Sunday, November 11, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Part 1: The BIG Move
The move out of france went ok. I ended up having to buy yet another giant bag to put all my stuff in. My last day at work was pretty cool, I finished up my final project and my coworkers threw a champagne party for me at lunch and I got a computer bag. It was fun, but I was pretty stressed out about getting everything ready for the move. Really, I was trying to figure out how I could possibly get three bags and me on the bus, on the train and then on the plane. All the frenchies in Lyon had comments for me and all my suitcases. Are you going on vacation? How are you going to move all those bags? A nun helped me get them on the bus, then another lady helped me get them off (she felt karmically obligated to help me since her own daughter had done a study abroad in england and had a lot of bags too). Some guy who probably weighed less than me decided to be a gentleman and helped me get the bags on the train (this involves lifting two 70 lb bags above your head to get them on the shelves which i really didn't want to do, obviously).
At the airport i got lost trying to find my hotel, then i had to make a maintenance guy help me up the escalator with my stuff. But everything worked out, I found the hotel and went to sleep. I woke up bright and early at 5am to get checked in for my flight. It would have all gone smoothly, except for the the fact that I got stuck in an elevator and had to PRY OPEN THE DOORS WITH MY BARE HANDS. Yes, I pressed the emergency button, and I told some guy in french that i was stuck, but no one came. So i had to take matters into my own hands before i started freaking out hard core. The good news is I finally got on the plane and thanks to my uncle jeff, i got to go back home first class. It was awesome!
Part 2: The Return
The return was basically mayhem. I got into ATL, met my parents, woke up in the morning and had to drive to Columbia, move all my stuff, get the lock off my storage unit (to this day, no one knows where the key is), go to class and try not to speak jet lag gibberish (which I did anyways). It was a mess and it took me a week to recover from everything, but now I am feeling pretty great. I've seen my friends and family and am settling into classes. Right now, my schedule seems pretty easy, I'm just waiting for the wave of work to knock me down. Hopefully it will be ok. But i will continue to update the blog when I can, so stay tuned.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Saturday, I insisted we get up early and go to the Vatican. This turned out to be a good choice because it is actually only open from 845 to 145 and the line is about two hours long. After wandering around St. Peter’s square and taking pictures, we were quickly recruited into a tour group, the prime draw being that the tour guide would wait in line for us while we stood in the shade/ate pizza. Worth every penny.
Afterwards, we all agreed that some gelato was in order. And let me tell you, you haven’t tasted the satisfaction that is gelato until you’ve had it in Rome on a hot day. It was soo tasty. We walked around and rested for awhile and then set out to see the collosseum and walk to San Giovanni church to meet another IMBA. Kavita. Well, despite’s Jeff’s claims that he knew where we were, (he later claimed to have been joking, but no one believes him) our sightseeing of the collosseum was followed by an hour of walking in a giant circle, no where near where we were supposed to be. Upon arriving back at the collosseum, I made the executive decision to take a taxi to wherever the church actually was, so that we could sit down and wait for Kavita. Even though we basically got ripped off by the cab driver, no one cared because we were so tired and hot and the cab was air conditioned. Dinner turned out to be authentic and wonderful. We literally had 7 appetizers and were astounded to hear that we still had four courses to go (my kind of meal). It was really really really good. But it lasted until almost midnight, we missed the last metro and took another cab which is where we discovered that cabs are cheap and we definitely got ripped off by the other guy. Oh well.
Sunday, we slept in a little and then hit Trevi fountain, the pantheon, and the collosseum again. The line for the collosseum was really long, so we decided not to go inside and get some lunch instead. Then I had to leave for the airport, but not before I found some gladiators to take a picture with. It was a great trip and I can’t wait to go back and explore more of Italy when there are less tourists and no heat wave.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Saturday was pretty action packed. We walked through the flower market. I bought some flower bulbs for my mom and my grandma, although my mom says she won’t share. Hopefully, I can get them back into the US, without having to wrestle them from the long arm of the law that is customs. We had a great breakfast of dutch pancakes which are basically crepes with fruit on them. You don’t fool me Holland. I know you stole those pancakes from the frenchies!
