Tuesday, March 03, 2009

first week in France

Last week was my first somewhat normal week working and living in France. Not entirely, but somewhat. I travelled to Lyon (plan) Tuesday afternoon and caught up with Jim (from our Germany office, we're both Project Managers) at the flat. The flat is a 2-bedroom with a living (w/ pull out couch) and a small dining area and kitchen. And all stylishly decorated with flat screens in living room and bedrooms, so not too bad.

The next day I went into the office of the company we're partnered with in France and got neck deep in the projects I've kind of been ignoring for a bit. And I won't bore you with details, but mostly just scoping and setting up proposals and such for the French projects right now. And then for Thursday and Friday I mostly worked out of the flat and didn't go into the office, which means I could have been working on a beach in Asia (a consideration!!), but anyway... went out a couple times once to a good brew pub near the stadium... Gerand was it? So that was my first somewhat normal week in Lyon.

To keep things interesting, I left Lyon Saturday morning and headed to Paris by train. I've a friend here and spent Sat & Sun night. Wasn't a cloud in the sky and over 20 so we sat around in tshirts on the Seine Saturday afternoon... very rough... Then went to a house party on Sat night on the hill near Sacre Coeur (Montemarte). Here I drank what seemed a very reasonable / normal amount of beer, but in retrospective, drank too little water during the day, leading to nice headache Sunday morning. So Sunday started rather slow going to a markets (near Bastille) and we sat around in a sidewalk cafe for a couple hours. And then I got setup with a couple other friends going to the Musee Pampidou, which was free along with all museums on the first Sunday of the month. And was good because one of these friends didn't talk English so it forced the conversation for the afternoon/evening entirely into French, which is much better for my practicing!!

Well, that's about it. Had a nice home-cooked salmon dinner last night and now I'm on the trainsoon to go into the chunnel and should be at work in London in another hour. Must admit, I've spent ~€350 on trains coming home through Paris (which I plan to expense) rather than the €70 a flight would have cost from Lyon to London, but I'm not charging my travel time, so I feel no guilt. But it is still amazing that trains can be that much more expensive than flying. But travel city center to city center sure makes life easy (I left the apartment about 1hr 10min before my train was to depart, just try to do that for the airport!)

And my goal now is to stay in London for 2 weeks without any travel. I'm thinking I've got a shot!! Other goals for those who care:

- make all my French classes for next 2 weeks and actually do my homework
and practice occasionally (there's a few French group get togethers I
can attend if I get off butt)

- make it to the climbing gym again for the first time in 6 months

- get signed up with the gym across the street from work that work pays for
and I haven't registered with despite being full time in London since July

- getting telephone and tv at the flat tomorrow - have to stay home all
day :( internet will follow in 12-15 business days

- thinking I might by a plant for the flat and make it look like someone
lives there (did I mention I bought a print for the wall? a Lichtenstein...)

- I'm avoiding putting work things down as priorities to do, though the
sad realiity is....

- make plans for some trips... Netherlands in April to visit Jen, Darran
& Jenny and soon to be Lisette as well!, find a time for Canada in the
summer, and then my sister and her kids in August (Lyon and then Greece
& Italy I think is the plan) - but I'm also thinking of working in a trip
to somewhere new... was thinking Egypt, someone just planted the thought
of Istanbul... somewhere for just a 3-4 day weekend might be nice and
easily doable.

- oh, and I hopefully hired someone on Friday, but assuming they accept,
they won't really start until April 10, so I can't start dumping on them
until then. this should really help give me more of a life!!

Okay, I must stop writing and go for my pain au chocolat, jus d'orange et grande creme (whichis more or less a cafe au lait or maybe a latee from what I can tell). Priorities!!

So does this blog make my mother happy? And I'll have a phone in my flat so you can start calling me at 4AM! And my sister can rack up my cell phone with roaming charges in Paris while I give instructions on how to install a portable hard drive! Seriously, that's pricey tech support!! :)

(Quick little side note... it's the next day and I'm finally putting this into the blog... missed French class last night and went for some really yummy Indian food instead... just got my landline hooked up, the number for which I'm not going to put online!! now waiting for the Sky-tv guy...)