France has changed me, here is how. 

In just a few days it will be one month of me being in France!! I was thinking today about how I have changed over this short period of time. I decided to make a list of six small ways I have changed since moving to France as an au pair! Here it goes..

NUMBA ONE

I went from absolutely DESPISING coffee to drinking shots of straight espresso. In Canada even the scent of coffee made my stomach queasy! Not any more. I really love the social aspect of coffee and the fact that it can get me through a crazy busy day. The children drove me to drink 😉

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P.S My very attractive waiter with a nice beard (see point five) hardcore judged me for taking this photo. #sorrynotsorry

NUMBA TWO

Speaking of driving…In Canada my family has one manual car and two automatic cars. Before moving to France I would try every trick in the book to get out of having to drive my standard car (even ask my dad). In France the car that was bought for me is standard therefore I have basically become a manual master.

NUMBA THREE

I miss North American commercials.WHAT?  When watching tv, commercials are the vain of my existence. I (along with every other sane person in the world) HATE commercials however, I would rather endure hours of American commercials than French commercials. Think of the worst commercial you have ever seen and I can almost guarantee that it is better than every French commercial I have seen.

NUMBA FOUR

I used to fear public transportation…now I live for it. Where I’m from in Canada I never took the bus and I think I only took the train once. It just wasn’t really something I did? I used to frown upon it thinking it was only for people who couldn’t afford cars (sad but true) but now I rely on it! I honestly don’t know what I would do without my bus (even though it never stops for me and is always way too early).

NUMBA FIVE 

I used to not be a fan of facial hair on men.. I have now completely changed my mind. I have officially decided that French men have the best facial hair (AND I LOVE IT). Here is a photo of my face when I see cute French boys with nice facial hair.

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NUMBA SIX

I am a very social person and generally it isn’t very difficult for me to make friends. That being said I normally dislike change and sometimes struggle with accepting new people. Being here has changed the way I see meeting new people. It used to be something I despised doing and tried to avoid at all costs. Now it is something I absolutely love and it’s truly necessary to my sanity. I now jump at any opportunity to hang out with people and meet new people yay me.

I know this list is small but I’m confident that as time goes on I will change and develop as a person ever more.

 

 

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weekend adventure

This weekend was pretty sweet. It started off a little bit slow but ended really well. As an au pair I normally get the entire weekend off to do whatever I want. Sometimes the family has plans and I am invited to either join them or stay home. I rarely have to work however, this Saturday I was asked if I could help “my” 13 year old boy and his two friends with their English project. They had to design a detailed week at camp which was perfect for me because I have lots of experience in this field. I helped them for a couple of hours in the morning and my afternoon was spent watching lots of Modern Family (like A LOT of Modern Family)… That night my two friends and I met up in Versailles where we sat on a park bench for a while just talking and having fun. After we were done it was around 1am and I needed to catch a bus home. The bus ride home was quite interesting as I was the only person on the bus and my young diver seemed rather “interested” in me. He was asking me questions like, “why isn’t your boyfriend with you *wink wink”, “how old are you”, “what’s your phone number”, and my personal favourite question, “do you like Vodka”. Needless to say I got off a stop early to avoid more questioning.

Sunday I went to Paris with a large group of people who are studying at the same school as I am. We went for a boat tour on the Seine River which was so beautiful. Thankfully the rain held off until we were finished. After we all went for a picnic unfortunately a group of us forgot lunches so we went to search for a bakery. We wandered around aimlessly for a while until we found one that we all agreed upon. After we went back to where the class was and hung out there for a while. Once the official trip was over most of us didn’t want to return to Versailles so we decided to stay in Paris. We walked around, found an extremely cool art museum, lost a group member, went shopping, found said group member, and took lots of pictures. By the end of the day we were all pretty tired and ready to head home. We returned to Versailles by train and we went our separate ways. A group of four of us decided to head over to my friend Lynn’s little apartment. There we ate cheesy pasta and ice-cream, watched more Modern Family, ad talked. We talked about life back home, our au pair families, and how we were adapting. I find it’s really cool how four of us all from different countries and backgrounds all ended up in the same place and in similar positions. I got home just after 10 and went straight to bed.