Then we did one of the most fun things ever…we rented paddle boats and explored the canals on our own. And by explored, I mean we got mostly lost, ran into walls, and boated down the wrong side of the canal. But enjoyed ourselves immensely besides a leaky boat, and in my case, a wet backside from a joy riding speedboat that cut too close to us and absolutely soaked me. Mmm dirty canal water. Ain’t nothin’ better.
Other than that, we mostly just hung out, did a little shopping and walked the entire city. Sunday was great as well, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe, which, although touristy and American, allowed me to have a real hamburger and the best chocolate milkshake I’ve had in ages. Then, I continued to wander the city.
Monday, July 16, 2007
In an effort to get out of the extremely hot weather, I ducked into the friendly, neighborhood torture museum. It was disturbing to say the least. A lot of the things I had seen before, but there were some different tools that are the stuff of nightmares. I think the moral of the story is, it was not good to be a heretic in medieval times.
That night, my new friend listened to a French lady sing jazz in the theatre and dined on a feast of cassoulet. Now, normal cassoulet is a regional concoction of beans, duck, sausage and bacon. But I opted for the special Carcassone edition which was made with lamb and pigeon. Yes, I ate pigeon. Apparently, you can opt out of the pigeon, but in a split second decision, I decided to go for it. Who knows why I do the things I do. The waiter told me that some people are “allergic” so that’s why they can take it out. Yes, I have to think allergic=no I do not want to eat your rat with wings, lady. Anyways, I took one bite and it was not good, and my tummy said, what the hell? I didn’t finish it and felt bad because the waitress yelled at me and told me she punishes people who don’t finish their food. Ah well.
Sunday, I went on a tour of the ramparts where I learned the fake story behind the name of Carcassone. As the story goes, Dame Carcas was head of the castle. The city was besieged by Charlemagne for five years. The people inside the castle were starving and they were running out of water. So, Dame Carcas fed the last of the grain to a piglet and fattened him up. She then tossed the fat pig over the side of the castle and as luck would have it, the pig splattered its well fed guts all over the feet of Charlemagne. Well, this made Charlemagne think, if they can afford to feed a pig so well, then obviously this siege will never end. Let’s go home. And so, the siege ended and the people of Carcassone were so elated that they rang all the bells in the city in honor of Dame Carcas. In French sone means to ring, so Carcas + sone = Carcassone. Get it? Anyways, turns out Dame Carcas never existed and Charlemagne was never anywhere near Carcassone, but it’s a nice story.
The real story behind Carcassone is that it was once a great military stronghold, but then fell into disrepair when it was no longer needed. The people moved down into the valley and took stones form the castle to build their own homes. In the 20th century, an architect saved Carcassone from being destroyed and rebuilt it into the tourist fantasy that it is today.
We also got to see the theatre get set up for Michael Flatley’s (lord of the dance) performance. The theatre was really cool and if I could have stayed for the show I would’ve. I know it’s nerdy, but it would have been an interesting show to see, and think how much longer this blog would be.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Then on July 5th, we had a fourth of july celebration at the office. I, of course, was not wearing red, white and blue and thus, not being a very good American. I made up for this fact by leading the office in a rousing rendition of the American national anthem. The other American lady in the office printed out the words for everyone and another guy found the music online. So it was quite hilarious. The frenchies kept asking me, “what is hailed?” although, it was pronounced what iz ailed? And I couldn’t explain it to them in English or in French, so I kind of pretended I didn’t understand and then drew everyone’s attention to the fabulous stars and stripes sweater that one of my cubemates was wearing. And there was booze. Because what is a French office party without alcohol? The special drink of the day was a caparinha, a brazilian beverage that is basically liquor, sugar and fruit. It was pretty serious and the general consensus was that it should have been served before the national anthem. All in all, an excellent way to celebrate America in France.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
This month is the month of travelling for me. I have something planned every weekend. I kicked off the travel extravaganza by heading to Berlin last weekend to visit one of my fellow Imba’s, Jeff. The most amazing thing is that I realized that I have never been to a country where I understood absolutely nothing, except perhaps for the word “toiletten” or something like that, which is probably pretty important. I got in late Friday night, so we basically just had a quick dinner of falafel and some drinks. I had a flaming mai tai, which was both scary and delicious.
