Thursday, August 26, 2010

An ever-more-purposeful Parisian

You may wonder why I haven't been blogging in a few months.

Supposedly, I have been in Paris this summer. Supposedly, because that was the plan: I work in Cathedral Town, UK during the academic year, and outside of term I live in Paris, working on my writing and research. Easy, right? But it feels like I've hardly been in Paris at all: I went to two weddings, took a fantastic holiday in the US and attended a few conferences. My Paris time has flown by, much of it having been spent in my home office cursing the proofs for Book 2. (Finally! Done! Gaaah!) So, that's all happy stuff, but blogging has been pushed aside.

And then, there's the little issue of my job. I loved my work in Cathedral Town but then to my great surprise I got an interview, and then a position, at Regal College. It's a better job and a better commute to both London and Paris. This means that both academic research and marital life will be easier to juggle. The past year has been tough and now that our job anxieties have settled down, I actually feel like I could enjoy Paris. (I know, like, crazy or what?!) But in the meantime I'm moving. Again.

So, this leads us to our next project. Since MCM now has a permanent position in Paris, which he loves, and we've committed to taking the Eurostar train quite frequently, we're going to try to buy an apartment in Paris. We'll be targeting north-eastern Paris, both because of its affordability and its proximity to Gare du Nord, where the Eurostar arrives. Right now it takes a good hour to get to Gare du Nord from our apartment in the western suburbs, and that, frankly, sucks big time. It sucks enough that I am willing to DO YET ANOTHER MOVE. Because you all know that I need to move house EVERY SINGLE YEAR to keep my blood pressure up.

My plan is to gradually chronicle the experience here. It will be another primer in French bureaucracy, hopefully an entertaining introduction to the world of immobilier (French property), and a window into real Parisian apartment living. I've scanned Anglophone decoration and property magazines and websites and most of the 'authentic Parisian apartments' featured cost well over a million, of any particular reserve currency. Uh, that won't be us.

And then there's size. I'm sick of reading about (admittedly very groovy) places on Apartment Therapy and the like, with the owners cooing It was such a challenge to implement our major design plans within such a tiny space but we just love it and are so smug now blah blah blah... only to find out their idea of 'tiny' is three times as large as the 430 square feet in which MCM and I happily dwell at the moment.

And we're looking for a bit of a renovation project, too - the kind of place that is advertised as a rafraichir (needs updating). This is partly to add value, and to get the most space for our budget, and also because I really like to get my hands dirty. And keep my blood pressure high. I have to remind myself, though, that renovating a 4th floor walkup in Belleville won't be like driving to Lowe's in American suburbia and then returning home to park in your own driveway. Especially since we don't even have a car. Heck, I don't even have a licence. sniff sniff Does anyone smell disaster and chipped nails?

So, lots of excitement to come, and hopefully lots of amusing blog posts to follow in turn. Thanks to all of you who are still reading and following. Just for you, I'm also going to share some more piccies of what to wear to French weddings, in a post to follow shortly.