Posts Tagged ‘plans’

Back to Business With Galette

Saturday, January 7th, 2012

Happy 2012 to one and all! My year started with insane Dutch people setting off fireworks in their back/front yards, carparks, petrol stations etc., plus lots of olliebollen, appelbeignets and general consistent eating.

Olliebollen

Mmm... olliebollen.

It is strange to think that I have come back to Paris with the idea of now being able to eat ‘normally’ and hence hopefully return to my original pant size. I have hit one slight set back – La Fête des Rois. Also known as the Epiphany when the three Kings or wise men visited Jesus and gave him birthday presents, the French have taken hold of this great day and turned it into something even greater. Everyone eats galettes – a round puff pastry delight filled with almond paste goodness. OH, IT IS GOOD.

Galette

Galette

Inside the galette, the bakers place a small item (yesterday I was witness to the discovery of a jigsaw puzzle piece, a green cow, and a miniature ScoobyDoo) and when the galette is divided, the person who finds the item in their piece of galette is crowned the King. They then get to wear a crown for the rest of the evening, lucky buggers.

While we had plans yesterday evening to have a galette party with the other residents at the Récollets, as Ben is a budding baker, we went in search of a GOOD galette (as opposed to one from a supermarket) for morning tea. We decided to go to Julhès, a family empire of deliciousness where you can buy bakery goods, wine, cheese, tapenade, foie gras, chocolate, and every other delicious thing you can think of. Ben, Tom and I divided the galette into 12 pieces and then invented a complicated mathematical formula for deciding who received which piece of galette. Ben was the winner with his second piece of galette and wore, with pride, the golden crown.

Galette

Keeping things fair

The second rule of galette is whoever is crowned King is also, therefore, rich and must purchase another galette for his lowly citizens/friends/family. So Ben bought a second (smaller) galette from my favourite boulangerie to have with lunch. As this was a galette for one or two persons, there was no item hidden inside so no one had to buy another galette. HOWEVER, we did then meet my fellow residents in the evening for dinner and galette eating. Almost everyone brought a galette so there were plenty to go around. This time we followed even more traditional methods and the youngest person was sent to sit under the table to call out names of people and select which piece of galette they would eat.

The youngest person at the table was three months younger than me, and as he was quite insistent that I take the honour of sitting on the floor, I spent the next 15 minutes or so calling out names from under the table. What fun! I failed at choosing a winning piece of galette for myself on both the first AND second round of galette distribution. Once everyone had had two pieces, there were still a few kings missing but everyone was a little bit sick of puff pastry and almond so the rest of the galettes were attacked with knives to find the final items. It was a lot of fun and galette is definitely high on my Deliciousness list. The search for the hidden item is highly entertaining and the fact that you’re eating delicious galette instead of looking for a penny inside stodgy plum pudding is definitely an additional benefit.

Things are returning to normal now after the Christmas and New Year’s break. I have just dropped my brother off at the train station and sent him back to England to continue his baking. My plans for today mostly involve cleaning as I still have christmas presents, decorations and general “I’ll deal with this later” items scattered around my apartment. We returned from our two week trip in Germany and Holland with a lot of excess baggage in the form of presents and food. Lots of food. Tom got excited by the price and availability of Jagermeister in Germany, while I went a bit nuts buying chocolate sprinkles and biscuits in Holland. Luckily there’s no such thing as customs when crossing European borders. Ben is currently travelling back to England with a two kilogram bag of flour in his suitcase. That flour has been through Holland, Belgium, France and now England.

I am trying to work out how I can bring everything that is delicious from France to Australia. I have 20 days left in Paris until I get on a plane and fly away home. While everyone around me is telling me how great Australia is and how much fun I am going to have, the whole process of having to get on a plane for 24 hours, have jet lag, fly to and from Sydney, and spend the entire time crossing my fingers that I am allowed a visa isn’t really making me jump for joy. Yes, yes, beaches, sunshine and family. But also a lot to think about and hope that the French government doesn’t think of a stupid reason not to let me come back to France. What will I do then? Plus what cheese am I going to eat in Perth?!

Well this post is getting very long and I have cleaning to do. Spread the word that Zaum is back in action for 2012 with more stories, more adventures and plenty of photographs of food.

