Monday, 26 September 2011

Ne pas rentrer de la nuit: to stay out all night.

Well I'm writing this as my last will and testament. I'm shattered. I had the most amazing weekend and then today I had a long day as I had a full day teaching PE and then I had to teach English and then I had to teach drama and then... It was 5pm and I'd finished. Phew. I have this all week now as my drama and dance classes have started on top of my sports amd english lessons. But drama was particularly tough as it was at the end of the day with a bunch of children that didn't particularly want to be there and who didn't especially want to listen either, least of all to someone not speaking in their native Tongue. The chattiest kids on the planet and some of the ones who listen the least.... I had them. It wasn't easy, I think Arnie in kindergarten cop style I'm gonna get a whistle as I'm not totally sure my voice will hold out till Christmas haha ;)

Anyways sooooo back to the weekend, Which was epic. I got up crack of dawn Saturday morning, got the bus to Disney, jumped on the RER and headed into Paris. 45 minutes later I came up blinking in to the sunlight at the arc de triomphe and already it was a glorious morning!

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Last time I walked out of this RER station was new years January 2009 and it was BITTER Paris is horrendously cold in winter and so I was well wrapped up, everything except my eyes and I remember thinking that if I had a pair I'd have been wearing goggles. I'm shocked my eyes didn't freeze open!

The day I'm talking about...

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Anyway Even though today was a blazingly hot and sunny morning (weather was amazing last week) as I stepped off the RER and started the ascent to street was STILL blowing a bitter gale through the tunnels so I'm guessing it's just standard. Tip: If you ever need to disembark at the CDG Etoile stop; wrap up warm!!!

The RER journey itself in was fine though! I keep hearing all these amusing and horrific stories from Michelle and Christian in the mornings about the crazy people they've encountered on their way in (from Christian with the guy who threw up down himself to Michelle sitting next to a woman on the train who was enjoying the ride a little TOO much if you get me!!) but it was very uneventful for me and very pleasant (which as Michelle put i when I told her; if there were no crazies in the carriage maybe you are the crazy). I sat there iPod on and remembered the last time I was on this train, iPod on and heading into paris was after my job interview only this time on this morning I was smiling, as opposed to the last time when I was hiding behind my hair so no one else could see the stupid fact I was actually crying (yeah okay on that occasion it's fair to say I was the crazy). Crying because I didn't know what the hell to do! (if you are new to my blog please go back and read the first ever entry and add your own flashback music).

I'm smiling because this IS what I wanted after all. Yes it could all have gone horribly wrong, still could but right now 1 month in it's best case scenario and better than I could have imagined it.

Rent came on whilst I was musing over this and the words to the song;

"I can't control, my destiny, I trust my soul, my only goal is just to be"

How true.

I had actually come into Paris early to pop to the orange store on the champs élysées prior to meeting my friends in Montmartre at 10am for the France vs NZ match, however as this is Paris I discovered the shop doesn't open until 12 on Saturday's. Welcome to France. They only work when they have to and this doesn't really include all of saturday, at all on Sunday, or Monday (to make up for the 4 hour inconvenience they endure Saturday's) or where possible Wednesday's either... No I'm not kidding in fact there's a word for it here if a sign says 12pm (and something that sounds like 'plis'!) It means on the dot. I've never experienced it myself but I guarantee if 12pm came and you were still in the line waiting to be served you'd be packed out the door!

Anyway I had a good hour odd to kill so I wandered into the only place open for a coffee on the champs at that time ... Macdonalds. Well this wasn't Macdonalds as I knew it , it was also a Mccafe!! So not only did it have fancy interior decor

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It also had fancy cakes

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And a fancy entrance spelling out where you are and decked with cool stools so you could sit and view the champs élysées whilst you had your coffee which I duly did

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I'm also really shocked to say it was one of the nicest coffees I have ever had! You want a good cappuccino? Seriously go to Maccy D's I kid you not.

So post Maccy's I hopped back on line 2 at CDG Etoile and headed to place de clichy at Montmartre to meet my friends at the French Flair Rugby bar there. However the French were already there in their droves and were even standing out in the street to watch the screen!

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So we headed over to the Irish bar and whilst we couldn't get inside, they had set up an extra area outside!

Yup we were a fair way back...

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It was great to watch even though French played so badly but it was a brilliant atmosphere and all the French joined in the national anthem at the beginning so it was awesome to be in the crowd, we were even given free drinks and being an Irish bar you were served by a genuine Irish guy who delighted us saying 'tats turteen fifty please' aaah funny as hell. The other amusement of the morning was the fact there was a slight time delay on the screen we were watching it in so the difference from the screens inside the pub to where we were sat was about 3 seconds. Enough for us to wonder why everyone in the bar suddenly went mental then 3 seconds later France got a try in. Later it helped saved the suspense over the kick France took. As they lined up the ball to take the kick on our screen the crowd inside the bar let us know they scored...

