Friday, September 30, 2011
6:45am - The alarm rings and I punch snooze, roll over, and try to get back to dreaming about petting fluffy whales.
6:55am - I drag myself out of bed because I now only have 14 minutes before I miss my train. I brush my teeth, put on one of the five outfits I generally wear, and double check that my backpack has all the required crap (chef coat, apron, pants, socks, wallet, phone) like a kid on their way to school. Though I must admit, I don't think I actually every did that as a kid and often left home without essential things like homework, if I'd done it.
7:09am - I rush out the door and fly down the seven flights of stairs because my train leaves at 7:19 and if I don't speed walk like a seventy-year-old on a mall walk I may miss it and have to wait for the 7:24 train. It's still dark outside and the street is devoid of most people except a man walking his yellow lab and the homeless guy who sleeps outside my metro on a mattress. Where this mattress goes during the day, I don't really know, nor do I have time to think about it because I swear I can hear my train rolling in and I'm terrified I may miss it. My calves are burning slightly from the quick stepping but I shuffle down the metro steps and manage to arrive a minute before my train. God obviously loves me.
7:24am - I get off my train and emerge from the metro onto my pastisserie's street. It's still dark out and as I walk to the shop it begins to hit me that my day is, in fact, starting and I must endure another 7+ hours of french, yelling, tight spaces, and mindless jobs. God obviously hates me.
7:26am - I enter my bakery and say "Bon Jour" to everyone I see, including my boss and store owner, before popping upstairs to change into my uniform. I look at the time on my cellphone and tell myself that I just have eight hours until I get to leave. Eight measly hours. If I can kick the shit out of an eight-year-old, why not eight hours of work?
7:30am - The day at the patisserie officially starts. I ask my chef what to start with and he tells me to begin finishing one of the many tarts that we offer. So for the next three hours this is what I do. Finish tarts to put out in the shop for when we open at ten. This consists of:
- Putting sauce and raspberries in neat little rows on top of tart 1
- Slicing a bazillion figs, putting sauce and then fanning the figs on top of tart 2
- Slicing caramelized apples and spreading inside of tart 3
- Putting nappage on everything
- Put all tarts on golden cardboard, place the price ticket in them, put them out for the shop
Generally while doing these things I am daydreaming about my own future pastry shop, singing songs in my head, thinking about how much I hate nappage and its stickiness, and random waves of homesickness pass over me though I have become quite good at ignoring them.
At some point my boss comes and tells me to "Vite! Vite!" and often I am corrected on some task in french which leads to me either nodding my head in feigned understanding or asking "Que?"
10:30am - The shop has opened and I have finished tarting, cleaning, and putting off the inevitable of asking for my next task. There is always a bit of suspense when it comes to this point because I never know what I am going to be asked to do. Most of the time it is some mindless task. Though every once in a while I do get asked to do something a bit more exciting like actually mix a recipe. About this I am very conflicted. On one hand peeling fruits, zesting citrus, juicing, chopping, measuring, and other mechanical jobs don't exactly leave me feeling fulfilled. I am putting myself through these six months of memory and character creating torture to actually learn something, not just to give myself arthritis. But on the other hand, these things are simple, easy to do, and at most I'll get yelled at for not being fast enough. Then there are the actual jobs that I got into pastry for to begin with. Making creams, custards, cakes, frostings, fillings. All that good stuff! This is what I'm here to learn. Six months of peeling lemons isn't exactly worth the fortune I spent on pastry school or the 800 € in rent I shell out every month. But it also means that I have to go through the long and embarrassing process of speaking french to someone, listening to french, not understanding, asking them to repeat, listening again, perhaps having them repeat one more time, just to make sure, then making the stuff. Thus far I have yet to actually mess anything up too seriously, but enough experience in other kitchens has told me that it is only a matter of time. And when I do, it ain't gonna be pretty.
12:00pm - I've made it through the hard stretch and somehow feel that I will only be at the pastry shop for a few more seconds. Lunch time is right around the corner. The hectic morning time is done with and over. Pretty soon they'll be asking me to clean up and that's the signal that the day is coming to a close. The thought of this shines a light on me, as if from the heavens above, and I happily chop away at my piles of mint, humming quietly to myself and looking forward to going home and relaxing.
