Poetry and faux Paris

This weekend I was in Vegas. I had an interview for a position as a flight attendant at the Paris hotel. A faux(fake) version of Paris. Totally equipped with the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and even faux metro entrances. I thought that it would give me a taste of what I missed, and maybe make me miss Paris less. Au contraire. Everything reminded me of Paris, except the magic was missing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get the job. Before you become sad for me, I didn’t really want it after they gave me more information. Being a flight attendant is all about the benefits and the company culture. This particular company didn’t feel right.

Now, there were a few good things that came out of this weekend. I got more interview experience, I found out I don’t love Vegas, and I read a book of Poetry that made all of this bearable.

I read Wild Embers by Nikita Gill. There are so many poems in the book that I could share, but I wanted to share the one that initially made me buy the book.

Fire

Remember what you must do

When the undervalue you,

When they think your softness is your weakness,

when they treat your kindness

like it is their advantage

You awaken

every dragon,

every wolf,

every monster

that sleeps inside you

and you remind them

what hell looks like

when it wears the skin

of a gentle human.

 

 

This poem, and all the others in the book are made to encourage you to be your best and feel your best. Also, teaching you to listen to yourself and to do what you really want. I am not sure I know EXACTLY what I want. But at least now I know when things don’t feel right, and when they aren’t meant to be.

 

Fairytales exist.

They always have.

We just have to rewrite them

Over and Over again

till they fit

 

Keep on Dreaming ( continue de rêver)

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Oh, the places you should go….

So, If you haven’t noticed, I have neglected this blog. But hey, I have been having a good time, so blogging wasn’t really on my mind. My time being an au pair is almost over and I am “kind of” ready to come home. I will miss France, but I also miss home. I miss things like ice, target, and Mexican food. To name a few off the top of my head. And of course my family. Especially the little ones, they change too fast when I’m gone. I have instilled a sense of wanderlust in my oldest nephew, so my work is done. We are going to Iceland. I don’t know when, but I will figure it out. My sister and bother in law will have to deal. 🙂

Leaving France will be hard because even though I have seen a lot, there is still so much I want to see. Being here, everything is just so accessible. I can take a train for 70 euros to ANOTHER COUNTRY for the weekend. Trains are big and comfortable, not like planes. You don’t have to weigh your bags, and the only time I had to go through customs was when I went to the UK because of stupid brexit.

I had a conversation with a French person about Americans traveling in Europe. She said she met some Americans on vacation. They were here for 17 days and were going to each place for 1-2 days. They told her that they were “doing Europe” and she found that so bizarre. I had to explain how flights are expensive, etc. When Europeans “do America” most of them skip the middle. If someone tells me they have been to the US the places are usually California, New York, or Miami. Also, French people have basically all of August off, so they can spend 3-4 weeks in another country if they can afford it.

I have been so lucky to get to do this. I have gotten to go to so many places. I haven’t written anything for months. Since Barcelona I have been to so many great places. Brussels, Lyon, Avignon, London, Amsterdam, Giverny, Etretat, La Salle de Alps to name the main ones. Some were just day trips from Paris, and most were weekend trips where I only stayed one night. Now I know where I want to visit again, and where I don’t. I really loved all of the places I have been, but I have some favorites so far. And, that is what I am going to tell you.

These are the place I think you should go, and why. First off, Normandy if one of my favorite regions in France. I have been there on two day trips and one overnight with travel companies that are run out of Paris. YEP and We Discover Paris, they are good for day trips. If you are coming to Paris, go to Normandy if you have time. I would take three days if possible. A day trip to see Monet’s gardens at Giverny would be amazing if you have time. It’s surreal to go there, and so beautiful.

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Second, Aix-en- Provence, France. This can Include Lyon and Avignon which are nearby. Seriously, if I get married… It would be in a lavender field in Provence. Looking over one of these amazing villages. I had never seen such a breathtaking site until I went to Provence. The lavender doesn’t bloom until early July, so I missed out on that, but I will go back. A road trip through Provence in early July is added to my bucket list.

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Third, London. I loved London. I definitely want to go back. London was very cool. Everyone I met was so nice. I think it also felt more like home because I went to the Plaquemine Lock restaurant and was treated like an old friend. They are so nice there. If you go to London, stop by. I saw the musical An American in Paris. I know, It’s a little cliché. But, I didn’t want to see Aladdin or The Book of Mormon. There are only so many choices when your on a budget and have a specific date. I am so glad I got to see it. It was absolutely amazing!

