Whew so it’s been a while since I’ve posted and quite a bit has happened since then. I won’t get too caught up talking about how I haven’t been posting, but I promise you I have a good reason.
Let’s start with Christmas:
For Christmas I went home for almost a week. It was so refreshing being home and I loved getting to see my family, my rabbit, and celebrate the Christmas spirit (American style, woo!). Most of all it just felt good to be home. I feel like the first time you return to your roots after moving to a new city, things just feel better in general. You get a feeling of nostalgia being back where you feel most comfortable, but at the same time you long to be back in your new home. It’s an emotional experience because you feel like your identity is changing and you have to deal with a lot of changes. It’s nice to be home, but also nice to return back to your new home. At the same time though, it was nice to eat Mexican food and buy all those random things that are better in Texas. For example Advil. Much much cheaper in the US than France, at least larger bottles for a cheap price. Surprising because it seems like the base cost of healthcare is approximately 25x cheaper in France in most cases.
New Job, New Family
After the new year, I started a new job. Still in nannying, but now with two separate families who pay significantly better and where I get twice as many hours. It’s also declared so I’m officially contributing to my french securité sociale account, so I can get health insurance and also eventually be eligible for a french pension, woo!
I work with two different families, one on weekdays except Wednesday, and the other family all day on Wednesday only. Both families are nice, but it was a bit of a struggle at first. The kids needed to adjust to me and I needed to adjust to them. It’s difficult when you are constantly switching nannies and constantly teaching someone new how things are done in your household and life. Thankfully I was able to chat with the previous nannies and get some really good advice on how to talk with the kids and how to work with them most efficiently. They all told me of their struggles at first, but how it would get significantly better after the hump. It’s been 6 weeks with them so far and I don’t think I’m 100% over the hump, but I’m getting close. I’m starting to enjoy working with them and I’m even starting to develop a parenting style, c’est complètement fou!
One important thing I would like to mention is the pay. I’m feeling much more financially secure in Paris now that I am making enough to support myself, pay my bills, and have money to spend going out to restaurants and exploring Paris! I’m still frugal with my money, but it reassuring to know that I won’t be putting myself more in debt with a job that doesn’t allow me to survive. (Posts about frugality in Paris coming… eventually)
I’m titling this section generic because I don’t want to ruin the surprise. Okay well it’s not much of a surprise, but more of a tragedy. While Augustin was in Madagascar working with an NGO for two weeks, I had a friend from Austin come and visit me. We of course wanted to do super touristy things and do a little photo tour around Paris, I’m sure it’s easy to guess where we went. The main problem was when we arrived home, well more like when he arrived home. He arrived to my apartment to find it in shambles, ransacked. We were robbed.
My sense of security was shaken. He called me as I was picking up one of the kids from school. I had about 10 minutes before school was out. My other roommate had just left to go home to Switzerland and it was only me and my friend in the house. I immediately called him and told him the situation. I called my other french friend who I was supposed to see that night and she was shocked, but went to my house to help my friend file a police report and provide comfort.
Everything valuable was gone. They even took my friend’s suitcase. The one thing they didn’t touch surprising were our passports. Thank god. I can only be grateful that they didn’t take that, especially with the US government shutdown going on at the time. Our computers were all stolen, hence the lack of posts occurring as of late.
We filed an insurance claim, but as with everything in France, it is extremely slow. When we came back to Texas for vacation we bought new computers (300 euros cheaper than buying them directly in Europe) and are still praying for our insurance claim to go through.
To make matters worse, the next week I knocked over the TV and it broke. Still crying over that situation tbh.
I finally started taking french classes! Hooray! It feels great to have some sort of structure and an environment where I can practice speaking and be around others who are learning. I originally applied for the classes with the Mairie, but alas I did not get in. Through the OFII I learnt of this website: https://www.reseau-alpha.org/ and it is here that I found extremely cheap classes. 20e for the whole semester! Plus they will pay half of the cost of my DELF test! Incroyable! I’m currently in an A2 class, but I have potential to be in the B1 class. I might continue with the A2 for now, but also start studying for B1. It might be beneficial to me to take the B1 test as well as the A2 test. I took an examen blanc A2 test and I passed pretty easily. I am at the point where it is getting much easier for me to speak, listen, read, and write, although the reading and writing is definitely still my strong point. Thanks to my classes though, I can feel my confidence in speaking french increasing! I’m still a bit shy, but when talking to shop owners and at cafés I have much less fear.
Back in Texas – Feb 2019
Woo so almost done catching up. Last week, Augustin and I went to Texas during the spring vacation. He gets a week off of school and I get two weeks off work while the children are on holiday. We found some cheap plane tickets via Norwegian Air and decided to spent a week in the land of Longhorns.
It was a fun week, filled with camping, beer, friends, family, tacos, and even swimming! Unfortunately, we only had 2 of those classic sunny Texas days and the rest of our trip well….. was Paris weather. Despite the weather we still managed to go all around town, drink a lot of beer, and eat a lot of tacos.
Being home this time felt better, a little less emotional. I felt at ease, but I also felt like I had moved on and my real home was in Paris. I missed out on using my sewing machine this week, but I’m starting to push more and more towards finally buying my own here in Paris. There is hardly any space in my apartment, but I would just need to find a storage solution if I was to buy one (I’m starting to develop too many hobbies as it is).
Compared to my trip during Christmas, this week was filled with many more activities and much less casual hanging out. It seemed like we had too many things we wanted to do and not enough time. We would have loved to hang out in a park for the afternoon, but the weather wasn’t nice enough to justify it. Looking around town, it was weird to see how things had changed in only a short few months, but I felt okay and now being back in Paris I feel more confident in belongingness and fitting in. I guess it just takes some time to adjust to a new home.
Paris in the Future
When reflecting on the past I believe it is always good to change pace and take a moment to look towards the future. So what Paris going forward have in store for me? I’m not sure exactly, but there are a couple of goals I plan of moving towards.
French. Always an ongoing goal when learning a language. Progress. I want to study for the DELF and help myself feel like I am making tangible progress. I want to continue with my A2 classes, but try the B1 MOOC class online. Also continue reading french books and consuming french media.
Jobs and Career. Nannying is good and makes good money, but I will need to find some sort of position come July. Working in a bar or cafe perhaps? That is probably what will happen. What about when September comes back around? I’ll probably go back to nannying, but would like to keep a cafe job or something to occupy the rest of my time. Augustin will have his internship, so I’ll have a little more time alone and would be keen to get into another project. Another option I have is go to Pôle Emploi, the national employment agency, and see what options I have there. Whether I can do some sort of training program or find some sort of employment through there.
Crossing the Boundary. I plan to keep blogging and updating when I can. I would like to start putting out a little more content that helps others and that I can share. I’d like to do a series of posts that talk about frugality in Paris, and also a series of posts of things to do in Paris using the lists of Google Maps. It will be a bit of work, but I think it could be rewarding for me and everyone else who finds use from it.