Saturday, we basically walked and did touristy things from 9am until 3am. We were going to do a great walking FREE walking tour, but opted out because it was raining and windy. Instead we did the bus tour which was lovely, but you have to take pictures very quickly as you fly by the monuments. This bus tour had the option to get off, so we went by the bombed out church that has not been rebuilt as an homage to the atrocities of war. We also saw some incredible street performers and a chocolate bear that weighed 160 kilos.
At our next stop, we went to the checkpoint Charlie museum. It was hands down the best museum I’ve ever been to. Before I saw that, and the wall, I really had no idea what the conditions were like while the wall was still standing. It came down when I was almost 8, so I don’t think I ever really understood the significance until I was there. Anyways, at the museum, they have all kinds of contraptions that people used to get over the wall. These include, stories of tunnelling, ladder bridges, personal submarines, people hiding in welding machines, speakers, suitcases, etc. There were heartbreaking stories of families being separated and children of subversive east german families being taken away and adopted out to good communist families. Also, apparently there were many children who drowned in the river because anyone who tried to save them would be shot by the guards on the wall. Oh, and there were X rays of a guy who made it over the wall, but was shot with 200 splinters from the automatic firing tower and survived. I could go on and on. The best part besides the museum is that for two euro, you can get your passport stamped with east berlin and west berlin stamps. So, now I feel very cool.
We spent the rest of the day visiting museum island, the holocaust memorial, hitler’s bunker (which is literally a parking lot with an informational sign), the Reichstag and about a billion other places that I am certainly forgetting. Then we had a quick dinner and went on a pub crawl that’s organized through the walking tour people. It was the two of us and an assortment of 80 english, irish, Scottish, Australian, and german people. I had some german beer, but not being much of a beer drinker myself, I tried to switch to some kind of sweeter malt beverage. This was met with many incredulous and slightly disgusted looks and firm, “NO, we don’t have any sweeter beers, why don’t you just drink liquor? (and stupid American, stop bothering me with your silly questions when I’ve got more appreciative people to serve).” It was a great group, we walked all over berlin, until 3am when I was magically nominated the person to get us home even though I don’t speak a lick of german. I got us home alright, but not before I had more disgusted sneers at my pronounciation (re: butchering) of the german subway stop names, at which point I turned to the guy and said, “don’t YOU, make FACES at ME, I don’t speak German!” So, then he took his disgusted german self to the other end of the platform.
Sunday was a lazy day, we just went to the famous flea markets. Other highlights included seeing a guy on a motorcycle get hit by a car (he was fine.) and seeing a lady almost get in a fight with a guy who was twice her size. This is how it went down.
Older chubby lady and stocky wrestler looking guy get on the subway. Older chubby lady suddenly shoves stocky wrestler guy out of the way and sits down.
SWG: what’s your problem?
OCL : you were in my way.
At this point stock wrestling guy starts to walk away, when
Older chubby lady: you’re an *expletive*
SWG: (gets in her face) says something like, I don’t know what you’re problem is, but you are obviously an *expletive*
He walks away
OCL: you stink!
Way to get the last word in older chubby lady! Many thanks to jeff for helping with the translation. So that’s it. Next stop, carcassone, a medieval city in france and one of the 1000 places to see before you die.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
After that we walked down the hill to the Cathedral de Saint Jean in Vieux Lyon (the old medieval part of town). It houses this medieval astrological clock that dates back to the 1300’s. We also toured some of les Traboules which are the medieval houses with intricate courtyards and winding staircases…and doors that are only big enough for me! Take that tall kids. Drew explored an old sewage drain in between the traboules. I tried to dissuade him by telling him it was formerly a medieval sewage drain (I mean really, he could come across some medieval excrement, which is almost as gross as coming across modern excrement), but he just responded, “Yeah, FORMERLY,” and continued walking up the drain.
