Yeah, I'm talking to YOU.
Did I catch anyone out? I don't know if I'm just being paranoid but I thought I'd mention the hate-reader thing just in case there was anyone reading purely to annoy themselves. (Kind of like how I read Liz Jones articles even though I try really, really hard not to. She's an idiot. But she's an unbelievable idiot- it's amazing how she has made a career in 'journalism', absolutely amazing...)
I really don't have a lot of time as Lauren is arriving tonight!! Yey!! Lauren- my Haribo Binging Buddy, my Sofa Slobbing Sister, my Hippopotamus Popping-in Pal- who was one of the reasons I moved to Paris in the first place, many moons ago...
Unfortunately I'm working in the resto tonight and nobody could swap shifts with me, so she's going to come straight from the airport to my work and, as she put it, 'be enigmatic with a book' for two hours. Then tomorrow I'm not working in the restaurant so after my drama lesson we can spend all day together... until my au pair job at half six. Speaking of my au pair job...
I told the mum on Friday that I wouldn't be staying next year. She seemed really put out and at first I felt like I'd made the wrong decision: with this job I have somewhere to live for free, food, holidays AND at the moment I am really enjoying it; I finally have a good relationship with the kids. I keep torturing myself, thinking how much money I could save if I stuck it out for one more year, continuing to work at the restaurant at the same time. The mum said she'd like me to be a part-time nanny for the toddler because his nounou is leaving (they're not paying her enough) but she also said I could carry on the same hours as this year if that would make me stay.
This isn't a real life. Even though it's a nice gesture, I don't like giving the mum a list and having my food shopping done for me each week. What if one week I just want to live on cocaine and croissants? I'm sick of using a bathroom in the corridor and worrying about whether my music is too loud because the walls are so thin I can hear people coughing in the room next to me. And I know I boast about being able to cook spaghetti carbonara whilst having a shower at the same time but in truth I only did this once and it didn't save as much time as you'd think. (Add five minutes to clean up the watery, soapy spaghetti off the floor.)
Also, of course, there is the much more important question: Do I want to stay in Paris next year, or not?
For a while the answer was a resounding NO. I want to live in London. I want a real job, I want to live with my friends in England. Also, I can not speak French and I will never be able to, one more year here is not going to change that.
But for the past couple of months, my mind has been changing, absolutely set on London one day and the next completely certain that I might as well stay in Paris for another year, because I'm kind of settled here now and the pace of life is slower and everyone says London is a hard place to survive and I'm not a strong person, let's be honest. I like sleeping and crying and drawing pictures of myself in cloaks.
My problem is I get carried away too easily. I remember last time I went to England I said to my mum: "This is it, I'm ready to move back to England now." I was so sure of myself. But as soon as I got back to Paris I forgot all about England... It seems like some fantastic dreamworld where all my friends and family live and where I'd have the BEST TIME EVER but at the same time it feels like I've exiled myself, like I'm forcing myself to stay away in order to make some sort of point, but I can't remember what point I'm supposed to be making.
Anyway, I know it's a bit late now, but I did start writing a post about last weekend and I suppose I may as well finish it, so here it is:
It's such a gorgeous, hot sunny day outside and yet here I am, sat on my bed with the blinds closed, just so I can fill you in the weekend... I better be careful though, today at work the Shift Manager said "I've been reading your blog. You've been out a lot recently haven't you?"
I'm an idiot.
But I can't help it, when I started this blog I wanted to keep it absolutely anonymous and a secret from everyone I knew but I'm a just a HUGE Egomaniac and I can't help myself- 'Read my blog, read my blog. Give me attention. GIVE ME ATTENTION!!'
I blog therefore I am (an egomaniac)?
Anyhoo, if I sat here all day questioning whether people actually wanted to read this shit or not, I'd never write any of it, so let's jump in the Time Machine and travel back to last Saturday... (Then if we have time we can stop off in the Dark Ages and pick up some FIT warrior men, Celts or Vikings, whoever we find first... although I'm not sure about the Vikings- they might just want to rape and scalp us, rather than partake in the lovely evening I had planned... 'Dinner and a show babe, or rape and pillage?' O.k I can see that I've gone dangerously off-topic now... I'll stop.)
