Just 10 days ago, I left Paris. Saturday the 1st of July, was the last day of my 6 months internship. I met some really amazing people, and it felt incredibly strange to come to the end of that journey. It went by so fast, it feels just yesterday I had arrived in my new apartment and the New Years Eve fireworks were going off Place Trocadero. Funny how we don’t see time go by until its actually gone. We had a farewell lunch the Friday before I left, and I said goodbye to everyone, promising to visit next time I was in Paris.

Sunday, I returned the keys to my minuscule Parisian apartment. While it was obviously too small for the type of person that I am, that likes to “spread around” and “nest” all over the place, I did appreciate living there. I liked being 2 minutes walking distance from the Eiffel Tower. I liked hearing the live music that played every Thursday in the pub I never went to across the street. I liked watching over the rooftops of Paris, and looking down at the empty streets on Sunday mornings or late nights/early mornings I couldn’t sleep, from my little window. And even though the city sounds didn’t promote going to sleep at an early hour, they made me feel connected to the city I’d always dreamt of living in.

That next Monday, for the second day in a row, I woke up around 5 am. Staying in an Airbnb with my family (and our newly adopted puppy), we got up and left for Disneyland! It was great because I hadn’t been there in quite a few years, and there were loads of upgrades on the rides. And it was my mother’s birthday, so it was really fun being there for the occasion.

The next day again, was the day I took a 9:45 am plane for Venice, before getting a car service to Slovenia. The flight was only 1 hour and 15 minutes long, and quite comfortable, as I was in the very first row, so loads of leg room which is awesome when you’re flying coach! I waited two hours at the airport in Venice for my car service, as planned. I did my best to get some sleep in the car, as I was really tired from Disneyland the day before, and getting up so early that morning. I arrived in Slovenia around 4:30 and was so happy to finally be reunited with my lovely Kat!

And that’s pretty much the sum up of my travels from Paris to Slovenia. I still have loads of  posts to share with you about some of the other things I’ve been up to! Including my trip to Soca Valley and to Croatia. I’ll try to put those out soon!

Not my photo. Credit goes to justin fantl.
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Choosing the future, means letting go of the past. It means saying goodbye to your previous life, and welcoming on your new one. And it also means, you gotta pack up your shit. (Pardon my French).

During the end of last year, I moved out of my mom’s place, to move into a shoeboxed sized apartment in Paris. And while this wasn’t the first time I made an extended exit of the comfort of my family home, it felt like a totally new adventure. It was sort of a dream I had chosen to accomplish, knowing it was the best and probably the last chance I would have to do it.

Fast forward to today, I’m sitting in my tiny apartment thinking about what I want to bring with me on the next chapter of my life. And a really big part of me wants to leave 80% of it behind, and just make do with my newest clothes, my Clinique creams, my SPF 100% sunscreen, and my Macbook Pro. Like what else could you possibly really need, right?

Of course, while I’ve been fond of the principles of minimalism, it’s easy to get into exaggeration mode. And, at the same time, it’s also hard to actually apply principles of minimalism, that is doing with the bare minimum, and getting rid/giving away shit you just. Don’t. Need. (To see ever again).

Now, because I’ve been moving a lot during these last 3 years or so ever since I started college, I’ve been obligated to cut back massively. Mainly because I didn’t have the comfort that I used to have as a teenager, of living in a huge house in the french country side (with an equally huge garage, where I never had to get rid of anything).

I was at my mom’s place last weekend, and we were sorting through some of my clothes that I had left with her, in her little shed/storage area in her garden at her new house. I sorted through a lot, and decided to let go of a lot. And while some of it was hard to let go, now, with some looking back, I can’t help but thinking: “Should I just let it all go?”

Mind me, I’m just talking about clothes, here. I mean, you never know when you could need a dark green cable knit sweater from Urban Outfitters.

Being an american/irish kid who moved from the United States to France at a young age, I’ve became accustomed to just moving, and leaving the past behind, I guess. New adventures are always very appealing to me. I tell everyone I know that I just can’t see myself in the same place, or doing the same thing, for more than, like, three years, tops. I’ve became uncomfortable with overly stable, monotone situations, while at the same time, I’ve also been seeking perfect comfort in uncomfortable, instable situations.