That was it for this weekend!! I’m having an amazing time in France. I love all of the people I am meeting, paces I am visiting, and food I am eating.

Here are a few pictures from my Sunday adventure.

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If you are wondering why the title of this blog post is “9086543268079089054” it is because that number accurately represents the amount of calories I consumed today. Unfortunately, this is not an exaggeration. I am not being dramatic even in the slightest.  If you know anything about me (or my family) you are probably aware that we are a fairly active family and that we also eat fairly well. Back in Canada I did crossfit many mornings a week and I was a member of not one, but TWO additional gyms. My mom hardly ever brought things with added sugar or salt into the house and that was that. Living in France? Yeah that is an entirely different story..

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to join a gym quite yet because I need a note from a French doctor? or something like that? I’m not really sure, I’m working on it though!! I think saying this might cause my mom to go into cardiac arrest but I really truly do miss working out. (I’m also missing my Crossfit Stratos family).  I honestly can’t wait to get back into it (hopefully sooner rather then later).

The hardest part is BY FAR the food. SO first of all there is so much junky snack foods in the cupboards and when I’m home alone they all taunt me. French people also find it necessary to eat dessert like 58 times a day. Which I mean part of me is all for and the other part, yeah, no so much. To make matters worse there is this AMAZING bakery that I walk by every. single. day. It really is a miracle that I don’t go there every day or even multiple times a day. Today I wasn’t feeling very well so when I walked by the bakery I decided that I without a doubt NEEDED to buy something. I ended up walking out with a croissant.. and a baguette which between you and me, I ate 90% of.. To be perfectly honest, the damage could have been much much worse.

 

*special shoutout to my baby sister, father, and puppy for making my day with their FaceTime call. Love you all.

 

 

 

whoops..

It is only 9:00 am and I have already had quite the day.. If you have ever been into a French phramacy you know that they are NOTHING like North american pharmacies. There are no movies, no snacks, no makeup, no magazines, no lots tickets, and surprisingly you can’t even get feminine hygiene products at a PHARMACY?!?! It’s bizarre because you can’t help yourself to any medications, not even Tylenol. Everything is behind the counter and it has to be given to you. It is solely medication, body and face wash, and a few other random cremes and lotions. That being said the pharmacies are on the fancier side in comparison to what I’m used to.

SO back to this morning.. Ever since getting to France my skin has decided to go crazy and I was in dire need for a new face wash/ spot treatment. When I got to the Pharmacy the women I was talking to realised that I was having a tough time asking for what I needed in French so she called over her colleague who spoke both English and French. It ended up being this very helpful guy and we ended up talking for a few minutes. Unfortunately I am the worlds biggest klutz and as I was leaving the store my purse happened to knock over almost an entire shelf of product. I kid you not the entire store just watched me as I began cleaning and profusely apologising. Thankfully the guy who helped me was so nice and helped me clean the mess up (also thankfully nothing broke because the products were all super expensive and it would have been bad if I had to pay for everything that fell).

That is my embarrassing story of the day. I hope that your day starts off a little bit better than mine.

 

accidents happen

OK, so I know it’s been a while and I apologise for that!! It has been a crazy past few days here in France.

To be perfect honest I can’t even remember everything that has happened since I last wrote but I’ll tell you what I remember. It was my friends birthday on Thursday the 15th so I decided to make some peanut butter cookies to bring to the class. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a cookie sheet, so I decided to improvise. That may not have been the best idea because I ended up having a (small) problem. All of my cookies fell off my make shift cookie sheet and burned to a crisp at the bottom of the oven. So that kinda sucked…mostly because peanut butter costs as much as an arm and leg here and I only have one jar left!!!!!

My accident on Saturday was even worse than my cookie one, as I was actually in a minor car accident. Yes, I was driving and yes, it was my fault. Nobody was even remotely hurt and my car is perfectly fine, praise the Lord. When I got to France my host dad explained the rules of the road to me but,  apparently there was a little bit of miscommunication. What happened is I thought I had the right of way, which I did, but only for one lane so I began to turn. Unfortunately there was a car that I did not see and I ended up hitting it. I was very shaken up but am feeling much better now. The women whose vehicle I hit was extremely kind and gracious which I am very thankful for. Later that night I went out for coffee and watched a movie with a friend. It was a good end to a not so good day.

