Friday, 13 July 2012

Expect the Unexpected

So, before I finish off telling you about my birthday, let me tell you about today. I mentioned yesterday that I was going to take the eight year old (I keep forgetting that she's now nine, from now on I'm calling her the nine year old) to 'my restaurant'...

Well, she loved it.

As we walked up the street she kept asking me which building it was and I could tell she was getting excited. I always tell her about 'working in the restaurant' and I knew she must have created an image of the place in her head, so I was kind of excited myself to finally show her where I worked. 

Actually, I also felt a little bit nervous. I don't really know why, maybe it was the strangeness of the situation- my two worlds about to collide.

I was hoping everyone would be really nice to me and make me look P-O-P-U-L-A-R (you can't say that word and not say it as a perky cheerleader chant, can you?) in front of the nine year old; I'm still paranoid that the au pair family think I have no friends and no social life, just because I was so quiet and miserable at the start of the year.

I never told you why I was in such a shit mood at the beginning of the year but basically somebody important to me passed away, at exactly the same time I started working at the resto. I was trying to settle into THREE new jobs and cope with the horrible things that were happening back in England so I didn't really give a shit if anyone thought I was a miserable bitch or not.

Now, however, I'm trying to prove to the au pair family that I am a happy, sociably-adept human being (lies) and so I was really glad that Mez was going to be working today; I wanted the nine year old to see me with 'a friend'.

Normally when I try and do something 'cool' with the nine year old, she just raises an eyebrow and shakes her head at me, but today she was kiffe-ing* being in the restaurant. I felt very smug. We sat down at a table and she looked at me in disbelief.

"All the people know you and say hello to us here!"

Don't look too surprised love.

She was really interested in watching everyone work, particularly Mez. She was a little bit obsessed with Mez actually.

"She's so pretty! I love her! She is so nice!" she kept saying.

I might have grumbled something about Mez being her au pair instead of me, but not so the little girl could hear. Hmm. The nine year old probably would like Mez to be her au pair more than me. But she has to ask herself, would Mez do the strange hand-clappy dance with the obscene sausage-shaped, fart-making putty?

I think not.

Anyway, we had a lovely time at the restaurant. When Mez and Danish Girl finished, they came and sat at our table for a chat. Then, do you remember Jack? My one time superhero sidekick who has since been banished from my Superhero League after he told me that the French guy I invited out for drinks was probably embarrassed for me?

(Me and Mez were saying the other day, he's horrible and we hate him and yet we forget every time we see him and we can't work out why. He's quite funny I suppose, but he's so horrible. Although... oh my god. I need to tell you... he was probably right about the French guy. You know how everyone said 'Invite him out, the worst that can happen is that he'll say no'? Well I know now they were wrong- the worst that can happen is that he'll say yes and then not turn up... so... awkward times for me. Let's NEVER speak of it again. Ever. Never ever. And now I know why I've never asked anyone out before: because the consequences can be DIRE.)

Well he came and joined us when he was on his break. He joined in our drawing competition and he drew a sunshine, but then he added a weird shape underneath it, kind of like two cherries with a very thick stalk. Then he drew two weird wiggly-tube things on either side of the sunshine... Slowly buy surely I realised he was drawing a naked man, bending over with his head peeping through his open legs, revealing the back of his ball sack and a full-frontal view of his Sunshine.

I stared at it, speechless.

Mez looked at me, also speechless.

The nine year old cocked her head to one side to try and get a better look.

"What is this?" she asked.

I ripped the piece of paper away, screwed it into a ball and threw it in the bin. Jack is definitely not allowed to be Cloak Girl's sidekick anymore.

At that point I thought it was probably time for us to leave so I dragged the nine year old away from Mez and we got on the metro to my place. I took the nine year old to see my room and, once again, I felt secretly smug because she loved it. We played shop for two hours, with the nine year old pretending to be the shop assistant, helping me choose something to wear for a party.

We did each other's make-up and I took photos of her wearing my high heels and carrying one of my handbags.

"I love your room!" she said, "I didn't think you have all this make-up! All this talons! All this nice dresses!"

"What did you think it would be like?" I asked her, offended.

"Just... not this." she said.

I've had a really lovely day. It was only spoilt somewhat by the prospect of tomorrow- I have to be at the au pair family's house for 10.30am, but I couldn't find anyone to cover my shift at the restaurant... However, someone finally got back to me about ten minutes ago so it's all fine!! Yey!!