On Saturday I had to go to a huge celebratory lunch with my au pair family, not to eat (the mum told me to have lunch beforehand) but to sit on the floor and play with the toddler and his cousin. It was kind of... humiliating.
The meal was in the private suite of a beautiful hotel and restaurant in the middle of the Bois de Boulogne. It had obviously cost a LOT of money to hire out the room- there were even three waiters provided who stood silently at the end of the table when they weren't bringing in plates and trays of food.
I intended to eat a big breakfast before I went, but obviously I didn't drag myself out of bed in time- I ended up jumping out of bed ten minutes before I had to meet the au pair family's relations downstairs who were giving me a lift to the restaurant... Yep, turns out the mum's cousin and his wife live in my building with their toddler and three week old baby. I wonder if they've been spying on me?
After a hearty breakfast of nothing, I ended up being at the stupid fucking meal for FIVE HOURS. I felt like I was going to faint when I came out, but stupidly refused a lift back from the mum's cousin because, when everyone finally started leaving, I was just standing there like a lemon and the mum's cousin was faffing around with pushchairs and changing bags and I felt really awkward and uncomfortable... I just wanted to run out of there, into the woods and far, far away.
I didn't actually run into the woods, but I did march along the edge of them, past all the delightful prostitutes that work the Bois all day and all night. Luckily I knew where I was going because that's where me and Ali (yeah, 'me and Ali', not 'Ali and I'... it's called DIALECT, fuck off) used to go running last year and where I used to take the five year old for Wednesday afternoon jaunts on the trottinettes.
Still, it took me forty minutes to get to the nearest metro station and I was ready to pass out from hunger by the time I got there. I just wanted to get away from the au pair family and their thirty relatives, all of who completely ignored me and didn't even say 'Bonjour' when I arrived. Cunts.
There were a few people there who were my age as well, which made it even more awkward: there were the mum's two glamorous step-sisters; their very attractive boyfriends; and then one guy who I think is the mum's younger brother, but I'm not sure as nobody introduced us. He was FIT, but probably looks upon me as some sort of invisible slave girl, so not sure that there is a great chance of romance there. He is more likely to approach me with the offer of earning some extra money cleaning his apartment. I hate rich people. Or am I just jealous? I can't decide.
Anyway, what a fucking horrible way to spend my Saturday. The toddlers did not want to play with me and they kept running away to to their parents who looked at me like 'Can't you control them? You are ruining our lunch.'
The food looked amazing. At the end there was loads of little cakes left and they didn't offer me any. I made my mind up to definitely NOT be an au pair again next year. I don't know what I was thinking. I don't want to be on the peripheral of some stranger's family gathering, I want to be in the centre of my own, being offered cake and chatting to people I actually like and care about.
On Saturday night it was the last ever 'Die Nacht: Hansel und Gretel', a massive underground (as in not many people know about it, it wasn't literally underground) rave that actually, a commenter on my blog told me about months ago. I'd wanted to go to a 'Hansel und Gretel' rave for ages but after a tiring day playing Bertha the Mute Servant Girl (plus thanks to overdoing things a bit last week) I wasn't really up for going out. Olivia and Kayt tried to persuade me but I made my mind up- it was miles away from the restaurant and I'd have to go there on my own at one in the morning when I finished work.
However. Once I got to the restaurant/pub and saw other people drinking and having fun, I found myself slipping into the Party Mood, I couldn't help it. Plus, work was really quiet and the manager said I might be able to go home early- I decided I'd try and go to 'Hansel und Gretel'. The only problem was I didn't have a ticket and on the website it said you could only pay on the door if you arrived before 11pm and the earliest I would be finishing work was 11...
I sneakily texted Julia underneath my apron to see if she was going and she said she wanted to go but didn't have a ticket either. As soon as I found out I was definitely finishing work at 11pm I told her to come and meet me outside the restaurant. I think everyone else was pissed off that I was finishing early when they'd all started two hours before me, especially as it was one girl's last ever shift and she kind of hinted that the decent thing to do would be to swap with her and let her go early...
"Bye!" I yelled at 11pm, running out of the restaurant and into Julia's car.