Stroop wafel

Like this fresh stroop wafel I ate in Gouda

Ten Months

Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

It’s amazing what you can do in ten months. Thursday marked the ten month ‘event’ of Tom and my arrival in Paris and it has come as quite a shock. Ten months is a long time and yet it feels like we just arrived. We shouldn’t be thinking about the fact that we only have two months left until our Year in Paris is over. We should still have so much time left with so many things to see and do. But alas, this is not the case.

LUCKILY we have decided to extend for an extra year, so while I would now be bawling my eyes out and chaining myself to the nearest pole and refusing to leave, I am somewhat less sad. I am still a bit worried about my impending return to Australia and visa application, but I am crossing all of my fingers and toes that it goes smoothly. It can’t not, right? What am I going to do if the French Embassy refuses to grant me a visa? Probably bawl my eyes out, fly back to Paris and chain myself to a pole.

Our friend, Phillipa, is here on the same visa as me and hers expires the day after mine. She is currently going through the horrific procedure of applying for a sponsorship from her work. She works at an O’Sullivans Irish pub and they have kindly agreed to go through the whole rigmarole of filling out forms, writing letters, and photocopying pieces of paper in order to help her stay next year. I am also crossing all fingers and toes that it works for her because she has no other visa alternatives in order to be able to stay in Paris. If Pip can’t come back then who am I going to go shopping with?! We have made a pact that we will meet on 1 April next year at a pub in Montmartre and drink to our good fortune of being back in Paris.

SO! I have 55 days left in Paris. What am I going to do in that time? Let’s write a list!

  • Continue to eat lots of food.
  • Go to Koblenz for Christmas.
  • Go to Holland for New Years.
  • Exhibit some sock creations in an exhibition at Café A (the coolest, hippest place in Paris)
  • See snow in Paris (I REFUSE to leave until it has snowed here because otherwise it is likely to do so while I am away and that is NOT fair.)
  • Go to lots of great exhibitions which are coming up in the next few weeks (when my brother, Ben, comes to visit over Christmas/New Years we’re going to see a Stefan Sagmeister exhibition AND a show about monsters puppets!)
  • Decorate my apartment for Christmas (I bought a mini Christmas tree this week.)
  • Start editing my book.
Ok, that’s probably enough. The first dot point is going to take up most of my time anyway so who knows if I’ll be able to achieve anything else. Anyway, those are my thoughts on this wet and windy Paris day. Actually, I am going to finish this entry and start another one about the weather. It deserves to be discussed separately.

Five Months Down

Friday, July 1st, 2011

I’m feeling rather ‘bleerrr’ today as today marks the five-month point of my stay in France. This means I only have seven months left which, considering how fast the past five months have gone, are going to disappear before my eyes. This makes me very sad. I thought I’d do a bit of a recap on the past five months – what I have done, what I have seen, where I have been etc. Ready? Go!

  1. I have been to Versailles (twice), Bretagne (Morlaix, a few small towns along the coast and Mont Saint Michel), Lyon, Nancy, Madrid, Holland (various towns), Koblenz, and Crete
  2. I have eaten at least 15 nutella crêpes
  3. I have found some really great restaurants and shops in my neighbourhood
  4. I have started organising events for Les Recollets residents (that started this week but it still comes within the 5-month mark!)
  5. I have been a tour guide for my parents, Tom’s parents, and various friends
  6. I have seen Morcheeba, Architecture in Helsinki, and some other random bands live
  7. I have been up the Eiffel Tower twice
  8. I have experienced -3 and 37 degree temperatures in Paris
  9. I have been swimming in the Libyan sea
  10. I have applied for a few jobs and have finally almost been successful
  11. I have started four sock creatures and completed one
  12. I have competed in a 10km fun run
  13. I saw Rich Hall in a tiny room with about 30 other audience members
  14. I have been (unsuccessfully) to the hairdresser once
  15. I have established a nice home to live in
  16. I have seen some amazing works in some spectacular galleries
  17. I have attended French classes although skipped most of them
  18. I have been sick more times in the past five months that I normally do in a two year period
  19. I have eaten lots of delicious food
  20. I have sat by the Canal Saint Martin on numerous occasions and had a beer/picnic
  21. I have maintained my weight from when I left Perth
  22. I have run 5-7km almost every day
  23. I have updated my blog and flickr site relatively frequently but have failed to write anything of any significance
  24. I went mudwalking and survived
  25. I ride Velib bikes around Paris, dodging traffic like a true Parisian, on a daily occasion

Twenty-five things isn’t bad. There’s potentially more but I am starting to make things seem more significant than they really are so I should stop. To be honest, I am currently feeling like I haven’t done enough in the time I have been here. I think I set myself some high expectations when I left Perth and I’m not fulfilling it as I would like to. Things I wanted to have done and haven’t are:

  1. Improved my French
  2. Made friends
  3. Travelled more (although maybe not as I do enjoy the daily life of being in Paris)
  4. Met more people
  5. Started to write something which has the potential to be published/used/good
  6. Started more creative projects
  7. Taken art classes.

