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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The Law of Attraction

There is a Poem on my vision board, and it has become true as I have believed it more and more as I have changed over the years. If you have ever watched or read The Secret, you know what this is. Basically, it is a board of things you dream about. Things that you want to happen in your life, and where you want to be in the future. The secret uses the universe as its guide. Saying “visualize yourself where you want to be.” Put it into the universe, and it will be yours. Now, I know many people that are religious, so the secret may be looked at as negative. However, The Secret teaches you to be grateful for what you have and visualize what you want, instead of dwelling on the negative in your life. So, in praying you could pray for health, instead of thinking of yourself being unhealthy. Or think of yourself as wealthy and thank God for what you have, and not dwell on the bills or debt. In the religious sense you can substitute the universe as who your God is.

This poem will always be on my vision board, and I will have this all my life as a reminder.

Now, I want to explain why I think this works. When I returned from Paris, I removed many things from my vision board. I removed pictures of the Eiffel Tower. I saw things that said, “live abroad”, and print outs that said “live in Europe.” I have a list of  places I want to visit all over the world. The board is half empty now. I have to fill it up again. I have new dreams, and they are going to happen. Before I go to sleep, I will visualize what I want. Now I wont say that you just sit around visualizing and things happen. It took time and research and work to get a job in Paris. Truly, no one thought it was going to happen. Even people close to me.

Tonight I have been filling the board up again. It’s crazy how what I want has changed so much in 3 years. I recommend doing something similar if you can. Even if you just change the way you think. Think about what you want, and not what is wrong in your life. Visualize yourself there. If you are religious don’t just ask God for things, be grateful also. Being grateful is really what it’s all about.

Everyone has baggage

In my last blog entry I was talking about dating. I’m trying to be more open to people. I am like a super sarcastic seemingly nice person, with a huge brick wall around me. Actually, let’s change that to marble, it’s harder to crack. If someone breaks through, it will be a miracle.

I was thinking about how much shit I have been through. How much I would have to trust someone to tell them all of that. If I thought about my past as baggage, I would have to pay a shitton of extra fees. I was so weighed down it’s not even funny. Now, my life is so light and breezy I only need a carry on. There is maybe a handful of people that know ALL about me – People that know everything. I have some amazing family and friends. To find someone on their level, who I respect and love as much as these amazing people, seems daunting.

I don’t think about it very much, though. I have dreams that don’t involve this. I think about traveling and being a flight attendant more than anything. I think that is part of the problem. I don’t want anyone to get in the way of that. I am definitely not the girl who puts dreams on hold for someone. Trust me, I will resist liking someone as much as possible.

The best part of being more open to people in general is that I have made amazing new friends. More people that are teaching me to be open with my life. People that are funny and honest. I tell them my shit and they tell me theirs. Because let’s face it, we all have baggage.

Good or bad.

 

 

Saisis le Jour!

I have been MIA from the blog because of a few reasons. I was in Louisiana for the holidays. Lately it has been because I have nothing to write about. I have nothing to write about because I have been depressed. I haven’t been doing anything with my life. I haven’t been seizing the day. Carpe Diem should be my motto when I am living in France, but technically that is Latin. Saisis le Jour! I think I have gotten out of my funk, whatever it was. Thanks to a visit from my cousin I started to get out of it. He gave me a pep talk that he didn’t even know I needed at the time.

This has made me think about perception. Every time you look at someone’s social media, all you see are the happy photos. Travel pictures or photos with family. Everything is great in their life. Congratulations you are engaged, pregnant, or married. In my case I am living in Paris and traveling around Europe. But, There are never things that you can relate to if you are going through something horrible.

I am feeling better now after a couple of weeks. However, I used to be severely depressed. That is how I gained over 150lbs without realizing what I was doing to myself. When I felt that way I would see everyone else’s lives from the outside. I would think- They have it so good. Their life is perfect. Well I’m here to tell you it’s not.

