As I Was Saying…. Of French and Toastmasters

We are skipping Sunday. It was a drizzly and rainy day and I once again lazed. The entire day. Between sleeping and doing things, I kept busy in the midst of the laze. I WAS busy. But I don’t think I had anything to show for it – except a couple French books for a few minutes, listened to the news on SlowFrench.com, surfed. OH YES. Surfed for things on Amazon.fr.

Amazon.fr is NOT like Amazon.com. Well, ok, it is – but it is in French. And I swear not as customer-friendly. I was searching for three things: Epsom salts (you can’t buy them here!), printer cartridges for the new used printer (very expensive in stores) and magnesium pills (research suggests that my stiff muscles could be a magnesium deficiency.). All three things seem either impossible to find or very expensive in a French store. So I was so delighted to find all three on Amazon.fr.

But there’s more. Remember – 3 steps here for 1 in the US. So I could have it delivered to my house but there is all that door code stuff and they ask about the concierge, etc. Didn’t want to go there. BUT there is a nice system here whereby Amazon will drop the package off to a delivery station – these are post offices, businesses, stores. Whatever. I find 10 around me. Whoopie. Then I just go there and pick them up. Super.

I am learning I should not get prematurely excited. Once I put all the payment info in, Amazon.fr is “tres desole” But those three items cannot be delivered to that place. Huh? So I picked another place. OK. Non, Amazon.fr remains “desole.” And a third. “ Mais oui, tres tres desole.” I went to Amazon.com who was delighted to deliver the pills to my CA address for a friend to bring over. I gave up on the Epsom salts and I bought printer ink at the expensive store.

Amazon.fr wins. I lose.

Hmmm. For skipping Sunday, I said a lot. And of course the result of the lazing was that I couldn’t sleep. So I started in on The Moveable Feast by Hemingway. I must admit that I haven’t read much Hemingway. The verdict is still out – except that this one is, mais oui, about Paris.

Monday started a busy week. I met with Claire, the conversation exchange person who is in publishing. She says she is quite fluent in writing English but very uncomfortable speaking. I would say my French is better than her English. But that’s ok. I think we hit it off and have scheduled another meeting in two weeks (I will be in The Netherlands next week). Hitting it off is important. You have to trust the other person will be honest with you and correct you as needed. And you have to have things you can feel comfortable talking – just chatting – about. She can’t meet on weekends – they are typical Parisian – they have a house in the country and leave every weekend. Alain does too. Alain and I are meeting both Wednesday and Friday this week.

After Claire, I discovered Darty – the Best Buy of France. Except on a so much smaller scale. Everything is on a smaller scale. Although, I recall in Tours there was an Auchon (not sure of that name) outside the center of town that was more like a Walmart size… But not here in Paris. Next time I am in NY, I will have to check out the Targets in the city. Maybe it’s more city life than Paris life?

And home to meet the landlady for a variety of fixes… and installing the printer I bought from her. Of course, I may have ink but I don’t have paper. We used notepad paper to test it. It’s on the list for tomorrow.

And that is exciting! Big trip to Monoprix for a DELIVERY….

The night ended with Toastmasters. In college, I actually dropped out of any class that required an oral presentation. I started to feel comfortable presenting in my thirties. So I was never really drawn to Toastmasters until someone told me that it taught him how to write a speech. Now that is a useful skill. There are over 5 English speaking Toastmaster clubs here in Paris. There was so much more structure than I realized. And while I normally get bored with structure, this makes sense. And once again, I met wonderful people – a Belgium woman who worked in Munich but was here on business and visiting – extremely fluent. Several Irish, a couple American. A Brit who teaches English here and has lived in Paris for 20 years. I am so jealous of the British who can just move here and find a job without all the hassles we non-EU folks have.

And I got a fabulous text from a close friend to say she is getting married!!! Congrats! Nice way to end the day. Just hope I sleep tonight. I have to be up early at Monoprix!

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