She went back to Julia's so she could shower and I could borrow some clothes and on our way to the rave we picked up Georgie who had just finished babysitting and also didn't have a ticket. I had a horrible feeling we wouldn't get in, but it was worth a shot. The rave was all the way in Montreuil, a suburb in the East of Paris that has got a reputation has being quite cool and down to earth. By the time we found the 'secret location' it was 1am and there was a huge queue outside the old sports centre/school (I'm not sure what it used to be).
It was pouring down with rain. Rain makes me really excited sometimes, especially at night time. I felt really excited, partly because we were taking a risk and might be turned away, but also because we were in an area of Paris completely different to anywhere I've been before. It used to be really, really rough and dodgy but now they're regenerating the area, which is a town in its own right really, rather than a suburb of Paris and I've just stumbled across an article online about how they are trying to make Montreuil an example of environmentally-friendly city regeneration...
That's what I love about Paris- the shadowy edges that tourists never see, the low rise, old fashioned housing in the suburbs, with shabby facades and international shops and restaurants on every corner, with shop names like 'Scooter Shooping' and cafes offering 'sandwhichs' and 'sandwihs'.
We hatched a Cunning Plan- Julia's Gentleman Friend had told her to say she was on 'Serge's List'. Even though we didn't know who Serge was and would obviously not be on his list, we planned to do a good enough impression of three Shocked Indignant People that they would let us in for free, or at least let us pay on the door. There were so many people in the queue that I was worried that, if we went to the back, they'd reach maximum capacity by the time we got to the front.
But miracle of miracles, before we got to the front we saw Olivia, Kayt, Laura and Pryia- Laura's visitor from Amsterdam- so we pushed in with them.The queue moved quickly and suddenly we were at the door, being asked to show our tickets. The girls with tickets went through straight away, but me and Julia hung around looking shifty while Georgie confidently told the girl on the door we were on Serge's List. She checked it and shook her head.
"Serge!" we exclaimed, tutting.
Always letting us down that guy.
The girl had a whispered word with someone else, but he shook his head. I thought we weren't getting in but then she said we could get in if we paid the entry fee. It was twenty euros but I was just so happy we got in!!!
We all had a celebratory group hug inside.
Yeaaaah I'm so glad we went. The music was mainly Parisien house- I:Cube, DJ Deep, Gilb'R and CHEF (all French producers/DJs). I am really liking house music at the moment and in Paris they like it deep, the kind of music that you can dance on your own to for hours, provided it's very dark so you can forget there is anyone else around you. The space was massive, with escalators and weird corridors that led you around the tops of squash courts, but that didn't stop people Pushing and Shoving. We danced at the front for a little bit but it got so sweaty and unbearably crowded that we had to find a space off to the side, where we had loads of room to bop about without topless, overheated idiots brushing their sweaty bare chests against my back. ERGH.
The drinks were really cheap for Paris- five euros for your initial bottle of beer and then four euros for refills and there were loads of toilets so you didn't have to queue for ages... Super. :)
Laura and Pryia left about 3am because they were sick/hungover and me, Julia, Georgie, Kayt and Olivia didn't make it until the end (5am) either. At about quarter to five we suddenly all decided we were too tired to dance anymore, so we had a little sit down and then we decided to wait in Julia's car until the metro started at half five.
We all piled in, locked the doors and after chatting shit for a bit about Gandhi's sandal (although Julia's English is amazing, I think she was really confused at this point) we had the best nap EVER. I felt so safe and cosy, snuggled up with my friends while the rain hammered on the windows. It didn't stop raining for a second all night. Julia turned the radio to a jazz station and the weirdest songs came on, but I remember thinking I really liked them. The lyrics kept drifting into my sleep...
"Matilda, Matilda... shadows beneath the floor..."
"A humming bird has no legs to fly, we've all been blessed with wings of our own..."
I might try and Google them later.
We woke up about an hour later to got the metro home and Georgie ended up staying at mine because the bastard Line 1 was closed until 10am. We only managed a few hours sleep because...
I have arranged to go for lunch with my old au pair family!
Since I came back in September I've been meaning to see them, I miss the kids so much, especially the five year old. Me and him were like an Invisible Robot Fighting Team. I miss our amazing games and the way he wouldn't let me leave without giving me a kiss and a hug and his cute way of speaking English... 'You rigolo me.'
O.k that's all I wrote... have I got time to finish it off? Erm. My room is absolutely disgusting so I better make sure I tidy it first, but I'll finish this later if I have time.