Posts Tagged ‘home’

One Month Down

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

Believe it or not, I have been back in Perth for an entire month and I am yet to turn into a fried lobster. You could even say I have a ‘slight tan’, which mostly means I am not obscenely white – just very white.

It has been a busy month and I think life is about to become even busier. I now have two jobs. Yes, two. Why get one, when you can have two? Both positions are casual roles for the Subiaco local council – the first is working in the community engagement team while the other involves me organising cultural events in the library. I then come home and write amazing things for my clients, so I have been spending a lot of time lately staring at computer screens.

Meanwhile, my left foot is becoming more in tune with the movement of a clutch and I am slowly improving at this whole ‘manual car’ thing. I will admit to one rather large hissy-fit that was the result of a three-point turn, a hill start and a (luckily) very patient person waiting for me to work out the pedals. The fact that it was 38 degrees at the time didn’t help.

Last Saturday I volunteered for the Perth International Arts Festival again, this time at the new (well, new to me seeing as it had only just opened when I left Perth four years ago) State Theatre. I encouraged children and their parents to colour in flying machines and then have them projected onto a large digital installation. It was fantastic fun – watching children gain so much joy from seeing their artworks turned into magical moving images on a large screen was very pleasing.

PIAF

My art work zooming around on the screen.

Now I must dash and go to bed. I have taken to waking up at 5.50am to go for a run and/or head to the beach for a swim before getting ready for work. Ridiculous, yes. Enjoyable, also yes. A day without pre-breakfast exercise isn’t a day that you want to meet me. They say exercise gives you endorphins – I think it just sweats out my grumpiness.

The End is Nigh (Again)

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

Dear Scientists,

You’re a smart bunch of people. You have done some really neat things that have been particularly useful such as inventing computers, harnessing the power of electricity and finding cures for stuff. Do you think you could please invent a way of slowing down time? I would be most grateful.

Cheers for that.

Love Jess

So it would appear that time has done its thing and passed with rapid speed once again. The expiry of my UK visa is looming, becoming more and more real every time I wake up in the morning. Last Thursday it all became terrifyingly real when I bought my plane ticket home. The culmination of paying an excessively large sum of money for something that I didn’t necessarily want and the fact that I now officially have an end date AND time, made everything sink in.

Mum, Dad, don’t get me wrong – part of me is very excited to be coming home. I haven’t hugged my mum in 2.5 years, which for someone who thrives on Mum-hugs is a really, really long time. Plus I have heard rumours of this thing called a ‘sun’ that delivers ‘warmth’ – that all sounds rather good. Plus I can ride my bike, be babysat by my parents, see my friends and meet some of the new additions that have been produced while I have been away. All of these things are great. But I still don’t want to go.

I have had this feeling towards the end of all of my visas and it is the fear of change, the unknown, the “what the hell am I doing with my life?” that rears its ugly head as the days count down. At least this time I haven’t made myself sick, unlike when I returned to Perth to apply for Paris Visa #2 and spent the month before my departure with a stomach ache. Maybe I am getting used to it and learning that no matter what happens or how hard I try and slow down time, life soldiers on. There’ll be another great adventure and I just have to wait and see what it entails. Still sucks though.

Australia puddle

This puddle that looks a bit like Australia has been outside my office window for over a week. This is the most exciting part of my day.

This morning, like many mornings, the question of “Why didn’t I just settle in a normal job with normal working hours in a normal office cubicle doing something like marketing?”. Then maybe I would be like many of my friends who seem to have found their place in the world and who have real careers, babies, families, husbands, houses, mortgages and sanity. Or I would have gone nuts, smashed down the office cubicle in a fit of rage and run off to deserted island. Hmmm…

So perhaps I should just stop fighting the fact that I need change, I crave adventure and I don’t like sitting still. I always want more, more, more and the purchase of this plane ticket is just that – it is the start of Jess’s Great Adventure #4 and the search for something more. I just wish I didn’t have to pack up all of my possessions every year or two. Fun fun fun.

I Come From the Land Down Under

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Greetings to one and all from the most isolated city on the earth. Or is it? Some people say there’s somewhere in Hawaii that beats us but I am willing to bet there is more to do in Hawaii than there is in Perth. Well, at least you won’t have to sell you left arm in order to do it.

Perth. I do love this city and every time I come home I realise how nice it is. But then I try and do something or buy something or eat something and I realise that something is fundamentally wrong. I have complained about the prices of food in Perth previously but I am going to do it again. IT IS RIDICULOUS. I can’t afford to live here. Ever. So it looks like France will have to accept me and let me stay in Paris forever. Good plan.

