Pairs in Paris 

Au Pairing in Paris

Back to Paris; friends, work and overpriced beers.

On Friday I went on a run which turned out to be the furthest I’ve ever ran (that I can remember), 15 miles! I intended to do 13 but realistically aimed for 11.5. I ran to Bois de Boulogne and ended up doing a few extra laps of the park because I couldn’t quite believe what I was seeing. I’d heard that this particular park was popular with ‘ladies of the night’ (lololol) but it wasn’t until I saw how many there were that I believed it. I promise you I saw about 10 definite prostitutes and suspected another 5 or so. This was at 2 in the afternoon!!! To make things weirder there were loads of men suspiciously walking around, stinking of alcohol and cigarettes. there were little man made shacks between the trees and expensive cars parked sporadically on the walkways. This is the weirdest park I’ve ever been to. I know what you’re thinking, I’ve obviously come to a dodgey area. But seriously it’s a nice area, right next to the new huge Louis Vuitton foundation and surrounded by grand houses. And it’s a family park with kids everywhere. Why are there so many prostitures!?

 
As I tried to erase what I’d just seen, I made my way home and although the last 3 or so miles were difficult I reached home with energy and actually didn’t feel like I was going to die. I ran further than the race I’m training for so it gave a bit of extra confidence. 
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On Saturday night Evie, Carys and I had planned to go to the Brazil themed night at Le Bellvilloise but unlucky Evie had hurt her ankle so thought a night of dancing wasn’t really the best idea. We went to hers anyway to predrinks and catch up on holiday stories. The night was pretty decent but as soon as me and Carys arrived I remembered I had a huge carnival headpiece I should’ve worn, ah mayn. Although the drinks are crazily overpriced I really like the club and the Brazilian music was really fun to dance to. They had some drummers and professional dancers on stage, afterwards the male dancer came and joined us normos. He was crazy and we had a little Beyoncé/Brazilian dance off. We left the club to get the first metros home, I found a cat on my way home which looked like it needed cuddles. It then tried to follow me home. No kitty, the cuddle was enough.
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Yesterday I was so overtired but wanted to exercise so compromised with a power walk to la defense, about 4 miles away, to try and find a dress to wear to my Grandma’s party. I didn’t end up buying anything but did get stopped on 3 different occasions by women asking if I worked in the particular stores. I was wearing running leggings, a baggy top, a bright red sorts jacket and trainers. With no make up and scruffy hair! This happened in Spain too when I was wearing sports clothes, am I missing something?! IMG_1784
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This evening me and Carys saved our cents and watched Maid in Manhattan on DVD. I’ve realized we basically are J Lo, just au pairs not maids, not in love with any senators and we don’t have that booty. But apart from that ya know. 
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‘Although we serve them, we are not their servants. What we do, Miss Ventura, does not define who we are. What defines us is how well we rise after falling.’ – Quote from Lionel in the movie. So deeeeeeep.
Pairs in Paris. 
 
Mary 
X
 

The Seventy Fifth

Au Pairing in Paris

Calling all English speakers in Paris! Plus anyone who loves creative articles, pretty illustrations, arty photographs, clever poems and generally a good read.

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The Seventy Fifth is a new zine (oh yes I have linked a definition for you out of touch folk) created by some very talented and hard working friends of mine for like minded guys and gals in Paris. It’s been put together by au pairs and expats and the first edition focuses on the theme of ‘isolation’. Definitely a state felt by all in a foreign country at some point. Anyway, I’ll shut up and you can read and judge for yourself! I hope you enjoy it, you’ll find a little illustration by me a few pages in, opposite ‘The Complexities of Expatriatism’, which is hilarious (and so relatable) by the way!

Click here to have a flick through issue 1 – then come back if you want to see more….

If you’d like to receive issue 2 (the theme is LOVE, ooh la laaaa) and help support this fun and creative project please pledge a few quid to the kickstarter page. If I happen to have any millionaire readers on this blog then a huge pledge wouldn’t be so bad 😉

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Follow the zine on;

Facebook. 

Instagram.

Twitter.

Tumblr.

Phew, that’s all for now. Big up Evie, Carys and Briana for making it look so fab.

Mary

biz.

Moustache Party Photos – 11th October 2014

Europe

On Saturday I went to a moustache party (avec Judit et Yasmin) in Villejuif, Southern Paris, organised by organizus and I took some photos. I met some crazy and genuinely amazing people and had such a good night even if my fake moustache was too furry to keep on. Live reggae, a Michael Jackson impersonator, beer pong, table tennis and way too many dance battles; all right up my street so happy days. I hope you enjoy the photos! Bring on the next event.

Mary, bisous.

PDA in Paris

Au Pairing in Paris, Europe

Random choice of subject but I have something I have to get off my chest. PDA IN PARIS IS OUT OF HAND!!!!

