Saturday, October 15, 2011

Finding A Groove

Today I integrated myself into France, and really, Parisian life. Big steps today. Now I have a bank account, which means I have clout (sort of), and also a phone! So when I make friends or meet cute boys, I can speak to them again. It's miraculous. How did people make friends abroad without cell phones? Shush, I do know how.

This morning started with the realization that the consistent cloud cover in Paris is what keeps the city warm at night. Without it, temperatures drop quickly and warm slowly. Thus, despite the clear blue sky's foolish grin, when I left the house at half nine, it was 40 degrees. Yikes! Nevertheless, my host father and I had big plans today--bank account and cell phone. Woah, am I right? When was the last time you did something that big? TWO somethings?? In one day??? Right. So after un petit café, we left to kick some bureaucratic booty.

Our first stop was LCL, the bank we had chosen for my account. It costs one euro per year, since I am a student, and that's pretty good, considering HSBC wanted to charge me 4 euro a month! Well, LCL, despite being open, was not interested in our business today. Despite the obvious lack of any other customers, the two bankers there said it was impossible to do today and that I should come back on Tuesday. I was ready to be like, okay, cool, whatevs. We left and I thought it was phone time, and then we walked into Credite Societé. There were a lot more people actually working, and after just about a half hour, I got my own bank account! I pick up my card next week. The REAL perk, however, is that my HF had an account there already, so by adding me, we each got a free gift--a Longchamp bag. Uh...okay!! France is weird.

So then we went to get a the post office. Apparently France is trying to save their postal service, since they are really broke, by diversifying. La Poste is also a bank, and a mobile phone service. It was evidently the cheapest option ma famille found, and although it was a little complicated, now I have a phone!! If you want the number, message me on facebook, but I only have an hour of talk time per month. I do have unlimited SMS and internet though, which is the real key. However, it's a touch screen phone that is like, sooooo two years ago, and I have been spoiled by my poor iPhone (which has been relegated to iPod/clock since arriving in France last week), so this is HARD. Sigh. Nothing is easy in France.

Anyway, after all that, we had lunch at ma famille's house (baked ham and figs, salad with walnuts, potatoes, baguette, yogurt, chocolates....oh yeah), and then I went exploring. I felt kind of bad ducking out quickly, but their son is not a good eater, and it was turning into a battle of the wills--I'm not going to eat it - yes you are - no! - then you'll sit here until you do--and no one wants to be around for that.

Today I went to the American Library, which I have ma famille's card to, and checked out a couple books, then walked myself through the sunshine along the Seine, to les jardins des Tuileries. The sun felt amazing on my face. Everyone was out, and although it kind of felt like I was the only one alone, it didn't matter. It was breezy and a bit chilly but the sun was warm.

 some views of my walk along the Seine

At the Tuileries, everyone was basking. There are all these green chairs by the fountains, and everyone was turned to face the sun. It was funny-looking, and then I obviously needed to find myself a chair. After giving a little stink-eye the people saving chairs for other people (and the one guy with his feet up), I found the real trick: lurking like a shark by a group of people who were wiggling around. When the group stood, I waited until every had finally gathered their things before moving on, and I almost lost the chair I wanted to a quick, dive-y couple. But I got the leaning one that I wanted, and spent the next couple of hours reading in the sun, and getting paranoid that the people who approached wanted directions (in reality, I was blocking a statue). It's interesting--I didn't like doing this in New York. Reading in public, or staying put for a while, that is. I always felt like I should be walking, taking pictures, exploring. Here, even though I haven't really seen much of the city, I don't feel rushed around. I walk slower (until I get behind a smoker), and I linger more.

my view, staring straight into the sun

On my way home I intended to stop at a café, because everyone does it, and I need to start doing it...but I chickened out. It's so silly, and I get really weird about stuff like that. The problem is I haven't done it before. And I know in my heart that it's really just as simple as sitting at a table and ordering. But I hate messing up, even though I do stupid stuff all the time, like trip and say the wrong thing and not be able to find my wallet and on and on. The point is, once I do it, I'll be fine. I just have to do it.

 instead of going to a café, I took this picture...worth it?

Well, after admitting that I'm afraid to go to a café by myself on this blog, now I'm going to have to do it ASAP so my readers don't think I'm an idiot. Okay, tomorrow, after lunch with my Parisian campers, I think I'm going up to the big flea market in the 18th to see if I can score a pretty dish or two for storage in my shoebox apartment. And on the way back, I absolutely MUST stop and have coffee. At an outdoor café. Solo.

Tomorrow is going to be a big day.

Although I did have an eventful evening as well. Since I don't have friends yet, and I am obviously a huge wuss who can't get a coffee on her own, going out at night solo is not happening yet. So I bought two bottles of wine (for tonight AND THE FUTURE, sheesh), a baguette, and some cheese, and wrote this blog post.

Also, I painted my nails with polka dots.

so chic

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