year old grandmother who doesn’t stop from 4am on wards when she’s starting her mail route. I feel so blessed to have such hard working women in my life as role models because I wouldn’t want to be any other way. I can say it’s defiantly made me more productive of a person but at some point you just get worn out and need to rest.

So what did I learn from taking a day to just reposée as the french would say?

That I need to do more of it. I feel rejuvenated and so much less stressed, even though there really shouldn’t have been any in the first place. I watched a whole series of The Mindy Project, baked muffins for tomorrows breakfast and did a load of laundry. The whole laundry is actually quite a big accomplishment considering it takes a whole 3 hours just for the washing cycle to do its process. Oh, and why I just decided today to get hooked on this amazing TV show is beyond me. Mindy, my friend you are one funny chick. Upon picking my girl up from school I realized how much better of a mood I was in than I typically am when rushing from Paris to make the train in time. Since I had the whole day to do what my heart desired all I really wanted to do when we got home was to entertain her, which hasn’t happened in a long time since being here. Today I’ve finally realized that while I’m constantly trying to be as productive as I can be with the time i’m given, sometimes the most productive things are actually done with the least amount of effort. This relates back to my struggle with perfectionism and always trying to be the best, make good decisions, and accomplish as many things as I tell myself i’m capable of doing. We often put ourselves such a high pedestal of having these unrealistic expectations of ourselves and then when we fail we’re disappointed. If we lower those expectations ever so slightly and accept that no matter what we do in the course of a day, we will not find perfection, happiness will be found.

Let’s just say, these whole rest days will be happening more often.

10 Reasons why london is better than Paris

I think I have come to the conclusion that I need to stop taking these weekend trips while living in Paris simply because it’s making me become quite negative about the city. Before adventuring to other parts of Europe I thought that Paris was “all that” but sadly in my opinion that’s not been the case. Don’t get me wrong I love Paris without a doubt and am so grateful to be living here for the next 8 months but boy did I ever underestimate the rest of the continent!

In comparison the two cities are pretty similar. They both have well known attractions such as Big Ben the London eye and the tower bridge in London, whereas in Paris there’s the Eiffel tower, the Louvre and Notre Dame. The temperatures are relatively the same with Paris being every so slightly warmer. I’ve put together some of the reasons why I fell in love with London to share with y’all.

1. The people are 110% nicer.
I can’t sit here and sterotype all of the parisians for being rude but i’ve had some pretty unpleasant experiences that have led me to believe so. Upon arriving in London, I didn’t have one person purposly bump into me and if they did ther was a sympathtic sorry to instantly follow. When paying for items at the stores you’re actually greeted with a smile as if they actuall care about their customers; so refreshing from France.

2. There are coffee chains EVERYWHERE.
When I say everywhere, i mean it. I can’t even count the number of pret a manger’s that I passed or the numerious hidden starbucks throughout the city.

3. H&M stores aren’t on every street corner. 
Don’t get me wrong I like a good shopping day at H&M like any other girl but the temptation in Paris is way too much!

4. It doesn’t smell like pee everywhere.
I think I can speak for everyone when I say this scent has something to be desired.

5. It’s clean!
The fact that smoking along the streets just didn’t happen was a blessing let me tell you. I’m not a fan of having people either blow smoke in my face or having a cigarette flung into my face. Another fact was that I didn’t see one person on the streets begging for money, this being said I didn’t experience the metro system so that could be a different story.

6. The museums are FREE.
Oh the magical 4 letter that makes me happier than the bees. One of the main reasons I haven’t made more of an effort to go to ones in Paris yet is because they cost money unless I want to attempt to enter on the first Sunday of the month.

7. The men on the streets selling chestnuts in Paris? Yeah I didn’t see any in London.
I’m sorry, but I really don’t enjoy men trying to pressure me into buying their hot chestnuts that they cook in a shopping cart. It’s dirty, annoying and plain weird.

8. People speak English, my mother tongue.
This is completely biased towards any English speaking people but it was refreshing to be able to understand everything.

9. There are free WiFi phone booths throughout the city.
These converted telephone booths saved my but a couple of times when I needed to connect to WiFi and better yet they were free!

10. I’ll take fish and chips over foie gras any day

The negative?
It’s god awfully expensive that’s for sure. Currently with the conversion rate between CAD and GDP is doubled.

I’d love to know your thoughts on the two cities!

