Paris Calling + Free GPSmyCity GIVEAWAY

Moving abroad is a lot of work; well, it’s a lot of paperwork. I have spent the past month or so emailing and sending snail mail back and forth from the US to Paris, France. I’ve made copies of my passport, transcripts, diploma – France has really gotten to know me. I wrote an elementary level letter in French to tell the French government why I want to live in Paris – but I mean why would I not want to live and work in Paris??? I also sent baby booties to my soon to be au pair family for their soon to be bebe!

To keep you up to date; later this month I’ll be doing a day and a half trip to Atlanta to get my au pair visa, which is exciting and terrifying! I have to bring a bunch of paperwork and pictures of me and documents saying I’m American (although I would love to be Canadian), etc. I’m hoping I’ll have enough time to visit the aquarium again!

All of this “work” (really just emails and paperwork) has got me BEYOND excited for my Paris journey! In honor of this, I’ve teamed up with GPSmyCity to give 20 of you their Paris app for FREE (It’s normally $4.99!)! The app has self guided tours for you to explore Paris, with tourist-y tours along with tours that make you feel like a local! It also has a city map and list of attractions, along with other features. It is available for both iOS and Android, so no worries there! So if you’re interested in winning the GPSmyCity Paris app, all you need to do is comment below and tell something about Paris – what your favorite aspect of Paris is, or what you look forward to exploring in Paris, etc. That’s it!

I can’t wait to see all of your comments and use the app in Paris!

 

The Thrill of The Chase

I’ve always liked contests. The rush you get from putting your name in a hat and waiting ever so impatiently for your name to be called. I remember one day when I was in middle school I cut out all the giveaway forms from my J-14 magazine and glued them to index cards for my mother to mail. I cut out tons of them and filled out each line. I remember getting excited when gimmicky fake car keys came in the mail, and I’d ask my parents if we could see if we won a new car.

I loved entering raffles and holding onto my ticket with great expectations. I remember in elementary school at our fall festival I played the moonwalk game (is that just a southern game?) and won a 2-liter of orange soda. I was pretty darn proud of that orange soda. Last summer my friend Julia found a dollar on the street so we bought a lottery ticket. We lost, but it was still fun to imagine our dollar turning into a million. Or just $2. Last summer I also entered all sorts of Broadway contests that I never won (but my friends did, so it all worked out).

I think I love contests so much not because of the prize, but because of the hope, the thrill. Waiting is not a chore with contests; it’s a gift. The time between entering a contest and when the announce the winners is a great time. The thing is, even if I win, I’m a bit disappointed that it’s all over. There’s no more guessing, there’s no more hoping. It’s like climbing to the top of a mountain – once you’re there, going back down seems pointless (to me anyways, obviously if you love hiking it’s probably still fun). I lose this hope not just in contests, but in other areas in my life. When I finally meet up with someone. When I finally get the job I wanted. When I finally finish that class.

I love the thrill of the chase, but I always yearn for the next opportunity, the next big thing. I’m a doer, a never sit still-er. I will never be happy with waiting around. I will constantly enter contests and play the moonwalk game. Okay, I won’t play the moonwalk game, because I not entirely certain if that’s a thing anymore. I also won’t gamble because my roommates all say that I’d go millions in debt, to which I concur. But maybe I wasn’t meant to be content. Maybe there’s so much more for me out there. There’s more than a 2-liter of orange soda and some free earrings from Instagram (although I appreciate both). So I’ll continue the chase and enjoy the thrill, because maybe some people aren’t meant to stop.

 

All or Nothing


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With me, it’s all or nothing. Oklahoma anyone? But truly, I’m an all or nothing kind of gal. If I do something, I go all in. I’m pretty sure that if I accidentally stole an orange I’d turn into a full on kleptomaniac. Joking aside, my all or nothing attitude has been both a blessing and a curse (okay, curse is a little dramatic).

In my relationships, I either want to hang out with you all the time, or never. If I don’t see or hear from you for a long time, I’ll forget about you. I don’t say this because I’m callous, but because I’m honestly forgetful; at the same time, I want to give more to the relationships that I can give to. Basically I’d rather hang out with someone who can hang with me everyday over someone who can only hang once every two weeks.

This makes it difficult for me to date, because if I feel “meh” about you on the first date I’ll probably just forget you exist. On the other hand, if I really like you I might come across as clingy…or maybe even a tiny bit creepy. I don’t mean it, I just like to show the people I like that I like them…a lot.

With school, this means I’ll either spend one hour or one week on a project; there’s no in between. I either hate a class or love it. Every professor is my favorite or my least favorite. I’ll either read the whole textbook or none of it.

If I decide I want to do something, I’ll do it or go crazy trying to do so. I’ve wasted hours and hours on study abroad programs, scholarships, schools to transfer into, trips to take, jobs to apply for, projects to audition for, and many more things that never happened. I become obsessed with my next big thing, whether it be a birthday trip to NYC (didn’t happen) or studying abroad in London (also didn’t happen).

But my all or nothing attitude has also served me well. I got my first ever movie “role” (as an extra, not anything fancy guys) through really weird circumstances. I found an article in our paper about the movie filming nearby and decided that I, little freshman in high school Celina, was going to be in this movie. Long story short, I emailed the director and convinced my whole family to drive to the mountains and be extras in a random indie film.

My all or nothing attitude also got me my first paid writing gig, out of school for two weeks my senior year of high school to film, and living in Manhattan last summer. And now my all or nothing-ness has landed me a job right after graduation exactly where I wanted – Paris! So even though my all or nothing life is a bit crazy, crazy can be good. Crazy can be PARIS yall!

So follow your crazy! Feel free to comment below with what that is so we can cheer each other on…and make sure we aren’t too crazy 😉

Some [Crazy] Goals for Paris

Although I am a bit scared for my move to France, I am also extremely excited. I want to make the most of my time abroad (which will be at least one year, but could be extended for who knows how long). So I’ve compiled a list of things (some a bit crazy) to do in Paris!

  • Have someone mistake me as a Parisian and ask me for directions
  • Sneak into the secret parts of the catacombs without dying
  • Go to a wine bar and act snooty
  • Somehow get into crazy exclusive parties/events/clubs
  • Get mistaken for a celebrity
  • Meet some famous people who I don’t know are famous but we become best friends
  • Act in a French movie that gets crazy popular
  • Find a cafe to write in that becomes “my cafe”
  • Dream in French
  • Adopt a cat and name him or her “Bisou”
  • Throw a party
  • Travel around Europe
  • Fall in love – with Paris, a guy, baguettes, who knows?
  • Make amazing friends from all over the world
  • Teach my au pair child Taylor Swift songs
  • Buy and wear a beret
  • Become an actual celebrity in France for something weird, like my new cat Bisou can talk.
  • Sit in a fancy hotel lobby and pretend to wait for someone.
  • Have my family visit me
  • Climb the first half of the Eiffel but also take the elevator to the top
  • Convince my au pair family to name their next child “Talullah”
  • Have a cheese picnic. Just cheese.
  • Go viral for something France-related. Like me falling in the Seine on or something else normal.
  • Become an actual Parisian
  • Stay in Paris forever?

Do you have any other suggestions? Au revoir!

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?