Shot! Shot! Shot! and other drinks..

I have been wondering a lot lately about my life and the people that I surround myself with, and I find increasingly that I am becoming very skeptical of my friends.

When I turned 27 this February, I knew that things had to change. After having done a Languages degree and then a Masters which basically led to a ridiculously badly paid job as an ESL teacher I knew that I needed to turn things around this year.

The thing that I have noticed quite evidently is that my friends are very young. In terms of age, I’d say that most of my friends are around 24, 25 or even 26 so the age difference is not enormous. What makes the difference is the way that we think. Whilst I worry about my future, thinking about what career path I want to take, do I want to get married, how many kids do I want; my friends are talking about how trashed to get, tinder, and the next party to rock up to it.  For a while now I have been wondering why I feel so negatively about my life in Paris and I came to the realisation that it is because I don’t actually do anything.

Outside of work, everything that I do revolves around drinking. My flatmate (yes, the one with the peeing cat) is a manager at a heavy metal themed bar and she works every night from 8pm to 2am and at the weekend from 10pm to 5am and she seems to be perfectly content with her life, she sleeps all day and drinks all night. Even though she is 38 years old! She doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. A few years ago, when I was a student I was the same. I took a part-time job as a waitress and I would work almost every night from 5pm to 2am and then go out for quick drink with my colleagues before staggering home at 5am… 7am.. 11am.. But nowadays, when I have a big night out I almost have the feeling of guilt. I mean from the amount of alcohol that we take in – it definitely takes at least 24hrs to recover. However, I find that my friends are happy to do it over and over again – night after night.

The other thing that I have noticed is that even the friends that have a 9-5 office job also just want to drink. I feel like whenever we meet its always for drinks “Aller, on va prendre un verre sur la terrasse”. Everyone complains about how poor they are so they can’t possibly join the gym or go on a day trip or eat at restaurant but somehow when it comes to splitting a bottle of wine or buying a round of shots – wallets fly open. Why is it that no one asks me if I want to go to the cinema or if I want to go to see the Paul Klee exhibition at the Georges Pompidou or if I want to go for a run. Every single proposition that I have had in the last 7 years is for drinks or to go out. Is alcohol the only way that we can have fun nowadays or is it simply a numbing agent to distract ourselves from pointlessness of our lives?

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A day in the life of a poor ESL teacher

8.00am I woke up in my freezing flat to sound of people pounding down the stairs. Yup my thin wall is adjacent to the staircase of an old Parisian building in the 11th arrondissement. I got up to make a cup of tea and saw that my flatmate’s cat had left its usual piss puddle in the middle of the floor so I proceeded to clean that up.

8.30am All dressed and ready to go after a quick tea and 2 sad little knacki sausages for breakfast. I headed to my metro “Charonne”. I headed on to line 9 in the direction of “Pont de Sevres”. I got on to the metro forcing my way in between all the other poor souls heading to work and crushed by the invasive piles of Spring tourists heading to Trocadero to see the “magnificent” Eiffel Tower.

9.15am I arrive at Franklin Roosevelt to pick up my day sheet and get the teacher’s manuel from the staffroom.

9.30am My first lesson was with a shy lady who I had never met before because this isn’t my usual school. The lesson did not get off to good start. She told me that she felt ill today and was not in a particularly good mood. I thought to myself me neither but let’s just get on with it. The topic of conversation today: The Environment. Absolute torture – an hour and half of

Student: “What does it mean “living things?”

Me: “Urghhh.. things that are living… to live… alive.. you.. me.. animals..”

Student: “What does it mean “heat”?

Me: “Urghhh.. Hot: the adjective, heat: the noun. You know the opposite of cold”

11.00am The bell rings, and I breathe a sign of relief.. First torture over, time to head to my next lesson. I sign the sheet and leave the Champs Elysées heading back on to line 9. BOOM.. I’ve gone on the wrong direction of course, I jump off and walk up the stairs and over to the opposite platform feeling like a complete idiot.

11.35am I arrive at my school in Porte de Saint Cloud. Pick up my day sheet. Ok I have 2 more lessons.

12.30pm My student arrives, I’m wondering why the hell do I always end up teaching at lunchtimes don’t these people eat. The topic: “Making new business contacts”. This student a little more happy to share than the last and we spend a pleasant hour and half speaking her job as an accountant at Canalplus.

2pm Finally.. lunchtime. Awkward time. I need to print off the exercises for my private student after my day at xxxx. One of the other teachers has already arrived at the school even though his shift begins at 5pm – I wonder to myself if I am really that hopeless and its not the job but me or he is just overly enthusiastic- who knows.

2.45pm My final student arrives – it is a 14 year old boy. I wonder to myself why I always end up being lumped with teaching the kids when I never signed up for this. We spend an hour and half practising the present perfect. It was almost mechanical.

3.30pm I’m done for the day, at least for my day job. Off I head on the metro again, this time I’m going to Guy Moquet in the north of Paris. I arrive at Moromesnil to change for the line 13 – my most despised line on the Paris metro system. I attempted to push onto the metro but it was impossible. I waited for 5 minutes and was finally allowed on. I got on and ended up squished against a man holding a pizza box and I thought to myself that pizza must be damn good if he is willing to go into paris just to buy one.

4.05pm I finally arrive at Guy Moquet and get up my student’s apartment. She looks stunning today but extremely bored as usual. A 20 year old business student from La Reunion that needs to pass the BULAT test to get to 3rd year in her course. We have a light banter about last week as it was the school holidays and then went straight on to the past paper. I realise that I didn’t actually print off the answers so I ended up doing the test with her. The 2hrs was surprisingly pleasant and I was pleased as I would finally have some cash.

7pm She pays me and I leave her flat thinking my god I haven’t had money since last week, I’m definitely going to treat myself to a kebab, a can of coke and a packet of marlboro lights. And that’s what I did.

All this to say that life in Paris truly is what the French say “Metro, Boulot, Dodo”

 

New apartment, new lease of life

Today marks 3 weeks since I’ve been in Paris. 

I’ve finally moved out of my friend’s place and into my own apartment. Pretty exciting stuff. I’m living near Belleville, the Chinese quartier, so I guess I fit right in. The apartment is fantastic, really big area, with a balcony in the living room and in my bedroom. Extremely nicely decorated since the women who lives here is an architect but she’s rarely there because she works in Prague. Yeh, it’s a random set up. She’s also left us her cat which is in heat apparently as it’s screaming its head off non-stop like a crying baby. 

Everything is falling into place quite awkwardly I suppose but nice. The results for the Translation school should come out at the end of this week and then I should know how to go on from there I guess. Honestly, I was had spent less money at this point to get me through a bit more of the summer but catching up with old amis’ and having apéros on the terrasse aren’t doing my bank account any good. 

Paris

So I’m back and things have been pretty crazy lately.

Against probably my best judgement, I turned down the offer for the internship in Munich and thus begins my search in Paris. As of yet, I am still thinking about what exactly I want to do being, I have several ideas – one of them is Translation school; in fact I have the admission tests this Saturday. Failing that, I am still wondering but Paris has put me in a much better mood than when I was in England. I feel healthier – and of course, it’s been brilliant seeing friends again. Although, I didn’t bring much over so I feel like I have hardly anything clothes but I’m feeling extremely optimistic actually. Anyway, this isn’t a very long update for now. But more will be coming soon.