I seem to feel this way a lot of the time that I am here and maybe I am not doing enough to change it. I know it isn’t entirely my fault as it is hard and while five months sounds like a decent period of time, in the scheme of making things happen it is really very short. But I am a bit disappointed in myself. I mustn’t waste another seven months.

I have made some moves to change things a bit. In this last week I have initiated two new activities that will hopefully help me feel a bit better about being here and what I am doing. On Tuesday morning I had an interview with a guy from NewEurope tours who run a series of tours in cities throughout Europe. It was a significantly more successful interview than my last (mostly because it was in English) and I am now in the process of learning the history of Paris in under a week. Well… elements of the history of Paris. I have been given a base script and an outline of where the tour goes. It is a three-hour walking tour through Paris and it is run on a tips-basis ie. the company doesn’t pay me and I will be relying on people giving me tips. I have been on one of the tours to see how they are run and this afternoon I will go on my second. There’s lots to learn and my biggest concern it being asked a question that stems outside my range of knowledge. But this is giving me a good excuse to sit down and learn some French history. Next week I will do an audition and then hopefully I can start. I am looking forward to it.

The second change also happened on Tuesday. I have started to organise events with the residents of Les Récollets and the first one was last Tuesday. I had organised it for 6pm and as the thunderstorms after a stinking hot day rolled in at 5.45pm I had to run around changing the venue, worrying about whether or not people would come etc. At 6.30pm it was still only Tom, myself and Diogo, a guy who is also keen on organising things within the centre. But slowly people started to arrive and by 8.30pm there were about 15 of us sitting around a very small table drinking wine, eating nibblies and talking about what we all do. It was great! Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves and some of us didn’t leave until after midnight. At one point, the two italians of the group went off to their apartments and whipped up pasta with a spicy tomato sauce for everyone. It was really wonderful to meet new people and to get the ball rolling for some more gatherings. I am going to send out an email for a wine and cheese night next Tuesday night. Should be good.

I think as long as I continue to bring new things in to my days then I will be content when I have to leave at the end of January. I think I might need to look into become a student again, only this time in Paris. The idea of doing a creative arts course in Paris is very appealing I just doubt they would let me in with my lack of experience and the high demand for those sorts of placements. Perhaps museum curation… We shall see.

Time to Recap

Monday, April 25th, 2011

Once again I have to write a catch up report on what we have been up to. It has been a very busy week and a half involving visits to two cities, lots of train trips, visitors, funerals, family, food, fun and frantic searches for short sleeved tops. Paris is experiencing some sort of heat wave. By that, I mean it has been above 23 degrees most days and for some reason that feels more like 30 degrees. I have made a few exasperated visits into clothing stores in search of short sleeves and summer skirts but it has been quite disappointing. Plus, lots of the shops aren’t airconditioned and so I enter and leave in a “I’m hot and grumpy” mood. Those of you who know me well will know that I’m not the most approachable person when I am hot and bothered. Anyway, I have managed to find a few tops in Monoprix (a supermarket that also sells cheap basic clothes) so I felt somewhat cooler yesterday. Today my parents are arriving and bringing me shorts! IMAGINE THAT! Shorts… so cooling.

So! Travel adventures. After returning home from Lyon, we unpacked and repacked our bag and the next morning headed off to Koblenz on two separate trains. This was due to pricing and getting the best possible bargains. The train ride to Koblenz is particularly beautiful – first you catch a train to Saarbrucken which is just over the French/German border and then you change trains and follow the Moselle river all the way to Koblenz. The views are spectacular and what you could describe as “typical German countryside”. Green rolling hills, cute little villages with wooden houses and the picturesque tranquility of the winding river. No matter how hard I tried to read my book, I couldn’t helping looking out the window every second line.