And this has always been a huge dilemma for me. Because there’s always this side of me wanting to go, and wanting to stay at the same moment. Obviously, being in two places at once, is impossible. But I think, (that I’m over intellectualising this), that it all comes back to One. Damn. Thing.

A little something people like to call: F.O.M.O.

Fear of missing out. Fear of missing out on what I have now, and what I could potentially gain. Fear of missing out on the benefits of staying, and on the benefits of leaving. Fear of missing out on owning an Urban Outfitters cable knit sweater, and not owning one.

This is something I haven’t figured out yet. I’m still at two decades on my time line, and I guess my biggest hope is that I’m not going to collect too many regrets, and make too many bad decisions.

Do you experience F.O.M.O? And in so, when and in what way? I’ve love to hear your opinions on this.

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Not my photo. Source unknown.
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My 6 months internship in Paris has come to an end. I’m on my way out.

My week is full of To Do lists which involve items like “Pack suit cases”, “Cancel internet service” (which I should’ve done a few weeks ago, in retrospect), “Clean apartment”, which are looming on my mind. I feel like I haven’t even started yet…

Next week, I will be on a 9am flight to Venice… then a 2 hour drive to Slovenia, country I will be calling home for at least the next a couple of years. It’s a whole new chapter. I will be working full time on the branding and marketing of the first real company I’ve started with my boyfriend. (Yes, I’m one of the lucky one whose personal and professional aspirations happen to be with the same person and take me to the same place.) This is all both very exciting and very scary – but in the best and weirdest way possible. I’m staying very positive about the whole thing!

I’ve been living in France during the last 15 years. And now that I think of it, I haven’t lived else where than France, for more than 6 months (except during the 6 first years of my life), when I did my academic exchange abroad last year. That was also in Slovenia.

I’m going to a “new” country, where I don’t know the language and have no friendships but those of my boyfriend’s and his nearest family. So, I guess my greatest hopes is that I will make friends quite quickly. I’m already looking for Slovene teachers, and tracking down Zumba teachers in the Ljubljana area, who might be able to turn my uncoordinated, stiff self, into a person who can do something that resembles dancing, and moving in an un-embarassing manner. You can tell where my priorities are. #NewLifeGoals

So, anyway, I’ll keep updating and sharing pictures of my trips on Instagram, and write when I get a spare minute!

 

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No my photo. Source unknown.
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I live in an apartment the size of a shoebox. As do most 20 something interns living in Paris on their own. I left my apartment around 10:30am, after watching new episodes of Master Of None season 2. I presumably finished the season in just 2 days. There’s just certain things on which I don’t think you need to postpone your pleasure. This show is one of them.

It was very windy, but it wasn’t cold. It was sunny, but it wasn’t hot. All-in-all, a type of weather I can get my head around. The wind made a mess of my hair, which I hadn’t really put much effort in anyway, contenting myself to tuck most of it under a light, grey turtle neck sweater before running out the door (because I can).

My earphones were in my ears, but I was just listening to the sound of the trees whispering through the wind, as I made my way down Rue Raymond Pointcarré. The aerial movements, pushing me forward, then backwards, then no direction at all, haulting suddenly at a still. Passing a pigeon eating someone’s old cookie on the side walk, and friends enjoying café en terrasse under the early summer sun.

It wasn’t Sunday, but it sure felt like it. Everything and everyone seemed quite calm. I was at my favorite place to be on my days off: Starbucks. Writing, working on my last school projects, my business plans, and talking on the phone with Cat. Basically, I had turned the franchise into my personal office for the past 6 months.

I arrived at the coffee shop at ten minutes to 11. I stood in line for 3 minutes, and ordered in 1 and a half. I think. It took me some time to decide what I wanted. Knowing I was going to be there for a few hours, I ordered two cappuccinos: one hot, one iced, which was covered in milk froth, due to my usual barista’s amazingly awkward drink preparing skills. Realising how annoying it may be, or not be, I asked ahead of time if they were sugar free, having watched hours of documentaries, which enabled me to develop a sense of paranoia about the amount of sugar I introduced into my body on a daily basis.

