Clarabella Speaks.

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

Friday, 29 March 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker: Good Friday?

The fact that I am spending my Friday night blogging and listening to Bonnie Tyler probably makes you wish you were me, so sorry for rubbing it in your life is crazy quoi. En fait this is not what I wore today rather on Wednesday, but I had literally the most loca day ever (more on that later) so there was malheureusement no time for pre-work photo-shoots. Must give a little shout out to a miss Rachael Jade Griffith for providing the dress, having a best friend who works in RI has its benefits.

So on my run last night I had a moment where I almost liked Paris. Pretty big breakthrough I thought, but it turns out Paris had other plans and today tried its very best to rid me of such thoughts. First there came another Eiffel Tower fiasco. After me swearing less than a month ago that I would never go near the place again I headed off this morning on a deceptively sunny Parisian morning to queue for tickets for clients. I arrived to the messiest and possibly longest queue I had ever seen and had to do my best not to turn and run. However I had my i-Pod and there was Spanish being spoken everywhere I turned so it wasn't looking too bad. Until that is, I realised how actually freezing it was and that I had forgotten my gloves. 30 minutes later and I couldn't feel my toes or fingers, but I only had about 30-45 more minutes to go so it was survivable. 60 minutes later and with NO sign of the clients I was colder than an ice sculpture and highly unamused. Turns out I queued for 90+ minutes for nothing other than the good of my health, which was no good at all. Señor Eiffel Tower and I are well and truly over this time, there is no going back from this one.

THEN, (yes there is more) I returned home at 6pm after a horribly long and stressful day (it got worse after the morning's fiasco), to find that the flat viewing I had lined up was, in fact, cancelled because the room had already been taken. Good Friday it was definitely not.

Happily though, this is where today's sob story ends because then I went to the gym. Obviously I was a little apprehensive after my previous gym experiences but the class was actually good (although not as good as Granada because nothing can beat Spain, obv), I met some actually friendly Parisians (I kid you not, they do exist) and spoke French. Et voilà I am now a member and Parisian life is on the up. You can tell this from the amount of French words making their way into tonight's blog #frenchmachine. There was a hairy moment in the metro when I couldn't find my i-Pod in my bag. Given my track record with gyms and losing things you can see why I almost ran back screaming onto the train, but thankfully it was just hiding under my towel and my heart palpitations could stop. Now all that's left to do is enjoy a 3 day weekend. Fiestaaaaaaaa.


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker: #firstworldproblems

Believe it or not I have literally not stopped since my last post. You probably still wouldn't swap your own social life for mine, but the prospect is no longer quite so horrifying. In that time I have also managed to acquire some exciting new additions to my wardrobe. They have yet to make their debut but when they too they won't be too hard to spot given I'd pretty much worn everything else to exhaustion. Apparently you can have too much of a good thing.

Good news is that my boss is back and he doesn't think my lace trousers look like army pants, hurrah. He also brought us back some sort of indian dessert which was basically like eating nutmeg flavoured, hay-like candy floss. It may sound odd but the other Irish intern and I did a pretty good job of polishing it off. Maybe it's because we're (Northern) Irish that we enjoyed eating hay... there's probably some awful stereotype joke about that somewhere so I thought I'd put it out there first.

I started writing this at 20h00, then mama dearest face timed and well here we are 2 hours later and no further on. We have however just set out a plan for my life in Paris to avoid further social exclusion, so I am starting Spanish lessons tomorrow and finding myself a French boyfriend (Karl says I don't have to be fussy because I'm only here for 6 months, it's good to see he has high hopes for me). Obv will keep you posted on how that turns out but I won't hold my breath as I would almost certainly die.

In other news my French is quite possibly getting worse and I could well be homeless again if people don't start replying to my emails (that is if my neighbours don't complain about me belting out Natalie Imbruglia at the top of my voice and get me evicted first). I came back from a weekend in Bordeaux thinking only positive thoughts, but that lasted until I got within about 15 minutes of Paris and hasn't really resurfaced since. First world problems are a bit of a nightmare really.


Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker: 20/08/1926 - 11/03/2013

When I went to work this morning I thought the subject of this evening's blog was going to be the ruddy snow that had decided to fall in March and how it had forced me change my choice of shoe. Then I got a phone call from home to tell me that my Grandad had passed away last night and suddenly I couldn't care less if it was Antarctica outside and I had been forced to wear snowboots. I wasn't sure whether or not to write this given grief isn't the kind of thing you like to share with people but I've become quite accustomed to sharing the ups and (mostly) downs of Parisian life so it seems like the natural thing to do, especially being so far away from everyone. So I guess this is just like my own little tribute to the man who did everything with his family's best interests in mind and who taught Karlos, or Richard as he called him, to do the same.

Grandparents always tell you how proud they are of you, but I was proud to be Alfred Gordon Saunders' granddaughter. Up until recent years you wouldn't have believed he was in his 80s, out digging up the garden or spinning around Rotherham in his impeccable automobile, and he had an incredible mind.  He also had a pretty impressive geography of Wednesbury and the Black Country, which is something the rest of our family now possesses after several repeated conversations. But more importantly he was a humble, loving and honourable father, husband, grandad and man, who was respected and loved by us all and who is already missed more than these slightly soppy words can express.

A wonderful friend told me to smile at the memories, so that's what I will do (when laughing doesn't turn to crying), and it's not hard to do when you can think back to being welcomed to Pakistan whilst driving through the outer areas of Sheffield; to having "have you ever seen a dream walking?" sung to you when you came down for breakfast at any time of the day; or to being congratulated for being astute enough to recognise the test he set you when it was blatantly a mistake he was trying to cover up. So I will listen to 'All you need is love" by the Beatles and hear him bra-ba-da-ba-da-ing the trumpet part, taste the hairspray on my tongue from the extreme coiffing before leaving the house and be glad that I had such a fabulous Grandad for the first 21 years of my life.

Un beso muy grande.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker: #selfie

It suddenly dawned on me today when I was looking through my iPhoto library that I am quickly becoming some sort of serial mirror-selfie poser. Approximately one month ago I would have rather eaten an entire Marks & Spencer's carrot cake than take, never mind post, a mirror-selfie so this realisation is bothering me greatly. However pour le moment there's nothing I can do to avoid this (except not posting, but what would I do with my evenings then?) so basc just do not judge me, I am ashamed enough already. Although as if to disprove this, here is today's selfie pose.

I was feeling super business-woman like with my choice of outfit, very professional I thought. Turns out not everyone appreciated it. So I had to go to on a hotel outing and when I arrived back to the office I was greeted with "you wore that to the hotel?". Err, yes? There had been no mention of the red suit and there was no way in hell I was bringing it up, so I figured I was free to wear what I want, and figured a pair of dressy, lacey trousers would be a good choice. Except that to a non-fashion conscious male they look like some species of camouflage army trousers and so he did not share this opinion. Not amused. 

And you'll never guess what I saw in the office today: identical pink flower branches. Talk about making me feel cheap. Incase you're wondering electrician guy lives in the same courtyard and apparently also fixes work's sockets so it's not as weird as it would appear without this explanation. 

Other than that, today's excitement consists of a now burst blister (this occurred mid-run which really wasn't ideal) and me finding my post box. I did attempt to find it on Saturday and I did find it a bit odd that my key didn't even fit into any of the locks, never mind opening them, but as it would turn out that was because I was using the wrong key. It only took about 30 attempts today and thankfully no-one came and asked me what I was doing trying to open their post-box, so I am now the proud owner of box 43. Oh emm gee it's so exciting.


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker: Loca

Relatively busy weekend, not really doing much but at the same time having an actual life (as untrue as this will seem as you read on) so hence I'm only posting friday's update now. Went a bit crazy with the camera angles (camera-face method is proving quite difficult at times so might have to research new options)  so you might need to cock your head a little, but the majority of us have the head tilt pose down to a tee so this shouldn't pose any problems.

Turns out I didn't actually make it shopping this weekend so unfort no new bling to unveil this week. In fact I only ventured outside of the flat to go out el viernes and to go running, and so now as I write, I am sat soaking my feet in a lettuce-spinner (I had nothing bigger) full of hot soapy water because the poor soles (ha) are all blistered. 2 x 4.5 mile runs in 2 days without coming close to dying is reassuring me that I have not yet lost my fitness but I think my feet would prefer it if I had.

