Monday, 31 January 2011
It comes to 265 euros.
I think I'll just have a look on Resident Advisor and see if any Dubstep DJs are playing Paris this month, see if I can't get me some more taxi money...
Dragged myself out of bed to go and have lunch with Family Decent, the mum invited me over because the dad of the family is away this week... now I know I have the tendency to be PARANOID, but doesn't that suggest that the dad of the family hates me and has forbidden me from enjoying lunch under the same roof as him??
Anyway lunch was nice, although when I arrived the mum said 'Wow, you are so lucky, you wear the same clothes when it is cold, huh?'
Huh. I was wearing a black woolly dress with tights and my huuuuuge angora cardigan, under my new parka-stylee coat that I got from Zara, with my long boots- there was literally no more body for me to dress in warm materials. I've learnt though since being in Paris that English people don't dress for the weather very well, but there is no need for strangers to point at my hands on the metro and ask where my clothes are.
After lunch I went to Musée Rodin with Clare and Kayt. Except there was a queue and we couldn't be arsed. Without anyone quite realising how it happened, our little trip to the museum turned into a lot of red wine in a bar by the river, which then turned into a Chinese at Belleville, where I found myself eating what I'm pretty sure was dog and crab broth with triangular pieces of scrambled egg floating in it.
After that we went to a bar nearby with another au pair Emma and her two French friends. The evening was fun (although my ineptitude at languages has never been so painfully obvious) but today I feel Very Bad and I can't wait to get in my bed. I'm in it already but I could only squeeze in a forty minute nap and I've got to go to work again soon and as well as being hung-over (because I'm English and therefore Binge Drink), it's also bloody freezing and I'll be cold because I'm English and therefore Can't Dress Myself Appropriately.
I didn't get my wages on Friday night like I was expecting. The dull, frolic-less weekend stretched before me like a used condom (and held all the promise)... until Amo and Lauren offered to lend me More Money. Yey for being a Bad Scrounger!
On Saturday me and Amo looked round the vintage shops in the Marais and Amo saw my room for the first time. She picked up a pyjama top that was lying on the floor and started laughing for no reason. I thought it was because it was so dusty and filthy but through her crying she managed to say that she remembered me and her and Chaz all buying the same pyjamas from Primark when we were fifteen. So I've been wearing the same £2 vest top from Primark for six years. So I won't feel guilty next time I buy myself a pair of new pyjamas which, to be honest, probably won't be for another six years.
(In fact, the little boy I look after wears an astronaut costume to sleep in and I think that 'fancy dress' is an inspired choice of night wear, because then you can dress up every day and nobody can judge you because you're asleep and they can't see you and if they can see you then the more important question would be, not 'Why are you dressed like an astronaut?' but 'Why are you in my house watching me sleep?' As soon as I find a fairy costume made of flannel and/or fleecing I'm going to do it.)
Saturday night came courtesy of Lauren. Her friend who she met when she was au pairing here three years was visiting and she brought her friend who she met in China and who is Parisien. Then we went to a bar around Bastille for leaving drinks with this other Parisien girl that Lauren met working in Oxfam in Manchester three or four years ago. It was the first time that I have socially interacted with French People, which says a lot for the Au Pair experience I think. Although my French is still terrible so I couldn’t really converse, watching Lauren speaking French to everyone reminded me why I wanted to speak French in the first place- To Show Off to my friends who can’t speak French.
The night ended with a full-blown meal at Hippopotamus at 3am and also, somehow, a full-blown argument about the Middle East, but that’s another story.
The picture that Amo posted to her Facebook of my vintage pyjamas
Friday, 28 January 2011
I just spilt fucking tea all over Family Decent's fucking cream sofa. Tea is ruling my life; it is turning my teeth yellow and filling my belly with so much liquid that I can ring my cousin and let her listen to all the tea swishing around as I move from side to side (and she in turn lets me listen to hers) and now tea is making me destroy Parisien furniture.
And my babysitting shift was going so well- the oldest girl is sleeping at a friend's house and the other two went to bed without much arguing. Everyone is well now, by the way- I must be an excellent nurse, despite all the naps and secretive chocolate biscuit eating.
Which reminds me... they got their shopping delivery today and it is so incredible that I wanted to copy the shopping receipt onto here but I hid the receipt somewhere and now I can't find it. They got TWENTY FIVE packets of biscuits. This is for a week.
I might have a word with the French government about putting a stop to this whole gouter thing; it's getting out of hand now. And, more importantly, I keep eating the kids' gouter and it is making me put on weight. (Gouter is the snack kids all over France have after school and it normally involves half a packet of biscuits and some sort of small, token fruit.)
You know when you think about the future and you think 'Blimey, out there, years ahead of me, is another me, looking back on this moment now and she knows what the near-future holds for me.' Isn't that disgustingly mind-boggling? Now I'm thinking back to myself as a fifteen year old on a school trip to Disneyland Paris, stood in the McDonald's... Fifteen Year Old Me doesn't know that she will be visiting this McDonald's again, next time from her new home in Paris...
If I could send her a message? If I could communicate some worldly wisdom to Fifteen Year Old Me through the wind tunnels of time? I'd say: Stop resolving to loose your virginity as soon as possible... save it... save it and be pure and you can marry a Traveller and wear a massive fuck-off wedding dress...
Imagine if you could send messages to your past selves? I wish a Future Me would send me a message. What am I going to do after Paris? Where will I go, what will I do?
