November 2012



Posted on Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sunset from my office.
 I'm not quite ready to chalk it up exclusively to my Irish blood, but I've felt extremely lucky lately.  Most immediately, waking up this morning to headlines of a Democratic victory was such a pleasure.  Being so far away, it was sometimes tough to stay totally connected to the campaign trail and to really get a sense for the general impression of voters, for the way the daily-changing tides were affecting voter mentality.  I'm pleased with the outcome, and I really do hope that these next four years continue to break new ground for the United States.  Though I'm far away, I'm proud to come from a country that has now twice elected a man like Barack Obama.  I'll be raising a glass of cheap bubbly in celebration tonight, as a toast to the Americans that saw fit to elect him and to the man himself for all he's been dealt.
I waltzed into the office of my former internship supervisor about two weeks ago, expecting to have a friendly catching up session and to share our news - when I walked out about an hour later, I'd been offered a part-time job.  My prolonged blog absence is partly due to the fact that I'm now working full time with teaching and in the law firm, and so I'm still transitioning to a new hectic schedule.  I'm so grateful for the opportunity to return to work at the law firm.  My boss is incredibly intelligent, well-respected, and.. busy.  The work is interesting and a nice change of pace from the teaching assistantship I've grown accustomed to.  Though, the stark difference between the suburb where I teach and the swanky 16th arondissement where I work certainly gives pause for thought.

Passing the Louvre on a sunny bike ride.
I feel lucky, too, to have missed Hurricane Sandy.  Though my family and friends are all safe and in their homes in one piece, my parents did lose power for a full week.  Perhaps exciting for the first hours or maybe even days, I'm not sure that I would've necessarily fared well with the lack of electricty, connectivity, or heat.  The Parisian winter continues to descend upon us, and brings with it a whole load of darkness and intermittent rain.  Dark when I wake up, dark when I get home from work... Thank God Paris is as beautiful by night as by day.
It's been two months now since I've been here, two wonderful and exciting months.  It feels like so long ago that I was snuggling my fat cat Lily, or drinking cheap beers in the sunlight with friends, or driving around Yardley in my ever-faulty Saab... Sometimes it all feels like a lifetime ago.  I'm so grateful, though, that time is so generous to me.  If I were studying abroad, my time would already be halfway through and I know I wouldn't be ready, still, to go home.  I'm not sure how long I'll be staying, but I do know I'm not nearly halfway finished.  It's a funny feeling, really, not knowing the next time I'll be back on American soil.  I had my first bout of homesickness recently, and though it was short-lived it was intense and reminded me, again, how lucky I am to live in a world where instant communication is so simple, no matter the distance.

My classroom.
I celebrated Halloween a bit with my students, in large part thanks to my mother's generosity and the United States Postal Service.  They don't have a very clear image of what Halloween's about, since once child described in detail "Jack O-Lantern," a skeleton man with a bloody pumpkin head that he holds in his hands as he goes about scaring children.. (??) but they were thrilled by the TRICK OR TREAT banner I brought in, courtesy of Target and Deirdre Cloughley.  Interestingly, they all hated candy corn, deeming it far too sweet and overall rather tasteless.  The kids are on a two week holiday at the moment and I do miss them.  I'm looking forward to starting school again on Monday to hear all about their holidays and to really begin real lessons with them.  I too celebrated Halloween, with some American friends one night and some French the next.  The contrast between the two parties was amusing - mixed drinks and rap music at one, wine and cigarettes at the next... If I had to pick my favorite, I couldn't.  Mostly, I just enjoyed the chance to wave a cigarette holder in people's faces.  La classe!

For your spooky viewing pleasure.  I try not to look deranged, usually, but...
I also spend a lot of time feeling lucky to have Picard in my life.  For the uninitiated, Picard is a supermarket here in France comprised of only frozen food.  Far from a paltry smattering of French fries and chicken nuggets, Picard offers delicacies such as garlicky escargot, oozing molten chocolate cakes, even oven-ready baguettes... all for an affordable price.  It's become my best friend recently, as it's inexpensive, largely healthful, and extremely convenient.  Jackie and I have had two very succesful meals thanks to Picard in the past week, moules frites one night with chocolate cake for dessert and a full steak meal the next, with crème brûlée following.  I am not, evidently, vegetarian anymore.  After three years, including the "occasional" cheesesteak mistake during college, I've decided to throw in the towel and embrace all that France has to offer me.  Just as well, as during a recent trip to the doctor I was told "You MUST eat meat every day.  It is just essential.  Every day."  Most decidedly advice from a French doctor.

Not sure how appetizing this looks to you, readers,
but it makes my stomach grumble at the memory...
Walking to the bus stop home from work.
I hope you'll forgive the overly cheery tone of this post.  I just feel extremely fortunate at the moment to be where I am and to be in such a wonderful situation.  I really do miss home, and my family and friends there - things are especially difficult sometimes, like the recent Homecoming weekend at my alma mater - but I feel content and that I'm in the right place.  I've met some wonderful people here and I've got great friends that are also US transplants.  And, with plans to see my Dad and Aunt later this month and more family in Ireland over Christmas, and my big sister and her boyfriend in December... It's hard to feel too lonely.  I'm looking forward to jetsetting to Brussels tomorrow.  And by "jetsetting," I mean "sitting on a Megabus."  I feel like I spent about half my life on a Megabus during senior year of college, and I'm curious to see how the European branch compares.  I'm really eager to explore Brussels, though, as it's somewhere I've never been.  The fact that they're famous for beer, french fries, chocolate, waffles .... these things are also attractive.  It's been a while since I've been in a completely new place, and my wanderlust-driven-heart is eager to experience the unknown.  I do hope my luck doesn't run out before I catch that bus tomorrow. xo