Made a new friend yesterday, a greek electrician who lives opposite and came to fix my sockets. I greeted him at the door at 10 am in my pyjamas and looking scary as hell after 4 hours sleep, yet when he was finished he returned with a branch (literally) covered in pink flowers in a little vase of water "it's company for you because you're on your own". Fml if ever there was a social rock bottom I think this may be it. It was however sort of sweet, and even though he had previously told me I ate too much for breakfast (fruit and wheaten bread is definitely not too much) I smiled and said thanks. He also left me a cube of restaurant sugar because when I presented him with his milk-but-no-sugar tea he took one sip, winced mid-swallow and set it back on the table. Talk about hurting my feelings.

Weekends are too short and 8 am on Monday morning comes around quicker than it should so je vais love and leave you all and continue to soak my feet whilst watching 101 Dalmations. It would be a lie to say it beats the Marc Jacobs bag, but it's definitely up there on the birthday present list. Possibly the world's worst 21 year old.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker: Wow

Bonsoir mes cheries. You were almost lucky enough to have two studio style photos this evening, but then I decided you've seen the red suit once, there is no need for you to see it again. So here you have just the one standard camera-face photo, and a noticeable lack of accessories. TGIF tomorrow - I'll blow my hostess wages at the weekend and show you ma new bling next week.

Exciting progress today. Not only did I avoid major disaster (other than messing up my computer screen yet again and eating an almost entire pack of jaffa cakes), I actually impressed my boss. He said, and I quote, "Wow"! Say what now? Turns out A-level maths was actually useful for something in the real world, contrary to everything we said in class to make ourselves feel better for not having a clue. It may have been a relatively simple calculation, but the fact remains that I am no longer just the northern irish girl who says her vowels funny; apparently there only exist 3 vowels in my english - eeii, oouu and aaee - but what I don't get is how a Greek man can make fun of my accent?! Hashtag rude.

There was definitely more but my brain is too tired to think. There was literally nobody on the streets of Paris when I went out this morning which tells you something about what sort of ridiculous waking hour it was. I was even wapping someone in South America who hadn't gone to bed on Wednesday and there I was living it up on Thursday travelling across Paris in my red uniform. For this reason I will be in bed and asleep before 9.30, hard lad 2k13 hi.

P.S. for those who noticed Tuesday's grammar error, I hereby apologise for any offence caused. It is in fact 'consist of' and not 'consist in'. I am quite excited though because that was a error in English caused by thinking in Spanish and not the other way round. I may be living in Paris but my heart still lies in Spain. Os quiero!

Un besote

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker: A pomegranate a day keeps the drama away.

Yet another drama free day! Hell to the yes. Although to be fair, when I started the day with my first bowl of pomegranates in 3 weeks it could only be good. I may have gone into work this morning with said bowl of pomegranates in tow and breakfasted in the middle of reading last night's emails, but that was only because I spent a lil' extra time on today's outfit choice. If you don't think it shows just keep that to yourself.

I'm starting to notice the results of my aversion to buying accessories so might have to take a little trip to Zara soon. My feet are also starting to notice the effects of 3 consecutive heel-wearing days, but they're just going to have to lump it because I'm having too much fun playing grown-up!

I also have exciting news: this evening I met two actual French people and spoke actual French that consisted in more than "je vais vous passer à mon collègue". A fair percentage of this 'French' may have been spanish, but at least I've got one language down, and the resemblance of a social life.

Hate to break it to y'all but that is all for tonight because lucky me has a gruelling 4.30 am start for a hostess job (no, not that type of hostess). The wonderful suit is hanging staring at me and both my alarm clocks - the office insisted in giving me a second one for some reason - are set. Bit nerveuse, but I am getting paid almost 2 days wages so one must not complain (don't get excited, I earn 3 euros an hour). Paris gets more glamorous by the day.