After a yummy lunch of Kebabs, we walked along the river to the Parc de la tete d’or (it is called the head of gold park because apparently the golden head of jesus is buried somewhere on the grounds). But I just wanted to realize my dream of paddle boating around the lake. Even better, Drew rowed Sara and me around the lake. After that, we explored the world war II memorial and the incredible rose gardens. We also saw shrek 3 and ate dinner at one of the world famous Lyonnais bouchons. To top of the night, we checked out the Vieux Lyon neighborhood party. The entertainment of two guys speaking in unison in French was not as good as watching a little French boy throw water on all the little French girls who came near him. Then all the little kids danced to the two guys speaking in unison and that was pretty hilarious, too.
In other news, I finally have internet. Sunday, I almost had a nervous breakdown because I discovered my phone was broken again. My mom convinced me not to have a nervous breakdown, but rather to call france telecom for the billionth time and sort things out. Fighting back hyperventilating in anger, I dialed the number. When the guy picked up, I started to describe my problem, when he stopped me.
Guy: Do you speak English?
Me: (kind of excited, but hesitant) um, yes.
Guy: would it be easier for us to speak in English?
Me: (shouting with joy) YES!!
Basically he told me that the line was probably dead because my internet company was working on it and to just call them. And I never would’ve gotten that in French, I can tell you that right now.
Guy: is there anything else I can help you with?
Me: (fighting back tear of joy) no, I’m just *choked back sob* so glad you speak English.
Guy: me too miss, me too.
So then I called the internet company and went into my rant, and the lady stopped me. She asked me if I had plugged in my modem and I said no. She said well just do that, it should work. AND IT DID. So, now, I am blissfully back in touch with the world via the internet and free unlimited calls to the US. The moral of the story is, just when you think France won’t stop kicking you in the face, it gives you a hug in the form of people actually doing their jobs.
Monday, June 18, 2007
2) I got to go to the tenth anniversary celebration for merial, the company I work for. It was awesome. First, we all got bussed over to the Tony Garnier Auditorium which apparently used to be a slaughterhouse, but now it’s a place where the likes of Beyonce and Justin Timberlake come to play. Anyways, we were first ushered into the building where we were greeted by a dancing horse. Then, a film screen lit up and a lady with a flower painted on her forehead began to tell us the story of the company like it was a fairytale. Then we went to another screen where some modern dancers clapped and said merial and then spelled out merial with their bodies. Of course I got excited and yelled out, “oooooh, they’re spelling it out, . This was followed by a balloon drop. Then more of the history of the company followed by confetti cannons. Then we were ushered to the final screen where we heard the end of the story, the lights were turned off, the modern dancers returned with sparklers and they danced in front of some sweet pyrotechnics, basically a mini, indoor fireworks display like at a rock concert. Then we were led into the auditorium, where we sat down for the show. It basically went two managers come out and tell the story of a certain merial division, followed by a short video of some farmer in east bumble, France giving a testimonial, then there was a short intermission. The first intermission was modern dancers, in what can basically be described as wrestling onesies (yes, even the men), jumping and dancing and clapping as only modern dancers know how. Then, there was a guy who came out pushing a mop, but then stuck the mop in his pants, put a coat on the mop, stuck one arm through the sleeve and pretended to feel himself up. There was also a juggler who dropped his balls which subsequently rolled off the stage. But the kicker was the guy who mumbled his way through candle in the wind and then they transitioned into…..wait for it….the MACARENA. It was awesome. It took me right back to the eighth grade father daughter hoedown at gps.
This weekend was another story. Friday kicked off with a lunch time birthday celebration that involved sangria. At first I thought it was just punch, but no it was my old friend. The lady who handed me my glass was like, oh this is Spanish. Ah yes, I know you well sangria. I briefly contemplated downing the whole bowl in order to make the office party less awkward for me, but then decided against it. Tough call, but I had a meeting with my boss later that required me to be lucid. But it would have made the “who do I pretend to listen to”, “how do I look not awkward”, and “should I double kiss the birthday boy and girl who I don’t know” questions a lot easier. Friday night, I went to Clermont for nanda’s friend yvan’s going away party. He’s moving to china and boy did we send him off in style.