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I understand that Paris is ‘the city of love’ but my eyes have been subjected to a ridiculous amount of PDA over the past 5ish weeks. From couples kissing under the Eiffel Tower (totally fine) to adults sitting on top of each other on the metro showing us things that should be kept for the bedroom (not ok).

This weekend was the worst, PDA wise. I think as the weather gets colder people feel the need to snuggle more and think the rest of us want to see them kiss for the whole 25 minute metro journey. No we do not! I don’t think this comes from any bitterness; I’m all for being in love and being happy but don’t you think some things are for the privacy of your own home?!

So this is a message to anyone in Paris; if you see me quietly (but very obviously) cringing in the corner while you kiss and rub your faces up against each other then it’s because I find it really awkward and uncomfortable!

(Am I overreacting or has anyone else experienced weird PDA’s in Paris..?)

Mary

bisous (not in public…)

Major FOMO – 7th October 2014

Europe

Surfers on Table View beach.

Surfers on Table View beach.

FOMO – fear of missing out.

I hate to say it but right now I have the worst case of FOMO. Or just plain travel envy. Everyone seems to be having a wicked time in either Cape Town or Namibia or wherever else in the world and I’m just feeling so sorry for myself and thinking how much my life sucks. Here, in Paris. Oh wait, it relly doesn’t suck. It only sucks because I focus on other people’s exciting plans when I’m feeling a bit crap after a long day of chasing 3 year olds and ironing desgner clothes that I’d never be able to afford and trying to run errands in the pouring rain. All the while it seems like the rest of the world is having a fabulous time in exotic locations eating amazing foods and having the best social life – I full on blame social media. It’s been said a million trillion times but you do only see the best 1% of peoples lives on social media; it’s very rarely a true reflection of their actual lives. So why am I still feeling down about missing out? I think part of it is because of the way I left Cape Town back in June. I never got to say goodbye to very close friends and places that I’d fallen in love with and maybe I just want to be there to get closure. Or maybe I wanna jam on the beach in 40°C weather and go to reggae concerts and drink Savannas in Langa…

So to get over my FOMO I’m trying to plan summer 2015. I don’t know what I’m doing tomorrow but I’m making actual plans for July onwards, lol my weird ways of thinking eh.

I will be TEFL qualified so hoping to start a new job in September (fingers crossed for the perfect job in Rio De Janeiro) but want to fill my summer with some memories from Africa if I can. Or should I just forget Africa for a while and go some place new? Or heaven forbid, do I go to England for the summer?!!?

Feel free to help me figure out my life. Or should I just chill out about future plans and enjoy my time in Paris..? Yeah I should probs do that.

My bad. Ignore my ramblings.

Mary

(bisous)

‘But what does it represent?!’ – La Nuit Blanche – 4th October 2014

Au Pairing in Paris, Europe

I’d promised myself that I would save money in October, meaning no clothes shopping, no online shopping and no McDonalds. Hey guess what? I was 4 days into the month and caved. I’d left the house to run errands (so grown up) and needed WiFi to find out who and where I was meeting people that night so thought I’d blag some internet and lunch at the same time. My tablet wouldn’t connect so that kinda defeated the point :/

I met Yasmin and Judit by Parc de Luxembourg and we had a little picnic by a statue of a naked child(?!) and were joined by Bethany and Aina. We saw too much PDA, too many awkward selfies and then we all kissed a girl witha drawn on beard who was on her hen do.  Yeah i don’t know what that was about either…Our plan was to go to La Nuit Blanche but like everyone else I’d spoken to, we had no idea where to go. We got some drinks and sat by the Seine (classic Parisian ‘no sure what we’re doing so let’s sit here’ thing to do) before heading to Montparnasse to meet the YEP group. As we got there it started to rain, it was super windy and we had no idea where we were meeting the group. Bethany and I stayed out in the rain with her ironic Little Miss Sunshine umbrella as the others waited inside. There were hundreds of people around, apparently La Nuit Blanche is a big deal in Paris?!

La Nuit Blanche – described by Time Out Paris

‘A free annual dusk ‘til dawn arts festival that holds the entire city in its thrall’

Basically it’s a 12 hour event where loads of museums and galleries are open all night and street performers make the most of all the generous tourists and the locals use it as a great excuse to get drunk.

We finally met up with about 25 other people from YEP and got the metro to Hotel De Ville, I watched hundreds of massive helium balloons being lit up and wave around. Matita met us and we watched the balloons, not really knowing what that was about…

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We abandoned a queue for some exhibition and wandered over to the Notre Dame. We came across a group of street performers/dancers that we’d seen twice before in Paris. They may or may not have a beautiful dancer from America in the group and someone in our group may or may not have asked if he had a girlfriend. It turns out he does soooooo that’s his loss I guess! We didn’t really know what art to go and see so we ended up in a bar in the Latin Quarter called The Latin Corner (ooop I see what you did there bar) on Rue De La Huchette. Read the reviews, they are hilarious. We saw more skin than we were expecting and saw some very awkward ‘performances’ from the bar staff.