This girl who is living and traveling in Europe loves her job and sometimes hates it. I want to go home some days and sometimes I think I want to stay another year. That couple that you think has the perfect relationship probably fight a ton in private. Those people who just announced they are having a baby may have had trouble conceiving. Trust me, everyone has something.

I just want to say that you can handle it. Whatever it is that is going on now, or the next thing that comes your way. I don’t know how I got to where I am today. Family, friends, and Therapy. Seriously, It was a long road. The people around me are amazing.

Talking with people you love is the best thing to do. And the best advice I have ever gotten is so simple. Depression is in the Past and Anxiety is in the Future. You cannot change the past, or control the future. So, basically we just need to Saisis le Jour!

Lots of Love(beaucoup d’amour),

Jolie

Why Judging Rory Gilmore Sucks

So, I just wrote an article about how French people are more accepting than Americans. It ended up being a piece about how when you get to a certain place in your life everyone expects you to be “someplace.” Lets talk about expectations for a second.

Have you watched the new Gilmore Girls? If not, stop here because this is going to be full of spoilers. I came across a Buzzfeed article by Sheridan Watson, who is a young woman about the same age as Rory, and a writer. But Sheridan appears to have her shit together. She’s a writer for Buzzfeed, and has some pictures with Tyra Banks from I don’t know what exactly. All appearances point to “that’s cool” when she tells someone what she’s up to.

The title of the article is Rory Gilmore Sucks. Yes, I know Rory has her issues. She’s a complete mess. The thing with Paul is stupid. But seriously? They are never together and if he didn’t get the clue after two years of barely seeing each other, he has problems.

And…What did you expect with her and Logan? Maybe for them to be engaged and living in an upscale Manhattan penthouse?  No. He has always been a creep. And she has been in love with him. You can see her heart breaking. It’s sad. When she says “We had a deal, no strings” It’s like, C’mon Rory, you are such a liar.

Saying Rory Gilmore is a horrible person for cheating on Paul with Logan sucks. These things are the expectations we put on normal people. People make mistakes. I will say that Rory Gilmore is a character in a show. Exaggerated for our viewing pleasure. The drama and comedy of the situation with the Wookie was put in for fun. But She is supposed to be at a crossroads in her life. Give the girl a break.

Now, I wouldn’t have been so mad about this article if Sheridan would have stopped at the affairs and drunken one night stands. But then she goes on to say that Rory sucks at her job. Can we not judge everyone for not doing as well as we are? One of the quotes from the article is “You Know why your big meeting with Conde Nast keeps getting pushed? Because they’re a huge conglomerate and not every editor can meet with someone who had a couple of good freelance articles?” Well, if I had a meeting with someone and they kept pushing it, I would be very frustrated and upset. Especially if it concerned my career.

If you watched it, you know that Rory is at a point where she is not sure what she wants to do. She is a writer, but ends up finally figuring out she wants to write a book about her and Lorelai. After that, they get in a fight about what can go in the book. In the Buzzfeed article, Rory is called a bitch because she gets in a fight with her mom. So, every daughter in the world in now a bitch. That is real life, so I really don’t know how that is justified to be in there.

She is also called out for being a “complainer.” There is one time when she talks to Jess about her situation. That is when he helps her figure out her next step. Writing a book. I am in the process of figuring out my next step.The thing that helps me the most now is talking to people. You can call it complaining, but I call it venting. This Buzzfeed article was one accomplished writer seeing another fictional writer as a failure.

This article was me venting. The expectations that women put on other women is ridiculous. Even fictional characters get slammed if they aren’t accomplished or doing life “the right way.” I just wrote about how others in America expect us to have it together. They want us to be at a certain place in our lives. Well, get over it Buzzfeed. Be more accepting like the French do. They wouldn’t be so prudish about all the sex either!

FIN

 

 

 

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.

P9220390.JPG

 

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

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!