Dj Boz - Tara, nanda and I stayed with boz and his wife. The guy with the safety goggles is german. I don't know his name, just his nationality. Around 3 am, i decided to don the safety goggles myself.Dancing up a storm! YAY! French men can dance!
Monday, June 11, 2007
This is a special wedding edition blog dedicated to my new and extended family. This past weekend my uncle chris, who is very cool, got married to an equally cool lady, and they are now somewhere fancy in the carribean being fanned by palm fronds and drinking copious amounts of fruity tropical drinks. Congratulations, Newlyweds! Even though I spent more than 30 hours travelling there and back over four days, it was totally worth it. I have never seen a wedding this spectacular before in my life. The sheer volume of food alone would have been enough to make it an event. I was literally worn out from eating, something that I’m pretty sure has never happened before in my life, and may never happen again, so take note. The rehearsal dinner was on the water of the harbor in Baltimore. It included a dessert buffet that basically looked like someone had piled all the desserts you had ever dreamed onto one giant table to create a mountain of confection. It was like heaven. I’m actually kind of surprised that no one found me the next morning underneath the table, face covered in chocolate, sleeping off my food coma. The only disappointment is that not nearly enough embarrassing stories were told about my uncle. He’s got a bazillion and I wanted other people to share in the hilarity of classics such as him yelling “naked baby” and streaking through my mom’s young life meeting when he was little. But alas, such a dream was not to be realized.The handsome groom.
The wedding itself was in the garden of the Mount Vernon club in Baltimore and was very elegant. For the reception, all of the guests were trumpeted to the art museum where we kicked off the reception by consuming an inordinate amount of appetizers and drinks. At one point, my mom asked me to give my cousin a cracker to which I replied, “crack her? I don’t even know her” followed by me laughing hysterically at my own joke. It’s one of my favorites, I’m not gonna lie. So then my dad said (in the driest, most sarcastic way possible), “And that’s only after one drink, think of the jokes she’ll tell after three.” But let’s face it, we all know I would have made that joke sober.
Dad breaks out his best moves in a pre-wedding dance session.
After that, we were ushered downstairs for the dinner and a family photo (finally a family photo where I’m not ten, wearing glasses and a Christmas sweater with a frilly lace collar and rhinestone buttons). There was plenty of dancing and we were allowed to wander around the museum which was fun. Sydney and I danced with our little cousins. Trina’s dancing was pretty standard for a 6 year old, but Tara, the 2 ½ year old, certainly showed us all up with her combination sumo rocking, frog jumping, break dancing, booty shaking. You’ll have to ask my sister to do a re-enactment of tara leaning forward all the way with her butt in the air and wiggling it back and forth. Not surprisingly, she was voted most likely to be in a rap video in 15 years. Ok, so Sydney and I were the only ones who voted, but that doesn’t make it any less true. I was so glad to see everyone and was pretty sad to go back to France without the fam. I mean, I still wanted to go back, I just wanted to take some people with me.
Me and Sydney with the beautiful Bride!
Monday, June 4, 2007
Jerkface: Have you been vaccinated?
JF: Do you have your little card
JF: Do you know the dates of you vaccinations?
E: no, my doctor in the US has them, though.
JF: (irritated) Well is there someone you can call?
E: I guess, but not right now, it’s 2am there.
JF: (annoyed at stupid American) Here in France we have cards. Everyone must have a card. How am I supposed to know you are vaccinated?
E: Well I have my carte de sejour and I had to be vaccinated to go to school, so that’s what I got. I’m here for three months lady, lay off.
Ok I didn’t say that last part. But I should have she was all annoyed and huffy with me. Then the doctor spoke no English, so it was a little difficult to give him my family history since I didn’t know how to say I don’t have a gallbladder and my mom has high blood pressure. But he was really nice and would be excellent in a game of medical charades. It still weirds me out that you strip down to your underwear and have to sit there without a gown. Ah well. I was pronounced fit enough to do a three month stage. Yes!