1:30pm - I've finished chopping my mint and now that I have cleaned up I am wondering why someone hasn't starting making lunch yet. Are they going to make me starve? Maybe I'll be lucky and instead of having staff lunch they'll just say, "Oh, you can go home early today. Sorry about the food. We'll serve some of our fabulous duck pies tomorrow to make it up to you." So I stand around looking like an idiot until my boss comes back into the kitchen and tells me I can start peeling the bottom half of macaron from their sheet pans and flipping them over. Fourteen trays should suffice.
2:00pm - Someone throws some old sandwiches from the shop into the oven to melt them nice and good and a few people have been freed to their lunch breaks. I look up briefly from my macaron shucking and feel my stomach grumble.
2:30pm - I've finished peeling the stubborn ass ends of macaron from their parchment sheets and wonder how something so tasty and delicate could be so reminiscent of a barnacle. With the last sheet done, Gaetan, a chef's assistant, informs me that "mange" time is upon me and I happily grab a plate, to tiny french sized sandwiches, and ascend to the atrium upstairs where I crouch on a window sill and eat my lunch silently while listening to the other coworkers chat in a language I still don't understand.
2:45pm - I look at the clock and wonder why I didn't drag my lunch on a bit longer. I wash my hands, go to the bathroom, hang out in there for a minute or two longer that I need to, then wash my hands again, and then ask Gaetan, or my boss, or Alberique, what else I can do. They command me to do yet another unfulfilling, tedious task, like pushing a thick roquefort cheese spread through a sieve, which will most likely result in my early onset arthritis. I am told I'm too slow, speed things up until my hand is red and on fire, and my wrist is crying out in pain, and then wait until whoever is important isn't around to take things back to a human pace.
3:30pm - Hoping that cleaning will be the next task I ask what I can do now. If I'm lucky they shoo me away like a pesty child and tell me to clean in the back where people are still working and so I can't exactly clean up but I scrub the mixers, and the walls, and things that aren't really dirty just to be doing something.
4:00pm - Cleaning has taken longer than necessary because I have to clean around my coworkers and wait for them to move to finish cleaning. My pant bottoms are wet from cleaning the floor and I can feel it dripping into my shoes, but I don't care, freedom is near! I turn to Alberique or my boss and ask them what to do next and hope that I hear that lovely word, "partir" slink out of their mouths.
4:15pm - If I've been let loose I'm now walking home, thinking of how this little walk in the streets of Paris is good for my soul, my mind, my ass. I pass tons of jewelry and accessorie shops and realize that I really like diamonds, big fat ones that twinkle and sparkle and look really really really pretty. Then I remember that I'm a poor intern living in an expensive city, planning on saving up to open my own bakery one day, and that window shopping is probably as good as it's going to get when it comes to bijoux.
4:30pm - I'm home. I debate between walking up the seven flights of stairs or taking the lift. If I'm super tired, or super grumpy, I take the lift, but generally I boot it up the winding flights of stairs to fell better about sneaking a macaron or two at work. Plus my damn roommates have been filling my kitchen with things like cookies and Pringles and those assholes are right. Once you pop you just can't stop.
5:00pm - I'm elbow deep in free online television and thinking about if I want to make dinner or not for my flat cohorts. There is a chicken in the oven and roast chicken sounds mighty tasty. But then again Christy makes some awesome asian pasta. Decisions, decisions.
8:00pm - Dinner is on the table as well as wine. Lots and lots of wine. Elze and I talk about or days. Christy is at work. Luke has been living foot loose and fancy free.
10:00pm - Now that three bottles are in the recycling I'm getting ready to wind down for bedtime. I know I should turn in early but I'd rather squeeze in some more american television, pinterest surfing, and g-chatting because that is, after all, so much more important than precious sleep.
12:00am - I lay in bed, hot and listening to the noises of the city outside. I know I have a night of tossing and turning to look forward to because of the heat, uncomfortable bed, and yelling french men. And let's not forget that I get to wake up in a few hours and do it all over again. The anticipation is just too much to handle!
Thursday, September 29, 2011
The other day I returned from work and noticed that chocolate was stuck under my fingernails. I thought I had washed them, thoroughly, numerous times, but apparently that hadn't been good enough. So I decided to give them another good scrub at home, but that didn't seem to do too well either. So then I figured that a nice long soak in the tub could possibly get the chocolate out of there. I soaked to no avail. But maybe my nails were just too long, so I searched through my apartment for a good twenty minutes before uncovering my clippers and cut my nails as short as I could. Washed again. Still not clean.
