I very nearly became victim to a flying piece of banana. I was walking down the road, minding my own business, when it landed just in front of me with a heavy squishy thud. Someone in a balcony above had finished with it, or had decided they didn’t want to eat the bruise-y bit, or the end-bit (can’t blame them) and decided to drop it out the window. A second faster and it would have hit the top of my head. Luckily it missed me as I don’t think life would have ever been the same again.
Hi again, sorry Bonjour again
Tomorrow marks one week in Paris so I thought I’d write a post to celebrate. I was trying to hold off until I could tell you with 100% certainty that I had found… oh you know, THE ONE. But I couldn’t wait, so here I am.
Apartment hunting is the pits, it’s the pitt-i-est, deepest pit of them all. It’s a succession of first dates/series of tindr dates! Each apartment looks so good in the carefully selected, few photos. “Perfect location, less than 2km away from desirable area, says all the right things; big, warm, welcoming” OMG, TICK TICK TICK! You turn up; nervous, excited, ready to maybe commit? Then BOOM, let-down-town, population one sad girl.
It’s my job you. see this whole apartment acquisition thing, so I’m taking it very seriously. Regardless of the fact it’s my only job at the moment it’s our future home for the next two years. It’s a BD (big deal), actually no; it’s a VBD (very big deal).
The week that was! (Original heading yah?)
On Friday I bid Hugh “Au Revoir” as he and his pink pals headed to Oyonnax for their Saturday night game. It was Hugh’s first start of the season and his first away game. His club released an interview on the eve of his first game so if you’re a Hugh fan click here http://www.stade.fr/actualites/news/vie-club/2014-08-29-interview-hugh-pyle NOTE how he refers to his girlfriend as a jet lagged sloth (she’s at home sleeping) definitely not the cool, competent, energetic vibe I was hoping to give off, but true nonetheless. I am quite proud of how he’s settling in and ask him every day if all of the other boys are being nice to him.
Back to Friday… Myriam met me at the hotel and we set off to look through four different apartments. Her service is offered by the club and is hugely helpful. She isn’t a real estate agent so I don’t know exactly which job title to go with, but i’ll go with ‘Myriam the Apartment Hunter’. Four and a half hours later she dropped me back to the hotel, I was so hungry I was delirious and I still can’t remember what I said to her as I emerged from her little Fiat feeling empty inside, and not just due to hunger.
This is a summary of the four hours that transpired. Apartment A was beautiful but the kitchen was far too small and it was on the sixth floor; squished in the tiny elevator with Myriam I lollllled my head of imagining Hugh trying to fit in. Apartment B had a huge entrance hall, and then a bedroom portioned off with frosted glass walls. The bedroom couldn’t fit anything but a double bed – any clothes, underwear etc would have to be stored in the entrance. Apartment C smelled. And don’t get me started on Apartment D… OK I’ve already started Apartment D had no bedroom. The bed was a ‘wall bed’ in the entrance area that you stored upright during the day. Imagine if visitors dropped in during the morning, “No, no I can’t let you inside just yet, I haven’t packed away my bedroom.”
I know what you’re thinking. “She’s being picky, and judge-y and high maintenance.” Well hold your horses’ pal and hear me out. I’ve lived in six different forms of ‘houses’ since I moved from my parents nest. I am aaaaall over this game. But I have not, until now, searched for an apartment for myself and a XL human. My mum said I have to treat it (his size) like a disability, and make sure that everything is catering to it, from the shower, to the bed, to the ceiling heights. At the time I laughed at her melodrama, disability was a biiiiit far Margaret??? But the woman was right! I became a bit of a broken record calmly explaining to Myriam that the little things that she and I didn’t mind would become a physical pain to my tall friend if he had to live with it day in and day out.
