Archive | October, 2010

Press play…

29 Oct

Someone has pushed the pause button on my life.

(Well, my social life, but that’s what matters right ;)).

Yes, I am socially isolated, out of touch (insert other relevant communication clichés here) and while i could place the blame solely on my mobile phone carrier, for their technical difficulties that render me unable to contact anyone, it feels like more than that still.

News in brief, my phone is not accepting the code numbers whenever i try to recharge. After numerous outbursts at various phone retailers, countless phone calls made by french speakers on my behalf (a friend of mine has been calling them every day and is so outraged by the lack of help and the principle of the whole thing that he has taken it on as his personal vendetta to see justice done, thank god for him) i fear there is a long battle ahead. It has been two weeks and still the only response is ‘we are sorry there are some technical problems, we don’t know when it will be fixed‘ or ‘i’m sorry, the last person you spoke to didn’t write any notes so we will have to start again‘ (i took the liberty of adding the ‘sorry’s’ in there, i am positive that word would not have been uttered even once). And of course when i complain to friends, all the French ones say ‘ugh, why are you using Virgin mobile anyway, get a real company‘. Note to everyone, apparently, never use Virgin Mobile.

So right now, i feel like i’m at the mercy of other people, and, along with youths on the metro and indoor smoking, it’s something that i really do not like.

Some people might consider the feeling a freedom, but i feel it as an oppression. Case in point, last Friday night, sitting at home, i was desperate to go out. There wasn’t any way of getting in touch with anyone, so instead, i sat at home and felt sorry for myself. The same went for last night.

It also helps bring to light the true nature of where you stand with people, for example, i haven’t seen No Name in a month, and i get the impression that perhaps the hefty portion of the balance of friendship lies on my side. Always an uncomfortable discovery. Though in the same instance, you value beyond words those people who keep the lines of communication open, regardless of it being a one way street. When you move to a new city, your friendships are fledgling. I suppose some become beautiful and some die early.

Melodramatic yes, given the problem, but it’s just been one of those weeks.

While i should not neglect that there have been several logistical advancements this week, including finally getting myself a French bank account, and applying for a social security number, i still have the feeling of being ‘on hold’.

And i’m not sure what to do about it.

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How NOT to seduce me….

18 Oct

Let me give you some insight into what we (being women in France) have to put up with on a regular night out.

It’s the story of a typical French douche bag.  I shall proceed.

So last night, i was out with a couple of friends, and i was casually chatting to a guy at the bar. Completely innocent, and the normal boring conversation about my ‘jolie’ accent and how i find living in France (note to Frenchmen everywhere…get some game).
Anyway, i take a sip of my drink, and the next thing this young guy is asking me if i want to go home and have sex. For real!!!

I had absolutely no interest in doing that whatsoever, so i told him that was a very bold proposition, but that it is not something i am interested in doing.

You would think if you were the guy, that you bow out gracefully right? Think again.

As with Frenchmen everywhere, their EGO is a very powerful emotion (see previous description here), so with a scathing, biting tongue, he told me that he doesn’t care anyway. In fact, my appearance only interests him for one thing, and after that, he’d have no use for me anyway.

Nice.

But unfortunately, it did not surprise me.

Let It Be…

13 Oct

When it comes to linguistic humour, it’s hard to get more amusing than a good dose of Franglais.

Except for, of course, my all time favourite, which is misinterpreted English (unfortunately more and more in short supply).

Oh how i love it in any form – friendly speech, advertising slogans, mixed metaphors, but my favourite by far, is in song.

Whether in a bar with a band, a Saturday night Parisian house party, or, as luck would have it, this evening on the metro – ‘it bring me many joy’.

Voila.

Now let me leave you with a few lines of The Beatles’ ‘Let It Be’. An original, acoustic arrangement by the non anglophone, smiley, bald guy on the Line 5 this evening.

It truly brought the house (carriage) down, I only hope i can do it justice here on the page.

“When i find myself in times a double, Mother Mary guys to me

Speaking what a wisdom, let it be….

And in the hair the darts come she is satting right become of me,

they’ll be a dancer, let it be…..”

In defence of this city…

12 Oct

I feel the need to have a rant. I’m all fired up and i am sick to death of hearing people bitch and moan about living in Paris.

I come across people every day who complain about the fact that they are forced to live here – a prisoner in this awful city – at the mercy of their relationship, or less often, their job. Really, so many people who feel the world owes them a favour because they are forced (yes, someone put a gun to their head) to endure the pain and agony of having to drag themselves through life in Paris.