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Brussels and Amsterdam are two places I am glad I went but I do not feel a need to return. Brussels was beautiful, but if I go back to Belgium I would like to see Antwerp and Bruges. Amsterdam was cool, but it was so crowded. Most cities that are “touristy” towns have lots of places that you can go to get away from the crowds. Amsterdam is very small so it is a little harder to do that. I did love riding a bike around Amsterdam for two days, though. But, I have never been so tired after a trip. And don’t get me wrong, Amsterdam is beautiful! I spoke to a guy who said that Rotterdam is a lot better. I would love to go back to the Netherlands and explore other areas. So if you go to Amsterdam, make sure and go to Rotterdam, too. I missed out. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And finally, Skiing in the French Alps. This was so beautiful. If you love skiing and want a challenge, go skiing in France. The slopes are much steeper and thinner. You cannot ski on your own, ever. The trails are not marked like in the US. Everyone needs a guide and goes in groups with an instructor, no matter the level. I saw experienced skiers fall down mountains. There were multiple people walking around with slings on. I skied 3/6 days because of bruises on my body from falling. They are intense. Although, the ski passes are cheaper. If I ever ski again it will be in America where trails are wider and there are always fires inside the lodge. Who am I kidding, I’ll probably never ski again. I’m traumatized.

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FIN.

Please like and share… if you like it! Of course 🙂 Love, Jo

 

 

Au Revoir Barcelona… Oh wait, it’s Adios.

Last weekend I took a quick trip to Barcelona. I arrived at 12pm Friday night from Paris and left Sunday night at 8:00. It was not enough time to see everything. But, it was enough time to see that I want to return.

I took Spanish in high school. That was a waste of four years of my life. The basis of my vocabulary when I was in Spain was Si, Hola, Adios, Gracias, and De Nada. Barcelona, like Paris, is a big city with many tourists. So, getting by with only English was easy. The problem with me was the “French mode”that I was in. I would use Oui, Bonjour, Au Revoir, Merci, and de rien more often that the Spanish words I know. It’s like when I came back to the States I instinctively said “Pardon”(in a French accent) when passing a lady in the airport. I added the “me” because I realized I was in America now. I had now become an 80 year old southern woman. So, the whole trip was me saying, “Oui, oh Si, ugh I’m sorry.” speaking 3 languages like an idiot.

P2251283.JPGNow, enough about my horrible language skills. Let’s talk about the highlight of the trip. Sagrada Familia. Now, if you have never heard about Sagrada Familia, this is a link to their website here Sagrada Familia. Basilica de la Sagrada Familia is Antoni Gaudis masterpiece that has been under construction since the late 1800s. I have seen a lot of Cathedrals and Basilicas in Europe. However, this one is so detailed that it is going to be hard to beat in my mind. Everything was thought out and has a meaning behind it.

There is a Nativity side and a Passion side of the Basilica. On the Nativity Side there are three doors. Jesus in the middle, Joseph to the left, and Mary on the right

The Passion Side has columns that that are meant to look like muscles. The carvings are deliberately made to be more square or rough on this side because of what it represents.

 

The inside of the basilica was modeled after a forest. Gaudi made the columns on the inside look like huge trees. The side of the church where the sun rises has huge stained glass windows in cool tones. And the side where the sun sets is in warm tones. The light reflecting inside the Church is really what you notice. Colors dancing on all of the walls.

 

 

I took the lift up to the tower on the Passion Side of the Basilica. I researched when I bought my ticket and that at side is supposed to have a better view of Barcelona. The view was amazing! I also think the line was longer for the tower on the Nativity side. So, if you are going, maybe choose the Passion side. Overall Sagrada Familia was my favorite part of the trip because it just blew my mind. I just kept thinking about how Gaudi got thousands of people to commit for hundreds of years to his vision. He just designed something so ambitious and people are still trying to achieve his goal. Amazing.

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My favorite picture from Sagrada Familia

Saturday I needed to eat something. I had researched food in Barcelona before I left and discovered La Boqueria. It was was highly recommended by many websites and blogs. Mainly because of it’s fresh fruits and juices. Also the variety of vendors and food choices. This was a close call for my favorite thing in Barcelona. The atmosphere and the people were great. The juice was only 1 euro (at the small booth I found) Some were 1.50 euro. So, walk around a bit if you want to save money or find the best deal. There are so many vendors. Also, If you see something that looks good I suggest you get it at that moment. I saw a few things and thought, I’ll come back if I don’t find anything better to eat. After walking and not finding anything else, I couldn’t find those places even though I tried. I had to settle for some fried seafood that I didn’t really eat. But then I found some ice cream that was like heaven. So, overall it was a success.

