Monday, November 26, 2007

Citygirl Goes to the Marche

Apparently to get the freshest fruits and vegetables at the best price is to go shopping at the open air marchés. There are two marchés near my apartment which means that I can get fresh produce up to 4 times a week. Sounds good, non?

Well not quite. Take a look at this head of lettuce that I purchased from the marché:

Click to enlarge image

Even though I'm a city girl I know that lettuce comes from the ground but I've never seen lettuce freshly picked from the ground. Now as if the dirt wasn't bad enough as I was cleaning my lettuce I found numerous insects buried in the leaves. Needless to say I never did get around to eating that salad.

From now on I think that I will stick to buying safe things such as apples, grapes, nuts and flowers from my local marché.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

They Just Don't Pay Me Enough...

... to commute 2.5 hours home from work due to the transit strike
... to ride the crowded metro and witness fights due to the transit strike
... to spend Thanksgiving teaching students that just witnessed their classmate on the roof attempting suicide

Yes folks you read that correctly. This morning was definitely very interesting. Rest assured the student is safe and was rescued by the pompiers.

Now I can't help but ask myself the following questions:

1. How the heck does a student that should be in class end up unaccounted for and on the roof?
2. Why are students able to access the roof of the school building?
3. How is it that the teachers and administration don't have enough control over and allow them to go into the hall to witness such a tragedy?

Happy Thanksgiving to my friends and family back home in the good old US of A.

Monday, November 19, 2007

La Poste Ate My Care Package

My dear (read crazy) mother sent me a care package from New York on November 3rd. According to said package arrived in France on November 7th and has yet to make its way to my doorstep.

The contents of said package include:

1 cozy Black Dog sweatshirt from Martha's Vineyard
3 packs of Orbit gum
3 sticks of Dove Invisible Solid deodorant
2 black belts
2 toe separators
1 copy of Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik
1 copy of Better Reading French : A Reader and Guide to Improving Your Understanding of Written French by Annie Hemingway

Now I have no idea why the French government would be holding my package hostage or why they think it contains contraband. Maybe there is an obscure law about importing deodorant or wearing deodorant on the Paris metro for that matter (as an aside le trafic des trains reste perturbé for yet another day).

When I went to the post office to try to track my package the woman helping me told me that it wasn't yet in the system and had not arrived yet. I tried to convince her that it did in fact arrive in France weeks ago but she wasn't having any of it. When I asked if it was possible for me to call customs to try locate the package her response to me was "there's nothing I can do, you'll just have to wait."

And so I'm waiting. In the meantime I'll just freeze in my apartment because I cannot control the heat and I have no warm clothes. I'll also continue to use the nasty licorice toothpaste that I purchased at my local super marché.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Happy to Be Earning Euros

It really says something about the state of the US economy when rap stars start flashing stacks of euros in their music videos.

Let's just say that I'm happy to be living in France right now earning some euros myself.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sarkozy to Stranded Commuters 'Let Them Ride Velibs'

Today was the second strike by the transportation union in Paris in two months. Being the dedicated teacher that I am I decided to go to work despite any potential difficulties. Surprisingly, my commute to work was a piece of cake relatively speaking and it was as if there was no strike at all. I did however manage to get to work 20 minutes late because I took my sweet time leaving this morning. I'm glad I did because my first class ended up being canceled because the teacher was a no show. At 10:05 I taught my only class of the day and was finished by 11:15.

I walked to the bus stop and to my surprise there was nary a bus in sight and decided to continue walking to the metro since it's not a far walk at all. When I arrived at the metro station I was greeted with an incomprehensible announcement on the intercom and the following information displayed on the monitors:

I take the line 7 and then connect to the number 2. For those of you that cannot speak French the above photo basically meant that I was SOL this afternoon because there were no trains running on the number 7 line. Momentary panic set in and I sent a few frantic text messages to my sister and some friends.

I did the best Parisian shrug that I could muster and decided to the nearest metro line. The nearest metro was about 3 miles and it took me close to 2.5 hours in total to get home. I did made a number of stops along the way so it wasn't as bad as it seems.

Would I like to do it again? Oh hell no, I'm not that dedicated. I'm going out tonight to taste the Beaujolais Nouveau and I'll be sleeping in tomorrow if the strike is still on.