I sat at a small round table, too small for anything productive to happen on. The indian guy at the larger round table next to me, was sitting hunched over, not over the table, but with his elbows on his knees, barely aware of the table at all. He was on his phone, with earphones in his ears listening to loud music, frantically fascinated by his digital occupation. When he left, I scootched over to his table, over the dark burgundy leather seats.

I finished reading an article I had started reading at home before I left, and before I decided that I needed some fresh air and caffeine. By the time I finished my article, all that was left of my iced cappuccino was melted ice cubes in a puddle of coffee stained milk.

After spending an hour trying to explain the current political phenomenon to myself, I realised there wasn’t enough drafts I could write, that could explain the current political environment. Confusion and nonsense were the main themes.

I took a break from thinking about unthinkable things, and looked at some photographs I had taken. I inserted my 32GB Sandisk into my Mac Book Pro, and scrolled through raw images on a brightly lit screen.

I left the coffee shop to cook a fresh, homemade, sugar-free lunch. On my way home, I find myself walking at the same pace as a short, greyish-white haired man smoking a wooden pipe. He wore a matching brown bag and brown shoes, blue jeans and a navy blue suit vest.

The rest of the day was spent alternating between reading, working and watching TV shows, before heading to the gym for an evening workout session

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When I moved to Paris, everything was new to me. Well, almost everything. While I speak french perfectly, and had been to Paris before, there was one language I wasn’t at all fluent in: subway lingo. I didn’t know where anything was, and having a poor sense of orientation I was quite overwhelmed at the beginning. I didn’t know how Paris “worked”. I didn’t know North from South, nor left bank from from right bank. The only thing I knew was how to input an address in Google Maps, and let myself be mindlessly lead by a map mispronouncing the names of every street.

I got around to knowing most parts of Paris. Especially the part of Paris I lived (16th and 17th arrondissement) and worked in (6th and 7th arrondissements). One thing you have to know about Paris, is that it is organised by “Arronissements” numbers in one big swirl, starting from the middle with the 1st Arrondissement, and is separated in two parts by the Seine (Rive gauche, Rive Droite). Also, funnily enough, you can get to nearly everywhere in 20 to 30 minutes tops when you’re within Paris Center (Arronissement 1 to 6/7), and 35 minutes to 1 hour maximum, to cross town completely (16 to 20, 18 to 15, 17 to 12, for example).

The subway is probably the fastest way to get around town, because they come every 2 to 4 minutes and you can easily get stuck in traffic taking Taxis, Ubers or Buses. So while the Subway may not be the most luxurious way to get around, it is certainly the most practical one.

In this post, I will tell you about some basic things you probably don’t know about the Paris Metro, and and then tell you which Stations take you to the top locations in Paris you’ll most likely want to visit during your trip. I will do another more detailed post about travelling through Paris, but lets start with the basics, shall we!

What you absolutely need to know about the Paris METRO:

  • There are 14 metro lines;
  • Each line, obviously, has 2 opposite directions, so make sure to check the direction you want to be going towards;
  • Never carry your phone in your back pocket, and if you have loose side pockets, keep an eye on those too: pick pocketing in a real thing, and it happens every day;
  • There are often beggars on the metro, so deal with it, most of them are harmless;
  • You won’t get any phone reception once you’re in the metro station, so make sure you load your maps before you enter the subway station;
  • Some metro lines have been modernised with screens telling you exactly where you are, and some metro lines haven’t been modernised yet. It’s easy to keep track of where you are on the more modern lines, but you have to be extra attentive when you’re on the older lines, to make sure you get off at the right stop.

Which Metro lines take you to the TOP locations in Paris:

  • Champs Elysées: Line 1 (Get off at Franklin Roosevelt, George V or Champs-Elysées Clémenceau), Line 9 (Franklin Roosevelt), Line 6 (Charles de Gaulle Étoile), Line 13 (Champs Elysées Clémenceau)

You have many ways to get to the Champs Elysées, my preferred route being Line 1 and 9, and getting off at Franklin Roosevelt. Also, note that they often close the George V stop on Sundays, when they close off the Champs Elysées for Vehicle circulation. Franklin Roosevelt is always a safe bet.