Rhein

The Rhein in Koblenz

It was great seeing Tom’s Dad (he had flown over from Perth early in order to attend his father’s funeral) and Oma. Pity it was for such a sad occasion but it was nice to have family around. Tom’s Opa’s funeral was a nice simple service at a beautiful local church on an island floating in the middle of the Rhein. Tom’s Opa is now surrounded by asparagus mounds and other vegetable gardens that produce some of the best known vegetables in Koblenz. The service was entirely in German, for obvious reasons, which made it somewhat difficult to understand. However, as a lover of languages I found it particularly interesting to listen to hymns being sung in German and I could pick up the odd phrase such as, “In the name of the father, the son…” Now I have been to a German funeral and a Dutch church service. I appear to be converting in foreign countries.

Church

A lovely church

My friend Marina is in town with her parents and it has been great catching up with her. It is nice to have a friend around who I have known for a long time. Conversations are easy and we already know so much about each other. Mazz is in a wheelchair and so we have been discovering the pros and cons of Parisian disabled access (or lack of.) The footpaths aren’t bad but most restaurants put their toilets at the bottom of steep staircases and there are generally steps everywhere. She has been able to get into museums for free AND skip queues, which, in my opinion, is some sort of wonderful. I told her she can’t leave because she needs to be my “Get into Museums for Free” pass. I’m such a nice friend.

In other news, I apparently had my hair cut this weekend. By that I mean I went to a hairdresser, sat in the chair and there were scissors around. However, usually post-hair-chop my head feels as light as a feather and I worry that it is too short. This time I left feeling like my hair hadn’t changed at all. Basically the girl decided that I shouldn’t cut my hair too much and therefore just made a few adjustments. I managed to talk her into thinning it a little bit at the top as my hair gets very thick as it grows, but really I’m not sure what I spent 40 Euros on. At least she chopped my fringe, although she just cut it in a straight line and decided I should have a front fringe, rather than one to the side. Maybe this is a sign that I should grow my hair. I’ve never had long hair – maybe Paris is the place to give it a go.

Hair cut

Waiting for nothing.

As previously mentioned, my parentals are arriving today. They are on a ten week trip through Europe and will be in Paris for the next week. I am very excited. I am a very family-oriented person so I can’t wait to have them around and show them my new life. However, the restaurant I had booked for this evening has just cancelled on me so I have to find somewhere else for us to eat. So I shall be off.

Two Week Warning

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Today marks the arrival of Two-Weeks-Until-Paris which is both ridiculously exciting and freakishly scary. Two weeks is 14 days. Tomorrow it will be one week and six days. That’s less than two weeks. I’m not sure I can quite understand or accept that fact. Things that I still need to do:

  1. Decide what to take to France (I’m doing the less is more approach so this shouldn’t be too hard.)
  2. Pack my bag.
  3. Buy last minute toiletries.
  4. Go to a wedding.
  5. Say “So long, suckers!” to my friends and family.
  6. Eat my favourite food cooked by my mum.
  7. Don’t miss the plane.
  8. Get excited.

That seems achievable.

Typical.

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

A few weeks ago, I wrote an entry complaining about the excess snow in Paris, concerned Tom and I wouldn’t be able to arrive in our new home. Now, with just 18 days until departure, I am writing to ask the weather gods to please provide weather that is at least cool enough for me to wear my jacket that I finally received from Canada and have never been able to wear. At the moment, the forecast for the next week in Paris says it is going to warm up to 13 degrees! That’s HOT! It’s supposed to be -1 so that I can wear layers and put on the woollen beanie my Grandma is knitting for me. I’ll have to have words with someone about this. It just will not do.

Paris forecast

Always a good sign when the forecast is for "Grey" weather

Hippy Nu Yah

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Howdee doodley, ladies and gents. The New Year is finally upon us and in less than 12 hours we will be in the future! At least, that’s what people seem to think happens. We stand around all night being eaten by mosquitos and talking to people we don’t know/like, all in the aim of seeing the future. When the clock hits twelve all sorts of amazing things are expected to happen and it is a moment of change, reflection and acceptance. It is when people declare they are going to introduce something new into their lives or do something differently, only to forget their declaration when they wake up with a hangover the next morning. While I’m not a New Years party animal, I do like celebrating milestones and the end of the year counts as one of these so I quite enjoy the reflection of the past year and consideration of the next. So, what are my new year resolutions? Let us see…

  1. Live in Paris.
  2. Eat baguettes, cheese, chocolate, tasty European tomatoes, pastries and crepes.
  3. Not get too fat while doing Resolution 2.
  4. Write, create and explore cool and interesting crafty, arty things.
  5. Become world famous at something (preferably for good reasons).
  6. Have lots of fun, see lots, do lots, explore lots.

