Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Well today is officially my "Sunday," and what that means is that tomorrow I get to start a whole week, all over again, from the beginning, at the patisserie. Oh joy! At least I spent all yesterday lying in bed and watching "Raising Hope," "Gossip Girl," and "Quantum Leap." Quite the trifecta if I must say so myself. But today I am going to try and bring myself to at least accomplish something, even if it is the tiniest of tasks. I am already feeling my chest swell with pride since I just officially unpacked all of my things and put them in their designated places. It feels nice to be fully moved in. Well as fully as I can be at this juncture. 

You see, I am currently living with three other people. Since Paris is an expensive city and since I have a daily panic attack when the thought of how many Euros are just passing me by while I endure the torture of my internship, I decided that in order to save as much of my savings (which seem to be turning into "Soon to be Spendings") I would live with a roommate. Since my college days with a roommate didn't seem to go all that well and we were both lucky to make it out alive, I don't exactly like to live with other people. I don't always play well with others and I enjoy solitude and peace and quite and being in a space where I don't have to worry about someone judging me for just how lazy, useless, and grumpy I can often be. But responsibility checked in, completely out of left field, and I decided that the adult thing to do would be to live with someone else. But, as I said before, Paris is an expensive city. So instead of sharing a two bedroom apartment, my roommate and I scoured all of the not so helpful rental agencies to find a one bedroom that would fit our needs. This meant that it needed to have a layout that would allow for the living room to be converted into a private, second bedroom. And eureka! We found one. Our fabulous 11th arrondissement flat is more than any two girls could ask for. But when two became four, things got a little sticky. 

My roommate, Christy, and I were lucky enough to secure an apartment a good month or more before we were going to leave Yssingeaux for our internships in Paris. It was stressful enough dealing with french agents with french attitudes and a complete lack of respect for the phone or email back in a timely manner rule of edequitte. But at least we found a place and the two of us were as giddy as two school girls on a half day. But alas, our poor friends Elze and Suanne were not so lucky. Elze stressed out on a daily basis about her future homelessness and the two of us spent many hours trying to find her a place to live. Suanne, being 20 and extremely naive, did not seem concerned about the matter and lightly took on the task of finding apartment after apartment only to be told that they were already rented. 

Since I am much more relatable to the stressed out Elze than the calm, carefree Suanne, I found it a lot easier to extend a friendly hand out to her and offer her my living room to share until she could move into her apartment. This opened her up to find a place that she could move into if only after living with Christy and I for a month. She agreed to pay half of my rent, and we both were excited to live with each other for a short period of time, like an extended sleepover. 

After a short trip home between my time at ENSP in Yssingeaux and my move to Paris for my internship, I arrived late one night to my apartment. It was official. I was now a Paris inhabitant for seven months. I cried. Not only had I just spent a week at home with my two rockstar sisters and three kick ass nephews, but I also was completely alone in my apartment for my first week here. I'm sure that the days worth of traveling from San Diego to Paris with three change overs, a train, and metro ride didn't help matters. Oh, and the sickness I had picked up on my journey was also not aiding in my ability to act like a grown up and be excited for the upcoming adventures. Instead I just wanted to be back home, listening to people speaking my language and without the feeling of impending doom that my first day at the patisserie was burdening me with. 

So after completing a few days at my internship and straight home to an empty apartment, I was looking forward to when Elze and Christy would be joining me so that I would at least have some brothers in arms to share these moments with. Elze was the first to arrive. 

Elze is a bubbly South African who used to be the head chef at her Aunt's restaurant there until she decided that she wanted to make a switch to pastry and eventually open up her own lovely pastry shop back in South Africa. She cooks incredibly well and makes some of the best roast chicken I have ever had. She also manages to be optimistic and outgoing while still having a vulnerability and hesitancy to her that makes for, what I find, to be a lovely mixture. It means that she can be lively to hang around with but not so positive that I just want to punch the grin off her face. 

So when Elze opened my apartment door with her high, giddy "Bonjour!" I was more than happy to see her. Sure she came with baggage, literally, but I didn't mind. I had a friend! I was no longer alone! I had someone to vent to about how terrible my internship was, how horrible it was not to speak french, how I was yelled at on a regular basis. We embraced. We gossiped. It was all sunshine and rainbows and puppies and kittens. 

The next day I had the day off. I was staying in Christy's bed until she came home so that I could savor a few more days of good sleep in a real bed. I slept in like a champ and awoke to find Elze awake in the living room surfing the net. She told me that Suanne had called her to see if she could stay with us for the night. Apparently Suanne had not been able to find an apartment nor had she had the time to find a hotel or hostel to stay in while she was off on a romantic holiday in Greece. I wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea. More stuff? More people? 

Before I was able to call her back Suanne arrived a the front door with her bags looking like a lost puppy. How could I turn her away? So, I said, of course she could stay for one night. One night until she could have time to arrange for somewhere else to stay. One night turned into two which turned into five. In the meantime Christy had returned with all of her own crap and we now were four people, four girls who shed at the rate of a husky in August, living in one apartment that no longer seemed so spacious and lovely. And three of us were all sleeping in the living room, my living room, my bedroom! 