Then I took a closer look at the situation. This wasn't chocolate. These were…scabs! It may sound creepy but I knew exactly what the culprit was. Pineapples. Those spiky little bastards may look innocent enough but I now know better. One day at work my boss gave me the lovely task of dismantling an entire case of pineapples. That's eight, by the way. Sounded easy enough, and since I often get saddled with thrilling jobs like peeling, zesting, juicing, and chopping I wasn't disappointed. Sure it may not be intellectually stimulating but at least it's something I can complete without getting yelled at or being afraid I may mess it up.
So my boss informed me to peel the pineapples and that he would then be back to instruct me on how to further chop up these suckers. So I carved away at my "ananas" until my boss came back and gave me a disapproving look, wrenched my serrated knife from my fingers and told me I had to "regarde" the shape of the pineapple. I will admit that after I was done massacring them they looked more like misshapen footballs than your average pineapple and so I watched how he quickly sliced away at the rind, producing a naked pineapple that still resembled, well, a pineapple. I tried as I could to make mine like his but still I found that mine were quite uneven. Plus I could not manage to cut booth deep enough and smooth enough at the same time and so most of my pineapples emerged with all their eyes still in. When I asked him if this was "c'est bon" he told me that it was fine, I would just go through and gouge the eyes out with a knife after I was done. So then I happily chopped away the rinds, leaving most of the eyes intact, knowing that my pineapples would turn out just fine anyway.
After finishing all eight pineapples, plus one which had been hiding in the walk-in refrigerator, my boss grabbed a small knife and showed me how to cut out the pineapple eyes. It seemed easy enough. Oh how foolish I was. Those dang eye-spikes really hold on when you try to remove them and I found myself taking out massive chunks of pineapple or, on even worse attempts, slipping the knife completely through the fruit and poking myself in the hand. A mere fleshwound. It wasn't even bleeding! I was fine. I was determined to complete this task with dignity, pride, professionalism, and most importantly, perfection. I found that the best way to remove the pineapple eyes was to jab my thumb into them to loosen them up a little. Then all I needed to do was jimmy the knife beneath them and they popped right out. I completed about half of the pineapples before I noticed that something funny was going on.
For those of you who do not know, because I obviously didn't, pineapples are extremely acidic. And since I'd been jabbing my thumbs into them and gripping on them with my nails as tightly as I could, this demonic pineapple juice had nestled comfortably beneath them, on top of them, all over them. Under my nails was starting to be uncomfortable and when I took a break from my pineapple cutting to look at them I noticed that four of them were bleeding. Apparently the acid had eaten away and the tender thin skin under my nails and on my cuticles. The pain was horrible. I'd discovered that paper cuts are not, actually, the worst pain a human can experience. Pineapple acid wounds are. For days my fingertips were sore. I pulled on some plastic gloves and continued chopping the pineapples. My boss told me to cut out the cores, chop them into strips, and then into tiny little morsels. Sure I was thinking that "regarding" the shape of the pineapple really wasn't all that important if I was just going to cut them up into bits, but I was also thinking that this was a way for me to improve my knife skills. And without the handicap of bleeding fingers and plastic gloves three sizes to big to hold me back the next time, I'd be a pro!
And there it was. Without even knowing it optimism had snuck up on me. I may have been cursing satanic pineapples, hating that I always got stuck with these jobs and hating even more that I enjoyed it because I am a wuss at heart, but I was also, at the very least, trying to look at the bright side.
Sure things may not have gotten much better in the days since the pineapple experience, but I am still trying to hold onto that positive outlook. Of course the pessimist inside of me, which seems so natural and easy to express, doesn't exactly enjoy every moment but I am, at the same time, trying to hold onto some sort of hope. Knife skills. Cleaning skills. The ability to get yelled at in another language and not cry. Learning how to place raspberries on a tart with deadly accuracy. All of these things should improve in the next six months. And even more importantly, my personal strength should drastically progress.