When we got back to the au pair family's house, we played for a bit and then it was time for tea. The mum had bought fresh ravioli from an Italian deli so all I had to do was boil the water and heat up a jar of pasta sauce. Then for pudding there was a cake that me and the nine year old had made that morning before we went to the restaurant. I got a knife to cut the cake but the mum suddenly came into the kitchen and said that she was going to cut the cake.


Then she looked at the nine year old and said "Why don't you take LBM to your bedroom for a minute?"

The nine year old led me away and I suddenly thought that maybe the mum was going to put candles on the cake so they could sing 'Happy Birthday' to me. I did vaguely wonder last week if they'd get me anything for my birthday, but on Friday when I said goodbye they didn't even say 'Enjoy your birthday weekend' or anything, so I assumed they'd forgotten about it.

(Actually, last Friday, it got to about half eight and they were still getting ready to go to their country house, so I asked the mum if she wanted me to wait until they left or if I could just go home. Now I'm feeling a bit paranoid that she thought maybe I was hinting 'Do you want me to wait.. for my card/present?' Oh my God what if she did think that? What if she ran out and got me a present because she thought I was expecting one? How embarrassing. Shit.)

We were in the little girl's bedroom for ages and she kept asking me if I knew why her mum had sent us away. I pretended I thought that her mum wanted us to tidy her room. Suddenly I heard the dad calling us and he sent the toddler to come and get us.

"Joyeux Anniversaire! Joyeux Anniversaire!" he yelled.

As we walked into the living room, the mum, the dad and the eleven year old came out of the kitchen singing 'Happy Birthday'. The mum was carrying the cake, now with four lit candles on it. The dad was carrying a paper bag tied up with a bow. The eleven year old was carrying a camera.

I had this nightmare last year, when the au pair family 'surprised' me on holiday, two weeks after my birthday, with a cake (again, a cake that I'd made, not knowing I was making my own birthday cake) and presents and they made me sit down while the whole extended family gathered around me to take photos and watch my face as I opened the presents.

It's terrifying.

But I didn't have to fake smile!

They got me a really cute little bracelet, one of those long,ribbon ones with a single charm on that everywhere seems to be selling at the moment. The ribbon is made of a pink, flowery material and it has three little gold bells attached and a small disc that says 'Merci' on it. (I assume they wanted to get one that said 'Merci for being such an amazing au pair and generally all-round lovely person and also thank you for keeping your eyebrows looking good as we have to look at them every day and nobody likes a Bushy-browed Barbara', but that wouldn't fit.) I've always wanted something with little bells on it! Oh I'll be just like Esmeralda! (Except I won't have to hide in the Notre Dame to avoid being racially persecuted. Fun!)

They also got me a bag... yep, another bag from another au pair family. That means I now have four bags from au pair families. I've figured it out though- because I always wear my huge I Know What You Did Last Summer coat and shove everything into the ridiculously ginormous pockets instead of using a handbag, everyone thinks I don't own a bag.... Works for me!

It's a little shoulder bag, dark blue with little pink stars all over it. It's cute. I'm really surprised they got me a present. I really hope they didn't just get me one because they thought I was expecting one because that's awful... But in a way it doesn't matter, because I got a present anyway I guess.


Guess what???

Tonight the dad was home when me and the nine year old got in from our adventures and when the kids were in the other room, he came up to and said in a quiet voice "Ok... look. The girls have told us that you-"

At this point I was frozen to the spot, trying to quickly guess what he was about to say. My mind drew blanks.

"-didn't know they weren't coming to the country this weekend. They said you were disappointed when you found out it was going to be just you and the toddler."

Shit. I did say that. But mostly I was just saying it to make the nine year old feel special, because sometimes she gets jealous when I have to watch the toddler or give him in his dinner instead of play with her.

"Well," he continued before I could say anything, "If you think you're going to be lonely, you can bring a girlfriend if you want. You can look after the toddler and then, you know, when you're not working you can go off with your friend."

How nice is that???

So Olivia's going to come and we're going to have a lovely weekend in the country. I just hope we don't have to look after the toddler too much. I need to go now actually, as I need to get up early tomorrow and pack! The country house is right on the beach, but I think it's going to rain all weekend. Still, it will be nice to see the sea.