I met an old man the other day who said his wife came to Paris as an au pair from Ireland 45 years ago and never left. I thought 'Soz for her then.' But it was something to think about. He also guessed by my accent (that I was 'speaking' French in) that I was Egyptian, so that's something else to think about.
Maybe if I listen hard enough I will pick up a message from the future... I'm listening... I'm listening... I think I can feel something! I can feel some sort of wisdom being communicated to me from somewhere further down the timeline of my life... I'm getting a visualisation! It's me in Ibiza, seven months from now... she's sat by the edge of the pool dressed in a huge cotton smock with a towel lying across her belly... she's saying... what's she saying?
She's saying: 'Babe, put down the biscuits, you're ruining my holiday!'
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
I have been looking after sick children all day. They have FOUR medicines to take- Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, Antibiotics and Cough Medicine. When I was little and I was ill my nana made me drink cabbage water. (Literally the water a cabbage has been boiling in.)
Ill children are no fun. But I managed to get a sneaky nap in! I told the little boy I would nap with him because he was kicking off, so I lay down next to him and closed my eyes. The next thing I knew I was picking out clothes that were actually little cubes moving in rows through the air and I suddenly thought ‘Shit! This is a dream.’ But I didn’t wake up because I love sleeping. The two girls were playing in the other room the whole time and, fingers crossed, I don’t think they noticed I was sleeping.
The mum said that she will have to 'organise something' for tomorrow morning because I have my French class and obviously I can’t miss it. I didn’t tell her that I haven’t been to my Thursday French class since the Wrong Class Episode, because my real Thursday class is in a different building and as yet I haven’t managed to actually locate it.
I feel bad not telling her and sleeping in but she’s very dynamic; I don’t think she’d understand if I tried to explain that every week I miss one of my three-hundred-and-ninety-euros-a-term-lessons because I can’t find it. Even though it is apparently on the same street as the other building, but I’ve looked for it once and I couldn't find it so that’s that.
Guess what I’m going to watch tonight? Big Fat Gypsy Weddings- Episode 2. I’m going to the shop to buy two big bars of Milka and I don’t care about the consequences!! Let me get really fat! See if I care!
(Oh God please don’t let me get really fat. I can't afford new clothes.)
Tuesday, 25 January 2011
A Bottle and Friend
There's nane that's blest of human kind,
But the cheerful and the gay, man,
Fal, la, la, &c.
Here's a bottle and an honest friend!
What ye wad wish for mair, man?
Wha kens, before his life may end,
What his share may be o' care, man?
Then catch the moments as they fly,
And use them as ye ought, man:
Believe me, happiness is shy,
And comes not aye when sought, man.
Bottles and Friends: Liverpool 2010
Had to take the kids temperature today. I fucking knew this day would come. I just gave them the thermometer and left the room. I sat and ate chocolate biscuits while the eight year sat on the couch for nearly ten minutes holding a themometer in there. Shit Au Pair is back everybody!
On the bright side, Big Fat Gypsy Weddings should be on YouTube tomorrow!
Monday, 24 January 2011
It was nice for me and Lauren to be with two people on holiday in Paris, it made me think 'Fuck, people come here on holiday and I spend most of my time in bed eating butter.'
I got nice and drunk and was prepared to go back to Lauren's and finish a box of wine off, but then the mum of the family texted me saying that the eight year old was poorly and that I might have to go and look after her the following day at 8am. She said that I would have to take her temperature.
On my first day with this new family (I need a name for them so you don't get confused with Family Thrift- let's call them Family Decent) the mum showed me the thermometer and told me that if one of the kids was ever ill I would have to take their temperature with this by putting it up their bum.
Ever since I have been dreading the moment that I will have to stick this thermometer up some poor child’s bum.
Thankfully, the eight year old was better by the morning and I was able to roll out of bed two minutes before it was time to pick the little boy up and have lunch with him. Chicken and broccoli do not make a nice breakfast by the way.
Why must the French stick things up their ill children’s bums? What is wrong with the mouth, the ear or under the arm? Lauren’s Parisian landlady told her that when she was on holiday in England, the doctor gave her a thermometer and told her to put it under her tongue. She was confused and tried to explain that it would be better if she put it in her anus… when he eventually got the cut of her hideous jib the doctor was horrified and said to her ‘I forbid you from doing that’. Once he left the room, she put it up her bum anyway because, as she said to Lauren ‘It’s what all the French do.’
Sunday, 23 January 2011
The Portuguese couple next door have been arguing very loudly for the last twenty minutes. I wish I knew what they were arguing about. The woman's voice is high-pitched and hysterical and the man's voice is angry and stern. I wonder what the fuck they are arguing about? Maybe it’s about the fact that they are sharing a small room above a petrol station.
Oh yes, haven’t I mentioned that my room sits on top of a petrol station? I wonder if that is even legal in England. I’ve gone out and left my hot plate on a couple of times… I may well be the cause of a huge explosion.
Speaking of huge explosions… I can hear something being scraped against something metal, I’m hoping one of the Portuguese couple isn’t sharpening the kitchen knife. I’m going out. Jess and her boyfriend are arriving in Paris tonight for a week’s holiday, so it’s off to be sociable. I’m putting the butter away.
I am so boring. What the hell have I done this weekend apart from eat butter?