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The girls headed home and Matita and I were the last ones standing; we met Matita’s friend Amrita and chose to see 1 more ‘arty thing’ before leaving. There was this big wooden structure thing by Pantheon; it wasn’t too exciting but hundreds of people were crowded around looking interested. It was cold and rainy but we decided to brave a queue to go into the Sainte-Geneviève library. Inside the beautiful building a huge pile of crumpled paper and crowds of people folding and screwing up big pieces of paper and adding to this weird pile thing going on. We joined in and heard a security man tell a couple that ‘this wasn’t a place to spend ages folding and to just throw the paper on the pile and leave’ – lol what, it was meant to be an evening to appreciate art, not just hurry along. We didn’t know what this installation was about but I read up on it and found this written by the artist, Iran Qureshi, “I was marked by suicide bombings in my country, says the artist, I wanted to show that we could all together, build something with the flowers of blood, which is also the symbol of life , hope, beauty are there anyway.” – which is fab but there was nothing around at the actual place telling you what it was about!

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My journey home was a bit unexpected; we’d checked that my metro was still running and it said that I’d be fine even after 2am. When I changed lines I found out my line was in fact not running 😦 I managed to get to St Lazare and thought I could always walk from there if there were no more trains running. As I walked through the station I saw a girl unconscious on the floor surrounded by confused looking train staff 😦 Luckily an ambulance arrived as I was leaving the station. I couldn’t find a train going my way so had a nosy at the bus stop. All buses had been replaced with coaches and I managed to be the last person to get on the only one at the station and it was going to my town, oh yeeeah! I got the last seat and got home in like 15 minutes (definitely beats walking for 45mins in the rain). Loving living in a place where you can get home at 2am with no need for taxis.

Not sure what I made of La Nuit Blanche; it was different and free so I guess I can’t really complain!

Mary

(bisous)

p.s. sorry for how poop my photos are, it was cold, wet and I didn’t have my DSLR on me

Thank gaaawd it’s Friday – 3rd October 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

Sleeping babies are the best kind.

For the first day this week I’ve actually had a pretty good day.

The kids were almost angels all day, the weather was amazing, we sang and danced the whole way home, we made chocolate cornflake cakes, played football in the garden then watched crap on the Disney channel.

The kids dad came home a few hours early from work and made me and the kids pizza whist we watched the best movie ever; Space Jam! It was getting late and the kids parents had gone out for dinner so I was in charge of getting everybody ready for bed. The twins wanted to be carried upstairs and were too tired to even brush their teeth. They were so snuggly and P drifted off straight away but J kept crying every time I left the room; for the first time he was calling out my name instead of ‘Mamaaaa’. He just wanted me to stay in the room so I had to pretend to fall asleep before he could settle. I read F a long, illustrated book about London and we had a little chat before she fell asleep.

Aaaaand that was my day. This week has been crazy long and more dramatic than I’d hoped and I’ve hardly had time to socialise or do Paris-y stuff. The kids drive me crazy but when their eyes are slowly closing and the crying (& pooping) stops they are so cute and I could just eat them!

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Mary

(bisous!)

‘I’m so sorry Marweee’ – 2nd October 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

Apparently these tales of tantrums and poop are making people laugh (is it bad that it’s at me and not with me…?) so here’s a quick overview of today.

I woke up in a positive frame of mind (basically praying for no major dramas) even though when my alarm went off I genuinely didn’t know where I was for a couple of minutes. I just stumbled around wondering where my mum was and why I’d woken up in this random bedroom. Anyways, I managed to realise what the dealio was and I did the usual get the kids ready for school shabang. After a quick nap I grabbed my running gear and headed for the Seine; almost 7km later I was shattered and sweaty so had a long bath. I tidied up the kids stuff then got on with my TEFL assignments and somehow managed to finish the grammar and language section with 90%. I’m pretty happy with that considering TEFL is so much harder than I first anticipated; the English language is confusing as heeeck. Only 3 more modules to go wahey.

I wish I could say I was super productive all day but unfortunately I was craving chocolate so made myself a mug cake (or 2) and girl crushed over Guillianna Rancic. Todays park session was going worringly too well and after an hour I’d yet to see tears or any poo, miracles can happen! Well, actually they can’t. As I was about to round up the troops it occurred to me that P had been sitting on the ground for over 15 mins, looking like she was digging a little hole in the woodchips. ‘P are you ok there?’ I asked, ‘Marwee I’m sorry I caca’ed’ THOSE DREAD WORDS ONCE AGAIN. Even though I’d taken her to the loo about 20 minutes earlier she thought it was best to poop in the middle of the park for the second time this week 😦 Also she had her legs wide open with a row of mummies opposite her, so, unlucky for them. The buggy to toilet sprint is now perfected so I got her cleaned up in a matter of minutes, new record!