And my how difficult it must be to have a partner who can assist you with all those impossible tasks like administration, moving house, learning French, opening a bank account, reading the newspaper, working to earn a living. What a bore to have the whole day to yourself to breath in the city and indulge in some new or lost hobbies, with enough money to treat yourself to lunch on the terrace of a bistro, or load up on incredibly fresh goodies from the market to cook at home.

I’m not saying that life in Paris is not difficult.

Some days, particularly lately, it has been really difficult to exist here myself. Single, without a job, digging myself further and further into debt until the line of credit has expired. Days have gone by when, after checking every pocket and every bag, i’ve been unable to scrounge together the last 20 euro cents i need to be able to buy a demi-baguette, and instead, i’ve gone to bed hungry.

But still i get up, and i continue on. Of course I complain about the job rejections i get on a daily basis to anyone who will listen, and i have a little cry at night if i feel the need, but i know it’s up to me to make the most of what i have, and i don’t blame Paris.

I could continue to feel sorry for myself, but instead i rejuvenate my soul by throwing myself back out into the dense, humid energy of the city and embrace the ability (that everyone has) to take what i want out of Paris and make it my own.

Everyone is in charge of their own life. There is no one in the clouds, pulling the strings that make our legs walk, or our arms dangle. Start making decisions for yourselves people and stop blaming circumstance (and Paris) for your unhappiness.

The harder the search for fulfillment, the more rewarding it is when you find it. So stand up, get out of your apartment and put in some effort.

Paris is not the answer, it’s the means. And when it’s no longer fulfilling? I’ll leave.

Because these are the choices i make.

What a catch!

11 Oct

 

F.B.I (Fabulous Bachelor Inside)

 

I couldn’t help but feel this just really summed up the attitude of French men.

Arrogant, with visible flaws.

Me thinks this gentleman may be wearing this t shirt for quite some time to come.

Another challenge… literally

7 Oct

Friends, lovers, readers… I am calling on you for some help. I am thinking of entering a short story competition. A Paris short story comp.

I would like your input on what you think, from what you have read here in this blog, would make the most charming story. If you read this blog but have never posted a comment, now is the time! I’m looking forward to hearing all your thoughts…

Testing your limits..

6 Oct

Last night marked yet another first for me in this country.

‘Twas my very first all in French date. (Well, the first one where i genuinely cared about the impression I was making anyway).

I had really been looking forward to getting the chance to talk more to this guy. While we had previously only met briefly, i felt that we might have a lot in common.

I imagined the scenario while anxiously en route on the metro – there would be a bit of one language, a bit of the other, lots of pauses, a few hilarious moments over mutual mispronunciation – all in all another night of superior ‘Franglais’.

Though it was not to be. While i know for a fact that he does speak English, very well, he was adamant that the evening’s conversing would be conducted in French. So French it was.

Normally (even in my own language) i get quite nervous when it comes to first dates. I worry a lot about the impression that i make. I worry about how to keep the conversation flowing, about seeming intelligent, seeming relaxed, and seeming eloquent. All things that simultaneously get taken away from you when you lose your ability to communicate*.

I really felt that i was at a disadvantage, as if the balance of power was severely not in my favour. I felt like i was constantly struggling to get this charming man to a) understand what i was trying to say and b) understand that i am not as stupid as i imagine i appear. I felt that it was impossible to convey who i really was, while fumbling and searching for my words.

It wasn’t all bad news though, and it brings me to remember yet again that all hard work will eventually be merited.

I managed to convey my disappointment about not being able to clearly express my thoughts and my points of views on things. But in fact, he pointed out that he felt it was easier to understand who i really was – as i didn’t have the vocabulary to talk my way around things, i needed to be direct. He thought in fact it was refreshing.

And i think my French has improved a little overnight.

However frightening every minute of those long 5 hours were, i appreciate the sentiment and the patience of my date. Perhaps it may be another successful case study to build into my franco-socio-linguistic theory!! (And it’s possible that my little mistakes may have won me a few points on the ‘cute’ scale! ;))

Whatever the outcome may or may not be, i have enjoyed the reaffirmation that you really do need to be uncomfortably challenged if you are going to see any progress with language. It takes some hard moments to be able to get a better understanding of your own limits, or, in some cases, unlimitedness!

*I’m finally empathising with poor Ariel now (after how many years of watching The Little Mermaid) when the evil sea which stole her voice and forced her to discover other charms in order to win over the love of her prince. It’s sure taken me a long time to draw some meaning out of that story!