Friday, January 29, 2010

The Update

- Car still not fixed

- Cards in non existing wallet, still not yet recieved. (I have one U.S. dollar left to my name which is about 60 cents of a Euro).

- Returning from my trip my suitcase was lost in transition.

- Cell phone minutes Zero

So no car, no money, no phone, no clothes, make up or other daily goods- but just had an amazing week being filled up with people and vision. That's all I need. Life is good!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bored? Never!

Top Ten ways to Stave off boredom

1. Learn a new language- Spend time in a place where every time you want to speak you have to figure out how to say it. And saying it wrong you get to look like an idiot. You are bound to end up in awkward situations and laughing at the ridiculous things you say. But when you are shopping for new glasses be sure to say you want them to make you face look good, not your butt look good.

2. Make meals and then drop it all on the ground, then you can start all over again from step one of shopping for the ingredients.

3. Make plans to meet friends after work but then walk to the public transportation and use two hours to get there instead of thirty minutes it should take. This way you can watch the people on the train, and be late to hanging out with your friends. Then when you see your friends, you can feel horrible about being the “late girl,” yet again.

4. Become obsessed with a ridiculous tv show that other people are ridiculously obsessed about. Then spend endless hours reading the same thing over and over again- no no no it’s not mind numbing it’s culturally enriching I promise.

5. Create chaos- if you need ideas try a few of mine- crashing someone’s car, locking yourself out of your apartment, or losing your passport in an airport. All of these will help you spend an invaluable amount of your time. And teach you a great deal on how to work well under pressure and stress.

6. Get lost- and find your way again. This becomes particularly entertaining when you miss your roundabout exit. We all loved carousels as kids- so think of it as a big kid carousel, round and around you go.

7. Stalk your Facebook friends. That way rather than doing something you can see what everyone else is doing minute by minute of the day. Keep watching the livefeed feature. Think you are the only one single and not having babies? You’re right! Just keep watching those wedding, baby, and engagement announcements as they pop up as common as wall-street standings.

8. If you live in France, go to Carrefour- there is NO WAY you are getting out of this store in less than an hour. Even if you don’t buy a single object, it’s impossible to get in and get out.

9. If it’s a Sunday and everything is closed- go to Ikea. Where else can you go to pick out an entire new home? Plus if you buy anything you are bound to spend hours with that small wrench they graciously give you, to assemble the bookcase you didn’t need- but would just look perfect in that one corner.

10. Follow Mademoiselle Gaga’s advice and “Just Dance.” Turn the music up- and go crazy dancing like no one’s watching or can hear you singing. And if you hear banging on the walls- just you’re your speakers up a bit louder, then the banging won’t interrupt your groove.

This was part of Mamakat's writers workshop- want to participate, head on over HERE.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Day 11

Day 11- Car window still smashed. Giant hole- still existing. Yesterday this idea had me smashed to pieces and today it has me saying… but of course.

Seriously, why is it that you can drive someone’s car and destroy it, but you can’t fix it? After days and days of waiting to hear back from the insurance agency, I was told that they would only speak to the owners of the car.


The owners of Shattered Glass Car- are on a five week trip to S. Africa (thus why I had their car). So it’s been about two weeks with them gone (and about two weeks of a smashed window, you do the math)- which means three MORE weeks till the car can be fixed. So! Frustrating!

The interesting part of the conversation that I didn’t quite understand; was that in regards to car insurance, the law says that they can only deal with the owners. But, with Bank accounts, they can talk to someone else? Hmmm… that makes me feel great about my wallet that went M.I.A. last week after a trek through the metro. Glad whoever has the wallet can call up my bank and freely discuss my empty bank account status.

Okay – back to the car situation. It’s been raining for the last several days- thankfully I have a garage to park the car under to keep it from being flooded. But then again, if I didn’t have a garage then I probably wouldn’t have a smashed window in the first place.

I just want to fix the car. It shouldn’t be this complicated. But then again, learning how to do everything in a new way in this country is never simple.

The American in me is coming out in this situation. I want to put my foot down and demand service. Or there’s 5 yr old that came out of me yesterday, as I threw a balling tantrum on my floor. I must find a way to get this fixed. There must be a way to “work the system.” So if any of you… have a free Renault Scenic back door you want to send my way, I’ll take it. Or if you know how to work the French car insurance system, Even Better!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

My Confessional

Okay- time for a confession.

I have started watching the bachelor. I know! All those times friends from home were watching and invited me over, or there were bachelor watching parties in my college lobby, I would decline the offer and do something else. How I got hooked into this season- while away from home, I don't know. But I am hooked like this show is to cheesy love anaolgies.

