Thursday, 12 May 2011


I'm babysitting for the first time in weeeeeks. Even though it's been a long time, we've got straight into our old habits: me in the kitchen, eating Nutella with a spoon behind a cushion in case the kids come in; the little boy in bed and the two girls sat in front of the TV, watching a cartoon that as far as I can tell is about magic strippers:

While they're watching Magic Strippers (or 'Winx Club' as I believed it's called), I've been thinking about Next Year and The Future and Shit...

I've got the Future sussed- Spice Girls fashion will make a comeback and the Middle East will finally be open for tourism.

But while I look forward to embracing both of these happenings in The Future, I really should be giving a little more thought to the other two Worries in my life, although I've got so much random Shit going on that I can't really be arsed worrying about it anymore (no money, uneven eyebrows, big fat belly etc). However, I have managed to make a decision of sorts about Next Year.

I'm sticking with my decision to stay in Paris, because for the first time since I arrived here in September, I feel like my French could actually progress further than ordering fast food. (Saying that... on Sunday I got given chips instead of a bottle of water because they thought I said 'potato' instead of bouteille d'eau. To be fair, in my accent they do sound quite similar, but do I really look so stupid as to wander into a McDonald's and shout POTATO if I wanted French fries?)

Getting up early and going to lessons didn't work for me, but talking to French people really has and I've been doing a lot more of that recently. I'd rather stay for another year and go home with some half-decent level of French than leave now and have to explain in job interviews that 'Yes, I did live in Paris for a year' but 'No, I don't speak much French... What did I do then? Well, erm, there were some strange men involved, and lots of chocolate spread...'

Besides the French thing, I also really like Paris and a year isn't enough time to explore this city: I still haven't been to the theatre here, or the ballet or the opera (why are you laughing?); I haven't even been to the Louvre yet; and I haven't seen anyone do parkour in the street- that was my secret Paris dream. I thought that when I got here there would be muscley men leaping over lamposts left, right and centre... unfortunately the only time I have seen any men moving that quickly was last weekend, when they were running across the bridge to sexually assualt us.

Being an au pair can be a fucking pain in the arse, but you get free accommodation and you get a lot of free time. I even considered asking my family if I could work for them next year. I mean, the kids can be bratty and I have to do horrible, soul-destroying laundry, but:
- the money is good
- the parents are really, really nice
- when I am not working I am completely independant... they still have no idea, for example, that I have twice gone to London just for the night, or that I woke up one Saturday in Lyon.

The only thing is I have to speak English with the kids and the job is a lot of work. But it's 'better the devil you know' isn't it? So rather than risk getting a new job with a Mental Family, I decided over the weekend to ask the mum if they would consider keeping me for next year- after all I am Shit Au Pair, for all I know she is counting down the days until they can bring in another Super Au Pair like they had last year. (Her glowing, seven foot ghost has haunted me since I took the job.)

On Monday I asked the mum if we could chat when she got home from work. She was pleased I asked because she said: "I wanted to discuss with you your plans for the summer."

Earlier on in the day the eight year had been asking me I wanted to go to the Côte d'Azur with them, but you can never tell with kids when they are talking sense or just being random, so I didn't want her to think I was taking her seriously. She was being deadly serious though, when she said this:

"If you want wear a Swimming (she doesn't know the word for 'costume'), you must-" (here she sucked in her cheeks and her belly to demonstrate the Act of Slimming Down, a notion she clearly thinks I need explaining) "-and you must stop eat the bonbons and all the big dinner."

You know when I said I would pay good money for someone to follow me round all day shouting 'DON'T EAT! IBIZA IN FOUR MONTHS!'? I think I've found her...

When the mum got home I explained that I was planning on staying in Paris. I asked if they'd have me again next year. She said...

No, fuck off.

Ok so her actual words were 'If we were using the system I would use you, for sure'. But they're not using 'the same system', they want to get someone who can do my job and be a private tutor to the oldest girl, because she is failing school because for some reason she always watches the telly eating biscuits instead of doing her homework...

Then, in true positive re-inforcement style (compliment followed by criticism followed by compliment) she said that they'd like to invite me on holiday with them for two weeks at the end of July- they have an apartment on the French Riveria. She then something about working hours and sleeping in the living room with the kids, but I couldn't really hear her because there was a very loud voice in my head yelling: TAN! TAN! TAN FOR IBIZA!

My friend Claire said on to me on Skype this morning that A Good Tan isn't a reason to do anything but you see, it is, because that is the reason why I am going to the South of France and sleeping on a sofa bed for two weeks, while the kids sleep on beds in the corridors... I know it sounds a bit hideous, but think of the Good Tan I will get!! Also, I know I have sworn off men for life and I am definitely not going to falter on my six months-abstinence plan, but... think of all the millionaires with yahts that will be there! The apartment is near Monaco. Do you know who lives in Monoco? Rich, tanned, rich men with yahts- that's who.

So I have said I will go and That Is That. And if they change their mind then it means I will get to go back to England two weeks earlier than I expected so celebrations all round. My plan is to go home for the summer and then start my new job in September, depending on what my 'new job' might be. I'm thinking of finding accommodation in exchange for babysitting, then I can get a second job in a cafe or a bar or possibly a strip club, depending on just how bad things get.

In other news...

I am going to Serbia for the night on Saturday for my cousin's wedding!

I don't feel very organised, apparently you can't take Serbian currency in or out of the country, and I'm not sure how I'm getting to the airport and I don't know how to print my tickets off. Is a bording card the same as a ticket? Do you need both? Can I take my make-up in my hand luggage if it is half-open?

I am panicking slightly, but at least I have my new shoes. I have a blister just from trying them on, so I know they're good. Makes me feel like I'm back in Liverpool when the deeper a shoe scarred, the nicer it was. Ahhh English girls. When will we learn to appreciate shoes that don't cripple us? But how does the saying go? 'Go high or go home.'

Speaking of shoes, the premonition I had earlier about the future may come true sooner than we think...

Just you wait until the 90s kicks off again, I am so up for bindis and big furry coats. And those platform boots! I might get some for my walking tour of Baghdad, or else I could team them with hotpants and a tshirt that says: 'GIRLS ON TOUR! BAGZY 2020!

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