Beating boredom

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Sorry for not posting this week; I'm sure everyone's wondering what I've been up to...or not.
Actually, I haven't had anything of much interest to write about. After finishing my French classes and a week of preparing for and worrying about my carte de sejour, I've been stuck in a rut over what I should do with my free time. The obvious answer is to get with the job-hunting, but August is by far the worst month to try to contact businesses in Paris. There's even an advertisement all around Paris that's asking where all the Parisians have gone. I saw someone else put up a photo of the advert on their blog, but I can't remember who (I think it's official that I stalk entirely too many blogs). According to Gui it's a play on a football chant that gets shouted when the Paris team is sucking - kind of like "Where are y'all at now, Paris?" I think it's a really clever advertisement (although I can't remember the website it's promoting at the moment), and I still find it so amusing that people just up and leave this city for nearly an entire thirty days for a little respite from the norm. Our apartment is surrounded by lots of businesses and a few office buildings, so lately the neighborhood's been eerily quiet and parking spaces have been unusually superfluous.

So, expecting to find a job this month is really an absurd fantasy that I'm quickly finding myself getting over. Now that I have all this extra time on my hands, I'm trying to think of ways to discover Paris without feeling like a tourist. Monday was a completely wasted day spent indoors, cleaning, blog-stalking, cleaning and cleaning. But, on Tuesday, I took myself to Muji, which I'd heard is like a Japanese Ikea or something like that. I wanted to see what they had and maybe pick up some things that I still need in the kitchen - mainly cooking utensils. Well, I wasn't exactly blown away when I found my way to the little shop tucked behind the marché Saint Germain, but I scooped up a couple of low-priced items and decided to take a trip to my tried and true utensil shop down at Les Halles. There I found exactly what I needed and headed back home feeling successful after a quick frapuccino pit-stop at Stealmybucks. It's an indulgence I don't have often, so I don't feel guilty about throwing down 5 euros for a grande fruit-tea smoothie.

I came home rather early and hung around with Gui after work before I headed out for my first evening in Paris sans Gui. Emily is as lovely as a Georgia peach who, as we discovered over a couple of overpriced cocktails in the 16eme, has a lot in common with this misplaced Texan, including being married to a fabulous, grade A, slightly paranoid, americanized Frenchie. Girl talk in English is so much fun - we spent over three hours dishing about our lives, our history, our woes, our often unreasonable expectations of the fabled Paris life, and our rather happy existences. Our rendez-vous was loads of fun and a much appreciated breath of fresh air from my looming boredom. Thank God she appreciates alcohol-inspired French sign language.

And wouldn't you know that after making my trip to the marché this afternoon for some produce and such, I got an email from a girlfriend of Gui's friend inviting me to the piscine? So, this afternoon she swung by and picked me up in her car (quelle chance) and we headed in search of my neighborhood pool. Man, I never in my life knew there were so many rules for going to a freakin' swimming pool! And, man I never knew how popular pools were in Paris [banlieue] during the summer - geesh, don't people work? We got cut off in the line by a big, yellow tape barrier because apparently they were approaching their maximum occupancy of 700 people - yes SEVEN. HUNDRED. Luckily, we got in only minutes later and set off to go through the regular routine of taking off the shoes, finding and paying for a locker and showering before spotting a patch of grass for some seriously appreciated sunbathing. A ton of sun, a few dips in the pool, a few topless women, speedoed men, and another episode of showering (this time with soap and shampoo - yeah, that's weird to me) ensued before we called it a (great) day.

I'm still working on my CV and trying to keep up my French by talking with Gui and watching French TV, but I figure if everyone else can take August off, there's no reason I shouldn't also. I'm learning that boredom isn't so bad after all, so long as you've got a lot to do.

Empty metro station.

Hanging with my market finds - my M&S shopping bag rocks!

Cut off at the pool.

And the line keeps growing.

We want in!!

At the outdoor pool - there were a total of 5 swimming areas (I think), plus a spirally slide.

No line as we left - thank goodness.


Bluefish said...

The pool looks very cool. I haven't been to one due to crappy weather here. I can tell you where are the Parisians-they are all in Montreal! This is where they go (some) for their month long vacation.

lulu said...

isn't it mandatory for guys to wear tight speedo like bottoms at public pools? I'll have to take brian there. ; )

misplaced texan said...

OMG, yes, Lulu! I told Aurelie (my pool partner) how funny it was that there was no one wearing board shorts, and then she pointed to a sign that said "bermuda shorts" are interdit. Another French phobia - something to do with the dirt that board shorts carry.

Evolutionary Revolutionary said...

Hooray!! I've found that once I let go and realize things are going to happen in their own time, there are plenty of lovely things to enjoy about life. Though, I'm not sure speedos are one of them. :P

What is Gui going to do when you have your own social life?? And a JOB?? Is he ready for that?

Candy said...

omg!! love seeing your little feet in those old Gap flip flops!! it's just like i remember you!

misplaced texan said...

Haha - yeah, those flip-flops are almost dead and I never wear them or shorts here, but it was just too dang hot and I wasn't in the mood to get all "Frenched out" for the marche. I think I should wear the outfit more often because I didn't get as many swoons or whistles as usual - and my feet were very happy. :)

Emily Marie said...

Were y'all required to wear swimming caps? I think that's the worst (and most awkward) rule ever! And if you ever need to get out of the city and head to a private (and Gui) are welcome to come swim chez mes beux-parents :)

Irisa said...

That is just crazy (about the pool) and cool (about the new friends you're making)...good to know you're being active around Paris and continue to experience new things...gotta love living in a huge city!

ellemabelle said...

You would be suprised Miss Placed, there are lots of businesses where people are stuck with nothing to do and looking for someone to talk to ... they are bored and they just might hire you because they have nothing else to do either!!! I find August great for getting stuff done... like if you need a carte vitale go now!!! there is no one absoultely no one in line!!!

misplaced texan said...

Emily - no caps required! Yeah, that would suck, though. And, tempting us with a backyard pool is dangerous. We'll have to go before summer's over!

Irisa - yep, never a dull day!!

Elle - That's what I'm learning about August...I went to the CPAM offices last week and got my documents submitted in 15 minutes. We didn't have to wait more than 5 minutes in line. Crazy!

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