Weekend trip to London via Eurostar

Day 1 – First train ride, Christmas Markets & fellow Canadians

The morning started off very hectic; between the daily task of getting Perrine off to school and trying to pack a week in a bookbag (leaving space might i add for purchase of course). I was actually pretty excited to take this trip. Thankfully the station for the eurostar is relatively easy to get to from my own train station which took no time at all.

Thank god I took my host dad’s advice and came to the station early because they allowed us to board 30 mins before we were supposed to leave. At this point I was feeling pretty confident in that fact that I had made it through immigration and to my proper quai with time to spare. I descended the stairs to the train and entered the first door i saw and found a seat with my number 21 on it. I was sitting for probably 2 minutes before a couple came and told me that I was in there seat. I showed them my ticket in annoyance with my seat number on it which they proceeded to show me that the word “voie” actually means something and wasn’t just an extra number on my ticket. Apparently there are different cars so I happened to be in 18 when I should have been all the way in 10. Whoops. Why I thought that there would only be one seat numbered 21 i have no idea.

Anyways, let’s just say it all worked out for the better anyways. Car 18 is actually for “business class “ members which apparently my ticket was for. Another whoops. I swear my blonde is showing more and more lately. so you may wonder why I have a business class ticket considering that’s so not my style but my host dad willingly offered me one of his tickets he gets through work. Another reason why I am so god awfully lucky to have such an amazing host family. Business class, consisted of only half of the seats being filled of english speaking businessmen and then there was me, a poor Canadian au pair; gotta love it.

Along with business class came the free food. My favorite part of travelling! Sadly because it was only 11am I turned down the free wine regretting it after the fact of course. The trip was a fast 2 hours and before I knew it we were there.

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Shockingly they do have buses like I’d imagined!

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What a beautiful view

IMG_0484  Yeah, he was a bit bigger than I expected!

Arriving in London I instantly knew that I was going to love the city, maybe not the prices, but the atmosphere was completely different. The people for one thing were NICE, which is refreshing to say the least when comparing it to my experiences so far in Paris. Once again I didn’t have internet access but I downloaded an offline map before leaving which was going to be my guide for the day. I knew that I was going to be alone all day which was honestly fine by me because it gave me a chance to walk and adventure the city by foot. I swear that I went into every store possible that I thought would have been the least bit interesting. Thanks to my grandfather Cress I have a HUGE love for running errands and am always running between shops to scope the best deals. There weren’t many “deals” but I sure did find some pretty neat things that I know I can’t get back home.

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Toffee infused vodka!
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The beautiful Christmas Markets

I arrived at the hostel 6 hours later than when I arrived at the train station so needless to say I was tired, cold and in desperate need for some type of alcohol beverage (sorry mom!) I was in a room with 13 other people who turned out to be an amazing crowd mostly Americans to be honest. When I was walking down the stairs to the bar I saw someone wave to me outside the doors which through me for a loop considering I had just arrived and knew absolutely no one. Turns out he thought i was someone else but hey! he was Canadian and i ended up spending the whole evening with him and some Australian ladies I met! When I first entered the bar I was alone but if you know me well enough i’m not the shy type or haven’t been lately since being abroad.

I saw a group of 4 girls who looked about my age laughing and drinking, kind of making me jealous more than anything, so what do i do? Grab a drink and introduce myself as the Canadian who’s actually living in Paris but travelling in London. Introductions are always interesting that’s for sure. Their response to my spontaneous action? “you know what girl, I like your confidence”

Confidence.. something that I recently just acquired. I mean, I’ve always had a hint of it but for different reasons. Growing up I used my ability to play sports as my confidence booster but once those days ended, I kind of lost myself for a while. Since arriving in Europe I’m learning who I am again, what makes me happy and how to simply enjoy life, all because of my new-found confidence. I’m not afraid to try and speak french and be wrong or make decisions that may not be the best choice, but that’s finally okay with me. Perfection is invisible.

Day 2 – Hop on hop off Buses, pee breaks, and cards

I woke up around 9:30 thinking that I was going to be late to meet my friends Julie and Courtney who had arrived at midnight the night before. Come to find out London is an hour behind Paris, who knew. After having a horrible breakfast of toast and ham, (shame on you belushis) we met our other friend Katie in the lobby to plan our day. The girls found this hop on hop off bus that happened to be 10 pounds cheaper than what the hostel was offering but it wasn’t the easiest procedure thats for sure. We each bought the tickets on our dying cellphones and then had to forward the tickets to the hostel staff where they thankfully printed them out for us. Next task was to find the closest hop on stop, which was only 10 mins down the street; go us!