My time in Perth so far has involved various ‘catching up’s with friends and family, helping my Dad build a shed at the Wanneroo Museum, and digging holes in the backyard in order to find a leaking pipe. Even the unsuccessful hole digging has brought an element of happiness to my life. The shed installation involved me, a pair of electric shears and some corrugated iron which is the recipe for GOOD TIMES.

Shed at the Wanneroo Museum

Nice shed.

I do enjoy coming back to Perth and seeing what power tool my Dad give me to try out. We’re going to be making a printing press for me to take back to France as well, so who knows what electric saws/drills/sanders I’ll get to use. I should have been a boy.

I am also remembering how glorious the Australian landscape is with its wide open spaces and clean, clean air. I haven’t smelt the horrible stench of urine for over a week! BLISS!

Perth sky

Look at that blue.

On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings of last week, I dragged myself out of bed at 7am when the temperature was hovering around 10 degrees, put on my bathers, and went to the beach. Am I insane? Most probably. Did I feel good jumping into the ridiculously cold waters of the Indian Ocean the day after there was a shark sighting? Not particularly. Will I do it again this week? It is likely. The thing is, after you have gone through the pain of getting so cold that it hurts to walk and you finally go home and step into the warm shower, get dressed and have a cup of tea and some breakfast, and then life is good and you want to do it all again! It is a drug – a very healthy, sinus cleansing drug, and as long as my toes don’t fall off then I think I will continue to do it for as long as I can.

We’re In!

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Great news, everyone! This evening I officially signed a contract to say that we have extended our stay at Les Récollets for another year. This is going to be the view from my window every morning until the beginning of 2013.

View from my window

Ain't it beautiful?

Now all I need is a visa… Santé! Pop the champagne, folks – time to celebrate! Big thanks to my friends who helped me throughout the extension process. You’ve made me a very happy girl.

The Future

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Recently I had developed a dream-like world which I was quite certain would exist for me next year. I was going to extend my stay at Les Récollets and simply hop-skip-and-jump between France and non-schengen zone countries to avoid returning to Australia and applying for a new visa. Unfortunately, in the last few days, reality has hit.

It appears the “Schengen Zone” doesn’t want visitors, or people like myself who think they can avoid paper work by country-hopping. They have set a stupid rule that says you can only stay within the Schengen zone (an area of about 15 European countries who have formed a pact to keep the foreigners out) for a total of 90 days within a six month period. This would mean I would have to go to England or Switzerland for three whole months, which a. I can’t afford and b. I don’t want to do. Here lies Problem Number One.

Problem Number Two for my achieving my dreams for next year is that I am not allowed to extend my stay at Les Récollets. Dang. It turns out that a lot of people want to come and stay here (fair enough) and they have already been turned away and put on a waiting list. Basically, if I am allowed to stay here then I would be jumping the queue and really I shouldn’t even be staying here in the first place.

So there we are. My first reaction to all of this news was to break down and declare that my world was over. I then went for a jog, drank some wine, and slept on it and I have since realised there is potential in these new developments.

Potential Number One: It looks like I will have to go back to Australia (I’ll get to use my return ticket after all!) and apply for a new Visa. I am currently trying to find SOMEONE who can tell me if I can apply for a long stay visa in France. No one seems to know or be willing to divulge such information. I wouldn’t mind going back to Australia for February as that would mean I would get to see a REAL SUMMER instead of the rubbish summer Paris put on for me and I could go to a REAL BEACH. Plus I would have to then fly to Sydney to apply for my visa, allowing me to visit my best friend AND I’d be around for another friend’s wedding. So it ain’t all bad. Oh, and I could eat some of my mum’s cooking. Go chicken and asparagus!

Potential Number Two: We would get to live somewhere new. We haven’t entirely decided if we’ll stay in Paris and just try and find an apartment (a scary adventure in itself) or if we will change countries. I am still voting for staying in Paris as I’m not finished with this city and I haven’t written my award winning book yet, but this turn of events has made for a much more interesting spin in my epic tale! Other options include Germany or Holland. I have to say I love the Germans as they are already winning in the “Come and live here!” competition. I can apply for a travel work visa for Germany in France! I could even go to Germany and apply there! That’s amazing. But then I couldn’t go swimming at the beach. And I’d have to learn German. And I’d get fat from eating sausages and drinking beer.

Anyway, that’s how it is at the moment. Lots to think about. I am sad that I am going to be leaving the residency as I have made so many friends through it, however it won’t be far away and I know I’ll be allowed to come to all of the parties. I hope to find an apartment somewhere nearby as I really love living in this area. So much to see and do. But there’s a lot more of Paris to explore. Let the new adventures begin.

