Little Miss Awkward

I just can’t help it!!

Changes

puzzle.jpg Spent most of this week, getting ready for my big move into hot guy’s appartment (hence the lack of blog posts). They say moving homes is among life’s stresses and it is so true. Despite living in a tiny appartment for just a few months, I seem to have tons and tons of stuff. To make matters worse, I am not that great at throwing things away.

Moved the bulky stuff to my new appartment with the help of a friend and a taxi driver that was really generous with my money. Taxi driver was a really nice guy, he helped us load the stuff on, was really chatty on the way there, acted as a mini tour guide as he showed me the attractions of  new neighbourhood, like where the prostitutes hang out, where the police gather a lot and at the end of it he only charged me €20 which was great but it would have been better if he charged us the €14 that it said on the taxi meter.  When asked how much he said €20 like he was doing me a favour. I didn’t really complain because he helped us load my stuff and not many of them do.

Took my stuff into my new flat, and met my new flat mate’s ex-girlfriend, who was moving out as they had broken up. She was ‘pleasant’, not too chatty but he was cute, funny and witty. I can’t wait to get the juicy run down on what happened between them (I am such a nosey cow) but from what bits of information I gathered from my brief encounter with her, I deduce that he cheated on her and had a habit of coming home at 0300am in the morning. Hmmmm

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August 31, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Romance | 2 Comments

Boys, Boys, Boys

house.jpg It has to be said that my love life has been somewhat stagnant since my big move. Apart from the odd flirtations here and there, nothing really exciting has happened in that department. Large part of the reason is feeling somewhat unsettled with either job or accommodation problems.

Having to find somewhere new to live has reignited a lot of my interest in the opposite sex and this is because a lot of places I have been to view appartments, the guys have been seriously hot and to top it off, they have turned to be extremely nice, which makes them even more desirable. What a turn on, a nice hot guy with a nice appartment. As I leave each of them, I pray desperately that they choose me to be their new bed..oops flat mate. One guy said to me that he had a good feeling about me and he felt that we had ‘chemistry’. I had to remind myself that he meant good flat mate chemistry not the amour kind of chemistry. Another artistic guy I came across had this intense way of starring at you. I was literally drooling like a baby as he showed me the communal garden area whilst telling me about ‘howz ve loff to havs parteez ear ven ze sun iz brat hanz shanning’.  Luckily for me it was at night, so he couldn’t see my tongue hanging out like a thirsty dog. My willingness to overlook  his overactive cat was enough to realise that I needed to get my love life back on track. The amount of love and tenderness I showed his cat, you wouldn’t have known that I am a non-cat loving person. Reason he needed a flatmate was he had broken up with his girlfriend and she moved out. Oh dear, poor thing, he needs comfort at this time of emotional distress 😉 Funnily enough he was the second guy that I had met who needed to rent out the room because he had broken up with his girlfirend. Is this some kind of epidermic in this part of the world?

However it got me wondering, do I really want to live with a hot guy?? It sounds like a single girl’s dream but the reality is so different. This person is going to see you first thing in the morning, when you are looking like Frankenstein’s prototype. In all earnest you are going to be seen at your worst. Living with someone gives you the real insight into who they really are. So any hopes of impressing will quickly vanish away when he sees your tattered old bras and Bridget Jones’ knickers hanging on the washing line.

The other issue is also that similar thing of ‘don’t screw the crew’. They say you should not get involved with people you work with because when things go bad, it can be tricky. It is even worse when you live with them, I can imagine it being pretty awkward.

So set up house with a cute guy, we shall see???

August 20, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Romance | 10 Comments

Missing Home

laughter.jpg Some friends came down for the weekend to help celebrate my birthday. Another day older but not another day wiser. Having them here made me a bit homesick. I have not laughed so much over the past few months, than I have over the weekend. It was just that familiarity of being able to giggle silly, make fun of each other, express squeals of delight and horror as we recall and relay tales of disastrous love escapades. Reminise about our holidays, which always has a story that gets told over and over again. I miss that so much.

While they were here soaking up the beauty of the city that I now call home, I was busy soaking and drowning in their presence. As we walk past every beautiful monument or welcoming boulangerie they would gasp and say how lucky I was to live here. They are right I am lucky but when we are sitting in a restaurant laughing her heads off,  I realise I miss them. It is not the location of home that I miss but the people that were part of my life. Also what brought it home to me was one evening we were drinking at a bar, and I invited a French friend to join us. We were chatting and laughing away, my friends were making fun of my dodgy French, and it was all very typical girlie banter. Later in the evening, my friends left as they were tired and they knew I was trying to get some private French lessons with the boy 🙂 The guy mentions that I behave a bit crazy when my friends are about. He didn’t mean it in a bad way but still. Crazy, wtf? Show a bit of personality and you get labelled as crazy.  I am not a bloody Jane Austen character, who sniggers behind a hankerchief, or treats cross stitching as the ultimate in extreme sports.