I mean seriously who couldn’t get hooked on a show where you know there is a 1 in 25 chance odds of finding love. And I get the joy of watching it all take place- meaning I get to live vicariously through 25 different women. Well… except for the skanky ones, drama girls, or those that just plain annoy me. So actually only vicariously through one or two.

The bachelor this year is Jake. I adore Jake. Some think he’s dorky- but I think he’s charming, respectful, and gorgeous. Dang- why didn’t I apply to be on the show this year? Ha! I also like the decisions he has made in sending the girls home. This week I was glad to see Michelle but even more Elizabeth go home.

Jake- The Bachelor

Miss Kiss me, Kiss me Not Elizabeth. You are a tease. At least when the other girls try to "wooo" Jake they admit to their shameless ways. But you… you just took it to a whole other level and made yourself look like a fool. I am glad Jake realized this, before he was set off into a life time of manipulation. I liked you when you played football- you had a great arm, but you played one too many games on this show for me.

Miss Kissing Tease

Corey- is a fave of mine. She doesn’t get much time on the screen which doesn’t give me too much hope for how long she will last. But I think she is cute and sweet. During the group date this week they each had to perform during a comedy show- I thought her performance was the best and thought it was cute she could show the different personalities of the girls in the house.


This week I think many people were happy to say bye bye to Michelle. I actually liked her too. I thought she was crazy and had too much faith in this system- but she put her heart out there- and got sent home in a Taxi cab. Oh, and saying, “That’s all I get?” After you beg for a kiss. How you didn't impress him, I just don't know?


Again- many people from what I gather are not big fans of Vienna. But... I like her too. I think she is fun and bubbly, but according to the girls in the house fake. GASP! Fake girls on reality TV??? Next thing you are going to tell me, is not everything is 100% accurate! And I don’t think I could handle that. Please wait a moment while I alter my world view.

Okay i'm back. Only time will tell the what will happen with Vienna, but at this moment I am a fan. Last night the show started out great with her one on one with Jake- and I thought she was really good for him. But I do think she is too young. She’s only 23- he’s 31, and you can tell this girl likes to go out and have her fun. Jake’s looking for marriage so… I will have to stay tuned for how this 1 out of 12 love story ends.


The one I hope for the most is sweet Tenley. Tenley really does come across as America’s sweet heart. She’s been vulnerable, goofy, gets along with the girls, and has refrained thus far from the in house drama. But what has me rooting for her is when Jake is with her you see the special spark in Jake’s eyes. They both seem comfortable and intrigued by the other. I like them.


There is one more reason– other than rooting and booing the hopes of love of these women I know nothing about, other than what ABC creates, to watch this show. The Dresses, Duh! So this weeks Best Dress award goes to Ali! Loved the dress (but not your attitude this week)- but your still cute and a fave for now.

Three girls went home- leaving 9 more to go! Who will it be??? Only time and love will tell. Until then-

Happy Bacheloring!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Curious Kate

I am always looking for the extraordinary. Looking for something outside of my zone- something beyond my reach. Curiosity has always been one of my best friends. So much so, that my nick-name as a child was Curious George. There is no person I see, that I don’t want to meet and know their story. There is no adventure that I do not want to attempt, no soil or land I do not want to touch. In life there is so much to explore and experience I get giddy thinking of all the possibilities that exist within our reach to venture.

In talking to a friend this week about my last two month spell of mishaps, bumps, and ruts of life, led me to the comment, “People say these things can happen to anyone- but they don’t just happen to anyone, they always inevitably happen to Katie Hickey. Why do I have to be Katie Hickey?” Meaning- whether in Cali, DC, Paris, or anywhere else in the world- why do I find myself in situations of despair and repair. Losing things is my forte. And finding them- is my fortuity. How I don’t lose my mind in the process is a miracle. Accidents, have become been a new addition for the last few weeks, and I desperately hope this is not now a pattern, but a slump of misfortunate occurrences. I am beginning to more and more understand the saying, “Curiosity killed the cat.”

After making the statement, “Why Katie Hickey? Why me?” I was quickly shot a thought of reality of how fortunate I am. Yes- Katie Hickey gets her fair share of floods, important documents M.I.A, and being a walking disaster. But these things are what come along with the other great things that Katie Hickey does have. I quickly realized that if I was not in such a position of fortune, of living my Curious George dreams, I wouldn’t have the problems associated with them.

