my new paris.

Image via my Instagram

Being a new mom in Paris I feel like I'm seeing the city afresh. New experiences abound! I've seen the city through the eyes of a tourist (cue in my silk floral scarf, bonjour la France!), as a new resident (cue in being broke, bonjour baguettes for dinner!) fast forward seven years to being someone's mother (bonjour, holy shit.) I find myself doing things I have never done before like taking the bus since my métro doesn't have an escalator, clipping diaper coupons only to be told by the clerk after I paid that it was expired who then instructed me to stand on another line for fifteen minutes in order to correct the 20 centimes discrepancy and a newfound aversion to my once-upon-a-time afternoon glass of wine. 

It was my third week being a mom. Aurel was back to work after his two-week paternity leave and my mom who was in Paris to help me had returned to New York, so it was just me and my little Georges. I remember looking at him that first day alone and saying, "So, now what to we do?" 

It was a sunny late-autumn day, so I figured I'd take him for a walk and if ambition struck, we'd go get a drink at the corner brasserie. Dreaming big.  

In the past, a trip to a local brasserie usually involved enjoying a cheap glass of wine with a book. But having little interest in wine these days and with it being my first trip out with my freshly born son I was, of course, going to order something else, but what?

I don't drink that bitter Café Richard espresso, I think paying 5€ for a small bottle of Perrier is ridiculous, and even more ridiculous is paying 6€ for a pot of hot water and an 8 cent bag of tea. So, what do I get? I wondered, looking at the menu before deciding on a chocolat chaud. I was a maniac that day, let me tell you.

Pleased with my choice, I got settled into the tiny little chair my thighs were dripping over because the booths were for parties of two or more (apparently my son hadn't reached human being status yet) and looked down at my baby who was compact like a little cornish hen in the Bobawrap. This mommy thing isn't so difficult, I got this, I thought as I looked out the window on this gorgeous autumn afternoon in Paris. Then I realized that I didn't order a chocolat viennois. A hot chocolate with whipped cream...the best part. Fuck. 

My hot chocolate shortly arrived in the nude without his fluffy whipped cream coat in a wimpy little cup. Boo. 

One thing I try to avoid here in France is having conversations with servers in brasseries (not restaurants...brasseries) because they're mean. I like to just order. Have it arrive. And eat it. Anything beyond that in my experience becomes a situation.

So, what to do? Do I let the whipped cream go because my fat ass didn't need it? (I didn't like that idea.) Do I send it back and order the chocolat viennois? (Ha. Ha. Yeah. Right.) Or do I ask for a side of whipped cream? Asking for a side of anything isn't really done here, but I thought it was the most reasonable out of the three. 

"May I have a side of whipped cream please?" I asked the server who  I had to practically lasso back over to my table.

"But you ordered a hot chocolate."

"I know, I forgot that I was supposed to order a chocolat viennois."

"Well, yeah, that comes with whipped cream."

"I know. May I have whipped cream on the side?"

"You have to order chocolat viennois for the whipped cream."

"I know now."

"That one is with whipped cream."

"I'm not French."

"Oh, okay."

He returned moments later with an embarrassing martini glass filled about a foot high with whipped cream. There I was: sitting in a tiny chair. Wearing my child. With a glass filled with whipped cream. He then plopped a new check down on the table...for three. extra. euros. The additional check brought my hot cocoa trip to a whopping 8€, more than the price had I just ordered the chocolat viennois from the start and more for a pot of tea.

To my left were smug teenagers who side smirked each other at my apparent overall discomfort. To my right was an elderly woman who eyed my Bobawrap with obvious disgust because my child wasn't in a proper pousette. By now I'm used to getting scolded at by French old ladies on the street about everything I'm doing wrong as a mother, but that day being the first time, I just felt like I had royally failed our first time going outside and wanted to cry.

I wanted to leave. I just wanted to get out of there. I was annoyed, embarrassed, getting hot and still kind of wanted my whipped cream but not like this. So, I called Aurel to complain and to threaten to him that I was going to leave.

"You can't leave. You ordered it."

"I didn't touch any of it," I whined.

"Now we know never to go back there but since this is your first time out with the baby, it's complicated as is. Just pay and go." 

He was right. Adding the hysteria of a "dine and ditch" on top of everything else would be just asking for it.

As I was cumbersomely pulling my wallet out of my bag, which set off another grunt from the woman because I had to ever-so-slightly lean over, Georges began to cry. But not because he wasn't in a pousette, but because he was too hot. Now dine and ditching was really off the table, as I couldn't stealthily slither out of the restaurant with a screaming baby.

