Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's definitely fall/On est bien en automne

I didn’t mean to be away this long! Four months later, I’m still alive, still in Paris. I had a few entries written, just waiting on pictures or a final read-over..but life caught up with me, what can I say. I might post one that I wrote in September because I had nearly finished it and then kind of forgot to publish it..

So, a short summary of Rachel's first full-length summer in Paris :
Finished with children on July 1st. Left for vacation July 2nd! I went on a little tour of the Germanic countries to meet friends. Berlin to see my friend, Brittany; Bamberg, to visit my two German friends ; and finally, to Vienna, to see a high school friend get married to an Austrian winemaker (not bad, huh!).

All in all, a good experience despite the crap weather in Berlin, again! I still like the city but I hope to see it in the sun one day! The cheap cost of living tempts me..maybe in a year or two I’ll head on over there. It was good to see Bamberg and friends again, and I went out with them and all their German friends to a pub quiz. It was fun, even if they had to translate a lot for me. All the more reason for me to finally conquer this language! Vienna was very pretty and classic. So many nice buildings and I loved that the trams were still old school with wooden seats and signs from the 60’s. The wedding was beautiful, and it was a perfect summer day. And the wine was abundant! But more than a week of traveling behind me, I was ready to come back to Paris. I love German, but sadly I'm not fluent (yet). After trying to express myself (poorly) for a week, it was so nice to hear French again. Enfin je comprends tout!

Worked my ass off. Following the summertime tradition of intense labor since 15, I put in a lot of hours at the café. I knew I'd have to find an apartment in September, so I started putting away money in a little jar on my shelf so I'd be reminded to add to it! Luckily tips were pretty good thanks to the tourists that were in there non-stop. It was strange for the first few weeks not having to frame my day around the school hours. I didn’t have to watch my kids except for one week—just picking them up from a daycare and waiting till the parents got home.

Spent a lot of time at the library. A French test in early August and watching kids for one week later in the month reminded me that September would be, in short, awful. Although I enjoyed my time off, I knew I had this 5-page project to write to get accepted to my Master’s program, due the first week of September. Not to mention completing the whole application process—various forms to fill out, a cover letter, a CV, translated transcripts, the aforementioned French test and the promise of my first-born child. Plus tons of time researching for the 5-page project—which was to explain the idea for my mémoire—a 50-page paper due at the end of your first year. Confused yet? Me too.

There was some other stuff in there--Bastille Day on my roof, gorgeous sunsets, cafés with friends, sales, the faux-beach "Paris Plage," a mini-trip to the Netherlands, the subsequent six-week obsession with the Dutch language, reading novels, eating baguettes and drinking wine on the canal, going to the outdoor cinema with picnics, enjoying Paris without the Parisians, deserted libraries, long days and warm(ish) nights.

(Of course there were also the plentiful grey skies, the tourists on every corner of the city, the lack of open bakeries or really anything, ridiculously hot days at work, the frozen state of the French bureaucracy, hearing about everyone else's génial vacations, the building concierge yelling at me for having too many people on the roof, the massive return of Parisians and their offspring..)

My  kids' school started back up in September, so there were 15 hours a week there, another 25-30 at the café, apartment searching and subsequent moving, the 5-page paper, interview and translation test preparation, and oh by the way, my visa expired at the end of August and I imperatively needed to get into school to be able to stay in France…


I’m pretty calm most of the time. I take things one at a time and deal with what comes at me. But here, I didn’t have the luxury of doing that. Everything culminated in a short period of time. For two days, I was convinced that my application hadn’t arrived at the office in time, and here I was, a day away from signing a lease contract without having a acceptance letter to get a visa to actually stay in France so I could fulfill the lease..

Cue the quarter (+1)-life crisis and scrambling to figure out what to do in the case that I had to leave France. Korea? Germany? New York? Marriage ad on Craigslist? It was not a pretty little freak-out session, I’ll tell you.

But. All ended well, or at least I hope it continues to be that way. Moved out of my 7th floor apartment on the Left Bank to a new, 7th floor apartment on the Right Bank. (I have FAR too many books.) Finished with my kids and passed off the job to the new girl. (Such a relief. Loved my family, but it was time to leave Nannydom.) Got a letter later in the week of freaking out that the university had received my dossier and it was being looked over. Then came the tests (ok), interview (horrible), re-writing of project (stressful), and acceptation to the program. (YES!) I am now a bonafide student of translation. Classes started last week.

So. That brings us up to about now. I have an appointment at the prefecture on Tuesday, and I know that I won't have everything I need to get my visa renewed. My new university is taking forever to get all my paperwork through and I’ve given up harassing them. It’s one of those “you just have to wait until it gets processed, it’s working..” type of things. I’ve had the visa appointment for two months, and it’s very likely that I will be sent away within five minutes with a new appointment in 2012. Sigh. I’m preparing my best defensive and slightly rude French phrases just in case.

Uni--so far, so good. The program is very time consuming, and I'm juggling work with that as well. I really enjoy doing the translations and am excited to learn more as the year progresses. I've always worked a lot during my studies, and though I'd obviously prefer to sleep more have more time to study, there's only so much you can wish for. I'm down two jobs (nanny, English teacher), so I already feel like I have an enormous amount of time in front of me. My school schedule is packed into two days, which makes for long days but less time commuting the hour-long trip each way. More to come as I settled into my program.

No comments:

Post a Comment