Happy 2017! - A Little Update
It’s mid-January already and the year, our first full one in France, flew by.
Many things have happened since I last wrote, so here’s a little update.
1.) My first visit back to the states since moving to Paris
It was wonderful, relaxing and fun. We spent lots of time with our families, driving back and forth between Virginia & Pennsylvania. My sister got married on December 3rd, but we essentially celebrated three weekends in a row. You know… shower, bachelorette, and then the wedding! We also got have fun Christmas celebrations with our families - we brought them back French goodies for Christmas presents. Which meant no Christmas shopping while back in the states.
There were a few things that I just couldn’t get over, being back for the first time in over a year.
1. How big all the stores are and how much stuff is in them
It’s crazy! Aisle after wide aisle stocked to the brim. And the packaging. In the states, I used to hate cooking for myself, because you always find things in family size packages - meat, cheese, pasta, sometimes veggies and more. But in France, almost everything is made for 1 or 2. Sure, you can get the bigger family size packages, but it’s not the only option. Remember my comment about the ham? Well now I prefer it because it’s less likely that I’ll waste it. whoops…
2. I hate all the driving.
We drove a lot. Northern Virginia to Richmond to DC to Philly to Pittsburgh and back. I don’t actually hate driving, I to be able to move between cities, but when it comes where we're staying, I like to be in walkable areas. In my hometown, there are stores, parks and sites just 10-15 minutes away. But it’s not easy to walk there. Either the roads aren’t conducive to it, there’s not great lighting (at night) or people look look at you funny if you don’t have a car.
2.) Still no Carte Vitale
It’s been over a year and I have yet to obtain my health insurance. But since successfully signing up as an autoentrepreneur (more info on that to come...), it’s much easier to access assistance. Last week, I logged into my account, sent a message, en français of course, and heard back within a few days. Apparently, the organization never sent the document that kicks the whole process off. So now it has been requested, and I will wait for the next step - a letter to come to my mailbox asking for an ID photo and proof of identity. It’s always a waiting game isn’t it?
3.) Employed & feeling useful
I now have a few freelance marketing projects going on simultaneously with a few different French companies. I help out with marketing, social media, some translation and more. I am still teaching at least one lesson per week with Le Le Bus Bilingue. I love the kids in my class and it’s fun to watch them make progress. They are quite energetic, so I’ve got to employ a few different tricks to get them back to paying attention, and speaking in English.
4.) Aiming for an organized 2017
Our apartment is tiny (my apologies that I haven’t given you a proper tour of the place we call home) and though we don’t have much stuff, we also don’t have a lot of space to put it. So I’m trying my hardest to get it organized and clean.
I want to get rid of things we don’t need or use (hint: it’s not that much). And I want to be more efficient about how to store everything else. Last weekend, I made a lot of progress. We built this thing from Ikea (I love it because it’s so narrow and fits in one of the least used spaces in our apt), framed pictures, got a new mirror (i accidentally broke the other one… no bad luck please), changed lightbulbs, and organized some shelves. There is much more to do, but I’ve got some momentum thanks to the January Cure from Apartment Therapy. Anyone else doing it?
5.) Learning French
I will never be done learning French, there is always more that needs to get inside my brain. I’m currently enrolled in a class with the city that focuses on speaking and listening. My comprehension has improved so much over the last 6 months, but the speaking is still something that I struggle with.
The founder of Le Bus Bilingue told me that language is a combination of reflex and confidence, two things that I believe I’m lacking. I think my confidence is improving, though it took a hit at the market this past weekend. A lady made fun of the way I said poireaux. Not cool. But reflex is where I need to improve the most, which is why this speaking class is a good exercise. I’m also taking classes on an online language learning platform called Lingoda; their classes keep me on my toes in the middle of the week.
More to come this month and this year. Hope everyone’s year is off to a great start!