This weekend started out frustrating. The france telecom guy didn’t show up because he tried to call my cell phone and he had the wrong number. When I tried to call Friday night to reschedule, the guy basically said he didn’t know what to tell me and that I should call Saturday morning. So then I called Saturday morning and understood only enough to know that I would not be having someone else come out to my house, but I didn’t understand enough to know why. Then I went to the store to talk to someone and the girl had to explain to me literally six times what had happened before the light bulb of understanding flickered above my head. I wanted to quit around the fourth explanation because I was so frustrated, but I figured now or never or rather, I would have to go to yet another store to ask since I would be too embarrassed to return to this one. Finally, near tears, I figured out that the guy who tried to come to my house transmitted my file to another technician who was going to fix my problem from a distance sometime this week. Ah, why are things so complicated? Other than that, though, I had a good weekend. I went to the parc tete d’or which is basically awesome. It has a zoo and paddle boats and softserve icecream. It was very fun. In other news, I got asked to go out for a drink twice, once by some kid with a big fake diamond earring and the other time by two drunk guys. I turned all of them down. The first kid I felt kjnd of bad about and came to the conclusion that turning people down was not the way to make friends. The second time I really didn’t feel bad, because I had just bought a ticket to go see a movie and because it’s pretty much a terrible idea to go off by yourself with two drunk French guys or any drunk strangers for that matter. Stranger danger people, stranger danger. So the new plan, is the next time one, sober person, who seems nice approaches me, I will go to drinks with them in a well lit, public area. In hind sight, I wish I had done something other than see 88 minutes because it gave me nightmares and it wasn’t that good.
Thursday, May 31, 2007
In related news, I have to admit, I am a little afraid of my landlord. Not because she’s mean, but because she is a perfectionist. For instance, she looked a little annoyed that I slapped my name on the mailbox with some scotch tape. She said that she would do something nicer this week. And when I threw some paper into the garbage can, I came home the next afternoon to find it safely placed inside a garbage bag. It was just paper! Honest. I wasn’t trying to defile the garbage can. But basically, since, the apartment is still being renovated, she comes and goes as she pleases and I just know that she’s gonna go in there on a bad day, when I haven’t had time to clean or I accidentally left dirty clothes on the floor or a wayward brassiere made it into the living room. You never know. I fear her judgement for some reason. I guess it doesn’t really matter, though, but I have this disease that my mother gave me where you can be a little (or a lot) messy, while you’re alone, but when people come over, there has to be a mad dash of cleanliness. Everything must be spotless And DON’T FORGET THE FLOORBOARDS. Ha, I blame mom, who of course is always clean with or without company coming over. There, I helped maintain the illusion.
I'm involved in an ever evolving struggle with France Telecom the french phone company. A guy came out last week to install my phone line and he said it would work that afternoon. Well, it's been a week, so last night I ventured over to the france telecom store and tried to sort things out. The lady told me the line works and that perhaps it is my phone. SO, i go buy a new phone and it doesn't work either. I go back to france telecom and another lady tries to call her service people, but apparently france telecom's phone isn't working either, so i have to come back tomorrow. I go back today and a lovely young man by the name of Julien helps me by dialing the service people, handing me the phone and dancing to the hold music. It was hilarious and mostly helpful. In short, another technician is coming out tomorrow, so hopefully that will work out. If not, "I had a guy come to my house to install my phone last week, but my phone still doesn't work, when i plug in the phone I hear nothing" branded in my brain in french.
In weather related news, it has been cold as (insert expletive here). The problem is all my winter clothes and my blanket are in Paris, so that I can take them back to the US next week, as a pre-emptive strike against the big move in august. The past few weeks have been super hot, but this week for some reason we had a cold snap. I’ve definitely had to do some creative layering. I actually took the cover of the sofa bed and used it as a blanket. Which is just sad.
In work related news, I am making some friends, who I occasionally understand. Awesome. I have lunch buddies, which was one of my bigger fears about returning to the working world in a foreign language. No one wants to have to eat lunch at their desk because no one likes them and they can’t hold a conversation. Thus, my solitude is broken for a half hour every day. Hooray.
