Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And so the adventure begins...

We have now been in Paris for a couple of days. Our flight left from Cincinnati on Sunday, July 25th. Saying goodbye to family was HORRIBLE and I sobbed through most of the day. Even though I was excited, it was pretty tough.

Once we got here, we took a taxi to our temporary housing in Nanterre. It is a suburb just outside of Paris. The place we are staying right now is not so great...I have to keep reminding myself that it is just TEMPORARY!

About an hour after we got to our hotel, Dustin went to work and I got on a bus and rode for about 15 minutes to a shopping mall. At the mall, I purchased a hair dryer and a flat iron. Success!

On Tuesday, I went to meet our relocation specialist to pick up the keys to our new apartment in the 7th. To get there, I had to take a bus, the metro, and then walk. I was pretty proud of myself for making it to the appointed location for our meeting! She went over several things with me about the apartment and reminded me that the owner put in brand new carpet for us. All she knew was that it was a neutral color.

I set out from my meeting to go check out the apartment. As I slowly walked from the metro stop to what will soon be home, I tried to take in all the sights and sounds. It is truly a beautiful walk! I crossed the Seine, taking a moment to look at the Eiffel tower on my right, and then turned left along the river towards the apartment. Now this is the life!

Our apartment is situated across from a cute Boulangerie and, of all things, a Pizza Hut! Ha! I went into the apartment building, jumped on the lift, and took it to the 7th floor. When I opened the door, I got my first glimpse of the new “neutral” carpet. To my surprise, it was BRIGHT GREEN! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?!?! I guess the French have a different idea of neutral. The pictures below don’t really show you the true color of the carpet. But trust me…it looks like our apartment is full of Astroturf.

My first reaction was to cry and text Dustin several “my life is over” text messages. Then I remembered where I was and the view from my window. That put things in perspective for me. I realized that I could either learn to live with the carpet, or do something to change it.

Later that evening, I took Dustin back to the apartment to check out the carpet. We were able to get some great pictures of our new view:

I have contacted our property manager to see about painting and possibly changing the carpet. We’ll see how that turns out…

Sunday, July 18, 2010

4,153 Miles Away

OK, I have to admit something. Chicago smells in the summer, too. I guess it is not just the Parisians! Dustin and I went to Chicago last Sunday/Monday to celebrate our second anniversary and get our French Visas. On Sunday, we watched the World Cup Finals at the Reagle Beagle and then walked around Navy Pier. Apparently, Paris is 4153 miles from Navy Pier!

For dinner, we went to the Italian Village. It was very romantic and the perfect place to celebrate two years of marriage. On Monday, we went to the French consulate to apply for our visas. Our appointments were for 9:10 and 9:20.

At 9:45, the visa office hadn't even opened yet. We weren't called up to the counter to turn in our paperwork until 10:30! I guess we are going to have to get used to this kind of thing!

All in all, the process was quite simple. I was pretty relieved because I didn't know what to expect. In fact, we received our visas in the mail just two days after our visit to the consulate! (Please don't ask to see my picture in the visa...I had witnessed a young girl getting yelled at for smiling for her visa picture. So, when it was my turn I made it a point to look very serious...Resulting in a terrorist-looking facial expression)

To finish out our Chicago weekend, we went to the top of the Willis Tower and stood on the Ledge...eeek. The picture below is of me stepping out onto the plexi-glass platform.

The other fun news that I get to share is about a job! On Friday, I made a phone call to a school in Paris to discuss a position I was interested in. The purpose of the phone call was just to ask a few questions and hopefully set up an interview. About 10 minutes into the conversation, the lady says, "I really don't want to lose you. Let's do this interview now." WHAT?!?! By the end of the "interview" she told me I had the job as long as my references checked out. I just heard back from her and she is definitely offering me the position. So, I am going to be teaching English 4 days a week in the afternoon at a Bilingual school that is not too far from our apartment. I am thrilled that it is just a part time job because it allows me to take French classes in the morning. It couldn't have worked out better!

The school I will be working at:

Things have really started to fall into place. Now that we have our paperwork in order and a job for me, we are ready to head to Paris. Our flight leaves on July 25th. With just one week left in the US, many emotions are going through me. Most of all, I am a bit anxious about the adventure that surely lies ahead.