In the bar, saw a girl who looked so cool wearing a Trilby (which I think rarely happens) it hurt. I pointed her out to French guy and he promptly proclaimed that he thinks she is a lesbian. I nearly choked on my beer. Just because she isn’t all flowy hair and floral prints, she gets labelled a lesbian. The irony is the girl wore the sort of outfit that would get Kate Moss lorded over in the press as a style icon. A bit of individuality seems to scare people here.

When my friends were here, I had a moan about more or less everything. Currently there have been circumstances that have arisen that might mean that I might have to go back home prematurely and this scares me because despite it all I am not ready to pack up and go home just yet. It has not been easy these past few months but I am so not ready to go home. I want to give here a really good bash and despite a lot of problems encountered and protests from me, I love the experiences I am having, both the good and the bad. Not everyone gets the chance to do what I am doing, I know I am lucky. But…

I miss my friends 😦

August 12, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, Family, France, Rant, Romance | 5 Comments

The End or is it?

scream.jpg “This is not the right counter, you want the service import”, she informs me. I look at her with a look that gives her a clue that I was about to have an emotional moment. Looking at her in disbelief, not able to muster the right words to say. I knew what I wanted to say but it just was not coming out. “But, but, the man told me that it was this one”. She gives me a look that has probably been used for the 100th time that day. A look that said ‘I do sympathise but merde happens’.

She tells me to go back to the chicken coup, better know as the waiting room, and that I wouldn’t have to wait long. She smiles. I tried to do something similar in return but I think I just look constipated. I was the weakest link and I was taking the walk of shame back. Walked past the man that gave me duff information and made me wait over two hours for nothing, and wished him a lifetime of non Viagra solving impotence. He needs to really know what frustration feels like.

I manage to get a seat next to army man. This did nothing to lift my spirits. People watching was no fun, even Keyes couldn’t lift my spirits. I sat there limp as a lettuce left out in the sun too long, feeling very sorry for myself. Half an hour later, my number is called and this time I don’t have the same bounce that I had before. I walk to my counter and find a woman in front of me. I hear the man ask her proof of her bank account, and she presents one of those ATM printed jobbies but this is not good enough. I watch her desperately ransack her bag, and go through the contents of her wallet. Everyone in this scene knows that the search is futile. You know if you have a bank statement in your possesion and she clearly didn’t. I am aware that my presence behind her is making her more anxious and flustered. I try to move away slightly so she didn’t think I was hovering over her. I felt her pain. I knew she was probably a member of the waiting-for-over-two-hours club.  Her eyes were pleading with the man behind the counter, her brow moist with sweat. But I think I can attribute this to the excessive body heat of the place. Her fingers were frantically all over her bag and wallet, not sure if it was my imagination but I am sure I witnessed her body search herself. I could feel her desperation. It was a painful exchange to watch. It is like watching a woman begging her husband not to leave her but her pleas are falling on deaf ears, as his face indicates he has already left.

The man behind the counter beckons to hand over my goods. I comply passing over a folder of stuff. I tried to organise what I could, but I wasn’t sure what they wanted in originals or photocopies. So I give the entire folder to him. He opens it up and tries unraveling this heap I had set before him. He tackles it like a man that has been here before. As he asks for things, I point them out feeling extremely optimistic at this point. But, yes of course there is a but, there is inevitably something missing. He wants proof of my residency. I quickly point him the direction of the letter from my landlord. He says it is good but he needs a utility bill from my landlord and of course a copy of his ID. At this point I realise that the woman before had given up the fight and moved on.  

I did not have the will to start searching for ‘invisible’ things in my folder or bag. I knew whatever I had was not going to cut the mustard. Caught in this administration shoot-out, I surrendered my weapon. There was nothing I could do. Last time I heard landlord was off sunning himself on some beach in India, and had a habit of checking his email once a full moon. Let’s see, how willing will he be to step away from his Goan curry, and find his way out of his wacky baccy haze to go find some place to photocopy his ID and fax it over.  Methinks not!! As lovely, adorable and utterly shaggable  as my landlord is, it is quite an unreasonable request in the circumstances. 

