Mid-Fall Update (plus a bit about our summer)
It's already October - the leaves are starting to change and the chill keeps nudging me to grab that sweater. I also switched my go-to apero from a glass of refreshing white wine to a belly-warming red.
Fall in Paris isn't like the US; it's missing the autumn traditions like pumpkin flavored beverages, apple picking, football, Halloween and more. But you can still do them your own way . Just yesterday, we spent the day in the countryside with friends drinking wine by the fire and carving pumpkins. Today, it was back to reality. I saw an advent calendar in our neighborhood Monop' - proof that here, fall is just a way to get from summer to Christmas.
Speaking of summer, our first summer in France went back and forth between busy and boring and it couldn't decide whether to be dreary or blistering hot. We welcomed many visitors to our tiny third floor apartment throughout the summer months. And unfortunately for some of our guests (including my parents), even though the days were long, they weren't that warm. At least not until the first week of July.
An overview of what's been going on over the past four or five months in our corner of the world:
We got lucky and saw some beautiful parts of France and ventured further out to Ireland and Germany. We planned to visit Turkey with friends, but unfortunately, the events going on and an Air France strike made it impossible.
Each trip was a different sort of adventure so I'll be detailing our time in each place in future posts.
- In June, with my parents, we flew to Ireland and spent the weekend in both Galway and Dublin. We saw some incredible sights (hello Cliffs of Moher) and visited some old friends (Hi Croke Family).
- During the annual August exodus from Paris, we ventured to Saint-Malo, an old pirate town in Brittany with one of the most incredible tidal ranges in the world.
- One of the last weekends of summer, we made our way to Germany to visit another good friend who was living there for the summer. While there, we did a little tour of three separate towns: Hamburg, Bremen and Bremerhaven.
- The first week of September, while my sister was visiting, we took the train to Nantes, a fun city on the western end of the Loire Valley. We drank a lot of muscadet, visited an old castle, and biked around town.
Who doesn't love to see a familiar face! So many of our friends and family came to visit us in 2016 - all of our parents, two of my siblings, and many friends from Virginia Tech, California and more. We got to introduce them to the place we now call home. And of course, we got excited it when they came bearing American gifts - Cheez-its, Cholula and Chapstick, just to name a few.
A New Job:
In the middle of August, I got a brand new job in marketing. I work for an agency that rents furnished apartments to expats. It's quite specific, but from personal experience, I know there is demand for it!
At the office, everyone speaks both French and English. Fortunately, I can understand almost everything, but my conversation skills are still lagging. They speak in French to me, I respond in English and so it goes. I'm making small improvements after 1.5 months there - I'm responding more and more in French - it can only get better from here. I hope!
On a more bureaucratic note, for this role, I am not a full time employee, but an autoentrepreneur, aka a freelancer. This official status makes declaring and paying social charges & taxes much simpler and it gets you a social security number for the health system. Future post alert: One day, I'll go into more detail on this - it was tough for me find out the necessary information I needed about signing up, creating a facture, paying taxes and more.
Up next, we're planning to enjoy a French automne that includes both of our birthdays (two Scorpios, oh la la). We're also heading to Nice next weekend for a conference for Steve's job and are going a few days early to explore. It will probably be the last trip we go on before I head back the US for 1.5 months.
My sister is getting married in early December and we're going to stay for Christmas. I'm excited, but nervous to be going back, especially for that long - it'll be my first time back in over a year. I'm wondering if I'll say Bonjour or pardon to everyone I encounter. Anyone else have this problem?