Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Happy Anniversary Paris...

I've now been here a whole month and 3 days!

Apologies for the lack of contact, but I haven't really felt like writing. Not that there's been nothing to say; as usual day to day life still throws up strange and funny things- the boys especially, and I've been out, met some people, had good times.

So presumably there's a fair bit to catch up on, what's happened?

Well my friend Katie came to visit which was fantastic, I was getting a bit worried that she'd never arrive with the strikes (still) going on, and then she didn't answer any of my calls or texts...Turns out she'd just forgotten her phone! Thankfully I'd sent detailed instructions that got her through the disrupted trains and metro. When she arrived my little flat was already bursting- Keyanna and Laura were here, I'd invited them and Lulu who came later, for drinks before we went to a boat-nightclub to celebrate Laura's birthday. So there were 5 of us, which I thought was quite impressive (in terms of number of friends as well as fitting them all in!)

The boat party was good, if not so memorable. Too much wine was consumed. I blame the fact I'd worked all day (9.30-8.30) and it was another exhausting one with the kids. Me and Katie left the boat early and watched the city lights reflecting on the Seine from a bridge. Unfortunately neither of us heard my phone ringing back at my flat when Keyanna called to get me to let her in, or heard Laura shouting us from down in the courtyard. (Apparently the neighbours did.) I'd never appreciated having a buzzer before. I really need to hang a bell at my window with a string down to the courtyard or something! Or just not to conk out when I've promised folk a bed for the night...

So the next day I woke not feeling too fresh, poor Katie came all the way from Madrid and ended up with a hungover host who took her to an American diner for brunch! It was on Rue Mouffetard, which was in 'Amelie' so surely scored some tourist points? I had to work at 4pm and it was the coldest day I've seen here so far, and I had to take the boys to the park. They fought all the way there, then Arsene spat at me in the Jardin de Luxembourg. Lovely. Suffice to say it was not the best day, but improved immensely when I finished work and went to see the Eiffel Tower at night with Katie. So romantic! Very cold, but verrrrry pretty. Walked all the way back along the Seine as it was past last-train time, and caught the light show when we were half way back to the Latin Quarter. We'd promised ourselves a hot chocolate for the walk, but it seems you're only allowed alcohol past midnight in Paris. So when we finally made it back we improvised with some dark chocolate and milk, not quite the same but filled a gap.

The next day started better, wine-fug-less: with pain au chocolates and coffees we admired Notre Dame and the Louvre in the sunshine before rushing back to start the long and eventful trek to the airport. As I don't have to travel far, ever, this was my first real experience of just how disruptive the strike is! Should have had loads of time, ended up running through the airport. (Well not me, but Katie did!)

It was a great weekend though, so so lovely to see wee Katie :)

Since then? Been hanging out with Laura, tea and biscuits at mine is a regular occurrence and sleepovers too which make me feel like I have a flatmate, it's nice. You wouldn't think we met only 3-4 weeks ago!
We went to a gig last week at La Cigale in Montmartre: Uffie, Erol Alkan, a guy from Franz Ferdinand and some others called Gentlemen Drivers, who we liked except for the singer, which was a shame. Decided to persuade the keyboard, bass and drums players to kick the rest of them and take us on as flute/cello/vocals and backing dancers. Uffie was fantastic, enjoyed Erol Alkan's set too. I was surprised the crowd didn't really get into either- much too cool I suppose? Good looking, the lot of them. Couldn't help noticing two tall guys in big coats, strolling in with their cigarettes, no regard at all for the smoking ban!

Just like everyone else I've been tired this week, got a bit of a cold from the changing seasons and I've worked long hours- it's the school holidays so even when the parents aren't working I've been 'on duty' with lots of English activity books, lots of stories, lots of hours spent in sandpits and playgrounds. Any other au-pairs will know the 'I work with kids' look, and I've slipped back into it since it's become winter; suddenly I'm wearing half my wardrobe at once all layered up, and dark early mornings just don't make me want to get up and shower... So much for absorbing Parisien style!

But it's looking up, I'm barely working tomorrow then 3 days off to find some new boots, finally buy and send some postcards, and do yet more exploring. And find myself a Halloween party...
Hopefully I won't leave it so long 'til my next letter!

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