My Awkward Freshman Kind-of-Stalker

At the beginning of freshman year I had an almost kind of stalker. Let’s call him Randy. Randy and I met during orientation week. We were both mingling around our department table, which was history at the time because I started as an international studies major (funny, I know). So Randy approached me and extended his dead fish hand, which I shook politely. His eyes also reminded me of a dead fish. I’m not even being mean, he was just an all around dead fish guy. He said he was a transfer and blah blah I don’t remember what else. I said bye and peaced out, not thinking about him again. Until we had a class together.

I decided to sit in the back of class and he saw me and came over to join me. We didn’t really talk that much, we just sat next to each other in the back row. He was EXTREMELY awkward, almost painfully so, so I never made plans to hang out with him outside of class. But he kept hinting at me eating lunch with him. Somehow we ended up seeing each other at the club fair during one of the first weeks of school. He came over and kind of followed me while I tried to avoid him. When I was leaving he followed me and my roommate and invited me to eat lunch with him at the school cafe. I said something lame like, “Oh darn, I have to eat my mac n cheese.” He then said something like “You probably don’t, but do you want my number?” and obviously I couldn’t say no without looking like a jerk.

You’re probably thinking, “Celina, just don’t text him.” But I thought I was being nice to the awkward transfer student. So I made the mistake of texting him “hey it’s Celina.” He proceeded to text me non stop with 3 paragraph long texts. He told me about boxing and his brother and I reply with “that’s cool.” But let’s get real, there was no way he was actually boxing. Anyways, he kept inviting me to things and was consistent in the non-stop texts. The text that finally made me take action was one that mentioned our school’s Christmas ball. RED FLAG! He was trying to ask me to the CHRISTMAS Ball in AUGUST.

So the logical thing to do was ignore him all weekend while I was at home and work on a plan. This was literally the third weekend of school, I had known him for less than a month and he wanted to date me (or maybe just follow me?). On Monday I had a plan – a fake boyfriend! So when he texted on Monday I simply replied, “Sorry, can’t talk right now I’m Skyping my boyfriend in California.” And it worked! We didn’t say one word to each other after that and I began to sit next to a new friend in class.

So if you have a freshmen kind of stalker just tell him you have to Skype your fake boyfriend. Mine is named Jean-Luc and currently lives in Montreal. Moral of the story: get a fake boyfriend and don’t let dead fish guys follow you.

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I Forgot How To Adult

In the past two days I have forgotten about two jobs, causing me to be 45 minutes late to one and absent for another. I have never, ever forgotten to show up for a job. Ever. After I forgot the first, I apologized and figured it was a fluke. I felt awful about it but knew that the only thing to do about spilled milk is to clean it up and move on. However, the next day I completely forgot and slept through a gig that I do every month – my head was not in the game yall.

So where does this leave me? Well after everything I sobbed for a bit yesterday and ate some ice cream. It might not seem like a big thing, but forgetting not one, but two jobs where people depended on me really tore me up. I hate letting people down, especially when it’s 100% my fault.

So let me admit it: I messed up. I forgot how to adult for a few days. But that’s okay. I have apologized to the involved parties and moved on. I took responsibility for my actions and forgiven myself. I am determined to put everything in my planner and be a bit more organized (I’m not going to be delusional and pretend I’ll be 100% organized now). I am moving on and letting go of my two mess up days.

So next time you mess up, clean it up and move on. Let’s promise each other we’ll forgive ourselves and work to do better in the future.

My 5th Grade Almost Boyfriend

My fifth grade almost boyfriend sat next to me in the special nerd classes we went to twice a week. He was a whiz kid at math and science, I was slightly above average at language arts and history. He was sporty and I was dramatic. We played basketball in gym class one day and I traveled with the ball, which I thought made us Troy and Gabriella.

One time on a day that we had nerd class, he leaned over to talk to me and sort of put his arm on my chair, which set my fifth grade heart aflutter. After class, his friend told me he liked me. In my mind I was elated – my crush of four years finally notices me! So logically I told his friend that I didn’t like him and that he was gross. I passed him on the track outside later. I don’t really remember our friendship much after that.

Later on he dated a girl from the grade below us and then moved away. I asked if we could be pen pals and wrote him a note confessing my crush, but he never replied. I even messaged him on Facebook quite a few years ago on Facebook. Yes, I know that’s creepy.

I remember clearly that when my fifth grade almost boyfriend’s friend told me he liked me I was scared it was a trick. How could someone who I’d dreamed about for years finally be real, be interested? I don’t think I wanted reality. I just wanted a boy to pine after. I wanted to be able to imagine fantastical situations instead of actually experiencing a possibly disappointing reality.

Even now I often prefer fantasy to reality – who needs practicality? But I’m not in fifth grade anymore, and imaginations aren’t enough. I’m going to live life, no matter how boring or scary it gets. So here goes nothing:

Dear Fifth Grade Almost Boyfriend,

I like you.

Sincerely,

Fifth Grade Celina (who had really bad bangs and Harry Potter glasses)

 

How To Find an Au Pair Position in Paris

I don’t usually do “how to” posts, but I have seen a definite lack of useful how to posts regarding au pairing (specifically in Paris). Obviously I don’t know everything, but hopefully this will help make your search easier. Here’s what I’ve learned since starting my search a few days after Christmas to saying yes to my family on January 10th.