The best thing about traveling by yourself and staying in a hostel is that you meet new people. Saturday night I got dressed and sat down in the common room. I was going to rest and then find a place for dinner. I ended up talking to some people and met a guy who was from Lafayette, LA. It really is a small world. I then had an invite to dinner and met three new people in the span of 10 minutes. That night we played drinking games with Sangria, and tons of people who were staying at the hostel joined.

Sunday I had a ticket to Park Güell for 10am. Waking up for a shower and everything before was tough because of the Sangria, but I made it there. If you don’t like to walk I suggest you take the bus from the Metro to Park Güell or take a taxi. The walk to Park Güell is about 15 minutes and it is not the easiest. It makes the views great but the walking includes going uphill. Although, the one thing I noticed in Barcelona is how Sagrada Familia and Park Güell would be easy for a handicapped or older person. Sagrada familia has ramps and an elevator for the towers. Park Güell has access to the front gate by taxi, and most of the going up you can do by ramp. That is very rare for Europe.

 

Park Güell was beautiful and the stone formations were very cool. The architecture of the buildings is interesting to look at and there is a great view. I don’t know if I would recommend going to Park Güell if you only have 2 days like I did. It is very time consuming and kind of out of the way. Very worth it if you have the time, though. I loved it. I also saw Casa Milà and Casa Batlló from the outside. I did not see the inside of Casa Batlló, but I wish I would have. The exterior was absolutely amazing. It was so interesting and cool.

Last but definitely not least, I went to Barceloneta Beach. The beach was very beautiful. There is a nice boardwalk that you can walk along to get there from the metro. There are restaurants and a big marina with huge sailboats. If you do not want to walk along the boardwalk, there is a bus that will take you strait to the beach. The bus stop is right by the metro, easily named Barcelonta. The walk is nice, but if you are crunched on time, the bus is a good option. After about a 20 minute walk you will make it to the beach. The beach in Barcelona was absolutely beautiful. I did not have the greatest experience because I decided to go touch the Mediterranean ocean. Well, the next thing I know, my jeans, shoes, and socks are soaked. So, I guess I have been in the Mediterranean ocean. It’s about the memories, right?

 

Overall Barcelona was an amazing trip. I discovered a new love of Gaudi and I made some new friends. I also answered the question Spain vs. France, which is better? I have no idea at this point. But Barcelona is a must visit if you are in Spain. It has the best of everything. Beautiful beaches, good food, nice people, great history, and amazing architecture. Definitely not as pretty as Paris, though. Every building is pretty here. I was asked about liking Paris because some people say it is dirty, which I have not noticed at all. I am told people love or hate Paris. My answer to this is that all big cities are dirty somewhere. Its like New Orleans. Don’t judge it based solely on Bourbon Street. FYI: Watch out for dog poop in Barcelona too. Except, it doesn’t make sense to me at all there because they actually have grass. So, It must be a European thing.

That’s all for now.

Besos,

Jolie

 

 

 

Tomber sept fois, se reveler huit

P2041177.JPGFall seven times, stand up eight is one of my favorite quotes. It became literal last week when I was in the French Alps skiing. When I say that I fell, I mean that I fell down a mountain. I fell while trying to go up the mountain, also. If you ever go skiing in France I would say if you are not an expert skier to start in a beginner class. Even if they tell you not to. The levels are Green, Blue, Red. I told the lady who placed me in a class that I hadn’t skied in 10 years. She put me in a level that was way too advanced.

On the first day I was on a “dark blue” which means that it is a harder blue, closer to a red. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA Turkish lady in my group injured her knee the first day and was out for the week. I saw countless people with injuries throughout the week. The skiing is just on another level there. I was looking forward to skiing like in Colorado. Where you can go off on your own and have some peaceful alone time. In France, that is only for skiers who know the trails well. They are not marked like in the US. My host dad joked and said that I couldn’t do that because I might end up in Italy. -I think it was a joke.