I also had to quickly adjust to ‘furnished apartment’ shopping. It felt as though I was walking into someone else’s house which was fine when it was just Myriam and I, but not so fine when both she and the French landlord were staring at me asking for my opinion. “Oh um wow, it’s very red isn’t it?”, “wowee you do not see that in Australia!”, “this is very different” or sometimes just a deadpan “wow.” I know that Hugh had visions of me triumphantly holding one finger in the year and yelling “WE’LL TAKE IT” to Myriam during one of those visits, but my gut instinct stayed quiet… suspiciously quiet. I had to call him Friday night to let him know we would be hanging hotel style for a little while longer.
Saturday rolled around and I met up with a friend Katie who has been working as a Nanny in Paris for the past year. I caught the metro to meet her in The Marais which was an area Sally and I had thrown some serious cash around in. The shops got me again, goddam it they’re good. My favourite French labels Sandro, Iro and Maje were all on sale. Katie and I sat down to dinner with two shopping bags each in tow and chatted over French life at a Turkish restaurant.
Katie has been mulling over the cultural differences for a while now. She was somewhat of a ‘frenchpert’ and shared a few of her musings. She instructed me to ALWAYS, without fail enter a shop with a “Bonjour” and eye contact, and to leave with a loud “Merci.” Manners, VBD. She also mentioned that Hugh would be partaking in a LOT of handshaking as men shook hands at every greeting and departure. Hugh had been flabbergasted a few days earlier when he turned up before he was due to play a game and was required to walk around and shake every team-mate, coach, doctor and staff member’s hand. Definitely something the French are doing right in my opinion. We also laughed together at the three-wheeled motorbikes which are a fixture on the streets of Paris. I cried actual tears when I imagined what I would do if a guy attempted to pick me up and take me to the date on the back of one. Highly practical, definitely safer than a motor bike, there is nothing sexy, nothing bad boy, nothing ‘Sons of Anarchy’ about them. And in other news, Hugh is dying to get one………
Katie and I chatted the night away and I caught the metro home to Porte de Saint Cloud, the area we are staying in.
Sunday was activities day. I received a very demanding message from Hugh “please find somewhere for us to get lunch as soon as I get back” so decided to make haste with my plans. When Hugh’s food needs to be located quick smart i.e. the world ends. Arriving back to the hotel at 1pm from a long train and bus journey he was keen to explore so we jumped on a train to the Passy area in the 16th. It’s here that I’ll mention Sunday’s are slow-days in Paris. The shops shut as Parisians head away for day trips to escape the big smoke. Just to be really wild and out there we decided to visit… the Eiffel Tower.
It was a beautiful day, we ate lunch on Rue de Passy and walked to the Eiffel tower where we were greeted by the masses and Marshall from How I Met your Mother (excellent celeb spotting). I was dying to witness an engagement but we weren’t in luck however we did see a couple posing for wedding photos directly in front of the tower and their page-boy being sick out of the bridal car seemingly due to too much jelly and ice-cream. Hats off to that couple, ultimate wedding photo location really! As for the page-boy, hats off to him too, that dessert bar wasn’t going to eat itself, you only live once kids.
After we were all Eiffeled out we decided to walk back to the hotel via the river. Unfortunately Hugh jinxed me by pointing out a bathroom, asking if I wanted to use it and then declaring the line was too long and that we couldn’t possibly wait. From that point on I was desperate for a bathroom so the walk home took on amazing race proportions. We even cycled for part of it. I was NOT KEEN to hire a bike but with a view of getting home faster desperate times called for desperate measures. We ended up finding a bathroom and I actually really enjoyed getting my “two wheels” on. I was following behind Hugh who had the misfortune of selecting a stallion with a flat tyre. It made for hilarious viewing from behind. My favourite part was when he was overtaken by a petite and super chic Parisian! Sunday night called for room service and a recap of the day.
