Monday, February 15, 2010

Apartment photos!

We have started moving into the new apartment!  We got the keys on Thursday and on Saturday we started to do some work.  My in-laws came in on Saturday to stay and help us for a week to a week and a half as well.  So far we have some nice appliances, most of the furniture for the kitchen (which we bought at But but they were out of the big kitchen cabinets I wanted so we have to try another But store), and we have repainted the apartment.  We still have some shopping to do at Ikea (desk, bookcases, couch, table and chairs) and then we have to put all the furniture together, do a few more little odd jobs around the apartment (like raise the sink by 2 cm so we can fit our washing machine into the space) and move all of our stuff from the current apartment.  Luckily on Friday my friend, Julie, came over and we started boxing stuff up so it won't be too bad.

Well, here are the long awaited photos!:

 
half of the séjour (living room)

 
 
the entryway and the door into the bedroom

 
 
the bedroom

 
 
the closet in the bedroom!  not big enough for my stuff, but plenty big for Lionel's small amount of clothing

 
 
the bathroom!  a real bath tub!  and a sink with some counter around it!  the toilet is to the left of the sink, but I didn't think we needed a picture of that...

 
 
looking across the séjour towards the kitchen area


 
the "kitchen" if you can even think of calling it that.  but soon it really will be a kitchen.  we have lots of ideas and I think it is going to work out to look like a very nice kitchen.  those photos coming soon i hope!

 
 
the private garden avec terrasse! and we even have three trees!

 
 
the new washing machine that also dries running its first load of laundry and our first load in our own apartment!  no more laverie!  is it sad that I'm actually excited about the idea of doing laundry now?


 
our real, American-style stove and oven all in one machine!  I'm looking forward to cooking on this one!

There it is!  I will be working hard on it everyday this week after work.  I'm really hoping we can be fully moved in by the end of the weekend!!!  Once we've finished I'll post the after pictures.  Or I'll at least post them once we have internet, since I have a bad feeling I will be without for a few weeks while Free changes our service to our new address (stupid France, why does this take so long!?! and what am I supposed to do for work!?!?!).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Super Bowl

Last night was the Super Bowl - the end of the NFL season and a wonderful American tradition in which we watch football (REAL football), drink, eat junk food, watch hilarious commercials, and yell and scream until we have no voices, all in the name of rooting for our prefered team.  Though I may live in France now, I am still American, and therefore am not at all willing to miss the Super Bowl.  So in true expat style, I was out at a sports bar in the center of Paris until the wee hours of the morning, rooting on the Indianapolis Colts and having a good old night of American style fun!


I went with two American friends, Jasmin and Angela, and one French friend, Julie (who was experiencing her first Super Bowl), to a sports bar called Players Bar on Rue Montmartre next to the Grands Boulevards metro stop.  We had originally planned to go to one of the many Anglophone bars in the center of Paris (The Great Canadian, The Moose, Millers Bar, Long Hop), but in the end most of them required extremely high covers to get in and watch the game, and while I love the Super Bowl, I still didn't want to spend 30 euros cover.  The bar was actually amazing and I'm really happy with our choice and think I will probably be watching Super Bowls there for years to come.  It was huge (a former club) with three levels and plenty of seating.  They were having a Super Bowl party sponsored by ESPN America complete with football helmets, gifts, give-a-ways, entertainment before the game, and cheerleaders.  Decorations included ESPN American balloons and American flags EVERYWHERE.  They had a cover there as well, but it was only 5 euros and included one drink, so it was definitely worth it.


We got there early and had dinner (a delicious hamburger with real bacon and cheddar cheese) and then settled in to enjoy some beers and the game.  The drinks were a little expensive, but as the Super Bowl is only once a year, we had decided to let ourselves enjoy it.  We even gave in to the true American-ness of the evening and enjoyed some ice cold Budweiser!


As I said, I was rooting for the Colts, as was everyone else I came with.  And I think we were the ONLY table of people in the entire, gigantic bar who were rooting for them.  Naturally, we left disappointed while everyone else in the bar was screaming excitedly over the New Orleans' win.  I'm still quite shocked that the Saints won.  The Colts were the favorites and if they had played the entire game like they did in the first quarter they would have won by a landslide.  I don't know what happened but in the second half they played like they didn't even want it, and so of course they didn't get it.  The Who played the half time show and it was quite good, though shorter than the past few years.  The only thing that was missing was the commercials.  You know, the amazing, extremely hilarious, sides splitting in laughter, commercials that are always aired during the Super Bowl in the US.  Unfortunately, us expats no longer have the right to enjoy the time-honored tradition of the Super Bowl commercial.  Which is why I have to watch them online tonight.  I have to at least know what everyone is talking about!