To try and sweeten the blow, man behind the counter tells me I wouldn’t have to wait as long next time. I smile warily. I try raising an eyebrow to give him a look that indicates he shouldn’t make promises that can’t be kept but realised that my neglected unshaped eyebrows would just look like two caterpillars rolling over. I can’t even get a raised eyebrow right.

August 9, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Rant, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

and the saga continues..

paper1.jpg Clutching a folder full of 20 copies of everything including my newly acquired Controle Technique, I walk excitedly into the prefecture. I was welcomed by what seems like the entire population of the city including their screaming babies, and they all had folders. Last time I saw this many people in a room, was at the Home Office in the UK. Humph, this is not going to be a walk in the park. I make my way to the information desk, which fortunately appears to have the shortest queue. Tells the lady why I was gracing her establishment with my presence. She directs me up the stairs. Oh what relief, I am not going to be part of this chaos. I am going upstairs, I think gleefully. I walk up the stairs, trying not to look too pleased with myself as I leave these lot to it.

Reach upstairs, and wished to God I was downstairs. Upstairs was smaller but held twice the capacity of downstairs. Went to the information desk, where I was given a ticket. I was the lucky recipient of #188. I looked at the buzzer and #132 was being called. I was one step below the point of holding back tears. I quickly resigned to my fate, and made my way to the back, near the fan. If I was going to set up camp here, I need to be cool. No seats available, I leaned by the banister. Wished desperately that I had brought my Nintendo Lite. At times like this a long hard game of Sudoku was called for.

I reached in my bag, and grabbed my phone. Sent a text to everyone I knew about absolutely nothing. Individually deleted 105 messages in my inbox and 25 messages in my sent box before I found I could do it all by the push of one button. Then I realised my fun was over when I did that. Passed some time by taking part in my favourite sporting event of ‘people watching’. I paid particular attention to the man in the army uniform. Men in uniform don’t usually do it for me but there was something sexy about his demeanor. He had this quiet confidence about him. The way he took his pen out of his man bag and filled out his form got me thinking impure thoughts.  I then spotted the wedding ring and my impure thoughts went awry. I then imagined him being one of those that had ‘close encounters’ with his other army buddies, when they are stuck deep in the trenches of Switzerland, or wherever it is they patrol these days. Wondering if he was ever going to tell his missus about those moments of manly love he shared while in the service.

I turn my attention to the man in the tank top, all muscles and hair gel, trying really hard to look effortlessly cool. So eighties. Deep down I knew he was probably shitting his knock-off Calvin Klein’s, hoping he had all the right copies of everything. I quickly averted my gaze, as I did not want to give the impression that I approved of such excessive primping or indeed encourage it. As the buzzer goes, calling another victim to a booth, I look up in the vain hope that my number was up but an hour later #160 is called. I go up to the information desk again, just to double check that I was in the right queue. I had this uneasy feeling that something was not right, and the last time I had this feeling was when I heard a ‘rumour’ that Mutya was leaving The Sugababes and look what happened there.

I watch the lady across the hall sitting there calmly eating her sandwich. She has obviously done this before. My stomach turns, I need food. I knew I had time to pop out and get something but there was no way I was giving up my space by the fan.  Among the millions of signs littered across every square inch of the walls, they should at least advice people to bring a packed lunch, heck bring the family and make a day of it. Because it IS going to be a day.

Bored of people watching, I reach for Keyes. Marian Keyes to be exact.  ‘The other side of the story’, is just perfect for the occasion. At a stonking 648 pages, this wedge of a book would never be finished if it were not for times like this. If anything was going to deflate my stress, it would be the wonderful Keyes. I needed wit, laugh out loud funny and she was perfect. So I immerse myself in this with frequent interludes of buzzer glancing and people watching. Another hour later my number is up. I feel a jolt of electricity go through me, I come alive again. I imagine I have that mad deranged look that women have just before the doors open at a NEXT sale. Which is the result of waking up at 5am to queue in front of the store in time for the ridiculous 6am opening and the determination to knock the living daylights off any woman that goes within 200 yards of that wrap around dress that you have eyed up (This isn’t me by the way) It will take an avalanche to get me out of bed at 5am. I grab my belongings and rush to the counter, before the buzzer changes it’s mind.

Reach the counter and hand over my form, and relevant bits. The woman who hears my struggling French, speaks to me in English. I almost cry out of gratefulness. To describe what happens next remove the words ‘almost’, ‘out’ ‘of’ and ‘gratefulness’ from the previous sentence, you will get the idea.