Before I go, I have other news. On Tuesday Georgie was supposed to leave Paris forever. Kayt and Laura took her to Gare du Nord but they got there too late and she missed her Eurostar!! Amazingly, Eurostar said they'd put her on the next one for free, I think they probably felt sorry for her because she had so much stuff with her. Laura and Kayt left Georgie at Gare du Nord and went for a drink to drown their sorrows. Then Georgie texted them to say that she didn't get on the Eurostar!!

'It just didn't feel right'. She said.

I've not spoken to Georgie properly yet, but I can't quite believe she didn't get on the train. I have a tiny inkling... that is has something to do with a Parisian boy... but that's pure speculation.

Anyway, that's my news, tomorrow I'm off to the country.

Have you seen 'Withnail and I'?

As much as I love that film, I'm hoping this weekend won't be anything like that.

*Language Note. (Ha ha ha- No, really.)

Kiffe comes from Arabic and is used in French as slang for  'love'. Me, Kayt and Olivia now use it quite a lot in English, for example: 'I'm not kiffe-ing life right now guys.'

Also, I have, on occasion, used it to generate a laugh at the restaurant... Me saying 'Je kiffe ca!' is like a French person who can barely speak a word of English suddenly exclaiming 'Mate, that is siiiiick!' Hilarious. Or not.

One last thing, when we went to 'Wanderlust' a few weeks ago, we were the only people who stayed dancing right until the end, and on the way home we bumped into the DJ who pointed at us and called us 'les kiffeuses'. Then Olivia was really put out, because he asked her what 'les kiffeuses' was in English and she said 'the lovers' and he said 'No, it's not that.' Well... it is. I think he thought she meant lovers as in 'Romeo and Juliet'. That's the trouble with language I suppose... and that's why I'll never learn French.


  1. Happy Belated Birthday! That was really nice of the au pair fam to get you a present :) Can you post a pic of the bracelet? It sounds really lovely.

    I can't tell you how much I love your blog. You are so funny and such a great story-teller :)

    Je te kiffe! ;)

    1. Thanks Crystal!! I will try and get a photo of the bracelet, I don't know if I want to risk it though, what if the au pair family stumble across it on the internet one day??? xx

    2. Ok, I can understand that :) How about a photo of a similar type of bracelet? Or you can just email me a pic! dq_grrl [at] hotmail [dot]com (I'm totally normal and not at all creepy, so no worries)

    Of course he's the fucking farmer, stop saying that Withnail!

    You can be Withnail and I'll be I.

    We've gone on holiday by mistake!

    Can't wait...!

    Olivia x

    1. Yeah I'm definitely Withnail...

    2. Hey now, woah, nice big fat head you got there, bet it sure does attract attention.
      Ever thought of making some money in a freak show, I could make your mighty mighty rich.
      ROLL UP, ROLL UP, pay a dime to see the girl with no humility...

      Stage directions: performed in a southern american accent, maybe a piece of straw in the mouth and a raggedy hat if available.

      Olivia x

    3. Oh SOZ there didn't realise Withnail was the 'best' character? Why did you give me the job of Withnail if you think it's the best part, not like you.

    4. Didn't want to show you up in front of your readers, did I?
      Well this is porkward, I didn't know this was your coffee, it tastes bitter anyway...

  3. Happy birthday for the other day! I laughed at the Withnail and I comment, love that film but i hope your weekend turns out better than that! Just wanted to say thanks for the advice earlier on when i was asking you a load of questions about au pairing in Paris, i actually accepted an offer in the centre of Rome last week so i'm heading there at the end of August for a year, yaaay! Don't suppose you have any advice? Haha it's a bit of a long shot x

    1. Oooh glad my advice was helpful! Hmm I don't have any advice for being an au pair in Rome, although that sounds amazing! Keep reading and thanks for the comment! x

  4. Heppy Birthday!! I'm loving this bag-gift scheme of yours! If only I hadn't flaunted all the bags I own someone might have gifted me a bad too. Anyways, I was so sad for the poor birthday monster, I know how he feels (a couple years ago we were all supposed to go out on my birthday and my friends got in a fight with each other and no one wwanted to go out....except me still) I'm glad the nine-year old loved your resto and your chambre de bonne, and why wouldn't she!

    1. That sounds a like a terrible birthday, why do Birthday Monsters all die in such sad cirmumstances? Thanks for the comment, keep reading pleeeeease xx