Friday, February 29, 2008

A poisson out of water

I've done it. My very last week of working full-time for my current employer.

As from Monday, I am officially a 3 days-a-week part-timer / slacker / lazy girl. But not really. Because what I'm doing from next week is something I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember: to be my very own boss (at least for 2 days a week).

Last year I spent long hours studying for a translation diploma at the University of London in Paris. I did this diploma thinking it would be good to have translation as a back up to teaching and it has been something I always enjoyed at school and at university. As I was doing the work for the diploma I realised that I was enjoying it much more than I had expected; the craft of putting together sentences and transferring one language into another not just with words but with tone and style became something not just useful but enjoyable too.

So, my fledgling company is just poking its beak out of the nest for the moment. There are days and weeks of URSSAF (French independent workers' authority) documentation to file, bank accounts to open, accountants to see, and of course clients to canvas. All this will have to fit into my newly freed-up Thursday and Fridays, the rest of the week is still dedicated to tutoring.

It's a risk, but it's a risk I have to take now, while I don't have a family to support or a mortgage to pay!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


I'm a true pc girl. In truth because I've never had the opportunity of trying a mac of any other kind than that which comes big and with fries; I have never ventured out into the crispy world of apple.

But, all that changed last week when I ordered a shiny 8G iPod nano. I have since discovered how iTunes works (it's very easy) and have ordered and sorted my music into albums with proper track titles, rather than trying to decipher whatever has been assigned to the file by whoever or wherever I picked it up.

So now I am the proud owner of a very sexy little iPod, which never leaves my person. I'm having a little difficulty knowing where to put it though. My first mp3 player had an attachment which you could put around your neck, but the iPod doesn't have that. At the moment it's being zipped away inside my bag with the tell-tale wire hanging out and leading up to my ears. Not sure how much of a good idea that is.

One thing that I hate about it is the excuse for earphones that they put with the iPod. White, plastic ridiculous objects that fall from your ears the moment you put them in. I was ready to throw them out after only 10 minutes of using them. I have another (non-fall out) pair, so no harm done.

So now I'm discovering tracks on albums I never knew I had. It's fantastic to rediscover your music collection. The memories some of the songs bring back are Proustian in their power and I have found myself dreaming away on the metro several times .

Now I'm starting to save up for an Air Macbook, for the moment I have about enough for the paper envelope it comes in...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A day in the life of Paris Lights

I've just read a great blog-book (more and more of these around nowadays) called Queen of Sky - Diary of a Dysfunctional Flight Attendant, and I found it amazing that someone can actually make money from writing a blog. I know she's not the first, and she won't be the last, but it really shows how a news story (she was fired for posting photos of herself in company uniform) can boost readership and make celebrities out of regular Joannes.

I don't plan to be a celebrity, or get fired for that matter, but reading that book did make me want to make my own blog more interesting. I don't have a huge readership and obviously I hide rather a lot of things to protect myself from instances such as the above. Anyway, one of the Queen of Sky's good ideas was to post a 'day in the life' style entry, to explain to her readers how she passes her time. I know that a flight attendant's life is probably much more interesting than an English tutor's, but you never know, so here goes.

7am - telephone alarm clock goes off to a (now annoying) gentle ring tone

7.04am - force self out of bed and stare at gradually forming eye-bags in mirror

7.10am - shower to wake up - decide whether or not to wash hair (curly day / straight day decision time)

7.20am - do make-up trying to look sophisticated but businesslike (usually manage neither)

7.30am - eat bowl of Country Store / Country Crisp - or any sugary cereal masquerading as healthy muesli - and drink glass of red fruits fruit juice while checking Facebook.

7.59am - panic and run around flat packing phone, metro card, purse, keys, work badge and USB keys into handbag

8.02am - realise am wearing brown boots and have taken black bag. Unpack black handbag and repack into brown one

8.09am - steel self for metro horror hell. Fight with grown men for non-flip-down seats to avoid standing later

8.20am - find self inexplicably jammed into someone's armpit. Notch up fever of 39.5°C and begin dizzy spell.

8.40am - burst out of hellish metro onto street and make way to office (variable locations).

9am to 6.30pm - nose to grindstone

7pm - see 8.09am

8pm - partake in musical activity of the day (choir, band). Yawn and moan during other singer's rehearsal sections.

11pm - arrive home, cook measly bowl of spaghetti and eat with parmesan cheese while checking Facebook.

1am - spend twenty minutes panicking and worrying about what I didn't do during the day.

4am - wake up in a cold sweat and write down list of 5 things to do for next day, knock over glass of water onto new parquet floor.

So you can see that my life is full of interesting and enjoyable activities. Definitely time for a breath of fresh air now...!