Post match we set a time to all meet up again ahead of the evenings show at the stade de France we had tickets for and I wandered off to enjoy Montmartre. Before I left the house I dived into my box of cards that provide you with mini self guided Paris tours one of my clients bought me as a leaving pressie and picked up 3 for the Montmartre area so off I went but first I went for a wander around Montmartre cimitière. I last visited this place in early 2009 and it's so peaceful! Although Parisian graveyards do have a massive over crowding issue, it's not so much the amount of dead but there insistency on large and exotic mausoleums to remember them by.

Crowd control issues:

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It even has it's own avenues

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Nijinskys beautiful resting place

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So morbidness done I took off with my cards!

Which took me past lots of little boutiques and fancy shops full of mouth watering goodies. Eiffel tower cheese anyone?

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up beautiful side streets

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Past the rue de galette

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To the famous 'Lapin Agile', built in the 1800's the cabaret club was initially set up to disrupt plans for more housing in the area. The haunt of several famous bohemian artists such as Toulouse lautrec and Picasso who spent many a boozy absinthe filled night here singing away and to this day It still is as it was then, entertainment and all.

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located right opposite the only remaining vineyard on la butte

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Before I wound my way back through place du tertre (particularly heaving with tourists today) to the sacre coeur where i stopped after all that walking to relax and take in the view

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And enjoy the sound of live Parisian jazz floating through the air to accompany my lunch. Perfect afternoon in Paris.

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All that is missing is......

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Ah there she is. Beautiful as always :)

I had a lot of time to think today and write, I had taken my little notebook with me as writing is like my therapy, when I'm on my own I take a notebook. I also sat and read back through some of my last entries in it. I love writing it helps me escape, offload and voice things I cannot say and sometimes I read them back and sometimes I can't. Whenever I used to have clients who were troubled I always recommended they kept a notebook to write in. Often I'd buy them one as a pressie and encourage them to use it and say you don't have to ever read it back, you may not want to, one day you might, no one else needs ever see this you do with the words as you choose, but I know the power of doing so. I'm so grateful I do this myself.

This particular notebook was the one I had taken to Rome with me. In 2010 I went on a solo holiday post marriage break up to coincide with my wedding anniversary as I couldn't face being in the UK for that date. That holiday saved my life.

As I sat reading through the notes about how sad i was, how scared, I came across a sentence about how I realised I was in the true grip of depression and needed to do something about it but depression is like a bunch of silent ties holding you down when you really need to get off your ass.

This really shocked me as I knew I was down through that period of my life but I had never admitted that to my nearest and dearest and don't ever remember admitting it to myself but there it was in black ink. My life is a world away from that right now, I sometimes worry if I'm doing okay but wow even if I had a lonely day lately it's never THAT bad.

A few short weeks before in the March of 2010 I truly thought my life was over. Pointless. I didn't want to live anymore. If I'd been a more selfish individual believe me I'd have done something about it but I'm not, so I didn't and thank god.

Its always nice to have proof for future reference that when things don't appear to be going your way that there absolutely WILL be a brighter day.

Its good to be able to look back at that and know my life wasn't even remotely over, it was only just beginning.

As the day was drawing on I had agreed to meet everyone at Cafe Oz at 7pm. Chris had said to meet at pigalle stop which confused everyone no end as cafe Oz is at Blanche stop (the next metro stop along it's a pretty short distance thankfully...) he's meant to live here! Ha.

Bonjour Moulin Rouge! At the Blanche station.

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I arrived first but i had to leave and detour for a little bit as got accosted by some French dude who didn't speak much English, I was friendly enough, happily told him I taught sport. This apparently gave him an open invitation to try to feel my stomach apparently to see how flat it was. I was not amused. This was followed by wanting to see and test the bicep muscle however he wasn't going to let go of my arm. He asked if I boxed, I mimed kick boxing was my specialty and demonstrated I could raise my leg to funnily enough his crotch height at lightening speed and then made my exit. French guys are a bit pushy I'm finding. In England at least you can ignore blokes if they're trying to catch your eye but here I so far discovered this weekend if you ignore them and keep your head down they'll just come over and put themselves in your eyeline, even if you are looking at the floor (I kid you not) also they'll find ANY excuse to touch you (if they aren't testing your muscles they go to give you a full body hug) "ah sa eeenglish guuurl you air funnyyyyyyyy" huuuuuuuuugs, or they'll just tell you you are beautiful and focus all their attention on your mouth whilst you are tying to talk to them (body language hint for a kiss no. 1 in psychology of flirting, google it if you don't believe me the 'look at their mouth' tactic!)

I find it a bit sleazy.

