Right, in less than two weeks I will back in Paris to do start a New Era of Left Bank Manc; there are a few things from last year that I hinted at or started blogging about and I left them dangling in the air like broken spider webs, so I am going to tie up some loose ends right now before I can't be bothered again...
The Royal Wedding
Ok, so in April it was the Royal Wedding and I hinted that me and my friends had something 'hilarious' planned in my post Hilda Ogden Comes to Paris. Then I never mentioned it again, sorry for that... (as if anyone if arsed). Our 'hilarious' plan was, in hindsight, not so hilarious, because we got too drunk to carry out the plan properly. Basically, we ordered cardboard cut outs of Kate and William for our Royal Wedding Party and we were going to take them out all over Paris and take photos of them on the metro and in front of the Eiffel Tower etc.
However, after a few hours of drinking Pimms (imported especially for the occasion by Clare) none of us fancied carrying the happy couple and we realised most bars probably wouldn't let us in with life-size cardboard cut-outs. So Kate and William stayed in Clare's flat but we had a lovely time wearing tiaras and waving little flags and we did find the cut-outs Very Funny. Erm, perhaps it's one of those things where 'you had to be there'...
A couple of days after we celebrated the Royal Wedding, I wrote two posts called Personally Recommended and Personally Recommended Part 2. I wrote about meeting a French Person after my mum's friend's cousin Facebook messaged me about his cousin who lived in Paris, saying we should meet up if I wanted to practice my French and be shown around by a native.
If you read the posts you'll know that after some very confusing phonecalls me, Kayt and Emma went to meet this cousin of my mum's friend's cousin and he (and his friends) turned out to be really nice. Me and Kayt thought we could definitely meet up with them again, get them to take us to some little underground ravey places, and practice our French.
The French Person in question also happened to live next to one of favourite restaurants, Chez Gladine in the 13th, and we said that we should all go together the following weekend.
SO. The following weekend arrived and none of us wanted to go to Chez Gladine, so I sent the French Person a text saying that we weren't going to go, but we were all going out if he wanted to come. Then he rang me, which is where it all went terribly, terribly wrong...
I can't understand French and that is all there to it, but I can speak a little bit if I plan what I'm going to say and practice it. Luckily (or so I thought) I had been practicing a few phrases to say just in case such an occassion arose, so when French Person rang me I said something along the lines of 'Hello, me and my friends are going out tonight, you can come if you like.'
Now if he had saind something like 'Yes I want to' or 'No I don't want to' I reckon I would have been all right and I would no longer have to look back at the whole fiasco with such red-faced regret. But he said something that I wasn't expecting and I couldn't understand him. His tone of voice made me think he had said something more like a yes than a no, but I wasn't sure. Like an idiot, I pressed on with what I had practiced anyway.
I said I didn't know where we were going yet. Well, what I actually said was 'Je sais pas ou' which actually means more 'I don't know where it is'. He siad something in French that I didn't understand so I just kept on repeating the phrases I had learnt, like this Sesame Street phone I had when I was little; whatever you said into the plastic receiver, Count von Count would say 'I like counting to one, two three!'
He said a few more things in French and now I couldn't even gage what tone he was talking in. I just kept saying 'Je sais pas ou' 'Je sais pas ou' and then he said something like 'See you soon. A dim lightbulb flickered in my head and I realised he must have been saying he couldn't come but we could try and meet up another time, or something. That was fine and I went out that night without a care in the world. Kayt asked if I'd managed to get French Person and his mate that she quite fancied out and I said no but we would probably see them again...
Two days went past.
The weirdest thing I've found about learning French is that sometimes I will manage a whole conversation in French, but later I can only remember what I said in English, or sometimes I will not understand one word of French when somebody is speaking to me but later, even a day or two later, the whole thing will come to me suddenly, bursting in from some forgotten part of my subconscious...
Two days after the phone conversation, it hit me. I'm not even exaggerating now for dramatic purposes, but it was the middle of the night and I sat bolt up right in bed and I knew what he'd be saying. French Person had said, when I asked him if him and his friend fancied coming out, that he was sorry but he was going to a wedding. And then I'd said to him 'I don't know where it is.'
He will have thought that I thought he was inviting me to a wedding... when I have barely met him once. As comprehension dawned on me I felt so embarrassed. I'd just kept saying 'I don't know where it is, I don't know where it is' and he'd been like 'Erm, I would like to take you but you know it's a family wedding'.
It took me a few weeks to get over the embarrassment. Even though I don't know him and it's not like he was someone fit I met in a bar, he was my mum's friend's cousin's cousin, quite a few years older than me and not like that, I was still mortified by the fact that he would think I was an absolute Mental who thought he was inviting me to a wedding.
Anyway. Thankfully I can stop cringing now because it's been a few months and it's not like I'll ever see him again (because even though I am over the shame, I am still never, ever going to contact him never, ever again). But I REFUSE to ever speak to a French Person on the phone again.
Shit Au Pair on Holiday
I never finished writing about my holiday with the family! I never explained why I got really drunk and blacked out! Well, I think this post is long enough, so I will write about the holiday another day because, actually, I think it will be quite useful for any au pairs who are going on holiday with their 'host' families, so I will do a link to it in my Advice sections. (By the way I am hoping to update these soon as I know lots of new au pairs will be starting next month and they might need some help!)
Also, not to add another loose end, but I have a couple of Bombshells that I have decided to drop. There are actually quite a few things that have happened over the year that I haven't been able to write about because the people involved might be mad... BUT I'm so far away from Paris at the moment that I don't care the moment, so I'm going to divulge a couple of Au Pair secrets that might be shocking, especially to anyone who is reading this and actually has an au pair- ha!
One of my friends was working as an au pair by day and a stripper/lap dancer in the centre of Paris by night. She was living with the family and snuck out of the house everynight to go to work, then snuck back in the house in the mornings to take the kids to school, straight from work. She has since quit her nanny job and works full time as a stripper/lap dancer. She tells me that she earns, on a bad night, 350 euros and thousands on a good night.
(I'm not going to lie, I was very tempted by the money, but I'm really not lap dancer material- I can't touch my knees, never mind my toes and as for sexy underwear and 'upkeep', I doubt anyone would pay to see me writhe around in my 100% cotton, Marks and Spencers Girls Hipster Briefs.)
The second shocker really isn't my secret to tell as the au pair in question isn't even one of my friends (but I have met her a few times, this is not one of those friend-of-a-friend stories) but it's too good not to tell you. This au pair was having an affair with the dad of her 'host' family. YES I KNOW. Jilly Cooper couldn't write it any better- the girl was looking after the kids and the dad. Fucking Shocking.
So. People who get au pairs really do not have a clue who they are letting live in their house and looking after their kids...