Sure I speak French, but please God don’t ask me a question

I heard somewhere, sometime, that if you do everything within your power to achieve a goal, the universe will provide. Now read into that what you will, but today the universe provided me with a bona fide job in a bona fide crêperie. Do you remember the crêperie that I was lusting after before Amsterdam? The very one that got me off my ass and to a computer to steal a CV from the Internet?? Well they hired me. Proving that copyright laws are made to be broken. I had a trial run from 11:30 to 14:00 today, and they are happy to keep me on! Delira avec mon staighre, so I ham.

As an aside, Karim has recently started using a landline, with a handset he borrowed from the 1980s, which he has inexplicably set to “loudspeaker”. At this very moment, there is a woman, who I can only assume is related to him, shrieking loudly at him in Arabic. Life is mad.

As for my previous colocataire, Mrs. G, didn’t she show up in the crêperie today!!! Randomly, with her friend that I had met before! However although I am now getting more skilled at showing people to their tables and asking if they would like “autres choses”, my social skills en français are a bit below par, and between that and the first-day-nerves I was struck quite dumb and barely got past beaming and bonjouring. But it’s a winning mix that, I reckon I can’t go wrong. However, I absolutely cannot initiate doing the 2 kisses, the ‘bises’, and Karim has warned me that people will think I’m weird if I don’t do them. Mrs. G’s friend was indeed looking at me very strangely, but I can’t imagine that lurching at her with my face would have made the situation any better. However, I followed up this encounter by showing off to Everyone in the Crêperie that I knew a Person -yes a Person -in their lovely city. I think they all doubted my French when I tried to explain that I had lived with this woman for a month. I can see how from the outside this may seem like the ramblings of a babbling foreigner, but I spoke truth! There is a very small but visible mark on the refrigerator in her apartment to prove it.

The crêperie staff seem very nice so far anyway, although they have all evidently worked there since the beginning of time. The other waitress who was on with me today has been there 15 years, while her mother, in the kitchen, has been there 18 years. The Breton man who owns the place doesn’t look quite old enough to have supported such long-term employment -and I had a good look at him to verify this, as he tends to stand uncomfortably close and looks me overly sincerely in the eyes. However, it must be so. He speaks in a nice low voice and I don’t think I made too many mistakes today. He said it was clear that I had worked as a waitress before (he does not need to know that this was a good 16 years ago) and the other waitress, whose name I will remember tomorrow I hope, said my French was very good. As long as Karim doesn’t show up in the restaurant, with his smirking at my stuttering (considerably increasing said stuttering, I might add) my cover will not be blown. There was a lady in the wash up who insisted I was ‘piquing’ her fingers by putting the cutlery in the basin the wrong way up (which I most certainly WAS NOT), but these people are bound to be there too. She told me in one instance not to scrape the plates as she would be left with nothing to do, but later came to me demanding to know the meaning of an unscraped plate. What can I do?? She was generally nice and friendly all the same. It’s a tiny team of people, but so far I like it.

I spent the rest of the afternoon celebrating my employment by spending all my imaginary future wages on jeans and jumpers. No I still haven’t bought the boots. But the rain has stopped you see. I don’t need them now. Not as much as I need more flimsy shirts with birds on them anyway. (I can already see the next blog forming in the distance…. It will take the shape of a seven-versed lament bemoaning the inability of flimsy patterned shirts to keep your feet warm…)

So the great advantages of employment: 1. I don’t have to worry about being income-less, and can finally stop beating myself up for wasting money on the wrong sized bin bags and a fancy folder with eight multicoloured pockets. (Actually that’s not true, it was €12.99 and I’m still ashamed of myself. I told myself it was in lieu of a filing cabinet, but if I had gone to IKEA first I could have probably BOUGHT a filing cabinet with my €12.99). But I have felt a great sense of ease and relaxation, to know that I don’t have to agonise over buying every cup of coffee. It’s a good feeling. 2. I HAVE A PURPOSE IN LIFE AGAIN!! That purpose may take the shape of rapidly serving crêpes and galettes to homesick Bretons, but it beats hanging around the apartment watching Netflix and traipsing the town en cherchant un emploi. And purposes is purposes. 3. Hopefully, this job will be a way to keep improving my French, and I don’t have to worry about having no French outlet when Karim goes on his holidays to start up his somewhat shady gaming studio in Tunisia. (Yes, life is mad, but more on Karim at a later stage). 4. I really like being a waitress. This place looks like it could get really busy too, and I love that feeling of having all the balls in the air. 5. I can start building things into my free time on regular basis soon, when I know my regular timetable. For example I can sign up to classes, and plan activities. My free time has also actually become free time, rather than work-searching and life-organising time, which will be nice. 5. IT IS MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!! I wanted to come to France, learn some French and find some work, and so far I have come to France, learned some French, and found some work! Keeping said work might be another story, but apparently if you can behave yourself for two months here they’ll give you a permanent contract, the eejits. That, however, brings me to the disadvantages of being employed: 1. I don’t know how they are going to feel about the fact that after just 6 weeks of work, I am planning to skip off home to Ireland for a week and a half. That could jeopardise the old contract quite nicely. Not sure when best to broach this topic, but probably not in the first few days anyway. 2. The nature of this work leaves me with very little free time in the evenings, which limits opportunities for expanding my circle of friends here. BUT there must be plenty people working in the service industry, who find ways to socialise and do sports. We can see… 3. No i don’t really have a number 3. All in all, happy out!!

I ate some chocolate too to celebrate. And as a we’re on the topic of chocolate, I might as well get it out of my system. It is only now that I am willing to admit to what happened on the night of Saturday 4th November, when I got independently and stociously drunk, and ate probably a half a kilogram of dark chocolate. It was a bad one. But now that I’ve confessed, I feel better.

That reminds me, I had another interview this morning as well, in a chocolaterie. The lady said she had already hired someone for the position advertised, but that she liked hiring foreigners (what kind of a thing to say is that??!) and might give me a call. However I think I blew it on the way out the door, when I refused the chocolate she offered me. This may have come across as lack of interest, but should actually have been interpreted as fear. I really just wanted to get out of there before anyone asked me a question. Questions=very scary. Even the simplest ones are always encrypted in some form of native jargon that renders them incomprehensible, and the general result is massive shame, especially when you realise they have just asked you what your name is. It’s tough, pretending your way through France, but evidently, so far it’s working!!