  • Musée du Louvre (Louvre Museum): Line 1 (Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre)
  • Le Marais (nice neighbourhood in Paris): Line 1 (Saint Paul)
  • Saint Germain des Près (Solférino or Rue du Bac stop): Line 10 (Mabillon), Line 12 (Rue du Bac)
  • Nôtre Dame de Paris: Line 4 (Cité or Saint Michel), Line 1 (Hôtel de Ville), Line 11 (Hôtel de Ville or Chatelet), Line 10 (Maubert-Mutualité or Cluny-La Sorbonne), Line 7 (Chatelet), Line 14 (Chatelet)
  • Tour Eiffel (Eiffel Tower): Line 9 (Trocadero), Line 6 (Bir-Hakeim)
  • Arc de Triomphe: Line 1, 2 and 6 (Charles de Gaulle-Étoile)
  • Montmartre, Sacré Coeur: Line 12 (Abbesses), Line 2 (Blanche, Anvers)

And there you have it! I’ll write more about how to find your way through Paris, so you don’t feel as lost as I did during your next trip! 🙂

 

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Sunday-Venti-Cappuccinos-Millenials-Avocado-Toast-Other-Random-Coffee-Shop-Phenomenas

Paris feels like a funny place at times. I went to my four o’clock coffee time this Sunday afternoon, after binge watching late night TV shows on Youtube. (Don’t judge- I also made it to the gym by 10 AM).

I walked ten minutes away to my nearest Starbucks, ordered a Venti Cappuccino (with Skim milk) and a Granola bar (which looked “healthy” enough). My usual barista, a strange, awkward man who uses the informal form when speaking to me (‘tu’, which for some reason annoys me), and always misspells my name in large caps (‘MEGANE’), prepared my coffee while I tried to find a somewhere to set up coffeetime-camp.

I took a seat at the small table by the font window, nearest to the door, after partially cleaning up one table, and then ending up at the one next to it, when the girl who was there before me, left. And, as in a clear glass fishbowl, I watched life happen on the outside, merely as a an undisclosed, civilised, observer.

At ten minutes past four, right on time, the 14 to 16 year old crowd rolled in. And out. And back in again. I guess this is where angst-y teens hang out on Sunday afternoons, I thought. Today, it was a gang of smoking 14 year old girls who dress and act like 25 year olds, and long haired, blue eyed 16 year old boys, who genuinely look 25, un-trustworthly, and drive scooters.

A spanish couple sat at the table next to me. The guy accidentally hit my table and made my sea of cappuccino completely distraught. He politely apologised in french, all while attempting a french accent (‘Pardon‘, #browniepoints).

I scrolled through Man Repeller and Girlboss, as I do everyday. The latter had an article about how a rich Australian guy (and the most of the world), still thinks millenials are spoiled, irresponsible brats who spend all their money on unnecessary things, such as 4$ coffee and 19$ avocado toast, and would never be able to be homeowners because they are so bad at managing their lives responsibly.

What, me?

Ugh. If you even knew, guy.

Another was about how millenials don’t disconnect, even when they’re on vacations.

A man walks by with a navy blue t-shirt saying “First Die, then Quit” in yellow, army-style stamped letters.

In the mean time, the sixteen year old-long-haired-not-to-be-trusted boy is coming in and out of the coffee shop, with some background bros. He looked like Judd Nelson when he played in The Breakfast Club (except more European). He seemed dark and threatening, until he ordered a vanilla milkshake. (Vanilla Milkshake drinkers are harmless right? Hasn’t it been scientifically proven, yet?)

Three girls did a video on their phone outside next to the coffee shop entrance, singing and moving to a song, completely careless to who could hear or see them. It must be a Snap Chat thing, I thought.

A young woman walked past with a tiny white puppy. (Probably the highlight of my observations).

Two silly American girls came in, and when they got their drinks, were asking the barista where they could find an outlet to plug in their phones. I nearly helped them, because I had very little faith in the barista’s english skills, but their hand gesturing proved to be quite effective.

I left shop in 30 degree weather after going to the toilet, and took the bus to the Champs Elysée for something that proved to be mostly stressful retail therapy. I visited a few stores, and decided to buy online, due to the insane amount of people everywhere and the scorching summer heat.

Collage by me. Not my artwork.
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Last night, I found my self outside past 10 pm walking around Paris, scrambling through crowds, and ambling in empty streets taking photographs. I did this for about an hour and a half.