Saturday morning was spent running errands, going shopping, eating, and resting. I have come to the official conclusion that McDonalds in France cannot even begin to compare to North American McDonalds. It is really quite terrible in comparison. ALSO I have officially decided that Zara scarves are my new addiction. I literally want every single one. I ended up buying two, which was better than the 15 that I was contemplating. I bought a nice neutral one and a mustard yellow one (because every time I see that colour I think of my friend Lauren and it makes me super happy). On Saturday night I went out with a couple of friends. It was great (except for the fact that they were all German so randomly they would switch from the French/ English mix that we were speaking to German). I got home pretty late though which made waking up this morning brutal.

Today was pretty cool because I got to meet one of my mom’s dear friends and her family. They were so amazing and I’m really excited to get together with them more often throughout the year. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos to share but I’ll make up for it soon!

the princess and her château

Today was great. I had an “early morning” because I took a trip to the Château de Versailles. I’m really happy that I had the chance to go with a couple of other au pairs. It was a little unorganised but, it workout in the end.We were able to tour around and take some great photos (if I do say so myself). Unfortunately I had to pay 25 € to get in where as if I was European it would have been free. The cost breakdown is as follows: 15€ for the entrance to the château and an extra 10€ access to the gardens) Apparently next time if I bring my Visa or even just a photo of it I can get in for free? I’ll try it next time and let ya know how it goes. The château is incredibly beautiful and I would 10/10 highly recommend hitting it up if (and when) you decide to visit me in Versailles. However … in saying that the gardens were an extra 10€ and unless you plan on staying all day it wasn’t really worth it. You are able to snap a couple of photos without going into the gardens so I would recommend taking that route.

 

Today was H-O-T and for some APPARENT reason AC is very scarce in France?!? So despite the fact that it is so beautiful here it kinda feels like you’re slowly burning in hell. Ya  I cannot wait for it to cool down and for it to finally be SWEATER WEATHER (insert comment about being a “typical white” girl here).

Unfortunately my girl is having a little bit of bullying problems which is making things difficult for me *disclaimer: she is the one being bullied*. It’s a tough situation to be in because I don’t really know what to do? Her mom is working at figuring it out which is good. I am really just hoping that the situation is over and done with soon. She is only 8 for crying out loud..

On a happier note I ate mint chocolate chip ice-cream today and I’m fairly confident that it is what dreams are made of Lizzie McGuire reference incase you live under a rock. 

 

If you want to keep seeing what is going on with my life (on other platforms) I am on both instagram and twitter. You can find me at @juliasitwell and I would love to connect with you there.

woe is me

Last night was a little tough for me. I don’t really know why but I started to miss my sisters. For those of you who know nothing about my family I have two sisters, one older, and one younger. We are all (about) two years apart and they are absolutely, hands down, without a doubt my very best friends. I tell them everything and trust them more than anyone else. Yesterday I decided torture myself by scrolling through Instagram pages, texts, and family photos. I was also listening to Hozier and James Bay (all the heart eyes) which did NOT help my “woe is me” attitude. Ugh it was sad. I was also really missing my honorary sister, Jasmine! My friend Patrick snapped me out of it by saying, “stop being sorry for yourself”(tough love, I guess??). Actually that being sad I kinda missed Patrick too. The way I totally got over being sad you may ask, online shopping.. It always makes me feel 100%.

Sorry mom and dad but I haven’t really been sad missing you guys, yet. I know the time will come.

I felt much better today and I’m really excited for tomorrow. A large group of au pairs are going to the Chateau of Versailles tomorrow which should be fun. I may finally be able to get some nice pictures!

but like, it’s Paris

This weekend has already been amazing. It started on Friday afternoon when I meet with a group of other file au pairs at a Starbucks close to our school. We talked and chatted for a bout an hour and made plans to visit the Chateau de Versailles on Tuesday morning. It’s kinda sweet because between the medium size group of us we there are only two pairs of people from the same country. We are from all over the world, we all speak different languages, and yet somehow we have all ended up in the same boat. It’s pretty darn cool, if you ask me in case you did not know, I am also pretty darn cool.

