I’m in a great mood today – it was R and my first morning waking up in our sublet apartment, having our own cereal for breakfast and not having to buy street pastries and shut ourselves into a phone booth to call possible apartments. R is sick, so she chilled at the apartment while I went off on my own to shop! First of all, although R might be one of the most laid-back people I know, the two of us have not left eachother’s sights in 2 weeks. That is a lot of time. So going off on an adventure by myself felt amazing.
It’s amazing to realize that though I’ve only been here half a month, I’m starting to know my way around, both the city and the system. I love not having to worry about communication issues. There are areas of my French that need to be improved, but it’s nice to know that I can go out into the world and speak French without having to worry about getting lost, or confused or misunderstood. Having been here a little while now, I’m also at the point where I can figure out what I need to do to get things done.
Today I needed to fill out an application for the Imagine R card, a year-long discounted metro pass for students of Paris under 26 years of age. Since I don’t have a permanent addresss, and hence no French bank account, I had no idea how I was going to mail the money – Imagine R doesn’t accept cash. I left our (well it’s kind of ours) apartment and decided to head to La Poste (post office) to see if anyone there could give me a suggestion. After 20 minutes in line, I showed my application to the woman helping me and asked if she knew of any way for me to buy a check to mail. She smiled and pulled a form out of her desk – I could do it right there and then for a fee of only 4 extra euro.
Feeling pretty good about having accomplished one thing today, I set off to do some fun shopping in Paris. Let me warn you now that the following will probably only be interesting to me, with the possible exception of my Tacoma friend Annette, partner in hair-product aholics anonymous. If you’re not into hair, skip this paragraph. One of the woes of my life is big frizzy hair! Trying to pack for a year in France was difficult, and I ended up leaving out anything that I could easily buy here, so one of my orders of shopping business was locating a good hair straightener. (If you’re still reading, you’re feeling bored, and you’re not Annette, too bad, you were warned!) In Tacoma, if you want a good hair straightener, you go to a beauty supply store (the kind that supplies salons with their equipment), not a drugstore or electronics store, and I had no idea where I needed to look in Paris. I tried to think of who might know, and decided that a Sephora girl would probably know. She directed me to an appliance store, where you can apparently buy the best brand of hair appliances in Europe. The company, called Babyliss, is based out of Paris, and has a thrilling selection of hot tools!
After my exciting adventure to the land of Parisian hair tools, I stopped back at the apartment to drop off my appliances and check my email. One of the emails I’d recieved was from a woman I emailed from Craig’s List early this morning and forgotten about. It’s an au pair position right near the Louvre. The lucky watcher of her children will get a free studio apartment, plus an extra salary to assist her with flexible (about 25/week) hours playing with her four kids. The au pair they find will also be paid to accompany them on family vacations to their other house in Provence on school breaks. So far every housing lead I’ve been excited about here has turned into a big fat nothing, so I’m calling other landlords still, knocking wood every five minutes and trying not to get my hopes up.
Now R is staying here still and I’m about to head out on another good mood adventure. Maybe this is my good karma finally catching up to me from when I left my old sleeping bag in a metro station for a homeless woman. I hope. Knock wood. Updates to come.
** The orientation events for Sciences Po international are somewhat similar to Dawg Daze at UW – treasure hunts, tours of the city, etc – but with the addition of lots and lots of parties and alcohol! R and I are really not used to this. Tonight at 11 pm, we’ll be heading to the Champs Elysées for a private SciPo party at the club Le Monte Cristo. Tomorrow, SciPo offers a pub-hopping event with free shots for students with ID cards. Bizarre, eh? I know, I know, the Parisian life is tough.