Mari Goes To…Part II

Last time around, I wrote about my experience in London (recap here). This post is super long so apologies for rambling in advance! Also, it’s been almost a month since I got back from this trip so there are some details missing a lot has happened since then and it was actually really difficult to remember everything that happened although it was all amazing.

After 3 amazing days in London, we traveled to Paris via bus and ferry. It was a long drive, but it gave me plenty of time to catch up on some sleep. We arrived to Paris, and it was cloudy and rainy. That night, we made our way up the Eiffel Tower, (we took the elevator because it was raining and we were too lazy to walk) and despite the ridiculous fog, we were still able to see the city in all its stunning nighttime glory. It was really quite breath-taking. There was also champagne toasting at the top of the tower, so that was pretty sweet.

My hair however, suffered deeply. It started off straight when we got there…but ended up in a big poof at the end of the evening. You could literally see the progression of my hair in the pictures, as it just grew in frizziness. It was so embarrassing, but after a while, I really didn’t care. I was in Paris, a city I had dreamed of seeing for so long!

The next day we started our exploration of the city at the Arc de Triomphe de l’Etoile. Going up those stairs was quite the journey and I felt like I was going to have an asthma attack once we got to the top, but again, the view was pretty amazing and made it worth it in the end. I guess the same can be said of any view really, but it kind of took me by surprise just how different Paris looked at night and during the day. I liked both views, but personally I think it was so much more exhilarating at night.

From there, we strolled through Champs-Elysees and did some shopping, mostly window shopping though if we’re being honest here. We were on our way to Musee du Louvre and were taken completely by surprise by just how many gypsies and scammers were around this area. Fortunately our tour guide had warned us about this, so we were able to avoid getting scammed, but they were super pushy and annoying, which kind of took away from Paris’ charm. Also thanks to our tour guide, we knew of a secret entrance into the Louvre, so we were able to avoid waiting in long lines and went right in to the museum. That was pretty great.

As a part of our tour, we had a free tour of a French perfumery. I didn’t really care to go the perfumery, but figured what the heck it’s free, I might as well…and man, am I so glad I decided to go. The perfumery, Fragonard, was beyond what I imagined it would be. We got a brief history and tour of the perfumes, and were shown samples of each perfume available for purchase. I didn’t go to Paris with the intention of buying perfume, but somehow I ended up with enough perfume to last me the next 10 years and I have no regrets because I smell amazing all the time now.

That night, we made our way back to our hotel, got dressed up and went out for dinner and a show at the Moulin Rouge. I’d heard that the show wasn’t that great and that the whole thing wasn’t worth it, so I wasn’t expecting much but I had to go because hello, I was in Paris and Moulin Rouge is one of my favorite movies in the world, so of course I had to go. But anyway, despite what people had said about the show, I actually really enjoyed it. The performances were amazing, dinner was great, and the wine was so good, our table kept asking for more. I’m pretty sure the waiter was judging us, but whatever, we had a blast.

The next day, Thursday, we got back on the bus and drove up to the Palace of Versailles. I couldn’t believe how extravagant it all was! It was absolutely beautiful and I felt really lucky to be able to experience it firsthand after reading and studying so much about it. However, I made the mistake of wearing a dress that day because I thought the weather would be nicer (and also because I had packed 5 dresses but didn’t have the chance to wear any except one the night of the Moulin Rouge and I refused to let those dresses go to waste), but it was cold, rainy and super windy, so my legs were frozen and it was a flowy dress so I had to keep pulling it down to keep from flashing all the tourists in Versailles (way to go, Mari), so that was fun. We did find a cute little crepe place though, so we were able to eat delicious crepes while we waited for the rest of our group. That made up for the cold rain.

The rest of the trip is kind of a blur. On our last night together in Paris as a group, we had a Parisian dinner in Montmartre, and I tried snails for the first and last time. I only did it so that I could say I had snails while in Paris. Suffice to say it was a once in a lifetime thing and I won’t be eating snails again. I did try duck for the first time though, and I enjoyed it, so there’s that.

Some from our group left the next day, and saying goodbye to the people who had become like family in those 10 short days was a lot harder than I ever thought it would be. But alas, it was time to go our separate ways.

I stayed in Paris with a few other people for two more nights, and during those days, we went to the Catacombs (creepy as all heck but also pretty cool at the same time), I had lunch with an old friend who interned at the magazine during my first year, and I bought 70 euros worth of chocolate from a chocolate boutique in Montmartre for everyone back home. I also bought a super cute pair of ankle booties that I’m totally in love with and want to wear with everything but I also don’t want to wear them because I don’t want to ruin them, it was that kind of purchase. We stopped at Laduree for macaroons, and man were those macaroons delicious! Oh and we had dinner at Angelina’s, a restaurant known for its hot chocolate. We waited in line for 20 minutes, and it was 8 euros for a cup of the famous hot chocolate, but you know, when in Rome and all. The hot chocolate was pretty good though, so it was worth it for a once in a lifetime thing.

