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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Last Nights Out

Paris you are too good to me. And bad for me. My body cannot take any more drinking. Lucky I've got more Irn Bru and strawberry tart left over... Thank you for two consecutive nights of total madness. I don't even know how to put it into words.

(I began writing this on waking from a few hours sleep after the second of said nights- I might have still been a bit drunk.)

On Saturday night I went to Wos to celebrate and share my utter joy at having finished my last ever shift as an au pair. I sat, with my pint, happy as Larry (happy as Mairi) chatting to Emma and Matty behind the bar and a guy who was doing the same beside me.

We ended up chatting all night, about all sorts. I told him my childrens' story idea about the boy who though he was a ladybird, he told me about Russia, and how being Armenian but not looking it, like him, is the best possible situation, and how there are so many hot girls and too many fat ugly men. We discussed driving bad cars. He's rich, it seems. His grandad makes cognac, he made me taste 'the good stuff'. When I apologised that though I appreciated the gesture, the supposed chocolateyness was lost on me, he admitted he gave me the cheap stuff; only the 200 euro bottle- he knew I wouldn't have appreciated the 1000 euro one! At this point my memory is telling me he said 10,000 euro, but I'm just not letting myself believe that... We talked about imaginary French boyfriends and how he's given up having girlfriends because it's too expensive. He thinks economically, I don't, but I did laugh at a maths-based joke.
An interesting night, after only going out to have a pint by myself.

I'm telling you this to back up my claim that in Paris you meet a lot of people you wouldn't otherwise- I do anyway. More later:

Sunday night was my official leaving night, as it was the night Claire wasn't working. Dinner was a nice burger, cocktails and a sugary coffee, and off we went to Wos. The football was finishing, Barcelona versus Real Madrid, and that reminded me how much I love shouting abuse at the ref in Spanish.

The crowd cleared a bit and we got our bar seats and some wine and were discussing how boring it is to be asked the exact same questions every time a guy speaks to you in a bar- that is, if you are a foreigner in Paris. (It's fairly generic, and seems to be based on what you learn in standard grade- 'who, why, what, where, how long' questions.)
Quick as a flash, someone appeared to do exactly that! After telling us off because it's "not French" to drink wine at that time, (around midnight) 'Snow White' came and began talking to us, mainly to Claire because I figured if I stayed silent he'd think I didn't understand French therefore I wouldn't have to discuss the odd name choice. Claire demanded to see ID, which showed him to be Maxim, which is much better. His said his jokes were all about skin colour, said "the riots in London are funny, no?" and got himself into a heated debate.

We ended up chatting to the group of them, and among them: someone who got the highest marks in a clever subject (finance, economics?) in the whole of Morocco, a boy who likes to dance, one who is going to the States to work in real estate and finance because it pays more and "money is the most important thing"... My point- so many people come to Paris and being foreigners we don't quite end up in the same situations as we would at home, so we mix in very interesting circles!

At closing time our friend the barman suggested a little bar around the corner that stays open till 5am, it turned out to be the one and only South African bar in Paris, 'Pomme d'Eve'. Claire made me drink some sort of fruity baileys (?) and we danced. On the way to the bar we passed the Pantheon and thought it a
perfect spot for a last-night-out-in-Paris-together photo shoot. It was. Spinning and twirling in front of Pantheon, sitting on the chains, hanging off the statues. (Later accidentally deleting the photos= heart-wrenching.)

We met friends of friends in the bar and decided, at very early in the morning, to go to the flat of the one who lived the closest, for some pasta, and a creme caramel for pudding. There was an obscene amount of out-of-date chocolate and iced tea in that flat; I'm still not sure why.

After eating we left and came back here, our new friend came with us on his bike, helped me get my suitcase down the stairs and admired my painting of the ladybird boy. He left. Claire made me a multivitamin, I made her tea. We both fell asleep sitting up, she jerked awake and spilt her tea on herself. We crashed, basically. She went home armed with a water filter jug, a book, sugar, lentils and couscous, around 7.30am.
I went to bed and woke up a few hours later, in awe of my last weekend in Paris.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The countdown is on.

I'm listening to The Sound of Music- right now it's the one where Maria's saying "I have confidence in me, I can do this children thing, easy peasy, aye sure." If I'd listened to this at any point during the year I'd probably have been angered by the annoying children- give a nanny a break! But now, with 5 shifts to go, I can deal with nanny and child references. I have one 5.45am start shift, one all day shift, and 3 afternoons to go. I've packed my sleeping bag and my teapot.

And even though I could be shirking my au pair responsibilities - what can they do, I'm leaving anyway- I've been a blooming good au pair. We painted a masterpiece, had an english lesson each, and went twice to the park yesterday, and they watched Robin Hood while I hoovered their room and changed their beds.


I'll definitely not miss being an au pair, but Oscar said to me yesterday "I really really like you" and I almost cried. Is it crazy of me to suggest annual trips to Scotland for both of them?! Will I regret it if I do? Will they expect me to pay for it?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sorry to deviate, but...

London.

This is people pushing it, realising how little can be done to stop them, and getting high on the thrill of destruction. A failure of the police or a lack of numbers. Politicians absent. The army? To be used at home surely, not just abroad.

People gain a new tv, a top, pair of shoes, a suit, some food. People lose a livelihood, a house, a job, money, a life, hope. People lose faith in the country as it loses safety and security. Britain loses it's good reputation. (Britain loses money. People lose jobs.)

It's disgusting. People attacking people. For what reason? Yes people are disillusioned, disaffected, angry, jobless, poor, deprived, bitter, powerless and desperate. People are also greedy, selfish, destructive, mindless, terrifying. Other people are sad and disappointed, horrified by what people can do, are doing.

The last time London looked like this was the Second World War. That was a tragedy. This is self-inflicted.