- Outside, no one makes eye contact. Inside, even strangers say hello.
- Buying your veggies fresh daily is awesome.
- When they say “delivery at 9am,” expect it either an hour early or an hour late.
- You’ve probably seen the Eiffel Tower more often than Parisiens have.
- Chivalry is alive and well in this part of Europe.
- Buy a step-ladder if you’re living in a Parisien flat. Unless you’re approximately 7 feet tall.
- Ikea delivers over here. Whaaaat?!
- On Fridays and Saturdays, you’ll never stop saying “Bon weekend!”
- Paris recycles! (Love this!)
- You can get from Paris to Amsterdam in 3 hours by train.
This past weekend I started the long and arduous process of turning my empty flat into something a little cozier. This is what I’m starting with:
Not a bad canvas, if I don’t say so myself 🙂
All the typical things that have to be done to set up a new living situation are in the works (getting utilities going, cleaning, adding my name to the mailboxes…), but the fun part is furnishing and decorating. Right?! Well it would be if I understood a little more French.
I’d say that although this is a really fun part of transitioning to a new home, it’s also been quite challenging for me. Even if I was fluent in French, the procedures used by utility and furniture companies here are quite complex. I have been relying heavily on my co-workers to help me get things done, which leaves me feeling a bit helpless and burdensome. Though they continue to reassure me that I am not, I can’t help but feel bad that my personal life is taking up so much of theirs.
On the bright side, things are starting to come together. Perhaps in a few days I can post some updated photos of how things are coming along. I think it will be a month or so until enough details are in place for me to feel like this is my home, but progress is progress…
As an aside, my flat is directly across the street from a huge church (read: no sleeping in on Snudays! Ding-dong-ding!) called Saint-Esprit. On Saturday I practiced my paparazzi skills and snapped a shot of a bride and groom making their grand exit:
My co-worker, Sophia, tells me “God put you in this flat across the street from the church so you can get some ideas (about marriage).” We’ll see 😉
I was riding the metro last week and saw this:
So I did what any logical person would do: bought two tickets. And that’s how I began my Friday.
My Friday ended with my co-worker and my boss coming into the office I share with very grim looks on their faces. Knowing that they had just called the agency I applied with for a flat I wanted to rent, I resigned myself to the idea that I needed to keep looking. They walked over, each placing a hand on my shoulder, and proceeded to scream “YOU GOT IT!” I pick up the keys on Wednesday.
The task of finding housing was admittedly easier than I expected it to be, but not without the help of my company. They have done so much to accomodate me, and without their assistance I fear I’d be living in temporary housing, er, permanently.
So I had a lot of work to do this weekend to make up for the hours spent away from the office looking at numerous flats. As a reward for finishing what I needed to do this morning, I decided to explore a bit of Paris. You know. Be a tourist.
When thinking about where to go on this beautiful day, I didn’t need much time to decide on the Arc de Triomphe. I’ve been to Paris several times before and had never seen it. So that was my first stop.
I was truly awe-struck by the Arc. It was a feeling similar to what I experienced standing in front of the Parthenon in Athens. So much history, so beautiful, larger than life…
After exploring a bit, I decided to treat myself to a delicious lunch outside at the Bistro Romain on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées:
And since the Eiffel Tower (or Tour Ee-FELL, as they say in Paris) was only two metro stops away, I thought “why not?”
Now I know what you’re thinking.
No I don’t, but it MIGHT be this: “Way to visit all the touristy things!”
And you’re right! But I know that with time I’ll be exploring all that Paris has to offer. Right now I’m still in awe that I’m even here. And am going to see Prince in concert. And have a flat. 🙂
Perhaps my Sunday outings are becoming a regular occurrence? At this point I’m batting a thousand, but who knows where I’ll be next weekend. Maybe somewhere a little more off the beaten path…
It’s official: I make the move to Paris on May 18.
While excited, I’m also starting to feel overwhelmed with all of the things I need to take care of before I head out. Aside from packing, there’s paperwork, cleaning, getting new phone numbers, getting rid of old numbers… the list goes on.
In the meantime, I’ve been trying to see as many people as I can to say my farewells. It’s been a very hectic last few weeks, but also so great to see all those familiar faces again. Although it’s too bad that it takes someone leaving to bring people together, I’ll take any excuse I can get 🙂
My plan is to keep this blog updated regularly (at least once a week) so friends and family can see into a little window of my world while I’m away. I know I’ll be traveling a lot, so that goal might be ambitious, but worth it if I can pull it off! I’d love to share photos and anecdotes from my new adventures…
In the meantime, I’ll be passing on my contact information to anyone who’s interested, and my address once I’ve found a permanent home in Paris. Don’t be a stranger!
