December 2012


She is not Boyfriends

Posted on Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Christmas season has arrived once again here in Paris and has brought with it chillier temperatures, Christmas trees on every corner, bizarre window displays, and a notably long absence from yours truly.  The past few weeks have been busier than ever, between working full time and traveling on weekends, but here I am on a sunny Sunday morning happy to be updating once more.

Lights going up in Montmartre 
Sunset from the office
Two close friends and I traveled to Brussels a few weeks ago.  The trip cost a whopping 12 EUR round-trip, thanks to Megabus Europe, and was a fantastic if exhausting couple of days.  Brussels is a beautiful city, and though we'd done little preparation before leaving in terms of what to see and where to go, we had a really great weekend - due in large part to picking the right hostel, whose bar turned out to be a great place to meet other travelers and friends for the weekend.  We saw the requisite little boy peeing statue (underwhelming), ate waffles covered in thick chocolate (overwhelming), and didn't sleep as much as we should have (whelming?).  I really enjoyed being in a new place that I hadn't seen before, and though I left feeling more perplexed than ever by the Flemish language, it really was nice to get out of Paris for a few days and be a tourist for once.

Banana milk chocolate waffle miam miam

Manneken Pis
Thanksgiving in Paris was wonderful.  Though I felt quite homesick and might even have shed a tear or two in skyping with my entire family (and our cats), we had a nice Thanksgiving meal here with a good mix of internationals - some Frenchies, Brits, and Canadians.  It's heartwarming to know that thogh I've only been here a few months, there are already people here that I'm happy to celebrate important days with, and I really did feel so thankful to share the traditional Thanksgiving meal with friends new and old.  I've got a new appreciation for my mother's cooking skills, though, since it really is just so difficult to coordinate a meal of that size so that every part is ready at once...
Last weekend, too, I was lucky enough to travel a bit.  My dad suggested that we meet up in London to attend a rugby match together, and though I'm not as much a fan of the sport as he is the match was exciting and it was great to see him.  My parents were lucky enough to attend the rugby world cup in New Zealand, and so my dad came prepared with lots of South African apparel for me to borrow.  Though it was cold and rainy, the day was a good one and finished with a curry together with my aunt and cousin.  The day after, when my dad left, I wandered around some of the shops in downtown London under the Christmas lights.  If the shops were a bit stressful, the glittery decorations all around the street helped to put back a Christmassy spirit!  It was lovely to see my dad (it didn't hurt that he brough me leftovers from my family's thanksgiving meal!) and to see my aunt and uncle with whom we stayed.  The Eurostar is easy as pie and it's nice to know that I can be in London within a few hours should I ever need some family time.

At the match
A superfan
London Christmas
Other than these few weekend trips, my weeks here have been chocabloc busy.  Between working at the law firm and the schools, I'm working full time and often long past 5pm.  I'm glad to have the jobs, of course, but it's tough when I feel like I'm constantly on the go with little time to myself - another reason why my updates haven't been too frequent.  Balancing the two jobs with a social life and the ongoing hunt for new friends, not to mention trying to sleep enough that I don't look like a zombie, is tough and something that I'm not sure I've perfected yet.  Turns out "real life" takes more energy than I thought...
Beautiful sunny day
Christmas tree for the apartment upstairs!
I'd forgotten how beautiful Paris is around Christmastime.  There are lights everywhere - even on my own street!  No matter how tiring the days and weeks might seem, it's hard not to feel lighthearted at all the good cheer around.  The Christmas market on the Champs-Elysées is in full swing, and the shop windows everywhere are resplendent with Christmas spirit.  The next few weeks should be busy, but at the end of them I've got Christmas in Dublin to look forward to, and shortly after the arrival of my sister and her boyfriend.  Life continues to be good to me on this side of the world - if a little bit chilly.
I'll leave you with this cute write-up I found that one of my students had done about me... It'll give you a good idea of my everyday experience in the English classroom.. Hope it makes you chuckle, too. xo