Overall, I enjoyed my time in Paris. It wasn’t everything I hoped it would be, maybe because I was expecting it to be more glitzy and glamorous and romantic, but it was a great experience. My favorite part about it was the architecture and history of the city. That was something I definitely appreciated quite a bit. I ended up shopping more than I thought I had planned but I like looking back at my purchases now and thinking, I bought that in Paris, how cool is that?! I don’t have any plans to go back to Paris any time soon, maybe only for a day or two for some more shopping and macaroons.

London however, I hope to go back there soon. There’s a lot of history in England that I’m intrigued by and I would love to be able to explore the city and country even more.

I’m so grateful I was able to go on this trip. It was quite the experience, and the memories will last me a lifetime. So will all those bottles of perfume 😉

Sparkling Eiffel Tower!
Sparkling Eiffel Tower!
Creepy faces at the Catacombs
Palace of Versailles
Macaroons for days!!
I’ll never get over how big my hair got…so embarrassing
Arc de Triomphe
I got a French manicure in Paris because of course!
I got a French manicure in Paris because of course!

Busy Bee

A few months ago, I was looking for and applying for a new job, but after a few weeks of unanswered emails and applications, I decided to give up, and just stay where I am. Here’s the thing: I like my job. I enjoy working here, I get along well with my coworkers, and the hours are flexible, which is awesome. Only problem with this job is that the commute is an hour and a half to and from my house. That’s three hours of travel a day. I have to take the subway and the Metro North train, so the commute is not only long, it is also incredibly expensive. This was really the only reason why I wanted to find a new job, and now that I look back on the time I spent job searching, I’m glad I did not get a call back from any of the other places.

Why? Because about a month ago now, as I was walking around the garden behind the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, I got a text message from a mother looking for a babysitter. Turns out she had gotten my number from a mother I occasionally babysit for, and she was in need of a part-time babysitter for her 2-year-old son. Long story short, I accepted her job offer, started working for her 2 weeks later, and learned a lesson about patience and timing.

So now, thanks to the hour flexibility, I’m working 35-40 hours at the office, and babysitting for 12. This is my third week, and so far, it hasn’t been so bad. It is a lot of work though. I am out of my house by 6 a.m. and don’t get home till after 7 p.m. There’s that and then there’s also the homework I have to do every day for my online courses. To be frank, I am exhausted. All the time. There is no such thing as too much coffee in my agenda now. I sleep any chance I can get, doesn’t matter where I am. The hum of the moving train is very soothing, let me tell you.

Truthfully, I might be biting off more than I can chew here. But even though I have more on my plate than ever before, I feel content. I feel the most accomplished when I’m busy, so this works perfectly for me. Sure, sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me that I feel the need to put myself through all of this trouble, but that’s usually at 5:30 when my alarm clock goes off and the sun isn’t even out yet. I do have to figure out a better sleeping schedule though. This 5-hours-of-sleep-per-night thing is not cutting it for me. But I know myself, so I won’t even bother to say that I’m going to try to go to bed by 10:30 because Lord knows that is not going to happen. For now, I have coffee by day, and wine by night. That’s good enough, right? Yes, yes it is.

Can I just be a Toys ‘r Us kid?

Staying up late. Eating whatever I want. Doing whatever I want. Freedom. As a kid, those were some of the things I looked forward to. I couldn’t wait to grow up and be an “adult”. It seemed like the coolest thing in the world.

Like most kids with dreams similar to mine, I soon discovered that being an adult is not all I thought it would be. There are bills to be paid (on time!), food to be purchased, and people to be pleased. As a kid, you want to please your parents and make sure they’re always proud of you. However, as an adult, not only do you still strive to make your parents proud (usually), but now you have a boss telling you what to do, and how to do it, and if you want to keep your job, you have to make sure you do it right.

Being an adult is a lot of responsibility. There’s a lot of pressure. It’s like a full time job that you get without having to apply for it, and try as you might to quit this job, you can’t. It’s all part of the circle of life.

It wasn’t until last night that I really wished I could go back to the days when I would fall asleep on the couch and somehow, magically wake up in my bed. I am currently in the middle of preparing for a major event that will be happening in 2 days. These preparations require late, last minute trips to Whole Foods to make sure I have all the necessary ingredients. I also had to run to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy wine glasses because apparently not everyone drinks their wine out of red solo cups.

Maybe it’s because I am so nervous about the event that I’m overreacting, but there’s just so much to prepare and it’s made me think. This is what adult life is like, except 10 times more difficult. Sure, some would say I can barely consider myself an adult because I’m so young and inexperienced, and that’s true. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I also know that life is a roller coaster that I am being forced to get on, whether I want to or not, and I guess that’s helping me look forward to what the future holds for me.

So with that in mind, I raise my new, fancy wine glass to every one out there, thinking about how great it would be to be a kid again. There’s no time to look back now, only forward. Cheers!