Well on Friday night I went to Lauren and Drew's and we drank wine with the intention of getting very, very drunk but in the end we were just very tired and also sick because we'd eaten so much Haribo and chocolate cake. In the morning Drew and Lauren were considering going for a run in preparation for the Paris half Marathon they are doing in March, but instead they got all their running gear on plus a full face of make-up (including lipstick) and we went to the park and I took pictures of them pretending to run which they then used for their charity web pages. If you've got your debit card handy and think joggers who wear lipstick should be rewarded, sponsor them:
Last night I was babysitting and as usual the two girls didn't go to bed until 11pm, two hours later than their designated bed time, but we were playing with their mum’s old doll house that she brought down from their ‘storage room’. It’s amazing. I was going to take photos but I think that’s tempting fate- putting pictures of their unique antique doll’s house on my anonymous blog. You should see this doll’s house though, it has little lamps that really work! It has tiny metal kitchen utensils! It has a teeny tiny mug with two teeny tiny toothbrushes in!
Sorry, this is so boring. Here’s some Clowncore to liven things up a bit. If you don’t know what Clowncore is- it’s basically techno music played on the accordion, by gypsies or crusties dressed up as circus performers, for people on drugs:
Thursday, 20 January 2011
I praise Jesus for whoever it was that put it on YouTube.
When it was over I felt sad that the next hour of my life wasn't going to be as good as the hour just spent watching Big Fat Gypsy Weddings.
My cousin is getting married in Serbia this summer and, all jokes aside, I WILL find myself a Traveller husband there- providing my 'honour' doesn't come under close scrutiny, and assuming I can find someone willing to have a haggard twenty-one year old as their 'young bride'. I will be getting married in something similar to this:
I should be at the family's house now sorting out the laundry I fucked up (don't ask) and preparing something lovingly bizarre for the kids' dinner (I'm thinking salad followed by rice and sweet potato or soup, but salad followed by soup sounds quite nice to me and I've learnt now that if something seems normal to me, it means they'll hate it, but if something seems hideous to me, sardines on toast followed by a crêpe for example, then they'll eat it happily) but instead I think I'll watch Big Fat Gypsy Weddings again! And also look for flights to Serbia.
Monday, 17 January 2011
I got out my phone to text her and tell her I was feeling mentally-connected to her in a mystical ravey way and when I looked at my phone I had a message from her saying she was at a French Folk gig and that she felt mentally-connected to me.
Do you see why I believe in magic?
We are connected, by a string of memories, and each memory is a coloured flag...
Sunday, 16 January 2011
On Friday I noticed there was one left in the fridge, I don't know which kid didn't eat it but that just goes to show how hung over I was that I was sat at the table with three kids and didn't notice that one of them left a big sausage-hybrid on their plate. From my vast experience of every French family that ever lived, i.e. two families, I can confirm that The French do not throw food away. They are very good at not wasting food and will keep everything in the fridge, or in some alarming cases on the kitchen side, for days.
With this is mind, I decided to eat the leftover sausage thing with some leftover potatoes while the kids had fresh fish and veg. I am after all, just the servant and a shit one at that, so I deserve nothing better than the scraps. I just didn't realise that they were week-old scraps. So that's meat. Frozen meat I cooked on a Friday. And ate the following Friday. As I ate it I thought 'No, no, no, no...' but my very distant Scottish roots kicked in and a conflicting voice shouted in a (very authentic) Glasgow accent 'Ye've a stumack if iren! Eat it!' so I ate it.
But before I reveal the terrible consequences to my Questionable Sausage Consummation, let me discuss Friday night. Please, let me.
O.k so on Friday night I wasn't going to go out because I am completely skint. I know it's ridiculous because I now get four times the salary I was getting, but I have no money whatsoever, so I thought I should probably stay in and think upon my bad spending habits and maybe, just maybe, I would learn the lesson I have been trying to teach myself for four years, ever since I blew my first ever student loan installment on a pair of boots from FCUK. (I still have them now though, so what lesson did I really learn? I know I say this every couple of days but I'm trying to drum it into the world and single-handedly save the economy: You only regret what you don't spend.)
However, before I could realise the error of my spend-happy ways, my newish friend Clare popped up on Facebook Chat (what else would I be doing- learning French?) and said she would lend me money if I went out with her and her friend to Social Club. So obviously, I went out.
We went for pre-drinking at Clare's friend Anna's flat, although really it is a little room at the top of six flights of stairs, it's all very 'The Little Princes'. I would actually love it as I have decided I'm suffering from Cinderella Syndrome, an infliction that encourages me get into bad situations (case in point, forty euros a week and grated carrot for dinner) just so I can mope around smugly saying to myself 'Aren't I just like Cinderella?'
Anyway, we went to a bar near Social Club first and found our way by asking strangers and at one point imitating the bass of an electro song by going 'mm-ch-mm-ch-mm-ch-mm-ch-mm-ch' in order to communicate the type of music we were looking for.
By the time we found the club we were quite drunk and were pretending to be from London. All French people want you to be from London so it's just easier to agree enthusiastically when they say excitedly 'You are from London?'. Unless you want to talk about Manchester United. Which I never will. Because I hate them. But that is neither here not there.
The bouncers at Social Club were very Stern and Rude and reminded us of prison guards and when we got inside it wasn't much better. It was so hot and crammed that we went to the smoking area for a bit of air only to discover that the 'smoking area' is a windowless room that is so full of smoke your eyes burn. The prison feeling grew and grew and the music- Don Rimini- wasn't helping. I don't know much about music but I know what I like and it's not Parisian electro house euro trash. We had a good dance but the crazed Don Rimini fans on the dancefloor got the better of us and we called it quits at about half three.
It wasn't as simple as deciding to 'just go home' though. The one thing I have learnt this weekend is that it is Too Hard to get a taxi in Paris. Seriously, if you are reading this and you are planning on visiting Paris, take taxis out of the equation, they cannot be relied upon. If you manage to get one, they're not over-priced and it's a nice way to see Paris, but you probs won't manage to get one. So give it up. Wait for the last metro or look into the night buses (noctillien).