  • Either pick an agency of your choice or join aupairworld.com. You don’t need any other sites. I wasted my time joining probably 6 other sites, none of which were necessary or led to any results other than spam emails. I didn’t use an agency, but Au Pair Paris seems to have good reviews if you’re looking to go with an agency, which I think is unnecessary unless you really want to use an agency. Aupairworld.com is free (to the au pair) and amazing.
  • Put ALL of your experience on your profile; babysitting. retail jobs, language skills, hobbies/talents, education, certifications, etc. Make it easily accessible to the family.
  • Add good quality photos. No selfies. Use a school photo or headshot. Add pictures of you with the children you have babysat. Add photos of you and your family.
  • Be specific with location. If you want to work in Paris, put that on your profile. The suburbs can be nice, but the Paris metro closes at night, and if you end up living an hour subway trip away, that could mean you leaving the city at 10pm on your night off.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out to families first. Make a basic first message and personalize it a bit for each family.
  • Know your profile weaknesses. If you’re under 21, not from the EU, and can’t drive, your options may be slightly more limited (from my experience). Play up your strengths. Also utilize the search option under the “for au pairs” tab – it allows you to search by country without limiting families by driving requirement, age requirement, and date/length of stay. If you are about to turn 20, use this search to find people looking for a 20 year old, as they currently can’t see your profile.
  • Don’t get discouraged. I got a lot of rejections and few positive messages. It all depends on when you’re searching, when you’re available, etc.
  • DO NOT GIVE UP. I am a very impatient person and was quick to get  discouraged after a few days without responses. Just be patient, I promise someone will message you!
  • After messaging with families, SKYPE! This is how you make sure they are, in fact, real people. You can also see how you click with the parents and children. Treat this like a job interview; fix your hair, wear a nice shirt, make sure your room is clean, wear pearls. That last one is optional, but I actually wore pearls when Skyping with my family, and I think they appreciated that I took care with my appearance. Families in Paris want to make sure their au pair is not only classy, but that they will be able to fit in in Paris.
  • Continue messaging families no matter how your Skype conversation went. Keep your options open and get your mind off the perfect (or maybe not-so-perfect) family you Skyped with. Skype with some other families if you so desire.
  • Send the family(familes) with whom you Skype your references. It’ll show that you have chutzpah.
  • Skype again. Yep, Skype again before/when you say yes.
  • Skype while you work out contract details. Make sure you read the entire contract and both parties are aware of everything.
  • Get to work on your visa! I might write another post about the visa process, so let me know if you’d be interested in that!

Hopefully this helps you with your search! If you find an au pair position in Paris, let me know so we can meet up! Also feel free to ask questions in the comments, au revoir!

Laundry Day

Today is laundry day, which means I ran out of underwear. Today I’ve thought about all the places I’ve done laundry.

Whenever I’m home with my family I get to do laundry inside, at my house, without having to drive or walk to the washer and dryer, which is honestly a super big privilege.

My first years at college I did laundry in our dorms. During freshmen year I overloaded a washer and housekeeping left me a mean note. Last year my roommate and I would move guys’ laundry after it sat in the washers for hours.

Two summers ago I did laundry with my friends from all over the world at a rinky dink laundromat near the camp we were working at in upstate NY. We all crammed into the staff van and rode down the hill to the town below that included a Walmart and our hangout diner.

Last summer I did laundry a block down from my apartment in the West Village in Manhattan. I would walk with my students, or with my coworkers/friends, or by myself. It was a beautiful one minute walk, and I miss it.

This year I walk for a couple of minutes from my apartment to a huge community laundry room that I rarely have to wait around in.

Perhaps during my year in Paris I’ll find another laundromat to call home. The washers probably won’t bang around like my washer at home. I’m sure it won’t be free like it has been for me here at school. It won’t be full of middle school ballerinas or camp counselors. But it will be a constant in my new world, a little piece of home away from home.

 

Do They Have Iced Coffee in Paris?

Questions I have about Paris (my home starting this June):

  • Is there iced coffee? Will I be mocked if I drink iced coffee? I NEED ICED COFFEE
  • Can I run out of my cab like the girls in “Tout qui ce Brille”?
  • Am I fully grasping how much bigger Paris is than Manhattan?
  • Can I wear a beret without looking cliche?
  • Will I actually meet my fake boyfriend Jean-Luc?
  • Do I have the guts to try and explore the catacombs after watching that crazy horror movie about them?
  • Should I let my inner mean girl out in Paris? Is resting mean face what is acceptable there?
  • How many scarves should I bring? 5? 10???
  • How much cheese am I expected to eat?
  • What if I don’t make any friends and instead befriend the ghost who lives in the Louvre???
  • Can someone please give me like 10 red lipsticks?
  • Do French people like Canadians or British people better? Because I’m definitely going to pretend to be Canadian or British.
  • Do the people in Paris sing in the streets like in Anastasia? IS DIMITRI REAL? IS ANASTASIA ALIVE?
  • Will the Parisiennes accept me as one of their own eventually? And, if they do, will there be a beret and baguette ceremony?