I’m going to admit that when my friends told me that this is what they wanted to do I was hesitant. First off because it was 23 pounds which is $44 in Canadian dollars. Secondly because the route was the same landmarks that I had seen the day before on my walking trip. Fast forward to a couple hours later you would’ve heard me saying how awesome I thought the bus trip was. Needless to say, if you’re in London splurge a little and get the bus ticket! They take you to all of the popular monuments and areas of the city while providing a audio playback of history and facts throughout the journey. We jumped off by Hyde park but were starving so instead of hitting the Winter wonderland we took a stroll which ended up taking almost 2 hours to find a place to eat with seating. After stuffing our bellies we went back to Hyde Park thinking we were going to be drinking mulled wine and eating chocolate all night only to see how insanely large the lineup was changing our plans a little. Okay a lot. We caught the bus again and headed back to the hostel.

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Winter Wonderland!

I swear I have the bladder of a pregnant woman. I knew as soon as I hoped on that bus there was no way that I was going to be able to last the hour ride back without having to go. About 20 mins of suffering later I had left my friends on the bus and I hopped off at a random stop to find a bathroom. Stupid? Probably but when a girls gotta go, nothing is stopping her. Needless to say finding another bus wasn’t all the difficult and before I knew it I was back at the hostel joining my friends.

So what kind of shenanigans do 4 young girls do on a Saturday night in London? Oh boy, prepare yourselves …. We played rummy, drank cider and ate food in the hostel bare. I know, pretty crazy right? This is what happened when you’re an au pair and work all week! On the weekends you just want to relax which was fine by me last night considering I was recovering from my karaoke session the night before and I had a lovely cold. We called it a night around 11:30 and parted our ways for the night.

That night I just couldn’t sleep, probably a mix of the temperature of the room and my growing sickness. I decided not to waste the day and headed out exploring before my friends had even gotten out of their rooms. Once again I spent the day walking the city and finding things that I hadn’t seen the day before. It was drizzling but that wasn’t going to stop me from seeing things.

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Chocolate tools at the market!

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Tea Testing was a must!

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The covert garden market- A must see!

How to enjoy your job no matter what is it you choose

My job may not be something desirable for many, I mean, before coming here I really didn’t even have an interest in even being around children but as you probably can tell, that’s changed a bit. I must admit at the beginning it was harder than I had imagined it to be but frankly I believe that it had to do with my general attitude and outlook on the situation. Even though i’m only 21 I too have had jobs which I dreaded going to each and every day, but I learned to make the best of the situation. In the world we live in today, I feel we should be lucky to have a job and that it shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Wouldn’t it be amazing to love your job as much as her? wishful thinking in most cases. Photo from: Dumb Little Man

1. Find the things you enjoy in a job atmosphere.

Try and put yourself in a place where you are completely happy at work and visualize what you are doing. For me I saw being organized, traveling often, baking up a storm, and most of all having a connection with my fellow peers.

I can honestly say the hardest task in my current job was finding a comfortable relationship with the family; especially their child. It took almost 2 months to finally feel like I was doing the right thing with my life and had chosen the right family for me.

2. Figure out how to incorporate those into your current situation.

Of course this is not always possible. Imagine having chose to work at a bank but have the desire to be playing soccer on the field. Instead you could think of how you’re feeling when doing those activities. For example, if you’re the captain of leader on the team than put those skills and abilities into action at the workplace.

Baking was something that I really missed as it’s not just a hobby for me but psychology relaxing. It’s where I’m able to use my creativity and independent skills to come up with a successful end product. Oh course there’s no such thing as always being successful but that’s life; we live and we learn. Once I found that sense of comfort in my “workplace” I started slowly organizing time specifically for baking or spending time blogging. It’s like anything in life, you have to make time for the things that are important to you.

3. Don’t give up because it didn’t work the first time.

Two weeks into my contract with my family here I had it set in my mind that I had made a terrible decision and that I was going to have to find another place to work. Why? that brings me back to finding that sense of comfort, which as I’ve learned takes time. Nothing ever comes easy in the beginning and sometimes, well most of the time, we feel uncomfortable with change. Change is scary, but without it you’ll never be able to make any progress in life, therefore it’s essential.

