Clarabella Speaks.

"It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves" - Shakespeare

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker: Jour Deux.

I wasn’t convinced that studio style was going to happen today given I have to be in at 9.30 for the next 4 weeks, *gasp* but this morning’s photo shoot happened a whole 15 minutes before I had to leave wahey! Other than the fact that I live next door and so being late would really be ridiculous, I really couldn’t be late because now I have a key. Given my colleague is aware of my passport fiasco, and the fact that I was 15 minutes over my lunch break on Tuesday because I was searching for my flat keys (they were in the middle of a pile of sheets of all places), I think if there had been any other way he would not have given me such responsibility, but one day in and all is still well.

Went for a bit of a risky combo today with the shorts. Wasn’t sure how office appropriate shorts were, but nothing was said so I’ll take that as an OK. In fact I think the only person they bothered was me, especially after lunch when breathing was restricted. The french feeling of queuing in la boulangerie to buy my baguette was not worth the fat feeling that came as a result. 

There was more excitement in the office today - we were invited to an art exhibition opening in the Navy Museum. Normally I hate museums but I didn’t have to wear the suit so I figured I’d make the most of the perks of the job. It was all going well (I almost felt like I had a social life again) until I tripped over a protruding lower part of a wall and ended up stopping my fall by slapping my hand right onto the hanging tapestry that was the room’s main attraction. The “attention s’il vous plaĆ®t” from the staff told me it hadn’t gone unnoticed. All I can say is thank goodness it wasn’t a canvas otherwise there would now be a gaping hand-shaped hole in the middle of it. 

Given that my day started with my cream cheese falling out of the fridge and landing face down on the floor (minus lid), I did not have high hopes for the rest of it, but it’s 23.00 hours local time and I’m still here, along with everything I started the day with. The rest of la famille Saunders arrives in Paris tomorrow evening and I turn 21 on Saturday, so things are looking good. Nonetheless I will stay well away from the edge of the Eiffel Tower when we go up it as part of my celebratory itinerary, at such heights there are simply too many things that could go wrong.


Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker: What can go wrong today?

So guess who's got this whole getting up on time thing down. Admittedly taking photos of myself at 9.56 and still arriving at work before 10 is a privilege I will only enjoy for a month, but it's a start. Haven't worked out what to do with my face yet (it would be a bit awkward to pose) so for now it's half camera.

Had I known that my other moccasin was not in sis's room in Cambridge but in fact hiding at the bottom of suitcase, they would have been my shoe of choice, but alas I did not know this and so I was stuck with the only office suitable pair of shoes available to me. Also, I may have a washing machine (although I'm not sure for how much longer given the noises coming from it rn) but I don't have an iron, which it turns out is pretty essential when your clothes have spent a sustained amount of time in a suitcase and you work in an office, so you may see this top a lot. 

Incase you were wondering what else is going on in my Paris saga, I can tell you that I did in fact make it unscathed to spinning this evening. It wasn't great and I'm not convinced I'm going back but that's okay, it was a free class. Even had a nice wee trip into the police station to make my 'declaration de perte' so next stop is the Consulate. Bet all those people who manage to keep hold of their passport don't know where that is so look who's laughing now. I did however manage to take another tour of the Parisian metro on my way home (I thought I was on line 6 but turns out I wasn't), and to my delight the only station I could change in was possibly the largest in the whole metro system. Probably could have walked home the length of time it took to get from one train to another, and hence the supermarket was closed when I walked past. Luckily I have a bowl full of oranges above the fridge, even if there is very little inside it.

Oh and big excitement today. I got to go to the Hotel de Crillon. She's living the Parisian dream finally you might think. Now have a look at what I had to wear, and think again. 

The boots just make it don't you think? Like i said, they were the only office appropriate shoes to hand, possibly not Hotel de Crillon worthy, "She'll do fine" were my bosses exact words. FINE?! Defs going to have to go all out on the fashion front once I get supplies from home, as well as new shoes, to show them I do know how to dress. The metro goers may also need convincing of this fact after my second homeless appearance in 3 days tonight. It was made even better by the addition of my handbag into the christmas jumper-leggings-trainer mix (I couldn't risk my driving license falling from my pocket tonight). Look out for me on Paris Street Style blogs. 


Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker

So given I'm now living in gay Paree I thought it would be an ideal time to revive Clarabella after a somewhat quiet 7 months, and so I present Clarabella: The Diary of a Parisian Office Worker. The idea was (and still is) to do my own little series of studio style (the less cool version of street style) on the outfits I wear to work in my chic little Parisian office every day. However, given my semi-homeless status until this morning, and the fact that I simply have not yet figured out this whole getting-up-early-enough-to-take-a-photo-of-myself thing (something I would normally avoid especially so early in the day), there are currently no photos, and so instead this evening's blog will serve as a stage for me to lament my first unfortunately eventful week in France. I hope it amuses you.

So I arrived here on Tuesday, after a Eurostar journey beside a crazy french/english woman. In hindsight I should have taken that as a sign of things to come and got on the first flight back to my beloved Spain. Everything was going okay, I was living in a hotel because getting used to French life was going to be difficult enough without living in a hostel, and on the first day I walked 8 miles without getting lost and I even had to take off my scarf it was that not-cold. The 20 degrees I left in Granada didn't seem too out-of-reach. However disaster struck on friday when it started to snow. Yes snow. I was most unamused, especially as I had had to leave my hoodie, dressing gown and blanket in Spain due to small-case syndrome (probably should have sacrificed some shorts instead). Oh and this wasn't before a mouse ran across the floor (and dangerously close to our feet) of the restaurant we were dining in.

Still living in a hotel at this stage, but things were on the up when I arranged to meet a potential landlady who was exchanging a room for babysitting. This is exciting I naively thought, thinking I would get to speak french and live in a family's apartment, hence avoiding tiny and possibly messy student flats. My mother warned me they could be some sort of french Vonn Trap family. Don't be silly I told her. She wasn't being silly. I arrived at the flat to find 2 young kids and i thought to myself, slightly crazy but I could totally deal with this, then la maman said "I have 3 older kids too". 'Joderrrrr' I thought to myself, 'Gwen was right'. Needless to say I didn't take the room, esp when I discovered it was not in the flat, but in fact on the 7th floor, and about the size of a child's play shed.

Things calmed down for 24 hours. I met a Durham friend in the street who invited me for lunch with her dad, I started work and didn't get fired, and signed a month-long contract for my boss's studio (nb he doesn't live here too). I was even going to go to the gym and rekindle my love with the spinning bike. So last night I set off in my gym gear with my christmas jumper over the top because it's so cold, looking like I could have been homeless except for the fact that I had my debit card ready to pay 60 euro for a month long gym membership. However Paris had other plans, and it turned out the gym membership was actually 120€ for the month, which is more than I paid for 3 months in Granada. As dying as I was to go (my name's Clare and I'm possibly a gym addict) common sense prevailed and I headed off back to the metro station I had got off at. Except I didn't. Clever me walked the wrong direction and ended up at a different metro on a different line. Lazy me figured that given I was going to have to change either way, I'd take a little trip around Paris to end up on the closest line to home (still the hotel) to avoid walking in the sleet, which was, I think, a perfectly legitimate reason. Approximately 20 stops and 1 change later I was back, I booked a trial class at a different gym for tomorrow (today), packed for the 3rd time in 9 days and went to bed.

Life was on the up. I survived another day at work. I ate my first bowl of fruit in almost two weeks in my wonderful kitchen with actual cooking stuff, and I was going spinning. But as it would turn out, I wasn't. I had 20 minutes to walk a little over a mile to the gym, so I figured I'd run as a way to keep warm (left the homeless christmas jumper at home tonight) and arrive sooner (did not want to miss out on getting a bike). Turns out this was not a good decision and somewhere along the way my passport which was in my pocket (I needed ID for the gym) fell out. So not only was I late for the gym I was now passport-less and cold as I retraced my steps to find it but it was nowhere to be seen. Never has the phrase FML been so appropriate. THEN, my boss called in on his way out of the office (I live next door) to check I was getting on okay, and all I could see while I was talking to him was my bra lying on the sofa. Fab.

And so this takes us up to the current hour where I am sat, surrounded by cases and sheets and clothes and bags, writing my memoirs and lolling a little bit at my life. It's not all disastrous though, I've now got a washing machine, and I survived 3 phone calls with the French police so my french can't be that horrible. "Swings and Roundabouts" as mi mejor amiga would say.