En route towards the Eiffel Tower, my closest neighbouring monument, EarPods safely cozied into my minuscule ears, and leather jacket swung over my shoulders over my long stripped dress. Hair still damp from my shower, I set foot in a warm city climate that would inevitably induce my thick dark hair to puff up like a lion’s wild mane.

Scrambling through the crowds of tourists, I walked by the eiffel tower, and through the Parc du Champs de Mars, which was finally open to the public for the summer. The sun was fully setting. People were picnicking on the grass, drinking wines and beers, and eating pizza (I assume not EVERYONE was eating pizza, but how funny would that be?), sitting on picnic blankets watching the Eiffel Tower glow in the night’s starless sky.

I strolled through the residential neighbourhood streets. Passed the ‘Le café du Dome’, where Fitzgerald, Hemingway and their clan spent many hours drinking champagne and whisky, and where F. Scott would infamously down a whole bottle of wine, all before dinner. And I just ambled forward, without really worrying where I was going, because I knew as long as I could spot the Eiffel Tower, I would have no problem finding my way home.

The streets were dimly lit, but lit just enough to see your steps and a few tens of meters ahead. There was very few people walking around. Just a man in his 50s walking a dog, a few girls on their way to a party, and a gang of six friends in their mid 20s, unlocking their bikes and cycling away.

I stopped twice, to photograph flowers in florists’ window shops. The second flower shop was on the corner of a small street. It had a little café where people were sitting at small tables set up on the sidewalk, and gave a dead on, nearly emblematic view onto the Eiffel tower. A french man took a picture of an elegant blond woman in her 40s before the luminous monument. Out of their way, I just stayed behind them a few feet away, taking pictures of a bunch of beautiful flowers including peonies, as a man in the café on that same street watched something at afar.

Then I headed back home, the light of the Eiffel Tower guiding the way. At Eleven PM, I heard people gasping with awe and amazement, as I was walking along the Seine. I turned my head, and saw the Eiffel Tower glittering with its million lights. That was another time I stopped to take a picture.  I had trouble focusing my lense on the glittering lights of the Eiffel tower, and then realised I preferred the pictures where the lights were just blurry, luminous bubbles, mysteriously shinning at afar like a lighthouse on a distant shore.

When I regained the stairs before the Musée de l’Homme,  a group of people were slow dancing to music under the dark sky, despite being surrounded by a crowd of people. I wondered for a second how any one could participate in such an intimate activity as slow dancing while being surrounded by an un-intimate amount of people. But found it sweet and romantic none the less, and came to the conclusion that I would probably enjoy it, too.

 

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“Finding a secret garden

In a City you’ve never been to,

Like trying to light a fire in

The the midst of a Windy spring.”

– Written around Trocadero Square.

 

 

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When you’re an American living in France sometimes you’d like to not have to answer the question ‘where are you from?’.

‘I’m from nowhere’, I’ve sometimes found myself saying humorously at parties. Getting awkward smiles in return, then finally cutting the long story short to ‘I’m from Boston’. Not feeling like explaining where Quincy, Massachusetts is. And then just being known as the ‘American girl’, because that’s all most people remember.

But a lot of the time, that’s how I feel. I’m not to attached to any place in the world. At all. My life has been boxed up more often than I care to think about. Overtime, the amount of stuff I tend to care about holding onto, just seems to diminish. From travelling across the Atlantic ocean with every TY beanie baby known to man in 2002, to travelling to paris with only the clothes on my back and two suitcases with only the bare minimum in 2016. (And I’m planning another big move in two months).

Some might imagine this causes some discontent for me. Sometimes. But frankly, the hardest thing has been trying to explain my life to people. And it always starts with ‘where are you from’.

When we first moved to France, we lived in possibly one of the smallest towns known to man. The only town smaller was the one 20 minutes away. Where the gap between entrance and exit was less than 300 meters. Anyway, we were the only Americans, in a very small, very french, town.

When you’re an 8 year old kid, there aren’t many ‘where are you from’ questions that come up. But my basic story until high school was that I was American. And I hated the strange special treatment that came with. Being a stranger in a strange small french town, where picking ‘gourmet’ mushrooms by the roadside was the most popular hobby, and eating snails was considered an acceptable consumption… We were supposably the odd ones.

