Sunday, August 12, 2012

Random Observations

The Guggenheim in NYC, because Americans
need to see French art too. 
Welcome back my excellent friends!

My blog posts have been few and far between now into my second year in Paris.  I'm sorry about this for those of you who've been loyally following along.  Unfortunately, the demands of a Parisian lifestyle mean lots and lots of work and that's what I've been doing this year.  While I've managed to have a little fun, I can't even imagine what fun I could get into if I didn't have to work so much.  For this last half of the year, I've promised myself to keep the resolutions that I made for the first half of the year... and keep them I will.  

Here's a few of my observations from the past month or so:

Immigration
I picked up my  carte de sejour a few weeks back.  There was no pomp or ceremony.  I brought about 106 Euros worth of those government stamps you get at the tobacconist and they gave me the card.  No appointment was needed, no questions, barely no speaking at all.  I worried about this, but it's all over.  Thank the gods.  For the second and all subsequent years, the carte de sejour is an actual card that can be used as picture ID.  Unfortunately I will still have to renew it every year, but now that I've done it once, I think it will not be so stressful doing it again.

My new carte de sejour!  Whooowoo!  I look so serious in the pic!

Language
With a year into my stay, my French is still wanting.  Of course I have enough French to manage a food and beverage order.  Even some of the tricky mid-order questions that would put me into a panic have now become old had.  How do I like my steak?  Very much, thank you!  There seems to be a ceiling however.  I've made French friends, but I can see that they don't want to practice their English every moment they are with me and it grows wearisome for them... despite the fact that I'm awesome to hang around with.  Now that work has lightened up just a bit, I'll be taking more time with it.  So, it's back to the books for me.

Vampires
I haven't mentioned vampires in months.  Partly because there was this huge vampire convention in Prague and the horrible bloodsuckers (along with all the freaky ass vampire hunters) have been there the past few months.  What became obvious to me since my return is that they spend a lot of time in the metro.  It occurred to me only recently that the metro is the perfect way to avoid the sun during the day.  Every now and then one of the stupider ones will get fried on the #1 line when it hits the Bastille station.

Sport
Fencing has done wonders for my level of physical fitness and while we are on hiatus for the summer, I have grown fat again.  Nothing serious but a couple of kilos have crept back.  I've noticed this in other fencers too.  I think that we tend to eat (and drink) like athletes whether we are fencing or not.  It looks like I'll get a few private lessons in before the fall, but the serious training won't begin again 'til September.

Oh yeah, France did poorly at the Olympics in fencing for the first time in a long time.  There is renewed interest in the sport thanks to the Olympics and I'll have dozens of noobs to kill in the new year.  I also plan to renew my pledge to go to Italy and kill Italians at their clubs in Rome (and possibly a few other cities).  I will kill them in the name of France!


Transportation
Renault and the other car companies with showrooms on Champs Elysee will often feature their concept cars.  I honestly don't know why a company spends money to get people salivating over a car that they can never own.  While I already have a cool car that I don't even want to ship to Paris, I'd really would could imagine owning these cool cars... and keeping them at my imaginary castle just outside of Paris.

Renault's electric Dezir at the Renault Atelier on Champs Elysee.
http://www.renault.co.uk/about/innovations/dezir.aspx 

Peugeot's lighting fast (looking) hybrid, which didn't look like it would
move an inch off of it's podium.  It's more of a sculpture than a car.


Travel
I did make an obligatory trip back to Canada to shore up some of my contracts with clients and on the way back I managed a few days in New York.  Having some of the best friends in the world, my stay in NYC was fantastic... but... there is something about Paris that has me addicted.  I'd sooner go for days without the Internet than without Paris.  I had a sense of dread the moment I boarded the plane and I even considered fighting with security to get kicked off the flight before I boarded.  Nothing bad happened, but seriously.  I hate leaving Paris.  I hate it!  

One of those kind of things you just see laying about in NYC.

Culture
While I hope to do a whole blog post about this.  I before leaving for NYC, I attended a flash mob group called the White Dinner.  11,000 of my closest friends joined me at the Place des Vosges for a nice dinner.  Everyone brought tables, chairs, wine, champagne, candles, etc.  All were dressed in white and all the tables, tablecloths and dishes were white too.  I even brought Ruinart Blanc des Blancs (white of whites) champagne to keep with the theme.  Here's a video I made that gives a good idea of the scope of the event.



That's all for this time, my friends.  May the heavens raid odours upon you in the mean time.

Your best friend in the world,
Sir Robyn

P.S.  Don't forget to like... or share... or comment... or all three!

8 comments:

  1. What song did the flash mob perform? I was expecting ... More please?

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  2. Congratulations on your carte de sejour -- no easy feat with all the crazy French bureaucracy ;) As for the language, don't worry about that ceiling, I went through the same thing! You may think your French hasn't improved enough, but once you get over that hump, you'll be amazed at how much you've progressed and your level of comprehension.

    With my French friends, no matter how much they love practicing their English, I think they'll always be more comfortable speaking in French. It was definitely a barrier to becoming closer, because once my French improved to the point where we could have more in depth conversations, our friendships blossomed! Bon courage :)

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  3. Doborah! I'll put up a whole new post for the white dinner.

    Christine! Thank you for your comment. Are you still in Paris? I saw your photo blog. I'm also a fan of NYC, but it is only a strong like... not a love as I am with Paris.

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  4. Hello from Canada! I am making my way to France (and Paris) later this week. I would love to connect with you about the best way to gather people who LOVE fashion for a brief presentation. I am a Stella & Dot Stylist here in Canada and we are launching Stella & Dot in France in September. I would love to grow an international team of Stylists and want to make the most of my opportunity to be in France at this time. Any chance you could give a girl a few hints on where to post a meet up while in Paris....potentially for this Saturday or Sunday morning? Thanks Denise

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  5. Hey Denise, I have met a reader or two, but it looks like I'll miss your visit. I'll be in Honolulu 'til the 21st of September. I couldn't resist a little sun and sand.

    Robyn

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  6. Hi Robyn! Thanks for your response:-) Have fun in Honolulu!

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  7. Hello Robyn!

    I have a question about the health insurance link you provided in an earlier post. Which Insurance did you pick for your long term visa application? the embassy here in Ontario says they" cannot advise me on this matter". Did you select the travel health insurance or the monthly payment health insurance? And how long did you have to keep this insurance?

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