Monday, May 28, 2007
This weekend was fairly uneventful. It was rainy and gross, so Saturday I got up the courage to get my hair cut. Try saying, if you give me bangs, I will be forced to punch you in the face in a foreign language. Or, better yet, if you give me anything even resembling a mullet, in exchange, I will shave off your eyebrows while you sleep. Not so easy now, is it? But once again, I was in luck and the lady who was cutting my hair spoke near perfect English. So, no bangs and no mullet, hooray! Sunday was even more disgusting than Saturday, so I went to the movies and saw Zodiac (two thumbs up) and Pirates of the Caribbean 3 (one thumb up, better than the second, worse than the first). I was excited because the version in english was the only one that wasn’t sold out and it made me laugh that the French people in line with me were irritated that they had to see it in English. So, a low key, but good weekend.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
2:00 - Can't get in the door because i don't have a badge and found out that I don't have a badge yet, anyways, so my boss comes down to get me.
2:00-2:30 -First my boss takes me up to his office and tells me to put down my purse. Then he walks away and I hear down the hall, I would like to introduce emily....um, emily, where are you? Ahhh, i was supposed to follow him. got it. So, I get introduced to everyone in the office. EVERYONE. It's a french thing, very nice. I was on display like the letters in wheel of fortune and my boss made a lovely vanna. This is emily, no not spelled the french way, with an i-grec. She's american. You can practice your english with her and she can practice her french with you. She's going to make some pivot tables and help create some key performance indicators. Voila.
2:30-4:30 - I learn about the company, the division and what I will be doing. It was an insane amount of information that left me wondering how i possibly passed operations. Although I did see my good friend the pareto principle in there. who knew that would be used in the real world.
4:30-4:40 - tried to figure out how to turn on my computer. Yes, i pressed the on button. One of the cables was loose.
4:40-4:50 - try to open the files on the network that my boss wants me to look at. No luck. So, my boss copies the files onto a thumb drive for me.
4:50-5:05 - try to open the files on the thumb drive. No luck. Boss tries. no luck.
5:05-5:06- Make first attempt to open bathroom door. Door will not open. Retreat to desk to avoid people in the cubicle area staring.
5:06-5:30- call the help desk. get special code to open the files. files actually open. like in america.
5:30-5:31- Make second attempt to open bathroom door. Door still will not open. Hear person inside, decide facilities are in use. abort mission.
5:31-6:30- Stare at excel files and try to come up with as many questions as possible to ask my boss tomorrow, since he will be gone after that for three days. In that time, i am supposed to make friends and study data. Teaching myself is fun. weeee!
6:30-6:45 - get my own username and email account, which won't open. Boss comes. We call help desk. Success.
6:45-6:48 - Make third attempt to open bathroom door. You know that far side cartoon where the door says "school for the gifted" and pull and there's some nerd pushing as hard as he can on the door? Apparently I should have been pushing. Success and bladder relief.
6:49 - boss says i can leave. I try to leave. door to the outside will not work. check purse for crazy pills. none to be had. Go back upstairs to find boss. Who tells me that i have to have my badge to get out.
6:53 - finally leave, head hurts, need food!
That was my half day. Who know what tomorrow's full day of work holds!
Saturday, May 19, 2007
First of all, I have to whine a little bit because moving sucks...a lot. even when you only have two suitcases. I took a third suitcase full of winter clothes to nanda's house to store. She lives on the 6th floor with no elevator. That pretty much makes me want to die even when I am not lugging 60 pounds of luggage with me. But once that was done, nanda helped move my stuff to the train station from my house.
On a whim, she decided to come with me to Lyon to help me move because basically I just couldn't drag two 60+ pound rolling suitcases, plus a 30 pound backpack and my purse and my cable box that they wouldn't let me return in paris (which is a whole other story). She was an angel sent from heaven because when i got to the hotel in Lyon, they put me on the 5th floor. I asked if there was an elevator and the guy laughed at me. That's not exactly the reaction I was looking for. Just to give you an idea of how heavy my suitcase was, it took two taxi drivers to get my giant red bag into the cab. and that was just the one bag. But we finally got it up to the room which turned out to be nice and had a real toilet and a tv. Sweeeeet! Already doing better than the residence in Levallois. Then we had a yummy fancy dinner and conked out.