To comfort him and get him to some air, I pulled him out of the Bobawrap, but the fabric of the wrap got a hold of his little baby sweatpants and a sock. So, the new image of us in the café was me holding up my three-week-old son. In October. Wearing one sock. A bear coat. And no pants.

Before the comment even escaped the woman's mouth, I turned to her and said, "I know, madame, my child should be wearing pants," slapped the money on the table and booked it to the bathroom as one hot mess.

This is my new Paris: I'm externally pregnant with my Bobawrap, I order hot chocolates, I look kind of ugly these days, and I bicker with elderly woman out in public. Paris may be a city steeped in its historical past, but for its inhabitants, it's a continuous evolution. Bonjour, my new Paris.

is paris always a good idea?

No, you haven't reached a different site. It's me. I just got a little bit of a facelift over here. So, bonjour! 

As I start to tick things off my to-do list...from 2015, I'm realizing that it's going to be a busier year than it was set out to be. Because last year was devoted to creating tiny life and feeling either hungover or stoned, cleaning up my blog and organizing years worth of essays got steamrolled by doing more important things like eating bread and sitting on my couch while staring off into space. Like I said, stoned. 

But it's 2016, my little guy is starting to develop a social life with Sophie the Giraffe, and my energy is slowly starting to return. Thank. God. I've turned back to light blogging to get back in the habit of writing again, (which for me was really difficult last year) and have picked up some writing assignments to warm up the writing muscles that stayed somewhat dormant for a good part of last year. 

With this renaissance, I wanted to come up with a new name since my pen name no longer made sense. The question was how can I convey my experiences in Paris while staying true to the theme of the blog? This blog has always been a peek into the Paris we don't read about on style blogs or the Paris that isn't depicted in perfume ads. But rather the humorous side of Paris for the single girl who dates guys who think she's fat, the broke girl who can't afford well...Paris, the nanny who sort of hates kids, the Fashion Week fatass whose boss was born in 1989, the heartbroken girl who can't seem to get it together, the new wife who still gets zits, and now the new mother who gets her and her baby kicked out of places.

This is the Paris I know. This is the Paris I love. And these are my stories. 

So, is Paris a Good Idea? Hell yeah, otherwise I wouldn't have gone through half of this shit.  

Thank you for reading and stay tuned! There's definitely more to discuss...

both sides, now.

Me. Circa 2003.
In the throws of dating in my 20s. 

Having had a mild holiday season, last week we finally got that bone-chilling, stay-at-home, gloom and doom January that sweeps through town every year. While it is nothing compared to what the east coast got this past weekend (I hope everyone stayed safe and warm indoors), with the exception of today, which is mild and sunny, it's been, well, January in Paris. 

Yesterday, to beat the Sunday early evening blues (that I honestly thought would dissipate after high school), the three of us decided to go to our favorite local café for a drink. 

Because it was around 5 o'clock on a Sunday, the place was empty with the exception of a couple sitting at a corner booth drinking tea. We chose a table at a respectful distance from them, only to be told by the server that they had reservations coming, and was asked to sit at the table right next to the couple. 

I usually don't love practically sitting on top of the only other patrons in a restaurant, especially these small Parisian cafés, but in this particular case, I felt bad for them, a young couple in their 20s. I imagined they didn't want a baby sitting right next to them, but they seemed super engaged in their conversation that thankfully they didn't to notice.

Upon minutes of sitting in the empty and not to mention silent café waiting for the menu, it took all of 30 seconds for us to realize that the couple who were so engrossed in their conversation next to us, next to us as in we shared the banquette, next to us as in my arm was rubbing against the guy's bag, was in the process of breaking up. 

Not awkward or anything.

As we sat there, the tension and hushed drama as the girl plead and negotiated in a frantic loud whisper for the guy to stay with her was just painful, as Aurel and I scrambled for small talk to mask the heartbreak that was taking place a mere foot away. At one point I heard her complain that he hasn't "liked" her photos in over a week, and then my heart really broke for her. For both of them actually. Dating in your 20s is already tough. Dating in the heightened age of social media sounds like it must be a nightmare. It is already rife with uncertainty and insecurity, but now you have to worry about "likes." Oy vey. These poor kids.