This is what life changing experiences are about, right? Sure I was expecting a life changing experience that would involve a bit more amorous french encounters, incredible meals of foie gras and escargots, late nights with wine and dancing. But this is the stuff that makes people. And I must say that while I'm not as positive and bubbly as I'd like to be, at least I can have a sarcastic sense of humor about these things. My family has laughed at me enough to teach me to laugh at myself. I've dealt with enough crazy people to take their actions in stride. And somehow during my flight from San Francisco to Paris I underwent a transformation and stopped being such a sissy.
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
Polka Dot Paka-dat
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.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
After much thinking I have decided to begin a blog not only to share what are guaranteed to be some hilarious stories with the people in my life, and whoever manages to stumble across this, but also as an outlet for my anxiety of being an outsider in a large and somewhat overwhelming city. As much as living in another country sounds like some romantic dream (as I thought before I came here) I have since discovered that it can be a bit more difficult and stressful than just eating macarons and drinking wine while gazing upon the Eiffel Tower and chatting up a sexy frenchie. Therefore I feel that attempting to complete a daily expression of my trials, tribulations and what will hopefully include some successes will be therapeutic. Plus, it will also allow me to see the silver lining in every ironic situation or moment of humiliation knowing that it will only juice up that day's posting.
Being an American in Paris is nothing new. Millions of Americans travel to Paris every year to experience the beauty, art, culture, food, and romance that it has to offer. And it does actually have all of these things. I decided France over every other country as my number one spot to study pastry because of their gigantic reputation for all things sweet. But as we all know, France does not exactly have the best status when it comes to its outgoing and friendly people. Yet unlike so many other times in my life I stepped off the plane in Paris trying to be positive and hoping to find that everyone was wrong and that the french were really just misunderstood. And hell, perhaps they are. But if they are it is also, now, by me. From my experiences I have found that they are as rude and callus as everyone thinks they are. Customer service is about as scarce here as a natural blonde in L.A. But then again I must admit that some of their stereotypes about us are also true. I did come here not speaking a word of french, tried as little as possible to learn it, and now am shocked at how lost I am in a kitchen with people who mostly only speak french. Sure my bumbling about like an idiot could be considered endearing or humorous but since the french take themselves very seriously they instead appear to be mostly annoyed by my ignorance.
I came to Paris for a week of fun before going to a tiny little town, called Yssingeaux, to study five months of Pastry. That was, in itself, quite an experience. Far from being a charming french countryside village it was instead a french hick town filled with people missing teeth and sporting terrible haircuts. Everything was closed on Sundays, and Mondays, and some Tuesdays. On working days shops and restaurants and the bank and post office closed from the hours of noon to two or three for and at seven at the end of the day. One of the best sights there was to see was the gang of feral cats going crazy around the dumpsters at five thirty in the morning on my way to class because some townie would literally throw them a bone to chew on. But despite all the difficulties I faced there I did manage to learn a lot about pastries and made friends from all over the world. It also opened up the door to a pastry internship in France where I was optimistic that I would learn a whole lot more! After debating Lyon, or Provence, I decided on Paris. Perhaps I copped out because all of my friends were going to be there, but I told myself that it was because of the number of pastry shops that I could potentially work in. I made my list of choices and my Chef was able to get me my first choice. And so Paris it was!
I have now been living in Paris for a little short of two weeks. The thoughts of romance are as muddled and lost as every normal dream upon waking up. I have survived the first two weeks of my internship and am surprised that I have managed to muster up the strength not to cry in front of my boss or other coworkers. I have also picked up a few key french words and am becoming more adept at hearing swear words when they are muttered, or yelled. (For example my boss called something a piece of shit the other day, or at least the french equivalent of that).
Tomorrow is my last day of freedom before I must return and commence my third week at the pastry shop. I have twenty weeks left. And after that I am staying in Paris for a month to do, what I hope, will be fun. I expect to speak perfect french by then, know all the best, cheap restaurants, have a swarm of french friends who find my american accent enchanting, and to have broken a french heart or two in the meantime. I also hope that by then I will have learned my lesson on having unrealistic expectations and instead just try and enjoy the moment. I am then taking three weeks to do the timeless american tradition of backpacking across Europe. We'll get into that a bit more when it's closer. Until then I hope to entertain you with my witty play-by-plays of life as an outsider in the beautiful, mysterious, and immortal city of lights.