TO BE CONTINUED

August 5, 2007 Posted by | Blogroll, France, Rant | 5 Comments

Contrôle Technique

ct.jpg Bringing my car to France was not an intentional plan. I didn’t have time to sell it and there was no way I was going to sell it for pittance, just to get rid of it. I brought it along like the extra bit of underwear you pack for a weekend, just in case you need it. Apart from the fact that the French drive on the wrong side of the road, having the car has had it uses. But (there is always a But) after having been here for quite a few months, certain decisions had to be made. As the UK insurance only covers you for 90 days abroad, I really have no choice but to re-register the car in France. This is somewhat a big decision as it is a statement that says you are here to stay. I always had the intention of being in France a while but there have been times when things haven’t been going great and the possibility of running back home has crossed my mind. Anyway the car had to be re-registered.

Anyone who has had the pleasure of dealing with French bureaucracy knows what joy this can bring. Here it seems you can’t even get a monthly bus pass without providing 20 copies of your mother’s DNA results, with a declaration by her written in her own blood. Okay slight exaggeration here but only slight. For me to get the car registered, among other things I needed to get a ‘Controle Technique’. It is the same thing as an MOT. Or for none British readers it is an exam that your car has to pass to say it is in somewhat good nick. Anyone who has had an MOT done on their vehicle knows this means at least 30 minutes of dry mouth, sweaty palms, finger crossing, and excessive prayers (even Atheists). In the old days showing extra cleavage and donating a bottle of whisky to the mechanic used to help but now it is all computerised,  finger crossing and praying is the best bet.

Took my car to the CT place, and was ushered into the waiting area. I brought along my book to keep me occupied, but deep down I knew not much reading would be done. My car is brought in and put on some contraption that seemed to make it breakdance and shimmy shake. Oh bugger, is it meant to shake so much? I catch the mechanic’s eye and I quickly look back down at my book. I feel like a child, who has just been caught watching daddy jumping on mummy when I was supposed to be downstairs playing with my Wii. The mechanic sticks something in somewhere and watches a computerised screen, he then calls mechanic 2 over and they both pay way too much attention to the screen. I literally have to use all the willpower I could muster to stop myself going over there to look at the screen too. What were they seeing? I want to know. I need to know. It is rude to talk about other people’s car when they can’t partake in the conversation. Mechanic checks the headlights. This I know can’t fail,  because I have lost a reasonable amount of weight running around to get them changed to comply with the regulations. Now if they fail, I am going to the nearest boulangerie and stuffing my face with the creamiest thing that I can get a hold of.

Then the car is moved to another thing that makes it dance even more, I think this time it was more a ballroom movement. One step, slide, two step slide, pause and slide. Mech gets under and flashes his light around my car. Oh please don’t let a gust of oil splash on his face, or something drop off and knock him down dead. I catch his eye again and quickly look back down at my book. The next moment, I hear what seems like a shower of nails. It is all over now. My mechanic has unwittingly provided inspiration for the writers of the next instalment of Final Destination as to grisly death possibilities. I close my book and get ready to gather my belongings and move on. But I act in haste. I still see flashing light, and mechanic appears to still be breathing. I look outside and realise the shower of nails is in fact heavy rain falling on a zinc ceiling. Thank f**k for that. I have never been so happy to see bad weather, as I was at that moment.

He walks over to me and gravely hands me my keys. Why has this happen to me? I have never failed an MOT before. Deep down I was cursing everything French. Even my beloved crepes with Nutella. He mutters something fast and grim in French. All I managed to gather was ‘tomber’, ‘rapid’, and ‘echappement’. Great, my exhaust was falling off quickly. Well thank you for nothing. He hands me a printed copy of something and I ask him if he knows a mechanic. He gives me card. I say “merci” and “au revoir”, as you do. I am still nice even when I am pissed off. I must remember they are only doing their job. Don’t shoot the messenger, shoot the car.

I walk over to my car and on my windscreen I notice a ‘CT’ sticker that other French drivers have. Holy shit, it passed!! It made it. My baby made it. How could I have doubted it? If there weren’t witnesses, I would have hugged it. This was passing MOT happiness with that little bit extra. This was passing the French MOT. I wanted to run back inside and plant a smacker on the mechanic, but I am guessing the heavily pregnant woman behind the desk wouldn’t appreciate it. Although I wasn’t too sure if the mechanic was the cause of her current condition, I was too distracted with the drama going around my car to reach a full conclusion about this. As I drove home, I really didn’t care about my tombering echappement. I would worry about that tomorrow. Today I will bask in this victory.

After a visit to the prefecture to get my vehicle re-registered, this victory was shortlived…….

 TO BE CONTINUED

August 2, 2007 Posted by | Battle of the Bulge, Blogroll, France, Rant | 6 Comments