And now I’m at yesterday – Monday! Usually my least favourite day and now one of my favourites! Hugh doesn’t have much training on a Monday so we get to do more exploring after he has finished. We explored our way back to Sandro (cunning right?) where I emerged with a black coat, because it was the first day of Autumn after all, and what else was I supposed to do to sedate my anxiety about coping with a double-Winter year. This coat purchase has done wonders for my psyche, Hugh laughed at me when I sadly mentioned that Saturday’s weather would be a warm 24 and I would be unable to wear my new coat – a big turnaround from my despair at the changing seasons. The shop assistants in Sandro are great. They’re cool. They make you think you could be friends, but you couldn’t, because they’re just that bit cooler. As soon as I put the coat on shop assistant fille (girl) and shop assistant Garçon (boy) commented on how ‘Parisian’ I looked. I couldn’t make that purchase any quicker. They got me. The tactics at the Sandro Men’s store a few shops down was somewhat different, but still got the point across. When Hugh asked Assistant fille if she had a jacket in his size she quickly called on Assistant Garçon for his take. “Ha” he said, taking in Hugh’s size, “it’s impossible!” His English tutors obviously weren’t big on teaching the art of tact…
Returning to the above weather topic, Paris has been very kind to me in that department. I think it knows how I’m feeling about the “OMG YAY SPRING” “1st of SEPTEMBER YAY” posts on instagram. No one “Yays” for Autumn. Summer, at this stage, looks as though it’s going to hold on a little longer so that Hugh and I can do some more outdoor exploring. Katie assured me last winter was mild, although she couldn’t forecast what this year had in store. It has been warm and blue skies since I arrived and walking around today I tricked myself into thinking it was in fact the start of Spring.
Tuesday AKA today.
hip hooray for today! BREAKTHROUGH IN THE HUNT FOR THE ONE! I saw an apartment today; it was beautiful, so so beautiful. I die, I cry, I can’t.
Like most love stories it didn’t start smoothly, I was bang on time to meet Adrien the charming agent that I had been emailing in regards to the apartment. In my head I was smugly rebuffing claims that the French had a habit of being late when I received a message, “going to be 30mins late, sorry!” I then had 30mins to stroll the streets and really build myself up into a state. By the time Adrien put the key in the lock and opened the door I nearly turned and ran back down the flights of stairs. But it. Was. Magical. All white, and big enough. It had a walk in wardrobe! And a fold out sofa for friends. This was it.
Hugh has told me not to get carried away. I’m the ‘excited child’ in this scenario and he is ‘practical pete’. I honestly feel like the page-boy, so excited I could be sick I can feel it in my bones. I am going back out with the Apartment Hunter Myriam tomorrow afternoon but I fear my heart already belongs to an apartment and I’m blinded to anything else.
And that brings me to the end of my post. A rather long, dithering post and I apologise. I am still working out a rhythm to my days. At the moment the routine has one permanent fixture, breakfast with Hugh at the Hotel, featuring the buffet. We never ate breakfast together midweek in Melbourne and I have come to realise how much I love his morning company. It’s also amusing, as we have fallen into a morning conversation routine. He will ask my ‘plans for the day’ which usually revolve around eating – although today it was pretty exciting to discuss the fact that I did in fact have somewhere to be! I’ve already noticed how much more time Hugh and I are spending together, and how much more we are both laughing. Of course it’s due to the fact I’m hilarious, but he really has been surprising me with his one-liners too.
OH WOW that that was getting pretty deep and emotional. I better put some pants on and go and find some sort of pastry/pastries to devour!
Thanks for reading. You’re the best
WARNING SPOILER – NEXT POST: Featuring, the first home game and answers to the following questions; how will I cope bravely facing a new group of people on my own? Would I arrive to the game on time? Will I be able to find my seat? Alcohol – will I drink? Will anyone talk to me? What will I decide to wear? How long will it take me to decide what to wear? Will Hugh still be talking to me after discussing potential outfits for three days straight?
All will be revealed.
Until then.. goodnight (or good-morning or good-afternoon depending on when you’re reading it?)
Ok too hard, goodbye. xo