Don't Give Up

If Charlie brown can do it, you can too. Photo: Career Rocketeer

4. Speak up

If you’re not happy with the way that thing are going don’t wait for things to change because they probably won’t no matter how many stars you wish upon. Thankfully I’ve been blessed with my grandmothers genes and have no problem expressing my thoughts, this can at times be counter productive. I truly believe that communication is the key to any sort of success in life. Imagine having a relationship with someone where you didn’t communicate with one another and how many challenges you would face. It works the same its you’re relationships in the workplace.

5. Make yourself noticeable.

As humans we naturally thrive with having recognition for our accomplishments. Recognition comes when we differentiate yourself from others and make an impact in the lives of someone else. This can be difficult especially in my situation where I am the only employee but let me reassure you that it is possible. I’ve realized you’ve got to give a little to get a little and that little you receive i return may just end up being a lot.

I do the dishes, clean the house and do the laundry not because I’m required to as it’s not on my contract but because I want to help out. I want to show this family that I appreciate being a member of their family and am not just another employee, yet more a sister to their daughter. When the dog went missing I took it upon myself to search their town and guess who ended up being the big hero? Yep, it was me. Showing your employer those small things will show that you have higher and more a creditable qualities than they may have thought

6. Forget Perfectionism

I am a huge perfectionist so I’ve defiantly had my quite a few rough patches when of course life, wasn’t perfect. Growing up my mother would constantly say “nothing is perfect, you need to realize that”. I guess our mothers are always right, because it’s true. Nothing is every going to be “perfect”, whatever that word means anyways, because everyone has their own idea of what it means to them. As I’ve learned, we can’t all get what we want in life, but we can make do with what we do have and what is offered to us.

Have you had jobs where you’ve absolutely hated them but stuck it out? 

7 things you must try at a Paris Christmas Market

When going to a Parisian christmas market prepare yourself to be surrounded by a lot of food, and not your typical baguette, cheese and macarons either. Of course there’s wine but not just any wine, it’s hot! The markets are filled with many traditional Christmas dishes from other surrounding European countries such as Germany, Norway, Sweden and there’s even a Brazilian bar just in case you want a different scene. The problem isn’t finding food to eat because there’s plenty of it to go around, but to avoid the temptation of everything! Thankfully there are stand which offer free samples if you ask so you can try everything!

What you must try at one of these markets

1. Mulled wine.

This is definitely the most common item that you will find this at most stands throughout the market. It’s a typical Christmas drink in Europe and consists of red wine mixed with spices and heated and then served.

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2. Sausage. 

I am not typically someone who would even think twice about eating a raw sausage but they were giving out free samples and there’s nothing better than FREE. So, truth be told the samples did what they were set out to do and sold me on them.

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3. Raclettes

As i’ve mentioned before the smell is nothing to go telling your mother about let me tell you, but apparently they are a must here in France. They involve cheese so of course it would, right?

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4. Sausage and Sauerkraut

These bad boys cost 12 euros but don’t think you’re getting short changed. They are HUGE and so tasty but plan to wait in line for a while especially if you go at night because there is always a crowd surrounding these booths!

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5. Gingerbread cone with melted chocolate

I had never seen this before so I was a bit apprehensive of chocolate being on top of gingerbread, where as I’m used to eating it with whip cream but I gave it a try. One word, AMAZING. The gingerbread had such a wonderful flavor and accompanied with chocolate was just to die for. The cone factor was also a great choice so I could continue on my way through the markets with it.

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If you’re not into the chocolate factor than be sure to still get your hands on a fresh load of pain d’epices or gingerbread as we would call it!IMG_0357

5. Canadian Treasures.

I stumbled upon this stand randomly and was thrilled that my country was being represented in a completely different continent. I ended up talking to the girl who was working the stand for more than 10 minutes and surprisingly she even knew where Nova Scotia was! You can find canadian beer, maple cookies, syrup (of course), maple butter and even some baking mixes!IMG_0318

6. Chocolate covered Fruit

I’ve obviously had a candy and caramel apple before but never a chocolate one, let alone other fruit dipped in chocolate. They literally took anything they could, stuck it on a stick and dipped it in chocolate! I have yet to try the chocolate coconut or pear but i’m determined to before the christmas markets are over.

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7. Foie Gras

I’ve already tasted foie gras as I’ve been here for 3 months now and my family has pretty well forced me to try any and all of the french cuisine. The whole duck liver really isn’t all that appealing to me but if you haven’t tried it than the Christmas markets would be a great place to check it out!

IMG_0343I hope if you make it to a Christmas market this year in Paris you get a chance to taste some of the yummy goodies they have to offer! Merry Christmas from Paris !