Here’s the Latest

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Exciting and fun times have been happening over here. Our French teacher from Perth, Louise, (a wonderful young lady from Versailles) is in France at the moment and has been our tour guide and food provider for the past few days. She was kind enough to invite us to her family home in Versailles for lunch last Thursday. It is so nice to go into family situations in other countries. It gives you a much different perspective on the way of living and how people function.

Louise’s family lives in an apartment on the fourth or fifth floor. The apartment layout is beyond confusing – all rooms seem to be connected with multiple entries and exits, random bedrooms attached to sitting rooms and the corridor to the kitchen is also the dining area. The walls are covered in trinkets and souvenirs from places they have been. It is cosy, warm and inviting and Louise’s family welcomed us with open arms. Wine flowed, we ate delicious saucisson, and Louise’s mum prepared an amazing French lunch of chicken with a mushroom sauce. And we had CHEESE. One of my favourite things about going to French people’s houses for meals is being offered cheese. We were given five different cheeses to try (we sampled them all), three of which they had purchased in the Alps the previous week. It was fantastic and our breath stank as a result.

Friday night we were invited back to Louise’s for a party with Louise’s friends. Everyone was so friendly and spoke English with ease and were excited about meeting Louise’s Australian friends. I’m not a party person and generally hate being social when I don’t know anyone, but I felt really at ease and had a great time. Sadly we had to catch trains back to Paris and left just in time to catch the final train from Versailles to Paris and then the last connection back to our place. I was somewhat relieved to be leaving the smoke-filled rooms of Louise’s house. Every one at the party smoked. We were engulfed in toxic smoke fumes which we are strangely starting to get used to. It amazes me how many people smoke in Paris. My “You know that thing will kill you” threats don’t even seem to work. I couldn’t wait to wash my hair after that party.

Train to Paris

Heading home on the train

Then it was Saturday. We met Louise, her husband Marcelo, and another girl from Perth, Anuska, at the Musee D’Orsay and we wandered around the gallery with hundreds of other people being cultured. The Musee D’Orsay is a brilliant gallery with some amazing works. One of my favourite sections was a collection of photographs revolving around the theme of sleep. The introductory text said that there was a movement of taking photographs of people pretending to be asleep as it was like seeing them at their most innocent. There was also a collection of Van Gogh’s paintings and some amazing paintings by Manet.

After our cultural boost, we headed our for dinner to a lovely little restaurant in Montmartre. I have walked past this place a few times when looking for somewhere to eat but never went there. It is always so hard to know where to go unless you have recommendations. Like most menus in France, the mains consisted of meat dishes. Hard to be vegetarian in France. I had a steak with roquefort sauce. So so good. Everyone’s food was delicious. To start we had an oeuf cocotte which is an egg cracked into a ramekin and cooked slightly. This version then had foie gras on top and you dip pieces of bread into the sloppy egg/foie gras mixture. SO SO SO GOOD. Yes, foie gras is bad. But it is also delicious. Very delicious.

Oeuf cocotte

Oeuf cocotte. Mmmmmmmiam!

Anyway, the past few days have been really great. Today Tom and I went for a walk to a local park called Parc de Buttes Chaumont which has rolling hills a big cliff/hill/thing in the middle with a look out that has views over Montmartre and towards Sacre Coeur. Everyone is out and about on Sundays, going for walks with the family. It’s nice to be part of the ‘normal’ lifestyle instead of just a tourist.

Buttes Chaumont

Parc Buttes Chaumont with the lake and look out

Oh and we have shelves! We had bought them 2 weeks ago from a shop in the city called Conforama but we had to wait for them to be delivered to the store. We collected them on Friday lunchtime and had to carry a 35kg box along streets, down flights of metro stairs and home. My body is so sore. I have bruises on my hip from where I rested the box. I may have given Tom a few evil glares as he didn’t want to pay to have the thing delivered to our door. That said, once we got it home it was fine. We then opened the box to discover it was divided into 20 different parts that had to be stuck together. So we left it in the box until the next day when it was raining and too yucky to go outside and we put it together. Our shelves are so great. We can put things on them. This excites me more than seeing the Eiffel Tower. Seriously.

Shelves

Look at how the shelves hold things! Brilliant.

On saying that, the train ride from Paris to Versailles goes through some outer suburbs of Paris that have an amazing view back towards the Eiffel Tower. The thing sticks out above the city like a sore thumb and at night time is lit up. It looks so cool.

Look for more photos on my flickr site soon (ie. once the internet builds up a bit of speed.)