We waited so long for a taxi that we had to go and have a meal in a restaurant but eventually we managed to get one, although I can't remember where, when or how.
It was a good night, but it did put me off Social Club. The only other time I've been is to see that Dubstep DJ but it was a lot quieter then and I didn't go in the smoking room and the bouncers didn't seem as bastardy. For thirteen euros in and ten euros a drink I'd only go again if it was someone I really wanted to see.
On Saturday I slept until four pm. I felt bad when I woke up because I slept all day last Saturday and Sunday and this weekend I vowed to make the most of Paris, but if I don't set an alarm my natural wake-up time is 3pm. 4pm was an hour too much sleep and I felt it. My room was messy, I had no food in, no money and I'd gone to bed with my make-up so I looked like the Corpse Bride, only fatter.
Miraculously, I found thirty two quid in my English purse, so I made the perilous journey to Gare du Nord and exchanged it at the Eurostar terminal. They gave me thirty euros for it, which is weird. I don't understand money though, in my head one euro will always be one pound sterling and there is nothing anyone can say to make me see sense.
With my thirty euros I topped up my Navigo for the week and bought a bottle of milk, some apples and two bars of Milka. I'm not really sure why but if I could turn back the hands of time, I would. I've not bought chocolate since I've come back from Christams and I thought I was turning over a new leaf, but clearly not. I ate the two bars of Milka as soon as I got in and then had an apple to balance things out a bit. As I had no money and no food I decided to go to bed early in order to get up and do something productive on Sunday...
But then the temptation came- people asking me to go out... I kept saying no and was resigned to put a film on and go to bed when Anna, Clare's friend who I met on Friday, popped up on Facebook Chat:
There's a drum and bass night on!
I'll lend you fifty euros!
What time are we meeting?
So off I went into the night. I debated whether to wear my Adidas jacket or not, but I decided sportswear is never appropiate in Paris, but I did put my big scally-looking chain on, just to get me in the mood. When we got there I saw loads of people in sportswear and it was like London had come to Paris for the night, maybe because it was an Innovation night, a big Drum & Bass promoter. (Apparently... I don't know- I like going to ceilidhs.)
The venue was Elysse Montmarte which is kind of like a big, grimey gig venue. It was eighteen euros to get in but it was a big night and we were just pleased that we could buy a ticket on the door. Inside it was standard Paris Drinks Prices- ten euros for a spirit and nine euros for a pint of Kroenburg. Me and Anna stuck to Kroenburg but after one pint I started feeling a bit funny. We went outside for a bit (thankfully there was a real smoking area, unlike Social Club) which is where we met Renaud. We had seen Renaud dancing hilariously inside and decided he is the sort of French friend we need to have. He promised he would take us all to 'ze best clubs' and that he would let us speak French to him, which is more than most Parisians.
Inside we kept bumping into him and having a comedy dance together. The music was good. As well as DJ Hype there was loads of MCs and smaller DJs: DJ Phantasy, DJ Brockie, MC Shabba and DJ Cotesy. It was worth the eighteen euros.
The Drum & Bass was just what I needed to get over Don Romini and his hideous euro trash techno house electro noise. Everyone was there to dance and there were loads of people with rucksacks who looked like they had come to Paris specifically for the Innovation night. It was funny hearing the MCs go on and on in English and occassionally yell 'Big up the Paris Massive'.
I could have bounced about throwing my hands in the air all night but at three am the sick feeling that had been gurgling away inside me finally got too much for me to dance. You know when your jaw goes all wobbly and you get loads of water in your mouth and you know what's coming? Well I had that and were squashed at the front surounded by crusties with huge rucksacks and unfeasibly wide trousers, all swishing their dreadlocks against me. I turned to Anna and managed to say 'I think I'm going to be sick' but then my cheeks bulged and I had to turn and run to the side of the crowd where I Vomited. A Lot.
We went to the toilet because I had sick coming out of my nose (I hope you're eating your dinner as you read this) and it was all over my hands from wiping my mouth. But in the toilet there was no toilet paper and the horror of the situation began to dawn on me. I smelt of sick. There was sick in my nose. There was SICK. Inside. My NOSE.
Thankfully, a French girl saw my pain, introduced herself as Mary Poppins and then got some tissues out of her bag for me, so I got rid of the sick and went back to dance. I felt a lot better after being sick, but I still didn't know what the hell had happened. All I'd eaten that day was two bars of Milka chocolate and there is no quanity of chocolate in the world that would make me throw up.
We even managed to get a free drink off someone who fancied Anna; him and his friends had bought a bottle of vodka for their table and he insisted we have some. I thought somehow the vodka would help matters.
We danced for a bit more but at about five am we decided enough was enough. DJ Hype was gone and the music wasn't as good and I was starting to feel sick again. After our previous night's trouble getting a taxi we decided the noctillien was our best bet of getting home, but the trouble with the night bus is finding it as the bus stops seem to be randomly sprinkled across the city with no regrad for logic or convenience.
Elysse Montmarte is, as I'm sure you could have guessed, in Montmarte, so we walked to Pigalle where Anna was sure there was a night bus. As we walked from the club to Pigalle Anna got a kebab and I projectile vomited on the street. It's not really 'done' to eat in public in Paris, they expect everyone to only get hungry when you are sat at home or happen to have a few hours spare to go and eat in a resteraunt, so everyone kept saying Bon Appetit to Anna, and I mean Everyone.