Overall, I am a pretty good skier.  I can do a dark blue and survive. But, once I bruised my whole body the first day, my level of skiing went from high to low. And now I  can’t even do Pilates on a mat and it has been 2 weeks since that first day. The biggest lesson I have learned from this I that skiing is not like a bike. As much as all of the French people want to repeat that to you. If you haven’t been in years, start as a beginner.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe best part of the stay was just walking around the town. I walked up and down the mountain. I like walking and taking pictures, and this was the only way I could do it. With the group ski lessons, you can never stop to take pictures. The whole week we were skiing constantly in a group. Every single day you are in a group skiing. Mainly I think because it is hard to get around the mountains without a guide. I think it is more fun when you can go with your family and have a little more freedom.

I do want to go skiing again. Preferably somewhere with my own family. 🙂 And now I have all of the clothes to do it. FYI if you need to buy ski clothes and you are going to ski in Europe, buy everything here. It is so much cheaper than the US. Skiing is cheaper too, but once you add in the flight it becomes about the same P2041226.JPGprice or more expensive.

La Salle de Alps was one of the most beautiful places I have been in my life. The pictures I have included do not do it justice. If you are an avid skier and want a new experience, I would highly recommend it! Another place on my bucket list checked off. Now, What’s next?

 

 

France vs America : Who’s friendlier?

I wouldn’t say friendlier. I wouldn’t even use the word nicer. Polite may not be the word, either. I think respectful is the adjective.

I have been here for a while and encountered many French people. Many Europeans, might I add. Spent time around the “rude” Parisians. I find that all of them are nice and accepting. Accepting being the most important thing. They are more accepting of who you are, what you do, everything. Just not quite as judgmental. I am NOT going on some political rant here so keep reading.

In America “how are you doing?” is normally a context of “What have you been up to?”. Most of the questions you get are “What are you doing with your life?” questions. If you haven’t graduated from college, gotten married, or had a baby, you haven’t accomplished anything in life. It is also all expected at an early age. I had some rough years and may be getting things done later than everyone else, but that doesn’t make it any less of an achievement. Even before I moved here, 99% of people I talked to didn’t believe that it was going to happen. Even some of my family and friends. Remember you do not know what’s going on in anyone’s life, so don’t be so quick to judge when they aren’t doing things “the right way.”

Now onto the French. Why are they more respectful? They respect boundaries. I love the boundaries of French people. I have not been grilled about my future or past since I have been here. Unless I was speaking to an American. Also, I think as long as you are working and doing something with your life, it is good with them. If you have a plan for your future or even have several options that is ok. It is refreshing to not have people judge you on these things. If they are, it is hidden and you wouldn’t have to worry about it yourself.

Now, this isn’t how everyone in America acts. Some people are truly looking to learn about who you are. And some ask these questions and don’t judge. I want to point out that this doesn’t just apply to careers, marriages, and school. When some people get married they are asked when are they going to have a baby constantly. Please think to yourself: Do you know what’s going on with them? Does this couple want to have a baby? Are they having fertility issues? Maybe they just don’t want a baby because they are so in love that they want to hang out and watch Netflix without a baby. You don’t know their life. Boundaries people. 🙂

Having dinner with French people is better, also. When you are finished with the meal they ask if you want cheese, and then ask if you would like yogurt. I know this doesn’t seem like a big deal, but when I say no they ask again to make sure. In America, desert every night is frowned upon. If someone turned it down no one would offer it again.  When I don’t finish my plate they say “did you like it?” and “Are you still hungry?” as opposed to nothing.  I think this is more of my host family worrying about me, but this has been nice. Maybe if we didn’t deprive ourselves so much we would be healthier. I have lost weight since I have been here. Eat some dessert everyone.

The conclusion is that unless you know what is going on in someone’s life, do not judge or ask questions that you shouldn’t. A sincere “How are you?” and a “How’s your family?” is the best conversation that I have with people from Louisiana. Who I think definitely are the friendliest people. We just might not have boundaries. 🙂

I also want to say I couldn’t be happier for those in my life who are married and have kids. If I end up being a mom, I could only aspire to be as good as my sister. To raise a child who is the sweetest boy I know and one who can convince a nanny that he doesn’t have school at 3 years old. They are the best kids ever.

 

 

 

Yes, I am a blog slacker.