A lost wallet would still be a lost wallet anywhere in the world and It will always be a hassle- but replaceable. A car crash- though probably easier to deal with in your native tongue, would still be scary and troublesome. If I wasn’t in France exploring, I would never of had this accident. I would never have had the opportunity to learn the lessons of snow- and how to and not to drive in it. The last time my driveway in California had snow on it was… Never. And will never. It would have been a missed opportunity to live and learn.

I am fortunate. My curiosity and love for the Lord and life has brought me to the crazy and simple life I live here in France. I love every moment of it. Yes, even the difficult ones. Because in each moment I am learning something new about France, God, and Myself. It’s an incredible journey and one that makes me thankful that I do get to be who Katie Hickey was created to be.

After being here in France for a year- my learning curve is not quite as steep as it was on day one. I am not fully overwhelmed with each and every new experience. Though, new experiences and lessons are always being learned. I am excited for the time ahead for France and me. For the time where I take what I have learned, and use my curiosity, to bring my current knowledge to a deeper more detailed and intimate level. I am excited to grow more comfortable with the French life and all the beauty they have to offer in the art of living a life at a Moins Vite ( slower) pace.

No Matter what happens from here, one thing is for sure, this chic cat will not be killed- nor will her curiosity surrender.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Shattered Glass

Snow- it’s beautiful when it falls. It glistens, and falls lightly creating a feeling of beauty all around on a cold winters day. And after the beauty and enchantment wears off… it debilitates you. Last week it snowed again. Europe and France is seeing a record amount of snow since the early 1980’s and it just keeps shimmering down, landing on the ground, and remaining in places it doesn’t belong.

When it snowed last week the first day I called work and said, I would be working from home- I didn’t want to drive on the unplowed roads. The next day, again there was lots of snow on my parking garage driveway and I didn’t want to attempt getting out. I had someone come and pick me up for work. Day Three, repeat. Day four- Saturday. The driveway looked better, I saw some cars from the garage have managed to break free from the underground dungeon, and decided to make my escape.

I get in my car, pull out, open the garage door, and begin my accent up the drive way. It is a long drive way. I start off well, reaching nearly to the top before the tires begin to spin in circles and I feel the car moving backwards. No! No! No! Break Break break!!! Why aren’t the breaks working? Emergency break?! Nope! Ice. Is. Winning.

Pumping the breaks, I keep sliding. I am still saying, “No. No. No.” But the ice and gravity are conquering all my efforts and I am praying there is not another car behind me that I am going to repel into backwards. I am falling backwards quickly and as turned my head to look back and see if there was anything behind me, exactly as my head turned around to see clearly, there was a booming SMASH and I see the garage door slammed into my rear glass window. Instantaneously, the garage door was missing, I was covered in glass, and due to the momentum the car was now stuck on top of the garage door, that one second ago shattered my window, into the pieces now covering me.

If you think this looks bad, you should see the other guy.

Place head in hands, now.

Frozen and unable to move. Terrified to move the car off of the iron gate, out of fear of popping the tires of the car, I do my best to reverse the car. Thankfully- one of the cars that did exit the garage parked in the first slot and I was able reverse and park there. With all four tires still full of air.

"The Other Guy"

Clean up. Ick. Lots and lots of sweeping.

This garage door is heavy. When my parents were in town, sometimes my clicker wouldn’t open and it would take all three of us to lift the door open. I now had to push the door out of the way of other drivers in case they attempted to go down the driveway. After thirty minutes of pushing and pulling I was able to move the door enough out of the way of drivers and begin the clean up of the car.

So this was my great tragedy of Saturday. This week, a group of us have been working through getting the issues resolved. My apartment manager acknowledged that the driveway is steep and covered with ice. Apparently he had asked the guardian of the building to de-ice it, but the guardian had, “run out of salt.” Gee for three days- three days I was stuck inside unable to go buy salt. Not to mention the last snow fall, the ice was not cleared either. Run out must be code for, “too lazy to do something about it.” But they have been very gracious and understanding thus far about the situation and for that I am very thankful.

Yesterday was my first day driving since Saturday. After the management heard about the accident, amazingly enough the ice was completely dissolved like magic. Poof! Gone. Amazing right? (Though it was still 2 days after the crash.) Yesterday, When I woke up I noticed that the driveway was a bit wet and walked up the entire drive way feeling for any ice, I had to ensure I was not slipping and a sliding my way back down again.

Hopefully next time I go sliding down some snow, it will be in the French Alps and not my drive way. But until then my relationship with snow, “has been broken like Shattered Glass.”