Now let's put it into perspective:
Time to get to work: 1 hour
Time spent actually teaching: 45 minutes
Time to get home from work: 2.5 hours
Being able to say I survived the transit strike of November 2007: Priceless!!

I'm convinced this whole striking business is all a conspiracy to get more and more people to rent the ever popular Vélib’s.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Poverty Agrees with Me

Apparently, poverty agrees with me. I say this because recently I sent a batch of pictures to my family and friends and the overwhelming response was that I look happy, healthy and like I am having the time of my life. And the truth be told, I am having the time of my life. I can't really explain why but for the first time ever I'm truly content and at peace with myself. For the first time my happiness is not coming from some external source such as an arbitrary measure of success, the amount of money I make or the purchase of a big, fancy, and expensive item or whether or not someone deems me worthy to be in a relationship with. Had I known in my 20s what I know I would have done this trans-Atlantic move eons ago as I would have saved myself from a lot of angst, frustration and overall discontent.

So without further ado I present you with my 5 steps to finding happiness (no guarantee this list will work for everyone but it's worth a try):

1. Quit your unsatisfying job
2. Take a 75% pay cut
3. Move away from your family and friends to a country where you barely speak the language.
4. Continually test the boundaries of your comfort zone
5. Live in the here and now and follow the mantra "no opportunity wasted"

Don't get me wrong folks, it hasn't been all roses and daffodils as evidenced here, here, here and here but the good is definitely outweighing the bad.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Current credit card debt: $x,000
Airfare to New York: $630
Being home for the holidays: Priceless

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Things I Have Done In Paris...

...that I would never ever do in New York (mom you probably don't want to read this):

1. Jump the turnstyle at the metro station without paying (we've already discussed this one it's really no biggie since everyone in Paris does it)
2. Accept a ride home after a night of partying from complete stranger
3. Flirt with cute boys using my eyes
4. Invite a complete stranger to a party
5. Stop beside the car of random driver after being called over and have a discussion with him and his friends (just call me a chickenhead)

...and that's just a partial list of how I have been spending my days and nights in the city of Paris.

Self Censorship

I've reached a point in my blogging where people actually read my blog which is a good thing I guess. Initially,th when I first started I had to beg a select group of friends to click on the link and browse my postings but that has since gradually changed. Now I have some friends and family members that check in on me regularly. Then there is a group of other readers out there that fit into neither category that have stumbled upon my blog at one point or another, which brings me to the topic of self censorship. How much of my experiences do I want to put out there to be read by friends, family, strangers and potential suitors? How much does what I write about or not write about have the ability to influence or alter future events? Butterfly effect anyone?

I can't answer those questions now because I enjoyed too many cocktails this evening. What I can say is that I went out this evening with Amy and some new friends and I had an absolute blast.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I Have Internet Access Chez Moi...

...kind of.

I haven't recieved my modem yet and my ADSL line is still in progress but I am now able to connect to the internet via a Neuf hotspot from my apartment. This makes me incredibly happy. I would be over the moon happy but I this connection has its limitations as I am unable to connect to my instant messenger program with it.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Random Photos

Random Man Singing Opera

Random Foliage

I could eat this entire macaroon tower in one sitting

Random Mask

Random Awning

Statue at Bastille

Randomness at Bastille Metro

Yummy brunch buffet restaurant (and I usually hate buffets)

Interior of Le Reservoir

Random Store Front

Pere Lachaise Metro Station

Yummy Cappuccino

Random Street

Random Blue Door

Olives at the Marché

Fresh Veggies at the Marché

Je Me Suis Installe

I moved into my apartment and I'm completely thrilled I just need a few items to pimp out the place completely (mom if you're reading this feel free to send a blank check my way so I can hit up the local IKEA). Now I can start blogging about more important things such as partying and perhaps teaching.

A technician from France Telecom stopped by today to update my phone line for the low low price of 54 euros. I'm not exactly sure what he did but I was told that it was a requirement to have my internet set up. So, tomorrow I have to go to the Phone House to set up my phone, internet and cable with Neuf for the low low price of 55 euros. To top things off it should only take about 3 weeks to get set up. Yes folks 3 whole weeks!