I am not good at keeping up with this blog. Mainly because I have been busy these last two weeks. Also because I have been sick and it sucks. Being sick when you live in a foreign country is horrible. Thank God one of my host dads is a doctor, because all of the medicines here are totally different. The best thing I did when packing was bring my “favorite” medicines from the US. It’s getting better everyday, until I go to Paris and walk 3-7 miles and climb 15-19 flights of stairs. 🙂 That’s my average according to my iPhone.

Anyways…

I visited the Catacombs about two weeks ago. It is very interesting because you are right in the middle of Paris and then you just walk down some stairs, and bam here are the bones of 6 million people?  It wasn’t really on my list of things to see, but some girls were going to see it, and I didn’t have anything to do. I would say if you are coming to Paris for 2-3 days put it low on your list. But if you have time it’s cool to see. If you go be prepared to walk a lot and go up and down a lot of stairs.

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I also visited La Marais to go shopping and ended up walking to Notre Dame. This was a really nice day. I went to some vintage shops and looked at ton of clothes. The resale shops in Paris are good quality and packed with clothes. The problem for me is that some of them do not have places to try things on. When I was done looking and I didn’t want to carry anything for the rest of the day I saw that Notre Dame was close by. Meaning that I could see it so I figured I would walk there. The walk is BEAUTIFUL… here are some pictures.

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This past weekend I went to Nuit Blanche, which is a really cool event in Paris where places stay open late and they have special art installations and parties. I unfortunately was still feeling crappy so I didn’t stay out all night. I did, however, go to the Musée du Luxembourg when it would normally be closed. I was there from about 10:30-12:30 pm looking at the Fantin-Latour exhibit. The flowers that he painted are so realistic. The painting of the lilies is my favorite. Also, if you want to know what the guy looks like, he painted himself almost every year. Maybe a narcissist? IDK. I took the VERY LAST train back and FaceTimed Al at 2 am.

I also started school last week. My professors name is Anne. I told my host dad C that I had professor ANN and he did not understand me because I did not pronounce it AHN.:) In class everything is in French. Even when she gives us new vocabulary it is in French. Sometimes I can understand when the describes a French word with other French words, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. Thankfully, all of the other girls are at the same level. The activities that we do in class are good. When I know I did 90% right and the 10% I’m not sure of, she will ask me to answer the 10% out loud. I think it is my face. I probably look so nervous when she gets to the 10%. Damn you ANN.

That’s about it for now.

Bonne Journée

Just call me Gigi!

I have been slacking on the blog lately. I really do need to do this more often so I can keep track of my time in France. The past two weeks have mostly been settling in and getting to know family and the kids  that I will be caring for. The kids(J&C) are finally getting used to me. They cannot say Jolie, so they call me Gigi.

I haven’t done many touristy things yet because I was busy, but this week I am going to try to do a lot. I want to go back to the Eiffel tower and take some time for pictures.

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I have found that I have already learned a lot about French culture in my two weeks living in France. I think I will be very comfortable here. I will feel much better once I start school, though. I need to study more French so I can speak a little better!

Some things I have learned so far:

French stereotypes: some are true, and some are not.

1.French people are dirty: not true for the most part. However, you do come across some B.O. on the metro. I know some Americans cannot get over the fact that women here do not shave their armpits. I was next to a woman on the metro who was holding onto the pole right next to me, and I could clearly see her armpit hair. She was clean and nicely dressed. I find its mostly men that stink. The family that I live with shower their kids twice a day. So, it depends on the person, not the nationality.

2.The French don’t eat a lot: The reason why Parisian women are skinny is because they walk everywhere. There is a book about how French women eat and it says they eat small portions of good food. Well, I thought maybe that was true because I live with two men(I’ll call them F&C) as my host family and they eat a lot. However, we went to lunch today and F’s mother ate an appetizer, entrée, and dessert. It was not small servings. She is a skinny Parisian woman. Every time I have gone to Paris I walk 5-6 miles. My family here is always telling me I do not eat enough. After dinner they eat cheese and then after cheese they eat cake. It’s a nice change from Americans who find not eating and being on a diet a good thing. Clean eating is the key.

3. French people are rude: This just depends on the person I guess. Most people I have come across have been very nice. I have gone to cafes and they spoke English with me. One waiter asked me if I would rather French or English, because he could tell I knew some of both. However, I smile way too much for Parisians. I am learning not to smile at random people on the street. It’s weird to do it here and you get unwelcome advances from French men. This is city for women with resting bitch face. Come here and you will fit in.