So in time I had to put my foot down. Monday. Monday Suanne had to find a place to stay. I didn't care where it was but it couldn't be here. She agreed and all seemed fine and dandy. I was looking forward to having my room back to myself with only Elze to share my space. But on Sunday night Christy informed me that upon Suanne's departure we would be adopting yet another stray from the streets of Paris. Mr. Johnson, her hunky Australian boyfriend who she'd picked up in Yssingeaux, would also be joining us. Just four nights, they told me. He twinkled his brown eyes and flashed a charming down under smile and I was powerless. Plus he promised to stock our refrigerator and how could I say no to that? 

So Suanne lugged her gigantic bags out the door and Mr. Johnson filled our refrigerator with goodies and snacks. Things seemed to be looking up. Sure my internship was still torture to endure and I was running out of positive mantras to repeat to myself in order to make it through the day, but at least now some of the crap was moving out of my apartment. And the end to the orphans was upon me! Only a few more days and Mr. Johnson would be moving into his own parisian apartment. Only a few more weeks and Elze would be doing the same. And then it'll just be me and Christy, the two originals, back where we belong. 

That was, of course, until Suanne showed up on my door with the same lost puppy look on her face. Her hostel was full for the night and could she please oh pretty please stay with us just for the night. Deja vu was hitting me. Hadn't I gone through this before? I am at the age now where I try to learn from my mistakes and so I had to inform her that no, she could not stay with us. Four was already getting to me. Five would surely be too much for me to handle. Plus I didn't exactly trust that she would be gone in just one night and I felt that a good dose of tough love would help her in the long run. There are plenty of other hostels and hotels for her to stay in, I assured her, and perhaps the idea of paying per night while she continued to search for an apartment would light a fire of stress under ass and force something to happen. So I gave her a swift kick out the door and was back to enjoying one of my precious days off. 

This was yesterday. Being the bitchy mom isn't exactly my idea of a relaxing day but I managed to turn things around, take a long bath, and get back into a riveting episode of Raising Hope before the other "roommates" returned. And today has thus far been uneventful. Mr. Johnson is a model guest and as most boys he has a third the amount of crap that the rest of us do. Elze is constantly apologizing for being in my way and for the fact that her bright green bags are taking up my bedroom but I keep reminding her that she's paying half my rent, cooking me dinner, and helping keep the place clean. Plus she has to go to her own internship every day and so she is out of the apartment for a good eight hours a day. Christy has her internship at night and so before Elze even gets back she's out the door and doesn't return until after midnight. 

All in all it won't be long until only two people are living here as was originally planned. It'll be nice to be alone with my roommate, though it is inevitable that we will have a tiff or two, or perhaps a full out, hair pulling cat fight. Christy and I are very much alike in that we are both out spoken and don't exactly care if the sissies of the world can't take what we have to dish out, even if Christy is in complete denial about this fact and insists that she's a tame little kitten who would never hurt a fly. Plus we share a deep, abiding love for Belibis hot sauce which, for all of you who pray to the Sriracha gods should know, is the best asian chili sauce in the world. But just as any two people can, we also differ in a lot of ways. Christy is very much a live wire. While I like to laze around and make out shapes in the paint on the ceiling, Christy will often run around the block just to get out some of her excess energy. While I have mastered the art of leaving a Lora shaped divot in my mattress, Christy will bounce up and down like a Chihuahua on adderall. So, as I said, it is guaranteed that we may have some words in the months that we will be staying together. 

Overall, Christy is a sweet girl. Her denial of her bitchy side shows that. She's Indonesian and came to Yssingeaux to learn more about the basics of pastry so that she could back up her cake business. She has unofficially been making extravagant cakes for people in Singapore for a while now and she is exceptionally talented. She does those over the top, out of control, gravity defying cakes that look like they shouldn't be edible as you see on Food Network shows like Ace of Cakes and Cake Boss. And, in my opinion, she puts those guys to shame. She was even featured on the Singapore news. She is extremely responsible and innovative and is obviously a master at creating tiny lifelike sculptures out of fondant. She learned how to speak english from reading romance novels, watching MTV, and listening to popular music. Her english is quite good though the rest of us, Mr. Johnson, Elze, Suanne, and myself, revel in pointing out the fact that some of her pronunciations are a bit off. She's a good sport and is able to laugh at herself about it. And it really is just too hard to resist sometimes. Here's a list of some of the Christy-izations of english words:

In English         In Christy
Antennae         Anthony
Embarrass        Amorous 
Chicago           SHY-caw-goe
Gravel             Grave-elle
Polka Dot        Paka-dat
Thong             Tong
Thigh              Tie 
Whisper          Whishper 
Whiskey         Whishper
Procedure       Prostitute

The truth is that I really can't give her any crap about her english because when I attempt to speak french to anyone here, they all look at me like I'm spouting nonsense words at them. I know I'm speaking french, it just seems that I'm the only one who knows it. 

No matter what, it's nice to have friends here in Paris to go through these times with. With Elze, Mr. Johnson, Suanne, Christy, and our other friends, the married couple, Sandra and Martin, to share this city with, it makes it a lot easier to enjoy. When you have someone else to talk to laughing comes out instead of crying, and recently it seems like its one or the other. 

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