Sunday, September 15, 2013

Year 5


I haven't had the time to properly keep up this blog, sorry guys. As I mentioned before, I had an internship from January-July that I had to complete for my Master's program. It was for an online game company. I translated games and games news, updated language files, did some online marketing and other random things. But more than that was just keeping up the English versions of the games (forums, e-mail support, etc.). It was interesting, but it was essentially slave labor because I was paid around 300€ a month to do a job that should have been paid 1500€. Generally, when you're an intern, you're supposed to have a mentor that you're helping. For me, I was my own mentor. I was doing the entire job alone, with little training. We were all interns there, so I don't know how it was legit, but there's always a way around rules I suppose. Once I got the hang of it, I did the job pretty well, I think—or at least as evidenced by the fact that two months later, my old boss still hasn't found a suitable replacement. My boss was oh-so-French and very passive aggressive. A delight to work with some days. Still, I finished it, learned a lot, and met some other cool interns. Walking out of there for the last time—pure bliss.

This spring was super busy and honestly one of the most stressful stretch of times I've endured in a while. I was working about 60 hours a week between the internship and my side job, and then added on that the time to get to and from. My internship was annoyed that I left early to go to work, and my relations with my boss at my job were at an all-time low. I only had one day off a week from both of them. I originally was taking two German classes, but I dropped them about two months in because I was going insane with no free time. Free time to do things like get my hair cut, or buy some groceries, crazy stuff. The only good thing was for once since living here I actually had a decent income, and not much time to spend it!

And to top it all off, I decided to get fit and started going to the gym religiously, which is probably the only thing that kept me sane. Strength training and running intervals is where it's at, folks. I've never felt better about myself and my arms are looking pretty buff. Plus, clothes shopping in France is a bit easier! I hit my 6-month "fit-iversary" next week. Even though it was stressful, I'm glad I did it when I had little free time because now I have no excuse in the future. It's just become part of my life.

So, after the internship, I went on holiday to the South with two friends. Saw an amazing concert, laid out on some great beaches. Got my tan on and enjoyed life. I went to the UK a few weeks ago and visited a friend in Edinburgh, Scotland, and then went on my own to Liverpool for two days. Edinburgh was nice but really cold and dreary. Beautiful views from the giant hill in the middle of the city, called Arthur's Seat. Liverpool was really cute and I was impressed with how much they had fixed it up. It was a cultural city or something in 2008. I loved the architecture and I could listen to Scouse accents all day long! I felt like Liverpool is a city I could live in, which I rarely feel for other cities. So now I'm back in Paris, and the weather has changed pretty quickly. Feels like fall already and I'm all for it. I think I work better in the fall because there's not the sunny skies and events going on outside to distract you. Time to get down to business.

beautiful view of edinburgh
The school year starts here in a few weeks. An eternal student (4 LYF), I'm extending my Master's program one more year to do another internship and give me more time to my thesis. It doesn't really bother me because I was going to do a final year Bachelor's program anyway to keep the student visa, and this way, it's much less intense as I've already completed all the coursework. The only thing that is pushed back is me applying for French nationality, but getting all the documents in place for that will likely take this school year, anyway. (And all the translations and apostilles will require me saving up..)

September is always a very rushed and stressful month. My visa is thankfully up in November this year, so that's one less thing to worry about, but I still have lots of other things keeping me busy. I have to submit an outline for my thesis, see if I can take some language classes as an auditor, get an internship. And then there's my lease that renews at the end of the month, my housing insurance runs up, and I've got some hefty dentist bills to pay. (I recently had my first root canal, that was fun! Crown to follow in a few weeks.)

Still working at the little restaurant that I've been at for (gasp) almost three years. The thing is, I have an indefinite contract, which are kind of hard to get, and they give me the hours I want. I was very serious about quitting earlier this year, but now I realize that I'd have to have a really good job to replace it because I often don't come in until 8pm, and I don't know where else I'd find that. And it's so easy, and I'm lazy to find another one. Still, one good thing about my internship was that it was a French environment, so I do miss that. Number one goal this fall is to get another internship. 

Liverpool docks by night
So, that's about where I am right now. I don't know when I'll update again. Not just because I'm always short on time, but also because I feel like the blog was originally intended to be a glimpse into my year as a teaching assistant. However, I stayed, and stayed, and stayed again. Paris feels like home to me now. I keep extending my student visa because a) I promise, I really do want a Master's degree and b) I'm not ready to leave. This is now my fifth year in a row here and I'm still not sick of it. Blog updates now would likely be things like "this is my Wednesday schedule: go to gym, go grocery shopping, take a shower, eat lunch, watch a TV show on the internet, get ready, go to work." Life is just as monotonous here as anywhere; I just prefer the Paris monotony over other cities'.

I'm trying not to go overboard on my schedule this fall. I have a lot more free time to do things like take Portuguese! And Dutch! And German! But I always overextend myself and feel guilty later when I admit it was too much to handle. What I really want to do is read again. I never have time for that. Brush up on some James Joyce and actually open the issues of The Economist that I pay for!

Here's a flickr set of my summer holidays. Enjoy!