I have noticed a lot of other things while I have been here. French people like to eat very clean and the government invests a lot of money studying what goes into your food. Everything they eat is organic, just look for anything marked BIO in the French market. This is organic products. We eat fresh bread. The meat that the family gets is from the open market. The people who they buy it from say to eat it within 4 days, because there are no preservatives. I have had two different types of French Boudin. It is similar to Boudin from Louisiana, but they have different stuffing. One had apples in it and  was one of my favorite meals so far. As much as they like healthy food, they also love Pringles. Before lunch today, we had Champagne. The snacks with Champagne was mixed nuts and Pringles.

We should adopt the tradition of having Champagne before lunch on Sunday. It was very enjoyable for me. 🙂 I am learning a lot about wine. I tried a Porto, which is a Portuguese wine that is 19% concentrated. I had another wine from a region in Burgundy this week. There are so many regions in Burgundy, though. I forgot the name of this wine. Fun French wine fact: It is illegal in France to add sugar to the wine. The wine is only sweet because of the grape.

I also know why French people do not like dogs. There is dog crap everywhere. When you walk everywhere and you have to be aware and lookout to make sure you do not step in it, I get it. I was walking behind a Parisian woman and her dog on Thursday observing this. She let her dog pee on a trashcan, then the dog peed on someone’s car. I get it now. I understand that there is no grass, and its not like you can bring your dog to Luxembourg Gardens to go to the bathroom. I love dogs and I couldn’t imagine people not liking them, but it all makes sense now.

Tomorrow, I am meeting some au pairs for coffee. It will be a lot of us there and I think a few are going to my school. We are meeting at a café called Café Kitsune. It is in Le Palais Royal, which is near The Louvre. There are some Shops on Rue de Rivoli near the Louvre that I want to visit. I need a backpack for school. My school is in a very upscale neighborhood, so I could not get a backpack near there. To give you an idea, I walk past Lonchamp and Hermes on the way to school, and Chanel is down the street. It’s a nice walk for me.

I was asked if it is as beautiful in person. Yes, it is. I haven’t even seen a lot of Paris yet. My favorite place so far is Basilique du Sacré-Cœur de Montmartre. The view of the whole city from Sacré-Cœur is breathtaking. The musicians on the corners in Montmartre are quintessentially Parisian. The streets are small and a little confusing. This is the first place I had to ask where the metro was. I love it there.

I will try and write more often so I do not have to write a novel next time.

à plus tard

Jolie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Packing for Paris

The anxiety of packing was keeping me up tonight so I decided I would write. Packing for a year abroad is a monumental task. I laugh when I think about all the stuff I need to bring and all of the stuff I have to leave behind. Nervous laughter? It’s really overwhelming, but I know what I need and don’t need. The problem with packing for a year is that I sit here and I say to myself “What if I forget something?” over and over. I leave in 5 days. I still think it is crazy and I’m not sure if I will believe it until I am on the plane. I’m ready to go, yet I’m not ready at all.

I have compiled list of things to bring if you plan to live in a foreign country for a long period of time. I have read many lists. I find that some of them are lacking in some categories. Here is what I have learned from research. Here is my list and tips.

Packing list for living abroad (My Au Pair Packing List)

I have categorized this for convenience.

Electronics:

  • Cell Phone
  • Camera
  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • (don’t forget chargers)

Converters: There are some converters on Amazon that are 3/7.99. They are specific to country. If you are living permanently  in a new place they are perfect.

Bathroom items:

  • Clear bag and containers that will let you pack liquids to last for 1-2 weeks
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Shave cream
  • body wash
  • face wash
  • moisturizer
  • Razor (I just bought a bag of disposable b/c I think I will have to buy a new one)
  • feminine products
  • Toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • floss
  • makeup
  • perfume
  • hairbrush
  • straightener
  • curling iron
  • Do not weigh down suitcase with hairdryer (Unfortunately, Hair dryers do not work as well with converters)

If you have favorite bathroom items that you cannot live without get extras.

Medicine: Prescription and those you use regularly.

