LIZ HARROD

Posts Tagged ‘Paris’

An Unexpected Visit from an Old Pastime

In Au Pair, France on September 21, 2011 at 10:04 pm

Ah – wednesday….

For most of the working world, Wednesday means hump day – halfway through the week, over the hump, and well on your way to the weekend.  Though it most certainly still means that for me, Wednesday has another important significance to au pairs in france, especially those with kids in primary school.  Wednesday is their day off.

Now, I love kids, but a full day of activity can be daunting – especially with a language barrier involved.  Even if I could explain some of the games I know how to play, many of them don’t make sense in French.

So it was with a little reservation this morning, that I started my day.  We did a bit of homework, which finally seems to be moving along swimmingly (Thanks google translate for teaching me geography in French) and had a bit of reading time.

Then came the lull.

One of my main obstacles at this point is getting them off the Wii.  I mean, I love Mario Kart as much as the next 90s child, but spending an entire day in front of the Wii is simply not acceptable.  So I set out in search of alternatives.

First of all, lunch was a smash hit with what was, apparently, the debut of grilled cheese sandwiches.  Seriously, you’d think a country so obsessed with cheese would be all over this, but no, it was their first, and they had me make them seconds. So I’m taking that as a good sign.

After lunch we had a little review of homework, and then came the moment of truth.  I was prepared for protests.  I was prepared for arguments.  So I said it carefully.  “No Wii until 3:30pm.” Read the rest of this entry »

Moving Along

In Au Pair, France on September 17, 2011 at 8:59 pm

So I’ve realized, as I’ve tried to think about how to start writing about my life here, that there are basically three important categories that I deal with each day:

1. the family I’m living with

2. my personal life – friends, dating, personal projects

3. the french language

So, there you go.  It seems as though I’m keeping it pretty simple as far as balls in the air, or at least trying to.

These first couple weeks have been a bit, interesting.  There have been ups and downs and kinks to work out, but I’m happy to say that with each day, overall, I’m feeling a bit more settled in and comfortable in my new environment.

The first thing I have to keep in mind is that this is my life.  Having moved around quite a bit since graduating Boston University, I’ve found comfort in the revelation that the things I am doing are my choices.  In fact, that was probably the biggest lesson that I practiced continuously while at Tao’s in Greece, and it’s something I continue to remind myself each day.

When I find myself in a situation that is trying my patience or throwing me for a loop, I try to remember to breathe and recall the fact that it is my choice to be in that situation.  If it is too much for me, I can decide to leave, but as long as I’m facing it, I’m choosing to be there.

This idea, by itself, is liberating.  Remember that you are in charge of your life, the things you choose to experience, and the things you choose to walk away from is empowering, not to mention a powerful aid when starting a new kind of life in a new kinds of place.

So here we go, my situations and how I’m choosing to face them: Read the rest of this entry »

A Return to Paris and a Return to the Blog

In Au Pair, France on September 2, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Oi – well I guess it’s time to get back in the blog. Obviously, I slacked a bit while home in Indiana. Time just went a bit quickly, and there was lots to be done.

I’ll cover it all eventually, as some of it is a bit interesting – thanks to immigration – but for now, I’ll jump into the present day.

So, after just over a month of time in the states, I was back on a plane – willingly of course – to Paris. For those who have forgotten, when I was in Paris a few months ago, I simply fell in love with the city all over again and started to look for opportunities to move here for the next year.

After some fairly desperate research, I found one, and, with a little effort and speedy paperwork, I was able to get everything together in time to accept a position as an au pair.

Long story short: a friend of mine, one of the infamous tripod members, was an au pair last year. She had an overall positive experience, and seeing as I like working with kids, I figured it could be a good fit for me. Read the rest of this entry »

Football, More Football and French

In France, Travel 2011 on May 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm

Well, it’s a good thing I love my rugby, because it’s headed toward the final for the Top 14 in France, which means semi-finals were this weekend. Stéphane and I watched one match on Friday, and the second match we watched on Saturday.

Firstly, and I’m sorry Oz, but French rugby is actually a bit more fun to watch than Aussie rugby. I was pretty impressed by Toulouse, and figure they are going to win the final next weekend.

We also had a little peak at the Barcelona v Manchester U Champions League final. I’m not even a football fan, but I’ll admit that it was a pretty awesome game, and if I have to pick a football team one day, Barcelona is looking like a pretty good option. Read the rest of this entry »

Fun with French

In France, Travel 2011 on May 28, 2011 at 12:15 am

So, as I sort of half mentioned in my previous post, in an effort to see what life might be like living here, and working as an au pair, I enrolled in a oral French workshop this week: two classes with about 12 other people for three hours each. Part of the au pair visa requirement is to participate in ten hours of French language study each week. So I thought this would be a nice start to refreshing what I already know while also letting me see what it’s like to be formally studying a language once again.

First, I will admit that Alliance Française is absolutely not the cheapest option. However, it is probably the best, and they do have educational centers all over the world. So if you can afford them, which as an au pair I know I won’t be able to, they’re most certainly worth a shot.

For just the week, I decided to fork out the registration and class fees and take an placement exam. I ended up sort of splitting the difference between beginner and intermediate beginner (A1 and A2) on account of the fact that my written French is much better than my verbal and listening. So the oral workshop was a perfect fit. Read the rest of this entry »

Back to Life in Paris and Close to What May be Next

In France, Travel 2011 on May 24, 2011 at 11:58 pm

Oh Paris, how I missed you…. And only a couple weeks gone.

I must admit, I’m right at home here, enjoying a bit of an attempt at what normal life in Paris could be like. Sure there’s the language barrier, and sure I’m not paying any rent (thanks Stéph and Stéph’s flatmates!), but I’m not spending my time touring about. I’m trying to do things I would normally do. Read the rest of this entry »

Paris in a Museum

In France, Photo, Travel 2011 on April 28, 2011 at 10:51 pm

As predicted, Paris has once again won my favor as the crown jewel of destinations for museums. . . Specifically, art museums.

If you have kept up with my blog at all, you should already know that am a bit of an art museum freak. Here, I successfully hit my three favorites, with a little assistance from a fellow, though much more seasoned, traveller: Rick Steves.

I hit the Orangerie first, taking in some of my favorite impressionist works including Renoir’s girls with the piano, and more importantly for me, Monet’s massive water lily masterpieces. I stuck with the traditional audio tour here knowing I could enjoy the entire museum in less than a couple hours. If you are a fan of Impressionism, it’s worth paying for the set of headphones as the tour gives lots of interesting background details about works you have probably seen before and may already know a bit about.

The Louvre and the Orsay are a different story. Read the rest of this entry »

A Tourist Trip to Paris

In France, Photo, Travel 2011 on April 19, 2011 at 10:42 pm

With the arrival of Alex and Marcus, and the very short timeline we had to work with (only one day with them!), the five of us took off for Paris with the aim to take in a many of the iconic sights and, maybe more importantly tastes, as we could in one day.

So though I get the pleasure of spending weeks in and around Paris, I can give a few pretty good suggestions of where to head if you ever find yourself in Paris for just one day.

The first decision to make is what your main goal is. Are you a museum goer? Do you just want to tick off as many of the top ten as you can, or do you mostly just want to soak in the atmosphere?

As the only museum goer in the group, and one who is more than happy to put off all of my art interests for another day, we settled for a little itinerary somewhere between sightseeing and just soaking it all in.

Paris is very walkable. So it’s very easy to make a few tracks around the city while eating here and there and also seeing the main iconic sites. Read the rest of this entry »