Friday, June 27, 2008

July 9th... my official start date.

Some things that I'm looking forward to now that I'll be making a livable salary once again are:

  1. Joining a gym
  2. Taking yoga classes
  3. Eating out a little more
  4. Being able to purchase a 4€ bouquet of flowers from the marché and not have it feel like a complete and utter luxury
  5. Moving to the type of Paris apartment that I've always dreamed of (we'll see)
Rejoining the workforce also has me a bit nervous as I'm not sure how and if I will be able to adjust from working 12 hours (and most recently 0 hours) to full time employment. I'm also a bit apprehensive about once again having to navigate the muddy waters of office politics with the added complication of cultural differences. I guess only time will tell how it all works out.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Pretty Things

I went to the marché this morning and for some reason I ended up spending more money than I usually do there. I did end up treating myself to some pretty flowers. I couldn't resist because they were so interesting looking and I can honestly say that I've never seen anything like them before. From the pictures below you'll probably also notice that I've yet to buy a vase. Now is probably a good time since les soldes started yesterday.

Les Fleurs

Les Fleurs

In other news I spent the evening yesterday with my friend Opal having a drink at Café du Nord along the Canal Saint-Martin and we spotted Angès from the French equivalent of America's Next Top Model. It was actually pretty weird because I never, ever recognize people when I see them on the streets including A-list Hollywood celebrities.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Breaking News

Folks this just in, my FACC visa application has been officially approved. This means that very soon I'll be able to answer the age old question "when do you start working?" It gets pretty exhausting doing the typical French shoulder shrug and saying "I don't know." If all goes according to plan I'll be able to start sometime around the second week of July.

So how did I get here? Well back in November (yes you read correctly) after seeing a posting on the internet I applied for the job on a whim. Several weeks later in mid December I heard back from the company and had a phone screen. The woman on the phone wasn't so sure about me because my background didn't fit in exactly with what they looking for but they were interested in seeing a diverse selection of candidates so she would forward my resume along. After several rounds of interviews I was officially offered the position in February. I was thrilled and excited about the prospect of staying and working in Paris but it meant that I would have to potentially quit my teaching job early and I just couldn't do that to my students. At the time I also wasn't thrilled with the salary. Also, I wasn't satisfied with the salary offered (in retrospect the salary is very close to being on par with what I was earning in the US and one can say that the benefits are better). So in February I foolishly turned down the position.

Fast forward to April and my continuing search for a job in Paris. I wasn't getting anywhere and I noticed that the job offered to me by the company was still posted on the internet. At the encouragement of my friend and with my tail between my legs I emailed the company and said that I was willing to accept the position if they were still willing to hire me and as they say the rest is history.

My visa is being sponsored by the French American Chamber of Commerce (FACC) which has an International Career Development Program. The program has a bilateral agreement that sponsors highly skilled young people, ages 18 to 35 for their visas. Their requirements are not very stringent but as an American you would have to find the job opportunity on your own and then FACC works to get you sponsored and all of your paperwork in order. The only downside is that you are only sponsored to work in France for up to 18 months total. The FACC paperwork process is said to take between 4-5 weeks (my visa was processed in just under 4 weeks).

So what's the moral of this very long post? I'd like to think that the moral of the story is to stay positive and don't always listen to the naysayers because anything is possible.

Edit: And it doesn't hurt to have a little bit of luck on your side.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

France May Have the Best Healthcare...

...but I'm not sold on their emergency response teams.

Last night I was having dinner with a friend at La Marine in the Canal St. Martin area when I noticed that someone had fallen off of their bike. It didn't look so bad but the person was unable to get up and was bleeding from their chin. Someone called the pompiers and they arrived within minutes.

After they arrived however it seemed like they were moving in slow motion. Two guys were tending to the ill patient, one guy was talking on the phone (I joked that he was talking to his wife but he was probably most likely on the phone with the nearest hospital) and finally one guy was manually inflating what appeared to be an air mattress. Upon seeing this I was absolutely shocked and had no choice but to take some photographs.

Pump pump pump it up

After he inflated the air mattress slightly a white he and another pompier draped a white covering over it. Then the patient was carefully placed on top of it and wrapped and buckled in like a sushi roll.
Sushi Roll

Finally, the patient was placed on an actual gurney and whisked off to the emergency vehicle idling nearby and eventually a hospital.

Actual gurney

The whole process seemed to take longer than necessary and I kept thinking to myself that if I was ever involved in an accident I would probably die waiting for them to load me into the ambulance. Seriously, is it too much to ask that they at least get an electric pump for the air mattress? Seriously! My friend kept insisting that the process seemed to take so long because the patient didn't seem to be in critical condition and my response was "yeah right, this is Paris everything takes longer than it should."

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Question

I haven't really hung out during the past two weeks that I've been in New York. Between jetlag and general ennui with the city it just hasn't happened. Yet yesterday evening I found myself in Brooklyn at a French restaurant listening to my French play the sax. What's up with that?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Don't Ask Me to Smile

I hate when men tell me to smile. It really makes me angry for some reason. I don't like smiling and I like it even less when asked to do it on command so I wish people would stop asking already.

The flip side of the smile equation is that in Paris when I smile at strangers or s familiar face on the street they look at me like I'm utterly crazy. It took me a while to get used to but I kind of prefer that way as opposed to being asked to smile on cue.
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