As we walked, the type of people on the streets get shadier and shadier and I was feeling sicker and sicker. Finally, when we reached the Sexodrome, I projectile vomited on the side of a building and we realised we were in the sex district. I knew the sex district was there but everything looks different at night, but it suddenly seemed obvious why everyone around us happened to be a Bad Weirdo.
Luckily, nobody gave us much trouble because I was being sick everywhere and nobody likes to rape a girl while she is violently throwing up or, shock horror, eating a kebab in public. Even though Pigalle was a dodgy place to end up, we did find the night bus stand next to the metro but even more amazingly, we found about ten taxis waiting there. Clearly prostitutes are better customers than ravers because there were none at all near Social Club on Friday yet here were lots, just sitting in the sex district waiting for me to stop vomiting.
I must have thrown up about six or seven times (I like to think seven, my magic number) and Anna commented that it could only be food poisoning which made me think of that bastard sausage-hybrid thing. Food poisoning can take 48 hours to work its slimy way through your system so it must have been that.
By the time we got in the taxi I felt better and for real this time, not like before when I kept thinking I was fine and then throwing up again. We climbed up the six flights of stairs to Anna’s little room and went to sleep, not before Anna told me nervously where the toilet was in case I needed to be sick again. It’s never fun having Vomiting Girl to sleep-over is it?
Sunday was not wasted in bed like it would have been had I stayed at mine. Instead, we got up at noon and walked to the Bois de Boulogne, which is a big park in West Paris. On the way we somehow ended up sitting down to eat in a ridiculously expensive restaurant. We were a bit hungry and were looking for somewhere to grab a croissant, but then we wandered into a nice-looking restaurant and by the time we’d read the menu and realised we couldn’t afford it we were too embarrassed to leave. It was still quite embarrassing when the waiter asked us if we were having our shared pizza to start- Non, c’est tout.
The Bois de Boulogne was lovely, it reminded me of parks I have been to in England. It was also nice chatting to my New Friend and it made me realise that I am not the Social Retard I think I am. With girls I can make friends really quickly. With boys however… I can count the number of boys I would call ‘friends’ on one hand. Boys are for having awkward sex with and then projecting hate onto. (Just read that sentence back to myself. I will now Google ‘English-speaking therapists in Paris’.)
After the Bois de Boulogne we met Clare and went to the Sacre Coeur, which I haven’t been to yet, even though I’ve been here for four and a half months. What have you been doing? I hear you ask. Sleeping, mostly and borrowing money off people. I’ll leave you with some wonky pictures I took:
*I've just used Google to discover the sausage-hybrid was Boudin Blanc, a French culinary treat described as both 'milk sausage with cognac' and 'French white pudding' so that clears that up...
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Not only have I got another Good Night in the pipeline for when I get to London, but all my begging has finally paid off- I have been asking anyone and everyone to come and stay with me in Paris since I got here and now it looks like I will have nine guests in the space of five weeks. I haven't exactly told everyone I only have one bed and that they will have to use the bathroom out in the corridor...
The only shit thing is that when I go to the Mulletover 7th Birthday in April it won't be my 7th time on the Eurostar, it will be my 9th, so some of the magic is lost. Oooh I am one of those Par-don girls I read about once in a magazine. It is magazine-speak for someone who lives their life between London and Paris, only they all worked as/were dating DJs and music producers whereas I spent today pretending to be a dragon foetus.
Argh, three posts in one night, I am banning myself from the internet for the rest of the week.
Argh. I want to go home! Not now, but I mean when I have the opportunity I want to take it and I caaaan't because I spent all my money.
How is it I now get paid FOUR TIMES as much as I did before, yet I am still skint?
I don't know what to do. Shall I stay in Paris for the week all on my lonesome because everyone I know here will be going home for the week. Should I try and get someone to visit me?
Or should I go back to England, maybe plan a stop-over rave in London with Kat?
Or, surprise third option, should I plan to go away somewhere in France with Amo for the week?
I can't afford to do anything really but if I could just persuade my mum to put some of her money in to my bank account, that would really get the ball rolling. I get paid at the end of this month but my bundle of *classified*-hundred euros will be useless. I feel like I am living through the depression in post WW-Germany; I'll be swimming in piles (ok maybe just the one very small pile) of paper money but it will be worthless.I won't be able to put it into my English bank account and buy Eurostar tickets with it.
For all the moaning and talking about England I do on this blog I may as well not be here at all. In fact, I only ever post pictures of mermaids and weird food, for all you know I could not be in Paris at all, I could be hiding in a cellar in Grimsby...
(some time later)
Ha! Went to the end of the road and took some shit pictures of the Eiffel Tower, so now you know. I am here.
Haha unless it is really the Blackpool tower!
Normally one of them has a mate round and we stay in all day and every ten minutes I sneak into the fridge and eat a cube of cheese or a bit of sausage, but this morning I finally took them to the library. Every week the mum goes, 'Take them to the libray, they love the library!' and as soon as I mention it they go 'No! No library! No go libary! I no want go libary!!' and thrash themselves about on the floor, so I really must question the mum's definition of 'love'. Anyway this morning I don't know how the hell I did it but I managed to drag the two youngest to the library and while they weren't exactly running around kissing books and quoting Shakespeare's Sonnet 43, they did sort of enjoy it. They both got books out anyway and they had English books and I got some out to read to the little boy and he let me read them to him without throwing it across the room and screaming 'I no want English!' like he does whenever I innocently ask him what a épée is called in English. (It's a sword! He knows it is!)
