By Stephanie P., Cultural Embrace Au Pair in France

I’m sitting in my dark room, gloomy from the gray clouds outside my window and listening to the humming of the vacuum the cleaning lady is using. Its only 2pm and I’ve already had a crazy day! I woke up around 9am, took a shower and got ready. I walked out the door put on my headphones that sang me the sweet music of Milk n Cookies. A great way to start a day of errands.

My first stop was at the local post office to send out my OFII forms to finish my visa. I haven’t even ever been inside the post office in California I don’t think… Anyway, it was crowded and I didn’t really know what envelope I needed to send it, so I just picked one, turns out the wrong one of course. I asked a woman for help but her English was no better than my French. I showed here that I need something called a RAR and she talked about me having to go on the internet and explained the rest in French. I stood there; I’m sure looking really really confused. So I turned to the page in my packet that said what I needed to do, and just handed it to here. Turns out it wasn’t what she was talking about. So she handed me a slip I needed to fill out. When I was done I turned it in, incorrectly filled I guess, so I had to do it again. A nice man explained to me that all this means is that a slip will come in the mail telling me I have to go back to the post office and get my letter. Why can’t the letter just come to my house? I don’t know but I wasn’t going to question. I said merci and went on my way to find the school where I going to take my French classes.

I have to take A3 toward Boissy, get off and Challet Les Halles and take the 4 toward port de Orleans and get off at… I forgot the stop name, but I got off at the right place. Despite me having everything marked down to a T even little arrows on my map to show me where to turn when I went to walk to the school from my stop, I had a chaotic trip. The A3 was fine, kind of slow and I just hummed to my music. I got off and was completely confused as to where the 4 was. I had been at this stop before and I never remembered a 4. I guess it’s always been there and I was just blind to see it, because there it was in front of me. I got on the escalator to follow the arrows up, but somehow I managed to trip and fall on some girl, who I then pushed down to steps… I was humiliated!!!! People probably thought I was like some crazy drunk at 11 in the morning who couldn’t even stand straight anymore. I just ran the second I got off the stairs, and managed to bump some more people. I went to put my ticket it and the ticket taker thingys to get to the line I needed and I stood there for a minute trying to figure out why it would even feed in my ticket. Turns out it was closes. Ups, as the French say instead of oops. I went to the next one and some scary guy followed me through my open doors using me as a free ride, JERK! Then I found the train and it was PACKED. I couldn’t move and I stepped on some girls toes who gave me the look of death and I smashed into people because I had nothing to hold onto. I eventually arrived to what I thought was my stop and realized I had one more so I turned around and jumped back in only to smash some more people.

I finally arrived and went out the exit, the wrong exit and I was a block further than I had anticipated. I looked at my map and was like psssh easy, and kept walking to soon realize I was walking the wrong way. I turned around and wandered around and around until I finally found the school. I went to take my placement test, and some girl had her chair waaaaaay sticking out so I could pass her to my seat so I said “excuse me”. Then remembering I was in France said “pardon”. She replied to neither so I just jammed myself through a really tight squeeze then she gave me an evil look too. Well honey you’re the one who wouldn’t scoot in! Anyway, after only answer one question in French (oui, j’aim chocolate) I was declared a debutant. A beginner which I already knew haha. I thought I got to pick my time of classes but I guess they assign it for me. I think I’m going to get the 9am class which sucks because it takes almost an hour to get there! But as long as I get a class I don’t care.

So finally now that it was almost 1pm I was making my way back and it started to rain, I didn’t even bring a jacket! Luckily the metro is super close so I got on and was on my way home. That ride was pretty boring, except when I got off at Le Veisinet, I accidently ran into the guy sitting across from me and continued to trip out the door. Oh well.

Oh I forgot to tell you about the scariest man ever! On train A3 on the way to school there was a strange and like weird person on the metro. He sat across from me, then he moved, then he moved again he moved all across the train. He looked like he was going to have a mental break down! His eyes darting all across the train, and he kept picking up his bag then setting it down and picking it up and setting it down. Since there’s nothing better to do on trains but make up stories, I decided he was a bomber and really scared myself until I finally realizes, he’s probably just a crazy bum.

Sheeew, and now I’m home and it’s time for lunch. Soon I have to get the girls from school. Well, Uhhbadee uh uh that’s all folks!

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