Monday was my first day of au pairing, which means I pick up Little G from school around 4:30 pm and watching him while he plays in the park for about an hour. I take him home by metro help him do his homework and then chill out until dinner time. Thats the usual routine everyday expect Wednesday.
(Here's Little G, sitting in a tree.)
I have made it point to have dinner with the family every night, since it's the one time of day I feel I am bombarded with a large concentration of French at real time! I do envy my host family's traditional dinner time. With the fast-paced nature of our modern world, people don't really have the time anymore to sit around the dinner table. In the US during dinner time, family members are spread through out all the corners of the house. Sitting around a table, is now an "old-fashioned" concept no longer compatible with the current age. It's really refreshing to be around a family that has made the decision that no matter what, dinner time must be respected. My host mom cooks dinner, dad cuts the meats and serves everyone and the children help set the table and clean up after. No matter how deep the children are into their computers or iPhones, when my host mom says "À table" everyone heads to the table. I don't know how easily I can force the habit onto my siblings, but I have made a conscious decisions to instill that value into my future children.
Speaking of dinner time, or rather food...wow! what can I say, the food in Paris is absolutely DELICIOUS!!! Because I haven't started teaching and my salary right now is very limited, I try to eat out maybe every 3 days. So far I have been to a couple of French restaurants around the 9e arrondissement, and I have been enjoying every moment. For the most part, I try to prepare small meals at home and of course have dinner with the family in order to save money. I love going grocery shopping so being in Paris and buying groceries has been delightful! What I like most is the mix between small, independently owned shops and super markets or supermarchés as they are called here. It seems that Paris has struck an incredible balance of giving people the options of something freshly hand made or mass produced. I'm going to try to go grocery shopping at least once a week, while I am here so that I can discover new tastes and figure out what works best with my tastes buds!
(Here's a pic of my very 1st grocery shopping trip, it's not much but it was great!)
One really cool thing I did the first week I was here (as if the Tour Eiffel wasn't enough) was to get in touch with other young international au pairs working in Paris, like yours truly. I was invited to meet some of the au pair girls by a friend do the TAPIF program with me. We met at metro St. Michel then bought some wine and drank it along the River Seine. It was such an awesome night! Any remaining anxieties and fears I had melted away just from being around an awesome group of girls who were dealing with the same struggles I was dealing with in Paris. Now I know I was recommended not to hang around to many English speakers so that I don't get stuck speaking it to much, but I figure that having someone there who speaks the same language as you is a great gate-way to met the Frenchies (there's more behind this phrase which will be explained very soon!) Plus the French are always intrigued by English speakers and I have my host family to practice with, so I don't worry to much. I got to hang out with some of the girls again later and I actually see most of them a lot because they take their kids to the same park as Little G.
During the day, if I don't sleep in too late, I like to walk around Paris and just explore. The great thing about this experience is that everything is so new and exciting for me that I probably won't be bored for a very long time! I went back to the Tour Eiffel and St. Michel during the day time to take in what the quartier has to offer when the sun is out. I love all of the street art and artists that fill the city, it is truly inspiring.
...stay tuned, more adventures to come!