I was even less down with the guy who walked his wheelie bin in front of me when I was walking down one road and when I went to step round him he reversed it and blocked me that way also... After the third blockage I told him very politely in French to f*** off. It doesn't feel like swearing if you say it in another language :)

I just know my dad will be reading this and having I'm fine I can handle it. Trust me my best friends know the man is going to come off far worse ;)

So so far French men opinion is to all of you that said 'go find yourself a nice French boyfriend' well if this is the bench mark then the names Jones, Bridget (Mlle) and perfectly happy that way! Even though I am missing hugs but find me a person that doesn't.

Oh and a quick after thought; Sorry Zoe I leave exception of the rule for Thierry you got lucky!

So French men disaster aside we all met up at cafe Oz and had a quick drink before we headed to the stade de France and tried to sandwich in as many awful camelot jokes into our sentences as possible ('I hope they don't do Arthur a job with this show', 'I think we have heard merlin enough' 'if someone frequents a place would you say they camelot') I'm not even going to go on it's painful just to type it so I think that's 'Morgan le fay're share. Such geeks.

Anyways we went to the stade de France and WOW what a venue and what a show! The tickets we had were free from a friend who is an employee at le stade so we didn't know what to expect but we all bundled away saying the same thing; it was simply amazing!

The stade du France Post show so you can see it properly!

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I got some pics of the production unfortunately my amazing ones I can't get off my camera as can't find the lead so just got the ones I took with my iPhone:

The set

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Awesome lighting!

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Jousting ready to commence!

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The round table

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Major battle scenes and pyromaniacs dream!

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I wouldn't know where to start in explaining it, the stunts were incredible, the jousting was fun with the stade separated into different houses (Cornwall, Scotland, Wales...) we were in Scotland on the yellow team so got to chant

"allez jeune" or " GO YELLOW!" if you like

Then after Arthurs victory at jousting against Lancelot (my mate Christian loses points here for yelling "don't do it mate he's going to have your missus...")

the crowd cheered and chanted

"vive le roi!"

no one has said THAT in France for a very long time...

There was magic, fire, birds of prey, doves, trick riding, and the most incredible battle scene where flaming balls and arrows were fired into the air and across the stadium like a scene from a movie! (think Robin Hood Prince of Thieves) incredible, lighting, sound and I think possibly the piece de resistance was the rider and horse circling the stage enveloped in fire an incredible stunt. Mario Luraschi had once again trained the horses (last years spectacle was Ben Hur) and this man can get the horses to do anything for him including ride around covered in flames. A legend.

It's almost sad to think all that work and it was only on for 2 nights and will never be seen again I feel the rest of the world missed out on something special there!

Post show frivolities more fun started. I had toyed with catching the last train home but instead we decided to all go for one drink somewhere and then... We decided to see just how late we could stay out as we were far too awake and the night was far from over. So someone said 'lets just stay out til the trains start again!" Now I have stayed out late in London but generally places shut at 4am and then a trip to mcdonalds, a kebab house or noodle stop and a night bus ride home later and it's 6am and you are turning the key in the door. We hopped on the metro to St Michel and then that was it, i smiled as we wandered over the seine at the ile de cité and glanced across to Notre Dame (lights were off though as it was super late by now) as for at least the 6th time today i was finally viewing this place as a resident which i am not to take for granted! Then the next time I looked at my watch it was 3am, then it was 6am and we were hearing the 5th last order bell of the night! We had literally gone from place to place all night and the time flew past! I don't remember half of what we talked about, I do vaguely remember Michelle and Richard giving me a crash course in French on 'before, after, next, near, far..' god knows why those phrases and I knew I certainly wouldn't remember it the next day. Show offs :) the entertainment raged on thought and There was even live music in the last bar, the guys were playing a random selection of rock and jazz and at one point jingle bells...let's not go there.... It was however still dark so I grabbed a couple of hours sleep at my friends house and then headed back home.

In the UK when you are going home the day after the night before it is known as the walk of shame.

Yep I used to delight in spotting these tired looking creatures on a Sunday still dressed in clearly the same clothes they went out in last night who were just making their way back. Today it was me. Which is fine until you are stood at the bus stop at Disneyland then it feels wholly wrong. Especially standing there watching all the happy joyous families tripping off on their day of innocent fun and adventure and I'm there partaking in the walk of shame. Sorry Walt.

Needless to say Sunday I was shattered and very reluctantly had to turn down a game of golf over at Disneyland with Shawn Sunday night and had kept myself awake all day on purpose (to sleep would have been stupid!) so I spent the day planning the weeks lessons for PE and as of next week the 4 extra workshops a week I do starting with the drama that I had today are kicking in of an evening so I had to get that straight.

I decided 8pm was a perfectly acceptable bed time. Epic epic epic weekend.


Ps. If you think you are having a really s*** time with your life right now... Get a notebook :)

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