I told F about my ordeal and she then told all of her friends who obviously found it hilarious. They danced and made up games whilst I chased P and J around trying to force them into the buggy. When we eventually left I had another scary moment as we crossed the road (why do roads exist, crossing with 3 kids is terrifying) P tripped on the curb, hung onto a pole and swung round into the road. She lay there laughing at herself whilst a stranger and I tried to drag her out of the road. Thankfully she was fine and it was totally an accident but oh boy my heart skipped a beat.

We played in the garden, sang Taylor Swift songs as I bathed them, played with dolls and then had the most random dinner that I’ve cooked since arriving. Ham and cheese crepes with rice and pureed pumpkin…

I dashed out of the house when I was free and skateboarded and metro’d my way to Bethany and Judit’s flat in Olympiades. We were all loving my great choice of snack; Speculoos with white chocolate fingers. So darn good. I’m so grateful for our girly evening because I was getting a bit tired of talking princesses and pirates with the kiddies.

I hope you enjoy taking pity on my life ruled by toddlers.

Mary (bisous)

I’ve survived a whole month – 30th September 2014

Au Pairing in Paris

What a pooey day. literally.

If you don’t like stories about poo then please don’t read on.

Today marks my 1 month anniversary in Paris, wahoo! So, like most days there was bound to be some drama. I woke up at around 7:30, helped feed and dress the kids before waving them off for school. The housekeeper arrived and we said our awkward hello’s because she doesn’t speak any english but also refuses to hear me speak french… I left her with a spare key (I explained that I was going out, she seemed confused and spoke really quickly and confused me and then herself) and got the train and then metro to Bercy to see Steph Bottin (friend from school, well not really school but you get me) as she’s moving to the centre of France and was passing through Paris 🙂 We had such a nice little catch up and had loads to talk about as we’ve both been travelling since we last saw each other. Hopefully I’ll see her for a weekend or holiday sooooon!

Earlier in the day I’d had a call from the kids mum telling me the union who run the after school clubs had gone on strike so my day would be cut short for almost 2 hours as I had to pick the 3 kids up from school early. The twins were pretty chilled when I got them and munched on chocolate biscuits as we waited for F. Soon I was the last ‘parent’ waiting at the school gates. Where was my kid?! Eventually I spoke to a few teachers and located F; she was hysterically crying. Fantastic.

It turns out F’s after school club was still running but no one had told me so I had to deal with her stressing out for what felt like a lifetime. She finally settled on going to the park across the road to relieve her unnecessary anger. The park is truly mental and dealing with 3 crazy children there is always a nightmare, but it’s gotta be done. Today I did my best at keeping an eye on everyone at all times even though they’d conveniently spread themselves apart. I chose to be a nice Au Pair today and let them play for almost 3 hours (I know, I’m a saint)!!! When I was about to give my 10 minute call I noticed P was hobbling around looking awkward; at first I thought she was hurt. And then she just squatted. She full on squatted in the middle of the park and pooped her pants. If I hadn’t of gone over to her I’m almost certain she would of just stayed crouched on the floor, not a care in the world.

‘Mary, I caca-ed…’, I scooped her up, told F to watch J, ran to the buggy on the other side of the park to get baby wipes, sprinted to the toilets and did the dreaded reveal. Poor P suffers from diarrhoea and today she’d left me a lovely present. It was a messy ordeal and resulted in me ditching her knickers and leggings so she was just running around in a dangerously loose skirt. I encouraged the others to say bye to their mates so we could leave but they weren’t having any of it. P was jamming on the floor awkwardly flashing half of the park so I kept reminding her to ‘close the shop’. With a bit of bribing and a few threats we finally left the park and headed home, thank the lordy! J thought it would be fun to run away a few times on the way back and I had that great heart stopping moment of him running into the road. If you have kids or are ever responsible for kids you’ll know how terrifying that moment is.

Bath time and dinner went quite well (I cooked grean beans, potatoes, carrots and chicken and the kids immediately told me it looked ‘yucky yucky’. cool) then by 8:30 ish I was free!!! I went for a run at about midnight as I didn’t get a chance this morning. My day has felt so long but it really has been pretty normal and most days are filled with similar events. Being an Au Pair aint easy but somehow a month has already flown by, it’s hard to fully get my head around it. Here’s to the next 10 months and fingers crossed for less pooping in the park.

Mary (bisous)