This morning we went to the rental agency at 9am and she gave us a list of names to call. Most people were on vacation, but one lady happened to be at the apartment and said we could come by. It was gorgeous!!!! It is above Dior and across the street from Louis Vuitton. The doors open up for you when you push in the key code. way cool! Also, one of the ministers (re: big wig) of Lyon lives there. She had just redone the apartment. Everything is brand new. It is huge and 150 euro cheaper than my place in Paris. Plus, here's the kicker, IT HAS A WASHING MACHINE. awesome. simply awesome. Plus Plus, it is in the absolute best part of town and close to the tram i have to take to work. PLUS PLUS PLUS it has a view! And i got to get out of my hotel and move in today. And it has an elevator. Basically it is the best apartment ever. It makes me feel really good about being here and really good about starting my job on tuesday. Um, can you tell I'm a little excited? It took me three weeks and a dozen crappy apartments to find my perfect paris apartment and it took me less than 2 hours in Lyon. hooray! Nanda and I walked around in a stupor all day, just amazed at how it went down. craziness. I just can't even express how much better i feel now! THE END.
Apparently the pictures don't want to load, but there will be some in a couple of days!
Monday, May 14, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
After that we drove to bayeux to see some churches and have an amazing traditional normandy dinner. Then, the navigation system finally kicked in, but only enough to direct us towards the round about at the arch de triumph which is eight unmarked lanes of mayhem that no one should ever drive in. scary! And natallie was driving, which was good cause you can't tell when she is freaked out, so we were probably relatively more calm than we should have been. But we came out alive, so all is well.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I sometimes wonder why I torture myself with the french language, especially when I have to do something as scary as try to find a job! I know I'll be a better person with great skills at the end of this journey, but the getting there is tough sometimes. Last week I had my very first interview in France. It was one of the more excruciating experiences of my life. I prepped myself all night and all morning before getting on the train to go to my interview for an internship with a technology company. When I arrived, I got on the elevator and pressed 4 and nothing happened. The doors closed and the elevator went down and someone else got on and still i was pressing for. Luckily, the lady who got on had a magic key and she took me to the fourth floor where my interview was. I got off the elevator and immediately found myself in the middle of someone's office cubicle. There was nowhere to sit, so they got me a chair, so that I could sit in the middle of the workspace while i waited for the guy to come get me. He finally came and the interview started. He asked me if I wanted to do it in French or English, and I said English, which was silly, but I was so nervous at that point, I was close to tears. Needless to say, the interview was not my best, but it wasn't horrible. I haven't found out yet if I got it, but it would be an interesting job and I would have lots to do and lots to learn. I realized as I left that I am terrified of being away from the comfort zone of school and having my friends from the program around. It's definitely going to be tough once I'm in the french working world, but I bet my french will get a lot better:) Anyways, I have another interview with a pharmaceutical company next week, so wish me luck because this one will absolutely be en francais.
In other news, Natallie, my roommate from Chicago, is the latest person to visit me. It's my school vacation right now and we have certainly kicked it off. Yesterday, I picked her up from the airport and we went on a fantastic boat tour of paris. Today, we went to the champagne region (the city of Reims pronounced Rahnce) for a day trip. It was absolutely incredible. It was a beautiful day and we got to tour the pommery caves. The outside looks like a castle and the actual cellars are old Roman chalk caves that madame pommery herself switched into interconnected cellars that hold over 20 million bottles of champagne. We also saw the world's largest cask that holds 75,000 liters of champagne. Yum! We even got to taste some.
The other neat place in Reims was the Cathedrale de Notre Dame where 26 french kings were crowned. The first was Clovis in 498 and the last was Napolean Bonaparte himself. The tourism office is actually in the ruins of the Cathedrale and for just 12 euros we got a bus pass, a champagne cave tour, free museum tickets and a box of special pink cookies that are supposed to be eaten with the champagne. It was one of the best trips I've had yet and I bought a cheesy magnet to commemorate it. hooray. Next stop, London and Dublin.
Sara and I cheers!