Let me set the scene: I am sat on my sofa (I think I'm just going to have to live with the fact that my bed is a sofa from now on as there is no way I can get it back to the way it was before I went monster-hunting and it Transformed on me). I have a hot brew made with Fresh Milk. I also have squares of Lindt Lindor chocolates. (I bought a pack of fifteen thinking I could have one sqaure a night like a proper non-greedy French person but I have eaten six already and I only saw them on the shop shelf an hour ago.) I have internet. (Just, but facebook is facebook.) I have shit to chat and things to watch and I am warm and alone and I am in Paris.
This is so much better than being with Family Thrift. If I was still there I would be in my damp bed not drinking tea, watching something on my laptop and having to listen to it with my tinny, broken headphones. I didn't realise how damp and musty their house was until I started to unpack my stuff; it absolutely stinks. It's like when I came back from uni after living in Slug Kingdom in second year and I had to throw most of my shoes away because they were mouldy and they stank and I'd been wearing them and hadn't even noticed. That might say more about me than the house though. Speaking of my hygeine; that other family were so lucky they got me as an au pair (apart from me leaving them and everything), because I don't know anyone else who would live in their dirty house and not really mind. Alarm bells started ringing when I realised we were all sharing one broken mug that was filthy and their children were wearing the same, smelly, holey socks nearly everyday, but at first I was oblivious.
Still, that was then and this is now. And now I am happy. The work is harder. The kids I work with now are nice but they don't speak much English and I'm not allowed to speak to them in French (as if I could anyway) so that their English will improve. The two older girls are getting good at miming and describing words using the little English they do know, but the little boy just chatters on at me in French and then starts crying when I go 'Oooooh really? instead of answering his question.
The area I'm in now is definately not the Left Bank, but I really like it. On my first day the family took me round it quickly to show me where the kids' schools were. It was pretty traumatic actually because the mum got all the kids' bikes and scooters out and told me I could use her bike. I can't ride a bike, so I decided to come clean rather than die a horrible death on the roads of Paris and she said 'O.k, don't worry, you can use this scooter, it is nearly adult sized.'
I haven't ridden a scooter since I was ten. It was about six pm, so it was really dark and busy on the streets and the little kids zoomed ahead of me on their bikes and scooters and I was left miles behind, trying to work out how to balance and travel and get past the group of college students without them noticing I was a twenty-one year old struggling to ride a child's scooter.
The area is really nice but there is one hideous problem. There are shops. Lots of shops. And I know there are shops all over Paris but these shops are small and indepenant and so, so near and they are expensive. And there is something else. For a while now I have been envisioning myself in a black tulle skirt. You know when a fantasy item of clothing just pops into your head for no reason and you have to have it, even if you're not sure it exists? (I think this happens to me more than most people, for example I am still looking for the thick, black, hooded travelling cloak that for some reason I know I want but I haven't seen one like it anywhere. I want a cloak that you can just as easily throw over a cocktail dress as you can wear it to jump onto the back of a passing dragon.)
Anyway, I have been having visions of myself in a pretty tulle skirt. In my head it makes me look like a cross between a ballerina dolly and a French maid. Today I glanced in the window of one of the many, many boutiques and there it was. My skirt. It is black and, ok it's not tulle, but it's sheer and light and it has a velvet ribbon on the waist band. I need it. It is 135 euros. But I am a firm believer in the saying 'You only regret what you don't spend.' There is not one penny I regret spending, ever. Sure I've lost money (like my fucking pay cheque from family thrift; I can't find it anywhere) and had to pay bank charges and shizzle and that's annoying, but I can only vaguely remember parting with this money. The money I will always remember clearly and fondly is the money I spent on those boots in French Connection; that pink dress everyone said I couldn't afford (and is now screwed up at the bottom of my washing basket, never to be worn again because I've worn it four times but still, I'll never forget the thrill I got when I handed over my credit card); and the holiday to Ibiza I booked when I was drunk...
As I write this I have the Knowledge. The Knowledge that I am going to buy that skirt.