On Friday night after everything was settled at home my host family treated me to a night in Paris. The mother, daughter, and I took the train from Versailles to Paris where we attended an amazing Ballet. We watched “The Sleeping Beauty”, which was perfect because I am obsessed with everything Disney (mostly the princesses). It felt like a once in a life time opportunity. I mean how many of you have seen a ballet in Paris? I’m assuming not very many. *disclaimer: It is not my intention to sound as if I am bragging. I am just so happy and excited to be here*

Today I went shopping with two other au pairs which was quite fun. Oh I also ate a waffle for breakfast and a crepe for lunch.. lol whoops. I bought a pretty cute dress, pair of shoes, and top which I am excited about. Shopping just gets me feeling some type of way, ya know? Anywayyss.. After that I went to an “association” thing where every extra curricular activity from the community has a booth and people sign up for whatever they desire. Since I don’t have time for scheduled class time that I decided to get a gym membership. It’s much more flexible and therefore much more doable. I am not really sure what the plan is for tomorrow but, I am hoping it involves a lot of sleep.

Bonne nuit, mes amis

xoxo Julia

carbs and pumpkin spice lattes

Ah, today was a big day for me. As I was alone with the kids for the duration of the day (other than school hours of course). Even though I was a little tiny bit nervous I had an amazing day. My day started off with making breakfast, watching a new show on Netflix called, “Jane the Virgin”. I was a little apprehensive going into it but it had great recommendations so I started watching it. Let me just tell you, it is SO FUNNY. I 10 out 10 highly recommend. After that I went to take the bus to Versailles. I ended up having to wait an hour, because the first bus was 5 minutes early and the second bus decided not to stop for me (how rude). I was so NOT impressed but I ended up just sitting outside and people watching while listening to Noah Gunderson. Once I FINALLY got on the bus I headed into Versailles where I searched for a Starbucks. I found it fairly easily which was quite the pleasant surprise. I treated my self to a PSL because I was tired and I really wanted one. It was absolutely divine, not sure if it was worth the eight Euros though? LOL, over it. Clearly I don’t really care about the price because I planned a little get together at the same Starbucks for some au pairs before class tomorrow. It’s hard because for most of them English and French are their second and third languages which for obvious reasons makes communication a bit difficult. They all seem great though and I’m extremely excited to get to know them all a bit more.

I must be doing something right, in terms of Parisian style because I was asked for directions multiple times today (I obviously had no idea how to help them though) Whoops.  I’m pretty sure the fact that I had multiple baguettes hanging out of my bag was the reason people wrongly assumed I a)spoke French and b)could help them.  CAN I JUST SAY THAT HAVING BREAD IN MY PURSE WAS FOR SOME REASON THE BEST EXPERIENCE, LIKE EVER. Sorry, but it got me pumped up, I don’t know, maybe I like carbs a little too much?

It feels like I’m living a dream and I’m so excited for the adventures of this weekend.

(France = lit fam)

 

Paris, the land of PDA and Parallel Parking

On Sunday I spent my day in a very nice flat in downtown Paris. I got my first glimpse of la tour d’effiel and l’arc de triomphe. I ate French cheese and French bread while sipping on French rose. It was a literal dream. I’m looking forward to spending more time in Paris taking in photos, eating all the carbs, and seeing all of the touristy sights.

Today was my first real day doing actual work. I was feeling very anxious but all went well (praise the Lord). I was nervous because I’m working for this picture perfect family and I really didn’t want to mess anything up. Thankfully the kids weren’t late to anything, weren’t left anywhere, and they didn’t die of food poisoning (yay me). Today I also had French lessons for the first time. I was only slightly terriffied because unfortunately my level of French is subpar. The teacher is so sweet and there a LOT of other au pairs in my my class so hopefully I can make some friends.

I drove by myself for the first time today and let me tell you if you have power steering DO NOT TAKE IT FOR GRANTED. I didn’t even know that not having it was option? I miss it already (boo).

Anywayyysss I’m more than excited to take on the rest of the week. I’m hoping that everything goes smoothly and that by the end of the week I will be known as the world’s greatest fille au pair.

Im grateful for FaceTime because it’s keeping me connected with all of the people that I love so much (not so much miss, yet).