(For the record, this was written August 4th… true to topic, I forgot to post it)
I know, I know. It’s been forever.
And I’m sure you’ve been sitting on the edge of your seat, near tears, just waiting for the next post from l’Américaine.
Well, here it is. So sit back, worry no more, your favorite expat has finally gotten her sh*t together enough to write you a story about what’s been happening… more or less.
But let me tell you, it’s been a busy few weeks (or months? I don’t know how long its been since I wrote anything). I started a job and got busy and got tired from all the French being spoken at and around me all day every day. I took a whirlwind trip home to Boston and back in the span of what felt like 2 days (it was 4). I did lots of wedding planning and preparation for September, and move/house planning. And then every day les français at work ask me when I’m going on vacation and I have to sadly say I’m not, really (as they leave for 2 week trips to Sri Lanka and Norway, lamenting how short it is).
Buckle up, this is gonna be a long one.
So the Euro Cup soccer/football tournament happened. 1 full month of noise, flags, traffic disruptions, and soccer talk. It was inescapable. And technically fun and interesting, except for the part where the Fan Zone was set up down the street from my apartment and it prevented me from walking by the Champs de Mars without going 20 minutes out of my way on a big loop. Sucks for any tourists who came through during those weeks, as the obstructed view of the Tour Eiffel from that street is normally beautiful and very very popular with tour busses. And for those who live right next to the Champ de Mars? Don’t ask how that went (right Jayne?). Just assume it was terrible, having to argue with security to be let through because you live there and no, you do not have to throw away the groceries you just bought.
Ah yes, THE SALES! As an American who likes to shop, this was my Christmas in July. Les Soldes are highly anticipated every year, since big deals and deep discounts are rare in France. Essentially, each summer, all stores everywhere put their stuff on sale, in incremental reductions every 2 weeks or so. Windows are plastered with 2EME DEMARQUE (second reduction) signs and this many percent off, and GET ‘EM WHILE THEY’RE HOT-style advertising. Les français love it.
I, doing my expat duty, decided to join in the fun to see what all the fuss is about. Reporting live from Paris, I can tell you it’s mostly just fuss. But! I did learn some tricks to get the most out of it, depending on what you’re looking for:
- A Specific Item: If you have your eye on one thing in particular, go ASAP. Prices do decrease 1, 2, 3 or even 4 times over the course of the month+ that the Soldes runs, but stock runs out so sizes and colors become scarce. If you want something specific that you’ve had in mind, go early and take the first price. If you wait, it’ll likely be gone.
- Anything Else: If you’re just out to scout for deals on random things that are pretty, wait it out! The first round of discounts isn’t that impressive, so if you don’t need that one blouse you saw, you’re better off waiting until later reductions to peruse the racks and see what kinds of bargains you can find on all sorts of tops, dresses, pants, shoes, household items, etc. you see when you get there.
Finally. It took forever but it finally started to feel like summer here by mid-July (after the rainiest, worstest spring ever). I had to fly home to Boston on July 14th and the day I left it was 50-something degrees. 4 days later when I returned it was nearly 90. Color me confused.
But I won’t complain because summer is great and it meant lots of long, sunny walks around Paris to get back to what Frenchman and I love to do best, and couldn’t do much of when it was between drizzling and pouring for months on end. We even caught a bit of the Tour de France when it came through Paris, which was a neat surprise. We weren’t expecting to see it but happened to be walking by when the caravan came through by the Tuileries.
I have good news and bad news.
The good news is that Frenchman and I have been looking for an apartment to buy, as he greatly prefers to own than to rent (you know how accountants are with that “saving money” and “paying for an investment not throwing money away” stuff). I can’t say that I disagree. So we’ve been spending the summer trolling every apartment listing we can find and making our Wishlist for size, location, features and whatnot that we’re looking for.
The bad news is that we learned we have to be out of our current apartment at the end of September. Time, crunched. So suddenly we have far less time and flexibility than we thought to find our perfect apartment. Now instead of just looking for a place to buy when we find the right one, we’re doing that in hyperdrive plus hedging our bets by looking for a new place to rent come October 1st.
Busy busy busy.
Between doubling down on apartments, sneaking off at lunches to go all over creation to visit places we may or may not like, AND coming into the home stretch of planning a wedding on another continent, it’s been a busy summer.
Stay tuned for how it all turns out – where we’re living, how the wedding goes in September, whether I make it through it all or just fall asleep on the floor somewhere…
(Editor’s note: I have updates! Since I wrote this a full month ago I actually have new things to share. All my notes are safely stored for a next post, But you’ll have to wait 🙂 )