Well… that all sounds do-able and as I don’t plan on waking up with a hangover, I may actually achieve most of them. 2010 has been an interesting and eventful year for me – quitting a 9-to-5 job and starting a new business certainly puts a new spin on things. This year I:

  1. Created a business name and logo for myself.
  2. Printed business cards.
  3. Learnt how to use resin.
  4. Learnt how to sew and continued on to create a range of fabulous sock creatures.
  5. Sold 4 sock creatures.
  6. Completed some writing work for various businesses.
  7. Worked 2 days a week at the UWA Business School.
  8. Maintained a blog that is read by many, loved by some.
  9. Reached number 12 on the Urbanspoon Perth blog leaderboard.
  10. Finally decided to move to France.
  11. Bought tickets to Paris, applied and successfully received a French travel/work visa.
  12. Went to Sydney twice.
  13. Went to Melbourne once.
  14. Had long lunches with my Dad.
  15. Ate lots of good food.
  16. Didn’t crumble in a heap and die from incompetence.

This final point is probably my most pleasing achievement – I survived a year of potential insanity and have come out the end with a desire to be even more crazy and do it all again, this time in a foreign country. I have no idea what I am going to do, I have no idea how I am going to spend my days, I have no idea what next year or the future in general holds. While half of me wants to hide in the corner until someone gives me a nice little ordered job, the other half cannot wait to see what happens. Bring it on.

Happy New Year.

Jess

Happy New Year from all of us at Zaum

Life Moves Forward

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

I’m having a bit of a ponder about life in all its glory and complexity and its insistence in moving forward. In a few weeks’ time my best friend will be married and over Christmas I discovered another of my friends is engaged. There has been talk of weddings and babies and buying houses and other adult themes that I feel too young to be a part of, despite the other people involved in the conversations (and weddings and babies) being around my age. Despite being asked for ID at Hans Cafe in Mandurah on the weekend, I am getting older and am supposed to be wiser. My twenty-fifth year saw me set up a relatively functional business – perhaps my twenty-sixth will be a year of wisdom, responsibility and sensibleness. Gosh I hope not…

Time is a magical yet evil thing that brings me much perplexity as I cannot control it. Since the age of fourteen, I have been saving to move to France, and eleven years later I am finally doing it. Those eleven years, and in particular the last two, took FOREVER to pass but all of a sudden time has sped up into “SUPER SCARY ROLLERCOASTER” speed, just to freak me out. Today there are thirty-three days until we set sail for gay-Paris and start a new life of eating, seeing and doing, which, when you think about it, is not a lot at all. And the fact that I don’t really have much to do in order to prepare for departure just makes things worse because all I have to do is put my toothbrush and underwear in a bag, grab my money and passport and I’m off. Too easy.

Anyway, New Years Eve is fast approaching which always makes me reflect on what I was doing this time last year and what I’ll be doing this time next year and I can most definitely say that I am much happier to be where I am now than where I was last year and I suspect I will be even happier next year than I am this year. That’s progress for you. No babies or weddings for me though. Just baguettes, cheese, chocolate, wine and a bit of on-a-whim train travel.

Future Home

Friday, December 10th, 2010

This is where I’m going to be in 53 days.

Paris with snow

It looks a bit chilly.

I hope it warms up a bit.

Bitter Cold

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Uh oh… I had heard rumours of cold weather in Europe and this morning I finally got around to checking out the forecast for Paris. It’s a bit chilly…
Thursday – Light snow, -2 to 0 degrees
Friday – Sunny intervals, -5 to 0 degrees
Saturday – Light snow, 1 to 2 degrees (warming up!!)
Sunday – White cloud (what is that supposed to mean, BBC?), 2 to 3 degrees
Monday – Sleet (uugghhhh!), -1 to 2 degrees.

So, I’m kind of glad I’m not there yet. Of course, it is just the beginning of winter. I arrive mid-winter. Excellent.

60 days to go…