We got this really good book out called Long Live Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole. It is about Princess Smartypants who wants a baby but doesn't want to marry a 'dumb prince'. Then she has to order the food mix for brown gravy for a Royal banquet, but the phone is crackly and she ends up accidentally making herself a brown baby (easily done) which turns out to be super strong and wreaks havoc on the palace. In the end she has the clever idea to have two dragon babies too. She gets an egg from her dragon mate who tells her she must sit on it for a week (this was the inspiration for Dragon Baby). Then the egg hatches and she has two little dragons to keep her extra strong and naughty baby in check.
Sunday, 9 January 2011
The whole point of me coming here was to learn French but I must re-assess the situation. My NEW goal is to go out a lot. That is it.
On Thursday we went to an English bar called Le Long Hop in the 5th arrondissement and got ridiculously drunk. We spent all night dancing enthusiastically around the pool table to 'indie classics' that made me feel as if we were in an indie club in Manchester, except there were was too much Gallagher brothers memorabilia for it to be completely authentic.
It was such a good night but the next day was Awful. I had to get up at 7am, ride the bus for forty minutes and then sit through my two hour French class without a drop of water passing my lips and we all know the only comfort when you are hungover is lovely water flowing into your body and unsticking your dry, buzzing brain from the inside of your aching skull.
After French class I had a horrible disaster with some frozen sausages that turned out to be, in fact, not sausages. Then in the afternoon I didn't have time for a nap so I drank as many brews as I could before starting work again. After work, came more work- I was babysitting. The two girls would not go to bed and there was nothing I could do to make them. I was arguing with them and trying to make the point that their mum had told me to make sure they were in bed for 8:45pm and the eleven year old said:
"But we are not with maman, we are with you and it is ok. You are young and you do not go to bed at this time, we must live your life, you go to the party, you play in the discothèques."
I'm ashamed to say she won with me over and as they watched cartoons on television, an hour after their bedtime had scuttled by pathetically, I sat beaming to myself thinking 'Yes, I am cool aren't I?' like a Stupid Twat Who Cannot Control Children.
But the little girl was right, I do play in the discothèques.
Last night was the first time in Paris that I have felt like I am at a proper rave. A few months ago Kat sent me a link for Mikix the Cat who is a Parisian DJ/music producer and ever since I have been looking about trying to see where he is playing, then on Friday he posted on his blog about a night at Le Batofar, a club that is a boat docked by the Seine in the 13th arrondissement.
It was thirteen euros in, which was definitely worth it, but it was ten euros a drink. Ten euros is pretty standard for Paris, but I thought it would have been a bit cheaper because it seems a bit grimey in there, in a good way. I mostly stuck to Red Bull, which was six euros, and tried to imagine I was getting a buzz of the caffeine.
The music was So. Brilliant. And because it is a such a small venue it felt really intimate and casual and the DJs were just dancing in the crowd before and after their sets. On the deck of the boat is a really big smoking area with loads of tables and chairs and people were just chatting and being Generally Cool and then downstairs was the clubby bit where everyone was dancing. Occasionally you could feel that the boat was tilting when there were too many people on one side.
I feel like now I have somewhere to take visitors and I will definitely go back. Whenever my friends went to the smoking area or to the toilet I opted to stay at the front of the dance floor by myself and it didn't feel weird at all, although to be fair I probably did look a bit weird. But I don't care! I had so much fun. We got the metro home at about half five and then a taxi halfway because for some reason Line 1 was fermé. But when I got in I didn't even feel tired I was still all excited and buzzing as if I had been taking drugs when in fact I'd just had a bottle of wine and two red bulls. It was the music. You know when really, really good music makes you feel high? Well it was like that, which is why I posted on here at about ten to seven this morning.
Typically I didn't take my camera out so I couldn't take any pics, but have a look with you ears:
This time yesterday I was dragging myself out of bed to go my French lesson and I was very hungover and sleep-deprived. It was disgusting.
Now I feel I cannot go to bed, I must dwell on the super duper six hours of fun I have just enjoyed at Le Batofar.
Finally, I found the rave in Paris! Et c'est pas mal mes amis, c'est pas mal du tout.
Thursday, 6 January 2011
The teacher then proceeded to tell us about what we had to write for homework. He then got out a list and started reading it out and occasionally people would say 'c'est moi' for no apparent reason and he would nod and write something down. The whole time this was going on I kept very quiet and tried to act normal, but he must have seen the look of bewildered horror on my face because eventually the teacher looked at me and asked me something. I had no idea what everyone was saying and everyone was looking at me. Eventually he looked suspicious and raised an eyebrow and asked me something that I think meant 'Are you even in this class?'
In answer I got my student card out which has all the times and days of my classes on. He took one glance at it and said 'Non'.
I gasped and started to laugh, but he threw the card back to me and carried on reading out the list thing, and everyone else in the class turned their attention back to the teacher, without so much as a consolatory shrug and a half-smile in my direction.
Now it was awkward. I apologised, put my coat on and walked out. When I got out I relaised I had been in his class for two hours, two hours and he didn't notice that he had someone in his class who was three levels below everyone else.
What an idiot...
Wednesday, 5 January 2011
So you see, I had to do it.
Oh my god. Just checked how much it cost. £77 (and fifty pence but whose counting pennies?) It's Destiny. Do you know what else? There are seven letters in my name. My room is number seven. My birthday is 07/07. Sometimes I feel like I am the number seven, in human form.
Apparently it is going to be amazing, click here to hear what I will be dancing to...