That’s all my questions for this week. See you next week again for Curious Sundays. Actually that sounds weird. I’ll work on a better name. Maybe “Celina’s Psychotic Ramblings Sundays.” That has a nice ring, right?

Lunchtime Lyric Loser

At lunchtime one day in fourth grade (maybe third), I was asked/made to join a singing competition. The competitors were myself and a girl whom my mother approved of because the girl complimented her hair. The judge was my bully/friend, the girl who I sat with at lunch sometimes when my actual friends had a different lunchtime.

Anyways, the song that was decided upon was called Redneck Woman or something. I had never heard it, preferring Britney Spears and NSYNC.  Needless to say, I did not win. I did not have to country grit the judge was looking for. So I can’t put “Elementary Country Song Lunchtime Winner” on my resume. But I can still sing you 3 lines from the song.

This wasn’t my first brush with rejection, and it definitely wasn’t my last. Losing a singing competition to the girl who compliments your mother’s hair is a bit upsetting, but nonetheless, I shouldered on. I went on to audition for solo after solo, role after role, to end up with what could be considered disappointing results: one solo in all of middle school chorus, none  in high school, and one lead in a musical throughout my whole career.

Maybe this competition set the tone for my singing career. But I think that losing a redneck song competition helped me deal with rejection and continue to try. So thank you to the little 4th grade redhead who called me names and queened me the lunchtime lyric loser; you helped me lose with grace.

 

And anyways, she got engaged to a boy with ramen noodle hair, so who’s really the loser here?

This Room

I’m going to miss this room, this crazy, neurotic room. This room where we’ve eaten, slept, laughed, cried, sat, watched, played, lived. This room is my favorite room of all the rooms I’ve ever been in. This room is home.

I have made some of my favorite memories in this room. This room knows my secrets, and I trust it to keep and remember them all. This room has taken blows. This room has had its ups and downs.

This room has held our loneliness and fears. This room has laughed with us and watched us fill out application after application after application.

This room has helped me make decisions, good and bad. This room has seen us party and mourn. This room bears our scars and holds pieces of us.

But when we leave, this room will go on without us in it. This room will have different inhabitants, perhaps strangers who will become best friends. This room will live on, and so will we.

On Crushes

A friend keeps reminding me that I’m boy crazy. I definitely used to be. I used to wear my heart on my sleeve and have at least one crush per month. I would whisper my secret crush to anyone who would listen because I’m bad at keeping secrets and trusted most people back then. But I’ve learned my lesson. When you tell middle school friends about your crush, they’ll yell it out at the lunch table and you’ll be mocked by said crush in freshmen English.

Crushes tell you they’ll break up with their girlfriend for you, and you think that, first of all, he’s telling the truth, and second that this is how healthy relationships can start. Crushes draw gross pictures of you on the whiteboard. Crushes ignore you, crushes are gay, crushes just straight up don’t like you.

So I don’t have crushes anymore. I haven’t allowed myself to have a crush for quite a while. And life is simple; lonely sometimes, but simple. Sometimes I miss the bountiful hope that came with each new crush, the smiles and whispers and blushes. But most of the time I am happy that the hope I have now is not dependent on whether or not a boy smiles at me.

I have not given up on love, but I have given up on fake love and substitutes for true intimacy. I’d rather have nothing than synthetic puppy love. My next crush will be more than a crush, more than infatuation. My next crush will not be a crush at all, it will be mutual connection on a deeper level. Because crushes aren’t real, so I’ll wait for true love.

Can You Not?

Can you not joke about us being an us? Even if I don’t like him, thinking about me being an us is too much to get my hopes up for. To think that he and I could be a we is so good it hurts.

Can you not say we’d be cute together? I’ve already thought that. I don’t want to think about it anymore, it’s too painful. I’ve thought about us going to events together, how he could ask me with a rose, how he might get down on one knee. But he doesn’t.

Can you not say we both have flaws? You don’t understand. His flaws are earthly, the kind of flaw you can overlook with no problem. My flaws are crazy, intense, the type of flaw you can’t stop looking at. I could probably live with his, but he couldn’t live with mine.

Can you not tease us? It’s so hard to be in a room with someone who verbally says they don’t want to be with me when you suggest it. I laugh it off, because we probably wouldn’t be a good couple anyways, but it kind of sucks. I get it, he doesn’t like me, we’re not meant to be.

Can you not talk about our shared interests? Don’t you know I’ve already imagined us cuddling and watching our favorite movie? I’ve already thought of the possible inside jokes, the road trips with our soundtrack.

Can you not be you? The you that’s sometimes adorable and sometimes naive. Sometimes funny and sometimes overexcited. Sometimes rebellious and sometimes angelic.

Can you pick a side so that i can? Please pick the side that makes me like you less, the side that makes it easy to laugh when she pairs us together. The side that i can make fun of when you’re not there, the side that couldn’t keep up with me. Please stop doing mysterious things that interest me. Please stop liking things i like and being a great guy. Please go back to liking her and being innocent and gentle and young.