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker: Enfin une journée normale

I write this evening with, believe it or not, nothing to report. No your eyes aren't deceiving you, there actually are no new additions to the what-disastrous-thing-can-Clare-do-today list. The biggest problem I've had to deal with today is the definite beginnings of a double chin. This could become problematic, but hopefully my homemade gym, which includes stair box-steps and fabric conditioner bottle weights, will put an end to that. Thankfully having a camera for a face means you're not going to be able to notice it. 

I'm off out to inspect the nocturnal safety rating of a potential flat location (a definite must) and then for coffee with a friend, it almost sounds like I've got a social life. Here's hoping for no more metro detours.


Monday, 4 March 2013

Diary of a Parisian Office Worker: día tres.

Studio style is back for its 3rd day, wheyyyy. It hasn't gone un-realised that I did not post on Friday, but I'm not prepared for that photo to hit the internet and you're not missing anything - Karl's "do you ever dress up for work?" comment should say it all. So instead here is today's, complete with a different pair of shoes (yes it's true) but slightly lacking in quality due to the fact this morning's photo shoot occurred at 09.29. I was going to take a better one when I got home but by the time I remembered this I was already in my Harvard (#namedrop) hoodie and slippers, and there was no way I was getting dressed again.

So today's 'what-disastrous-thing-can-Clare-do-today' incident (previous days' include losing my passport and almost destroying a very important piece of artwork) came in the form of me managing to turn my whole computer screen upside down whilst searching for damn accents on the keyboard. Turns out ctrl+alt+125 does not do the same thing on french computers as it does on Durham's. Even the mouse movements were backwards, and when it didn't automatically fix itself after the standard re-boot procedure I thought I was going to have to admit what I had done and add something else to the 'list of reasons to ridicule Clare'. Thankfully the computer behind me was free and after 10 minutes of FML-ing and google searching I managed to resolve it before anyone returned to the office. Bam. Totes inherited Karl's IT genius.

Other than that today has gone swimmingly. I will however take note for the next time I wear heels to the office, that if I have to go half way across Paris for any reason it would be a good idea to change to flats before hand. Yeah sure I looked class waltzing through the streets in my heels and sunglasses (I kid you not it was actually sunny), but man alive did my feet suffer for said vanity. 

It does not end here on this fine Monday night, obv there is birthday-weekend drama to report. Gwen arrived here on Friday evening claiming someone had tried to rob her iPhone on the metro. Defs thought she was being a tad dramatic (I should stop doing that) until someone actually did rob sistah's iPhone in a photo-stop-harassment episode that, por suerte, ended in the little thief handing it back to her, probably because the boy who stole it thought Karlos would beat him up. Little did he know I'm the one in our family with muscles to kill. Two attempted robberies down, there was inevitably going to be a third, but this one was quite funny. So we go to a fab restaurant because obv I want to celebrate my 21st in style. We're all loving life until Gwen's steak turns out to be pretty much a lump of gristle and she can't eat it. She sends it back, it's too late to get something else but that's fine, she waits for dessert and we get cocktails (couldn't handle any more sugar after Angelina's sugar-coma-inducing feast) while Karl has the world's best sorbet. We go to pay, and the very attractive french waiter (it was basically the Hollister of the food industry) brings the bill and announces, in his wonderful french-english accent "finally we offer you your dessert". So wait, they expect us to pay 40 € for an inedible piece of steak but thank them for giving us a 12 € dessert for free?! Qué va. Needless to say Rose and I made a swift exit to avoid the slight awkwardness of the following conversation, but Gwen emerged victorious with the 28€ difference in tact. Moral of the story: don't try anything funny with the Saunders' innit. 

I had another story to tell, but I fear this is a rather long post so I will shorten it. Basically, the Eiffel Tower is the latest addition to my 'Paris Most Hated' list (other places include the Louvre and Versailles). 2 hours of queueing in the freezing cold to get 280m high and see practically nothing because although there were clear blue skies it was hazy as hell, does not make for a happy Clare. In fact it made for angry Clare (then emotional Clare, #awkward). If anyone comes to visit me you can go up it alone because I have vowed never to do it again. 

And with that happy note I will love and leave you. I'm off to raid my belongings to make make-shift weights and then burn off the what-feels-like-2-stone-in-fat I've put on since Friday. Thank heavens you're only 21 once.