Clothing Items:(May vary from person to person, but here are basics)

Basics:

  • Bras
  • underwear
  • socks
  • camisoles
  • pajamas
  • robe
  • tights

Tops:

  • T-shirts
  • Sweaters
  • blouses
  • Cardigans

Dresses/skirts: Based on preferences, not a necessity

Outerwear:

  • leather jacket
  • light jacket
  • sweatshirt
  • heavy coat
  • raincoat

Pants:

  • Jeans
  • Black pants
  • leggings

Shoes:

  • Sandals
  • Flats
  • Booties
  • Tall boots
  • Sneakers
  • slippers

Accessories:

  • Scarves
  • gloves
  • hats
  • jewelry
  • purses

Presents for host family

Carry on items for international flight

  • Prescription Medication
  • Essential Medication
  • Reading material
  • Activities to keep busy
  • Pillow
  • Blanket
  • Notebook or Journal an Pen
  • Camera & Charger
  • Laptop & Charger
  • Tablet & Charger
  • Phone & charger
  • Headphones
  • Wallet
  • Passport/Visa
  • Plane ticket
  • Papers for finishing visa process (if au pair in France OFII form)
  • Makeup
  • Face wipes
  • Baby powder or Dry shampoo
  • Deodorant
  • Visine
  • Hair accessories
  • Hairbrush
  • Clear bag with liquids inside
  • Scarf
  • Ear plugs
  • Face mask
  • Sunglasses
  • Travel Toothbrush set
  • Snacks
  • Gum
  • Umbrella
  • Change of Clothes(In case your bags get lost or delayed)

A lot of the lists I see tell you how many of each thing to take. I plan on taking two suitcases and a carry on. I will be taking as much as I can fit in the suitcases. 🙂

Quick tips: get the Ziploc space bags. Also, there are many rolling and packing tips on Pinterest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving the great state of Louisiana…

In 11 days I will be leaving for Paris, France. It is official, I have my visa and a one way plane ticket. I have been seeing a ton of posts about comments on the floods that say, “Why would you stay there?”My response to these people is that it’s all about the people around us. They don’t get it. Please don’t get angry at the people who live in places that just haven’t experienced southern hospitality. They don’t understand that neighbor helps neighbor. Our friends are family, and we try to treat everyone with kindness.

I am going to miss Louisiana, and it is even harder to leave now.When things like this happen in Louisiana, it makes me love my state even more. I see people doing things for others and not wanting for themselves. I see friends helping clean out houses and tearing down walls. I have friends who have flown down from other states to help other friends of mine. All I see is love, kindness, and respect. I am amazed at the people of Louisiana.

The one thing I have also noticed is that friends whose houses have flooded never stopped caring about those around them. Their lives have been turned upside down, and they still are making sure those around them are helped.We put others first, and that is why I love this state and the people so much. I had one friend message me on Facebook (while his house flooded) to say he couldn’t make it to my house that day for a going away party. He did have the wrong day, but he messaged me and told me that even though there was 4 feet of water in his home. Another friend of mine had about a foot of water in her house. As soon as I found out I asked if I could help. Her first response to me was, “No, no. You have to pack.” The fact that these people around me care so much makes me wish I had more ways to help. C’mon Powerball…ugh I have to buy tickets for that to work.

In closing, all I want to say is I have some amazing friends and family. You all make me sad to leave Louisiana. Yet, you are the ones who push and encourage me to go. This State is strong and resilient. I am glad to call Louisiana home.

 

Love is all you need.
Photo Credit: Dustin Clouatre

 

Love is all you need,

Jolie

And so it begins…

I finally made it to the French Consulate in Houston to apply for my visa today. I should get the visa in 5-15 days according to the French man behind the glass. He said, “Your name is Jolie Hebert?” obviously it was to clarify for visa purposes. However, the facial expression that was added was not necessary.

I am one step closer to officially being an Au pair in Paris. It is a long process and there is a lot of paperwork included to get to the final visa appointment. But, once I got to Houston the meeting took about 15 minutes. Comical, to say the least.

The worst part was the waiting. Waiting for the French government to approve my papers and send my au pair contract. Luckily my family hired an agency to help me with the paperwork. I am going to do a blog post later that explains the process better. FOR EXAMPLE: There is a form called an OFII. Basically, you just have to bring a copy to the Consulate and get it stamped. That’s it. It is to be filled out in France. This information was nowhere to be found on the consulate website or on any blog I have read.

There is so much lost in translation. Thankfully, I am done with this part. The next step is packing. You never truly realize how much stuff you have until you have to pack it into two suitcases and one carry on. Needless to say, many clothing donations have been made.

I encourage everyone who reads this to please leave any packing tips in the comments! I will need them! More updates soon!