Anyway, I've realised people don't like to hear about nice things I am doing, you only want to know when I am fucking up badly, eating cheese in the bathroom and hiding from French children. As many, many, many people have now said to me in real life and through this blog, 'You make me feel better about my own life.'
So in the spirit of this, I am going to go out tomorrow night and get hideously drunk, then stay at Lauren's, then get up at 7am in order to go my French lesson at 8am which I have no idea how to get to it. I've had one lesson so far and it was ok, but I left my room at 7am because I wasn't sure how long it would take me to get there and in the end the bus took five minutes. BUT I don't understand the timetable at all so I have to give myself loads of time in case it doesn't come. So it looks like I will always be forty minutes early or forty minutes late.
The lesson was ok, I didn't feel like the class Special Person, like I did in GCSE Physics one lesson when Miss Twat gave me cutting and sticking to do and everyone else practice papers (seriously, what a bitch. But I bet she still has SHIT HAIR, so HA). I have French class twice a week with a group of what seem to be mostly other au pairs, and then on a Friday we have this lecture thing in a different building. I've tried to find it before just so I know where it is and I ended up at the Arc de Triumph, which is unfathomably far away from where I started.
To be fair, it sounds like I have a lot to do, but not anything particularly difficult. But a simple thing like 'making dinner' isn't simple. What do I cook? What will they eat? What needs using up in the fridge? What doesn't contain protein? What is healthy? What is fiilling but not 'too much' as they constantly scream at me over meals?
They may have a point though. I generally eat 'everything there is'. If there's anything left in the pan/bowl/bag/oven/tin/packet/box/fridge, I feel like I must eat it. Whereas here they just eat a little so that they are not hungry. I thought it was having an effect on me actually, look at the size of my Christmas dinner:
I was thinking like I'd eaten loads and loads but Lauren looked at the photo and pointed out that there actually isn't a lot of food there. The French way of not over eating may have sunk in subconciously! Actually, on this photo my Christmas dinner doesn't look very nice and I'd hate to think of anyone being under the impression that I don't have the nicest Christmas dinner in the world. The parsnips aren't burnt they were sort of caramalised in honey, and bear in mind this is before grazy, and bread sauce, and there's three types of meat on the plate, it's not dodgy turkey. Hmmm... perhaps a career in food photogropahy isn't on the cards then.
Is it a lot? It doesn't look like a lot but then I guess I did have a few helpings after the first plate. And starter obviously and then Christmas pudding. And cheese and crackers. I think I will go on a diet this year though because the little boy said my stomach was gargantum so that's two five year olds now that have told me I have a big, fat belly. (BFB) Luckily they haven't seen under my top or they'd know it was BFHB too. If you don't know what the H stands for, feel blessed.
Tuesday, 4 January 2011
Im writing this on Microsoft Word because I have returned à Paris to No Internet. The network I was using has disappeared, so I think the guy I was cheekily stealing it off has come to his senses and cut me off. If I see him in the corridor I will kick him in the shins, very hard.
It’s NOT FAIR! I know it sounds gimpy but I was looking forward to Skyping my mum, uploading photos on to Facebook, watching some television programmes online, pretending I am still in England.
What does he expect me to do with my evenings, listen to the radio and improve my French? Don’t be a nobhead. I have just gone and knocked on every door in this corridor and nobody answered, yet I could hear them all rustling about inside. They are hiding the internet from me!
Actually I probably should work on my French. Tomorrow I finally start my French lessons, but there was no room in the Numpty Class so I did a test and they said I could join the next class up, on the condition that I work on the Future Tense over the holidays. Obviously, I was too busy drinking tea and riding trains all over the country to do any work, so my Future Tense is not looking bright. What’s that song that goes ‘Que sera, sera… whatever will be, will be’? That’s the future tense, is that French? See, if I had the fucking internet I could look this sort of thing up.
Arghhhhhhhhhh I am so annoyed. Have just been crying very loudly, as I know everyone in the corridor will be able to hear me and I thought they might feel guilty and bestow upon me the gift of Facebook, but no. I am still disconnected from my friends and family and random people I don’t really know but enjoy stalking.
I’m not best pleased to be back in Paris, to be honest. I’m lonely and the kids aren’t very nice and I can’t even speak French, so what is the point in being here? The only reason I am here is because I went on and on and on so much about coming here that I will stay even if I have to sleep in the metro stations and eat tourists to survive.
Today I started back at work as soon as I arrived in Paris. I literally got off the Eurostar, got the metro to the family’s house, dropped my stuff off and then went to pick up the little boy from school. Somehow our game of tig in the park ended up incorporating most of the little boys in the park, until I was literally running around out of breath while fourteen little boys danced around me slapping me on the arm shouting ‘Touchez-moi, touchez-moi!’
Tunisian Man who let me steal your internet, why hath thou forsaken me?? I need the internet. I am sad, I am scared. I have to be up at 6am tomorrow because my lesson is at 8am and I have no idea what time the bus comes or how long it takes.
I wish I was back in Brixton with Kat and Rachel, messing around and not being told what to do by an eight year old. Or I wish I was back in Manchester with my mum choosing something nice for tea from Marks and Spencers. Or I wish I was back in the car with Lucy and Chaz, driving around Cheshire looking for doggers and singing along to Rude Boy at the tops of our voices.
Or I even wish I was here, with internet. I don’t even know why I am writing this as nobody will ever read it as I will probably never get internet again. The family have internet at their house but I have so much laundry to do tomorrow I won’t have time. They went on a surprise skiing trip to a five star resort in Norway over Christmas, so there are all these crazy Michelin Man bodysuits hanging about that I am expected to wash and dry and the worst bit, fold it and put away in the Right Place.
