Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Almost November?

We're on holiday here in France. There's this random 10-day break at the end of October--Toussaints. What that really means for your average, run-of-the-mill au pair is one of a few scenarios: a.) you're on the opposite of holiday, and you're working alldayeveryday since the kids are free and wild, b.) you're on a modified schedule because the parents are taking some semblance of a break as well, and now you just don't know when exactly you'll be working until November, c.) you've been shipped off on "holiday" with your family or just the kids to a rural French location and you're hoping for cell service while wondering how to entertain 2-4 crazy and occasionally demanding children in the middle of nowhere, or d.) you hit the luck of the draw and your family went on vacay without you, giving you time to travel, sleep, eat preservatives, and spend money.

I'm on the "b" track--my family remains here, and I really don't know my hours at all. Today was 9:30-2pm, then 3:30-7. Tomorrow is looking like 9:30-2, and 5-7:30. Uh...whatever. I do think tomorrow is going to involve an aquarium though, so can I really complain? Also, I eat better when I baby-sit through lunch, no lie. There's more cheese involved.

Today I got a box from my family (my REAL family, yo) and it was sooooo lovely. Along with the things forgotten in the midst of weighing suitcases and figuring out drive-time to Pittsburgh, I also was surprised by some delicious cookies, and random food samples that are, like, exactly what I wanted to eat for no reason tonight. Example: tuna. I've seen a bunch of people eating salade nicoise recently, and that's kinda pricey in the restaurants, and all I really want is the good stuff (eggs, tuna, corn). And my mom sent me two pouches of tuna fish! The good stuff, man. Pouch #1--gone. Debated eating the other, but refrained. Also pumpkin Jell-o pudding, which I think I need to incorporate into a baked good situation while we are on holiday here (when family is home, I have access to oven and small, eager helper). Finally, my mom threw in some spices for pumpkin pie, and let's just say that my Toms might smell like cinnamon...

This weekend was incredibly busy for me, or at least it's the busiest "time off" I have had in the 2.5 weeks since I've arrived in France. After emailing/friending a ton of au pairs at my agency, I got to hang out with them, and so far I couldn't be happier. Everyone is nice, and I really hope they read this blog and make fun of it to my face, for reals. But whatever--they have been really welcoming and fun, and I think I have a lot of shenanigans and weekend trips in my future. First trip: Belgium (Brussels) on Nov. 12!

Anyway today and yesterday were beautiful clear days, and Sunday afternoon was spent mostly soaking up the sunshine in Jardins du Luxembourg. If you visited the gardens and took a picture of the senate house, I'm definitely in your photo, and there's a chance I'm doing something awkward. It was a great afternoon.

Things are catching up to normal here still--I'm about to embark on my first French laundry adventure. I am getting better about dishes. I'm more organized after a weekend jaunt to a few brocantes (flea markets, but ones that anyone can have a booth in, for just a little fee...French garage sale type stuff). I got a couple of silver trays for 2 euro to keep my stuff more organized, and I got a silk scarf for 5. Pretty snazzy.

A couple more updates of things I've learned over the weekend, brought to you in list form:
1. Scrambled eggs with French butter are way better than scrambled eggs without French butter.
2. Going out in Paris is really, really expensive.
3. Getting a taxi at 3am is just as cutthroat as New York City, and I'm not scared of skipping the taxi line.
4. The French will remix any song, and they especially love American top 40 songs that have been around a few years/decades.
5. I'm literally obsessed with baguettes.
6. Ordering three croissants in French at 9am is tough. "Trois croissants" is a tongue twister.
7. Rats hang out in playground sand pits at night.
8. There are like, 800 carousels in Paris, for seemingly no reason.
9. If you want to sit in the sun in a major Parisian park, get there before 12:30.
10. Rugby is something you can understand even if you don't know how it's played. Just keep watching.

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