It’s been a while since I’ve updated this blog, and I’m kicking myself a bit for that. The point of this little window into my life was to allow my friends and family to keep up with my adventures. And I’ve certainly had quite a few since my last post! Now I’m starting the task of bringing this blog up to speed, so that when I blast you all with reminders to check my blog, you’ll actually have new stuff to read 🙂
First of all, most of you know by now that while I was in Athens (the trip that prompted me to start this blog), I was offered a job. In Paris.
And I said yes.
So now I’m in the process of planning this major life change. I have left my previous job and am starting with my new company, Sky Consulting, in just a few days. In fact, I just got back from a quick trip to Paris to meet the rest of the team (additional blog post and pics to follow). And while this may all sound positive and exciting (because it IS), there are also times when I’m beginning to feel nervous and overwhelmed. But let’s just focus on the positive and exciting, shall we?
I know that a lot of people have/will have several questions about the new job and how exactly I, little Nikki from measly Rochester, New Hampshire, landed such a fabulous gig. So let the storytelling commence:
There I was in Athens, Greece, attending a market research conference held by an international research organization called ESOMAR, when I was told that today we would all be participating in a “country luncheon.” (Essentially, there are tables at lunch with countries listed on them, and you are to sit and meet others from your home country.) “Perfect,” I think to myself, because I actually don’t know anyone else attending this conference.
Not five minutes after sitting down am I introduced to an Irish gentleman, who either cannot find his table or has no other compatriots to dine with (it was definitely the latter, but isn’t it fun to pick on the Irish?!). He turns out to be great company, and we end up attending most of the rest of the afternoon lectures together.
That evening, there was a big dinner event that was highly anticipated by all! And buses were lined up outside the hotel where the conference was being held, waiting and ready to bring us to dinner. I located the two friends I had made so far (the Irish guy and a sweet girl from Turkey), and the three of us prepared to board. And then our dreams were shattered. Well, for the two of us ladies, anyway. Apparently, as “Young Professionals,” we were required to pay extra for this dinner, which neither of us were notified of, and therefore had not paid. Shucks.
We mope back into the lobby, where a dinner organizer excitedly offers to help. Hurrah! Except… she only has one extra dinner ticket. So we flip a coin. And… ! I am not on the winning end of that little gamble. 🙂
Having resigned myself to a night without the excitement of the gala (but knowing there would be plenty to do in Athens), I made my way to the door. I’m abruptly stopped by a most polite Russian delegate to the conference who heard my plight, and offered me his dinner ticket because something had come up for him and he could not attend. Lo and behold, I can, in fact, attend this dinner!
My Turkish friend and I rode the bus together to the dinner, and proceeded to look for the Irish component to our trio. We searched through the crowd of hundreds for nearly an hour with no luck, and decided to seat ourselves as dinner was about to begin. One last turn to look towards the door, and I stumbled… directly into our Irish buddy. Who is preparing to seat himself at the table behind ours. He invites me to sit and meet the amazing French researchers he’s just been introduced to… I oblige… and within an hour or so I am talking job opportunities with the person who is now my boss.
And the job itself is quite the dream. Here are some of the things I’ll be doing:
Living in Paris. Traveling the world. Continuing to moderate (conduct interviews for the less market research savvy) in English and eventually in French. Living in Paris. Networking on behalf of my company. Attending conferences and events all over the world. And oh yeah, living in Paris! I’m sure there’s much more that I’ll be doing as I integrate with the team at my new company, but those are the highlights.
I’ve got a lot left to accomplish before I go, and I’ll be doing my best to keep everyone updated. Next up: NYC summary, Paris trip summary, and anything in between.
Well it wouldn’t be interesting if there wasn’t a hitch!
Arriving for my layover in Paris slightly ahead of schedule, I thought I would encounter smooth sailing all the way to Athens. But 30 minutes dashing through an airport (after being falsely promised my arriving and departing planes were located in the same terminal), a security check and an almost-boarding of a plane later, I was stopped three feet from the door of the aircraft due to fuel leaking from the wing. As if that weren’t exciting enough, I got to witness Paris Airport’s Fire Department at their finest! (Okay – maybe not their finest, but still kinda cool 🙂 )
On the bright side: Welcome to Europe where Orangina is the norm, not the exception 😀
At the end of the day… I arrived safely at my destination and updated this post from my clean, friendly hostel. I’m off to grab a bite before hitting the hay and getting an early start to tomorrow.