While it's been years since I've had one of those heart-wrenching breakup talks where the conversation just goes around in circles, I certainly have not forgotten them. We all have a file stored in our memory comprised of all of those breakups and people we've dated, where you just shake your head wondering why. Why was it such a big deal? Why the drama? Because it is a big deal at the time and I understood the pain this girl was feeling right then and there. Being married with a baby certaintly doesn't erase the memories of what I remember to be one of the most confusing times of my life. The pure torture of wanting to work it out with someone who you know in your heart isn't the right one for you while being all dramatic in the corner listening to Wilco's "I am trying to break your heart," sadly made up certain parts of my 20s. (I'm pretty sure I was humming that song in the above picture. I recall not being thrilled on that gorgeous evening on an L.A. rootop bar over ten years ago.) Maybe it's a rite of passage before entering your 30s, and by law of maturity, that you have to have at least one of those really fucked up relationships, sometimes with such an awful person, that when you meet the right one, you cherish them like the preciousness that they are. 

I wanted to scooch closer to the girl and say, "Hi there, you don't know me but I'm you in like, five, maybe ten years. Trust me when I say you will one day look back at this moment and feel empowered that you got through it, and maybe just maybe you will even be friends with this guy. You will bounce back from this." But as her tears dripped into her cold cup of tea as she was getting dumped on a Sunday evening (talk about Sunday night blues...shit), asking the guy on repeat why it wouldn't work out between them, I could see she was lightyears from this reasoning and probably wouldn't want to hear from some exhausted-looking lady who was wearing her baby that t'inquiète, ça va s'arranger! 

As their breakup continued to fill the room, Aurel and I quietly looked back at some of the past relationships we've had that resulted in one of these talks, nodding in recognition the exhaustion of it all. When our drinks finally came, before we took our first sip, we acknowledged our baby who began to squirm around in his sleep, oblivious to the life and experiences he will one day have to trudge through, and smiled with relief that those crappy relationships that you emotionally wear like a battle scar are long behind us. If it weren't for those tests in life, we may have never met, and if we never met we certainly wouldn't have met our baby Michaud. So with that, we clinked our glasses to being a little older, a little more seasoned and for having graduated dating in our 20s. Thankful for being able to look at it from both sides, now.

my best self. rewritten.

I know every new year we say this, but can you believe it's already 2016? How fast it all goes, right? I remember this time last year I felt a bit "off." I could not understand why I wanted to sleep 12 hours a day, felt disenchanted by pretty much everything especially my plan of "Chariots of Fire" slow-motion success and glory I had sketched out for 2015, had an irrational hatred towards lentils (seriously, they were really pissing me off) and a fondness for radioactively colored "foods" like imitation crab and Dorito's. Well, that explanation is sitting over on the couch entertaining himself with his newly discovered feet. With 2015 behind, where I look back at most of it with this wistful nostalgia of being such a special time in my life (forgive the cliché), I'm looking at 2016 and the new year with a different eye than I usually do and rewrote the script a bit. 

I used to start off every year with an exhaustive list of goals, resolutions and how I was going to make that year the best ever and be my best self. While I appreciate the sentiment of self-improvement and achieving goals, by the end of January I'd be burned the fuck out, and just plain sick of "my best self," because to be frank, she's really annoying. My best self doesn't always have a sense of humour because she's too busy being "the best," she sees setbacks as failures instead of experiences, she puts actual importance in the false self-validity that is social media, and she thinks one missed workout will determine her entire summer. In short, she kind of sucks. It's like, take it easy, you're not Madonna. 

For 2016, while I have goals I'd like to achieve, passion projects to continue, baby weight to shed, and places to experience, I'm not merely defined by this and if I don't get around to all of it this year, as the French say, ça va. I'm grateful for the present and what I have right in front of me. In the fall, I received a part-time job that I absolutely adore writing about France for a travel company, I live with my dear love and a mini version of him, I get to carve out time to write and to do some youtube workout video that I scream at, and we got a Vegetti to make those zucchini noodles. It's little things, but it works for me right now.

So I may be little chubbier where in some photos taken over the holidays make me still look pregnant (awesome), my interests may have shifted from Fashion Week to formula, and a high-five worthy goal lies in the proper execution of a goop meal (finding the ingredients I think are half the battle!), but it's just perfect for now, taking it not day by day, but hour by hour. Perhaps this is the evolved version of my best self, the rewrite, and I like this chick. She's fun to be around and definitely more flexible with what life throws her way.

So I wish you a very happy New Year and cheers to your best self! Whatever the script may be...