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Starting again

Yesterday I was so excited about today's arrival. The day I would wake up smiling at the survival of one year in France. The world would be my oyster.

I woke up refreshed. Oh, the possibilities the day beholds. I was going to spend the day with Mon Amie Annie, shopping (the big sales are happening) and dinner at night. I decided the best way to start the day would be with crossiants! (after all breakfast is the most important meal of the day)-

But then tradgedy hit. My biggest, scariest mistake that has happened since my arrival. It was a strange experience. It was like watching it from an out of body experience. Happening slow motion, but all too quickly to stop it from happening. A tragic ending was envitable. The Good news is I am safe, and okay. I have alot to fix and make better, but for as bad as this is, it's the best it could be.

Today, I didn't leave my apartment. I have been here all day cleaning up the mess. No shopping- just sweeping and pushing around heavy stuff then more sweeping. I was pretty distraught but I am keeping a positive attitude.

I am disappointed but I know it will be okay. I smiled a few times being able to take care of things on my own. I didn't need to wait for someone else to make calls for me. One of my biggest anxieties this year was being fully helpless. But today- when I made a mistakes, I was able to compose myself and start taking care the situation. I still need the help of others, but it is comforting to know I could at least make a start.

So... today wasn't the best way to start off again, but that's life- and that's my life of growing up here. I will smile, move forward, fix my mistakes, and do my best to keep forging ahead without being discouraged.

One day- i'll be able to say what exactly happened today- it will probably be on my blog of the biggest mistakes I have made while away- and what a long blog that will be. Might be the longest one I ever post! But - God is good, I am blessed, and tomorrow is a new day. (Hopefully a day without any mishaps!)

Friday, January 8, 2010

The snow a year ago

Dinner, family, friends what better way to spend an evening. Everyone is excited but also somber. I am delighted with anticipation of what the future holds. Well wishes of, “good luck!”, “You’ll do great.” , and “I love you, I’ll miss you.”, take place. Lots of tight warm hugs, laughter of memories shared, and long last glances before the night comes to a close.

Up early in the morning- had to catch a flight. Mom’s tearful goodbye, chokes me up. Best friend hands off a goodie bag, I say goodbye and head to the security checkpoint. Wave goodbye and pass through the X-ray machines. One last glance. Good bye…

Restless the whole flight through, unable to sleep, praying the plane doesn’t go down, the whole 12 hour flight. Whole flight the iPod played "Wicked," Defying gravity.

Land. (phew!) Snow is on the ground. It’s cold, but beautiful. I take a deep breath and realize- I am not getting back on the plane for a return flight for a really really long time. Reality hits. The same way it hits when you belly flop into a pool.
I am graced with a two hour nap. Then off to Ikea. It’s a mad house and I am in a daze. I am supposed to be picking out apartment goodies- but I have no idea what my apartment looks like. I just want to be in my bed at home, my home in San Diego. My home where I know everything, and everyone knows me.

That night, I get my one free phone call. It’s to my two best friends. Me, balling. Words, unable to come out. But all I could keep thinking was, “I moved here!!! Why didn’t I realize I was MOVING! No friends, no family, no place to live. Nothing. Just the faith that it was all going to workout, but even that was quite a small faith and hidden under the blanket of fear and reality telling me everything I love is very very far away.”

Somewhere between this long and very vivid day, A LOT has happened. I have traveled to more fascinating places than I ever dreamed, I have flooded my apartment, I have fallen on my butt (literally in my weekend market), met great friends, fallen in love with the Frencheis, had great friends come visit, gone sky diving, lived by myself for a year, learned a basic amount of French, planned and ran large conferences, learned to drive roundabouts, know where to find the pickles in my grocery stores, tried more cheeses and wine than I had ever even consumed in the previous 24 years of my life, I know the difference between the N7, A6, N104, rather than the 5, 405, 78. I have been able to be like a Parisian and reference locations based on their arrondissement, made a quiche, climbed the stairs to basically every tourist attraction, and mastered how to not look like a total tourist at all times- though I am sure I still always look American. I have learned to take a step back and breathe when it all seems impossible. I have re-confirmed that if you want something- to go after it, initiative in all things, is key. But- also to slow down and enjoy the day, enjoy life. Sometimes the best ways to spend the day, is with slow walks and a picnic lingering by the Seine.

I am so so so blessed. I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by, and how many memories and lessons have been packed into the 365 days. I feel like the same girl I did one year ago, who was sitting blissfully unaware of all that was about to take place the next day, one year ago. Though I am sure that girl- wouldn’t recognize who I am today in many ways. What makes the difference between this day, and the one that took place one year ago?