Other than missing out on the commercials, I love watching the Super Bowl in another country.  It's a great way to come together as Americans and feel unified around an event that is purely American.  It gives you a taste of home and a truly American experience, no matter where you are and it is one of the few times a year that I feel a complete link to America here in Paris.  Not to mention it's nice to meet other Americans.  And this is why I make an effort to watch the Super Bowl every year, no matter where I am.  Two years ago it was in Paris, last year I watched it while on vacation in Budapest, and this year it was back in Paris.  And I never regret the choice to stay up until 4:30am (the game starts at 12:30am and ends around 4-4:30am for us here in Paris) on a Sunday night to watch the highlight of the NFL season.  Sure I was tired at work today, but it was worth it, even if the Colts let me down!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The apartment

Well, I don't have photos yet since we won't have our keys until we sign the lease on Thursday (I can't wait, it's so soon!), but I thought I would post the layout of our new apartment.
I'm pretty excited about moving and I've been busy the past week looking at furniture and trying to decide where to put everything in the new place.  We are definitely going to build a bar to separate the kitchen from the living room.  But that's about all that we have decided on so far...other than that we can't entirely seem to agree on where to put everything and on what new furniture to buy.  All I know is, this move is going to be very expensive with agency fees, paying extra rent for the month since we have to pay for our current apartment and half the month in our new apartment, the security deposit, building a kitchen, and the other furniture we want/need.  It's going to put a serious dent in our savings accounts.

Then, in the next few months (when it starts getting nice) we plan to get a table for the garden, a barbeque, vegetable plans, and the cat!!!

Lionel's parents are coming up next weekend and staying for a week to help us with shopping, building, cleaning and moving.  We also have some friends who are willing to help, so hopefully the move goes smoothly.  We also have two weeks to move, so it should be okay, though I would rather do it as quickly as possible to get out of this horrible place!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Une très bonne nouvelle!!!

I'm happy to say that we have found THE apartment!  And we have been accepted!  We had been looking and looking and we couldn't really find anything amazing.  I finally visited an apartment in Villejuif that was not bad.  The layout of the apartment was very nice, it was big with a large kitchen, a nice bathroom, and a little dressing (walk-in closet).  The only problem was the location in Villejuif at the end of the line 7 with no supermarkets nearby.  We finally decided to apply for it anyway because we hadn't found anything else.  I dropped off the file Thursday and then got home and found an announcement for another apartment that sounded interesting.  Lionel called and was able to set up a visit for Friday morning.  He visited (unfortunately I was at work) and fell in love. 

I got home from my morning lesson before he had to leave for work, so we talked about it and decided to apply for this apartment as well, even though I hadn't seen it.  I had one photo and a layout of the apartment to go off of, but it sounded great to me.  After work on Friday I rushed to the agency and managed to turn in our file 2 minutes before they closed.  Lionel called them back this morning to make sure the lady had received our file, and she told us we got the apartment!!!!!!

So what's it like???

Cons:
  • The layout of the apartment isn't nearly as nice as the one in Villejuif.
  • It does not come with eau chaude (hot water) et chauffage (heating) collectifs (included), but the apartment in Villejuif did.
  • The kitchen needs to be entirely built...it is only a sink, as so many French kitchens are.  But I think we are going to be able to make something decent nonetheless.  We are going to separate it a bit from the living room by building a bar with a counter, drawers and cabinets and we are going to put cabinets on the wall above the sink and washing machine, and we are even going to put in an exhaust hood for above the stove.  This way we should have enough storage space and it will feel like a real kitchen but still be open, which I prefer.
  • Not a lot of closet space so we are going to lose some space to creating storage.
  • The bedroom is a little small.
  • Ground floor facing north (which Lionel doesn't like, but I don't care about)

Pros:
  • In the KB, just like I wanted.
  • Close walking distance to the new mall in the KB which will be opening soon, complete with Auchan (my favorite supermarket in France)
  • Very close to the metro
  • We will still have all my favorite buses
  • 40 m2 (twice the size of our current studio)
  • One bedroom and a living room
  • A very nice bathroom with bathtub
  • Water heater big enough for a lot of showers
  • A real closet in the bedroom (though not a dressing)
  • Comes with a parking space, and Lionel said we could most likely bring the car up from his parents' house!
  • And the best for last....a 55 m2 private garden!  Just one metro stop outside of Paris!  This is what made us say we absolutely HAD to have this apartment.  We will be able to put a table out and eat outside when it's nice.  We are going to get a barbeque to use in the nice weather.  I am going to be able to grow vegetables like I've been wanting.  AND, Lionel promised me that if we got this apartment he would let me get a cat because it would be able to safely go outside in our private garden and also be inside!
  • All this for only 800 euros/month!!!!!!!!!
Needless to say, I'm super excited.  We sign the lease on the 11th and get the keys the same day, so we will be moving in soon!  I finally feel like something is going right in our lives!  And we will finally be able to live like adults!  Here's to moving up in the world!