Later over the years, I started saying that I was american-irish. Somehow, I believed adding in the semi-skimmed irishness to my Americano would dilute the overpowering americanism that my identity automatically assumed.

Because the French have weird, and sometimes contradictory conceptions of Americans. We supposably have no good taste in food. Lack cultural intelligence. And have ridiculous movies. But that was only the tip of the Eiffel Tower (pun intended).

Because the truth is that the French don’t hate us. In fact, I believe that they find our ‘kind‘ sort of amusing. Innocent, in a way. Americans are like the kids who refuse to play by the naturally life-occurring, self-imposing rules. We don’t care for authority. We don’t care for government structure. We don’t want anyone telling us what we can or cannot do. And any glimmer of the idea that someone might be trying to take control of our life in anyway, makes us erratic and angry. (And then someone starts ranting about communism.)

And this is both amusing and misunderstood by the French. Because unlike us, the french are atrociously, sometimes brutally realistic. Films: happy ending optional. Drama and tragedy encouraged. Government control: highly expected and mandatory. A huge part of the culture is based upon it. Coloring outside the lines isn’t  as an appealing of a concept, like it may be to many Americans.

And despite the differences and the critisicms, I’ve never felt any overly bad vibes or hatred. Looking past our mistakes, I feel like the French sometimes believed in the American dream more than I have. (Not that I never dream of living in California, hiking in the mountains and roller skating in palm beach under beautiful, tall palm trees.)

People ask me if I ever want to return someday. Most of the time, I give some vague answer.  ‘I don’t know’‘Maybe’. And often times, people want to keep talking to me. Despite my highly un-interesting answer. They usually have stars in their eyes. A phenomenon I interpret as an expression of the American Dream in those who’ve never experienced it.  I try to remind them that the American Dream, really is just a Dream, for most. Misleading, in many ways. But more importantly, I hope to communicate how lovely the French Dream is. The French Dream. The best part about it, is that’s it’s not really a dream. Like everything touched by French culture, it’s powered by a real sense of realism, wiseness and fairness. Its a dream available for everyone to dream. Even for an American like me.

I could go on and on about the cultural differences and the idea of the French Dream. Like how even it isn’t black or white. Like how it doesn’t try to be anything it’s not. And like how it can just as easily be romanticised as the American Dream.

And long story short, it really doesn’t matter which dream you choose to live or where you choose to live. As long as you notice the beauty in the dream you’re living, and enjoy it in every way possible.

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When you’re an American living in France, you’ll always feel like a tourist. There’s this constant feeling of inadequacy. When you realise you’ll never be a fully rounded, traditional member of the french society. No matter how long you’ve been living there. I moved to France when I was 8 years old. Today, I am twenty. My french is perfect. I’ve always been a good student in school. And I have a good number of amazing french friends. However, I don’t always get their expressions, can’t always tell when they’re being sarcastic, and don’t know any of their famous people (- except for a very few) . So culturally, I haven’t completely transitioned yet.

I imagine that people can’t tell that I’m not french when I’m walking down the street. There’s no real tell that would lead anyone to believe that I’m not. I have no accent. No obnoxious fashion sense. I read french books on public transport, and one of my passports is the same colour as french people’s. No one knows that I’m not french, except me.

 

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I moved to Paris because living in Paris on my own was on my bucket list. Ever since I was little. I used to have this little jar in my bedroom. That I decorated with pink tissue paper with flowers. It had a gold heart sticker, with the words “Paris Fund” on it.

End of december 2016, I moved to Paris. I had two suitcases. And no apartment. I got to Paris, and had to find an apartment that same day. Or stay in an Airbnb that night. I visited one apartment, and moved into the second one. It was 2 minutes walking distance from the Eiffel Tower. You could see the Tower’s reflection, in the windows across the street. At night, around 11, it would sparkle. Sometime’s I watched it. The first time I watched it, was on New Years 2017.

Place Trocadero is always busy. Its loud. I liked looking out from the window, watching over the roof tops of Paris. Wondering where the buildings were, and if people inside them were watching over the rooftops as well. Because watching something from above… it’s a lot different than watching something from underneath. Sometimes I’d see balloons floating in the sky afar. Most of the times I just saw birds, but never heard them sing.

 

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