I know that when I wake up tomorrow, the foreign country I will wake up in, though it once again has been dusted with snow as a remembrance of one year ago, is a place I have come to love and call home.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Speaking "Friendly" French

I would say my greatest challenge in learning to speak French, would be the learning of the proper sounds of French. While the French language may sound beautiful to most, I am genearally left repeating every work several times before getting the correct sound. Thus, not sounding to pretty to the le vrai Frenchies.

Now, while I believe that I am repeating the exact tone, inflection, and sound that a French person is speaking, their repetition of the eu, e, a, ou, qu, de, and such lead me to believe, they do not agree with me.

When I was away last week at my friends home, we would spend some time reading French together in efforts to help me with my pronunciation. It was very helpful for me, and I am sure very exhausting for my friend. After a bit of time we would have to put away the childrens book (yes CHILDRENS BOOK) and decide it was best if we just came back to this at another time.

Last night while watching friends, an episode came on that was the perfect example of the frenches and me- working on my speaking abilities. In the clip, I would be Joey, and Phoebee would be anyone who is French and has attempted to help me. My favorite part of this clip, is when Phoebee breaks down the sounds one by one and then speeds up the words. I cannot tell you how many times this exact same thing, has happened with me. Again, pretty much in any French conversation.

So without further ado... As told by Joey and Phoebee, here is the Frenchies and me, practicing French.

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010- Non Resolutions

Oh January 1st – the beginning of making and breaking resolutions, promises, and declarations for the New Year. I personally have never been one to stick to my resolutions. Surprise, surprise. So this year- I am doing the opposite. I am not making resolutions I want to obtain, but rather contradict what I really would like to do. Like reverse psychology. For example if I have always said I am going to read one book a week- and failed, it’s just a failure to add on my list of things undone. BUT! If I say I will not read at all- reading anything would be a real success, but if I don’t read anything at all- I at least met my resolutions and no failing there. Sounds good to me! Really in life, just always set the bar low- that way you can just step right on over it with no effort at all, or just continue laying idly on the floor.

Thus I give you my Non-Resolutions of 2010!

- I want to read and watch no news ever. I do not need to know what is going on in the world. This year when my internet homepage opens to the New York Times, I will not stop to read the articles but continue to go directly to TMZ and get all the latest and greatest Hollywood gossip. Besides, who needs to know about what’s really going on in the world, when you can keep plenty of conversations going with the newest scandal of the day.

- I want to gain 20 pounds. Yes gain. No no no don’t gasp and think I am crazy. Crazy would be for the last 10 years resolving to lose 20 pounds, and then lose 5 gain 5. Lose 10 gain 10. That would be crazy. So I don’t want to lose weight – gain it. Take off the pressure and see what happens from there. Pain Chocolate here I come.

- Going with gaining weight- I want this year to be a year of sitting watching loads of t.v. and movies and not a single day of working out. I want to be a couch potato not a lean mean dancing machine. No more promising to workout five three days a week while filled with a lackluster attitude to actually accomplish the working out. I want no little beads of sweat to drip from this head for the next 365 days.

- GMAT. Psh! More like SnoooozeMat. In a month I am supposed to take the GMAT. All I want to do is fail. I also don’t want to get into any of the schools I am considering applying to. No overachieving for me this year. In fact- how about no studying at all. I mean do I really need to learn to speak French while living in France? What a silly question, cause I surely think not.

- When my alarm goes off- I give myself the freedom to continue to sleep an hour (or two) past the original sound off. Nothing is more pleasurable than waking up every five minutes to blaring bad music and hitting the snooze button, to cuddle up for more sleep. So no waking up when I am supposed to. I mean being late is just part of being human right? So here’s to being more human.

- And last but definitely the least of what I want this year, is a mighty fine man. My moto this year, “No Boys Allowed!” So please do me a favor and stay away all charming, loving, sweet, funny, hot, gorgeous boys. I just do not have time for you in my life and really just want to focus on myself, friends, and career. Having a boy in 2010 would just be too too much to handle. So this year- no boys. Of all the resolutions, this one is the one that must be abided to the most. There is no leeway- So sorry boys, this year- you are not going to be thought about, longed for, or flirted with. See you in 2011.

So I hope you all have success with your New Years Resolutions. But most importantly I hope that 2010 will be a start of a great year of personal, spiritual, physical, and emotional growth for you all. It’s a new year, a fresh start, and the dawning of a horizon of new opportunities for you.

Happy New Years!