Why did I come to Paris? Hopefully this weekend I will forget all about being miserable and do something nice and touristy and fun, but probably I will throw myself in the Seine and DROWN.
All of the above means nothing now as I HAVE INTERNET! I have been crying on and off all day thinking about it. I know- I am a disgusting person who lives their life through Facebook, pretending it is 2010 and I am living in a nice little flat in the centre of Liverpool with all my mates around me, eager to converse with me in English and get drunk, but what's so wrong with living in the past? The past is where the party's at. Anyway, I got home from work (where I served raw radishes followed by courgette soup- the French have finally enveloped me into their cold, bizarrely-fed breast) and was resigned to have a shower, watch a DVD and go to bed. But upon starting up my laptop... I saw... that the internet was ON! 'Guitariste' is back in the building, baby!
I can't believe I wanted to kick Tunisian Man in the shins. He has given me the gift of Life and Procrastination. If he asked me to sleep with him I would probably do it, I am so grateful.
I can't believe how miserable I have been. I'm in Paris! The family are going away in February for a week and they asked me if I was going to go home again, but you know what, I don't think I should. Earlier today I was dead set on flying home for another week of revelling in all things English, but I can do that anytime. This is the only year (probably) I will be living in Paris. I think so far I have made the most of it, but I am definitely going to start raving here more, instead of nipping to London any chance I get.
As Ricky (Kat's boyfriend as I think it is now ok to call him) put it, I could become 'Dora the Rave Explorer'. I'll just wait for my Adidas jacket to come out of the wash and I'll be on it...
By the way, I am triumphant! On Monday I walked from Euston to St Pancras, and I didn't end up in Camden! I really do want to move to London now, although my mum for some reason is dead against it. She said to me on Skype only a few moments ago 'It can grind you down living in London and having a crap job." Oh well, at least she has got the point that I am destined to have a 'crap job'. For the last few years she has been convinced I will end up doing something 'fantastic' and even last week after a bottle of red wine, she grasped my hand and said 'I just know you are going to have a really exciting life!"
How do I tell my mum the only excitement I am likely to have in my life is the kind of excitement one feels when you nearly miss the bus and for a moment worry that you will not get to the Job Centre in time to sign on?
I think it says it all that when I realised my internet was back, I kind of gasped and panted like a two year old child or a dog. Speaking of dogs, even though I hate them/am allergic to them/am scared of them eating my face, my mum told me at Christmas that her and my stepdad are moving to New Mills, land of the Very Slow, and getting a Rhodesian Ridgeback. If you don't know what one is, they were bred to kill poor people in South Africa and they look like this:
So yeah, I don't think I'll go home at half term.
Sunday, 2 January 2011
My battery camera said it was 'exhautsed' so I didn't take any photos, but I think we can safely say that I write better than I photograph (in both senses of the word), so who really wants to see the photos anyway. My hair and make-up looked a mess as predicted. I chickened out of the hair rollers last minute, I just couldn't do it. So in the end I curled my hair with the straighteners then as the night wore on my hair got sweatier and messier until I ended up with a nest of drealocks sat on top of my hair, pinned in place with bent kirby grips that made my hair smell like booze because I kept dropping them everywhere.
As for the outfit, Kat took me on a Super Market Dash style shopping trip to Topshop on Oxford Street where I grabbed the standard noughties club wear- high-waisted shorts, cropped top and tights with 'detailing'. I realised I'd have to get some sort of hoody as well as you can't really go to a rave in your double-breasted tailored coat can you, but we couldn't find anything in the Nike store so we ran to JD.
I just wanted a plain, black hoody but they only had weird knee-length ones or bright purple hoodies, so we asked a shop assistant for help. As Kat was talking to him I spotted a grey hoody in the men's section, but I couldn't get to it because there was a crowd of little boys bustling around it. I waited for them to move and called back to Kat and the shop assistant:
"It's alright, I'll just try a Mens' one."
And the shop assistant went "Boys."
I wondered why he'd said 'Boys' and then as I was reaching up for the hoody I froze with my arm in the air as I clocked the big blue sign- JUNIOR.
I think it's one of those things that is only funny at the time, but we were so excited for the night and also tired of shopping that it brought on the hysterics for me and Kat. After we'd recovered, I realised there actually wasn't any other suitable hoodies so I grabbed the little boy jumper and tried it on. It obviously didn't fit me as I'm not a ten year old boy. I was laughing so much that I couldn't take it off and the shop assistant came over to look and suggested that I should buy it, even though it barely went past my elbows, so it just goes to show what a keen salesman he is.
In the end I bought a jacket that doesn't even have a hood. I feel like my alter ego in it. In the day time I can wear my pencil skirts and waist belts and in the night time I can put on my Adidas jacket and be ready to rave. My mum said the jacket looks like something I would have worn when I was thirteen, but she's conveniently forgotten than when I was thirteen I wasn't allowed Name Clothes; it was Asda trainers and once I got a Kappa tshirt and I was PROUD.
But forget the clothes and hair and make-up, in the end I would have had a good night wearing a burka and a pair of clogs(although I would have been fucking sweaty), it was SO. GOOD.
Weeeeeeee this year I'm going to go to London as often as possible. Instead of falling in love with Paris, this whole au pair biz and led me to fall in love with London. Well, it's not love, but it's definitely Strong Like. I'll just have to make sure when I move there it's to the left hand side of the Thames, so I don't have to change the name of the blog.