Ghetto Living in Paris, Part 1

Out My Window

Outside our window at sunrise, 8:28 am, Tues. 9 Dec., 2009

Yes, sunrise is at about 8:30 am right now.  Check it out:

Screen Shot sunrise-sunset-dec-09-Paris

It’s a screen shot of this site: Time and date dot com – Sun & Moon.   Believe it or not, Paris is really far NORTH. Like As Far North as Canada North. Infoplease lists Paris as 48° 48N latitude, which compares to Cornerbrook, Newfoundland or Minot, North Dakota. We’re freakin’ north of Québec (city). No, it’s not Alaska North, but a lot more north than I think the average person realizes.

What this means is that we near the Winter Soltice and the days shorten, it is dark in the morning until 8:30 and beyond, and then sun goes down before 5 pm. It’s conducive to hibernating, something I do quite a lot of these days.

I’m hibernating in part as I reacted super badly to a food on Tuesday night. I think it was pork. I woke up at 4 am with the most incredibly painful stiff neck and joint pain in my right hand (which I have almost 95% of the time, but in varying degrees depending on the weather and what I have eaten). I did some reading on rheumatoid arthritis, for which I have a lot of symptoms, and one blogger who happened to post Wednesday evening, my time, mentioned pork was a huge trigger for her. Granted, I also had eggs and a cup of caffeinated coffee and any of them could have cause the pain. It hurt, at any rate, and I am not going to eat anything of those three foods again for a few weeks. If and when I do, I will try them out without eating any other potentially-offending foods to see if I can isolate which food it was that knotted my neck and shoulders up so much. A couple of days later, the pain is easing, but it is still stiff.

Some days really suck with this whole food sensitivity thing. The past couple of days were in that category!

On Tuesday before all the pain, I met up with my new friend Priscilla again. We did not really do very much as she had a last-minute job interview that morning and had been rushing around all day after it. We wound up at the McDo’s (Frenchie for “McDonald’s”) on Ave. Secrétan where she ate some lunch and we talked for a couple of hours, and then she needed to get some smokes and I needed to pee. The McDo’s potty was a pay potty (you put a coin in the door to open it —> hassle and not free) and Priscilla speculated that it was probably dirty, so we went to get her ciggies, then I went to Monoprix to get PJ some instant coffee and Amurrican-style moutarde (mustard), and then we went to my place so I could use the bathroom. We hung out at my place for a couple more hours and had some water and some more conversation/language practice.

I learned a couple of things from Priscilla. First, I learned that in France, papered purebred dogs have to be given  names starting with a specific letter each year. There’s some info here about it at this site. This year is the letter E, so her puppy (I forgot which breed, but it is a really small and sweet-looking lapdog) is named “Eden.”

That was a new concept to me. Good thing they do not do that with kids, eh? ;-)

Another thing I learned was a proverb about wolves and their tails. Hmmm, let’s see if I can find it online.

Yup. Here we go: Quand on parle du loup, on en voit la queue. (WikiQuote: French Proverbs). It literally means, “When we speak of the  wolf and we see his tail” and it is the same meaning as “speak of the devil (and he will appear)” This site says it means:

speak of the devil (lit.: when one speaks about a wolf, one sees the tail; n.b.: the second half is often omitted, in part because of the homonym between queue and cul)

Cul, pronounced “kü,” means “ass” (not the donkey). La queue can mean an animal tail, or a ponytail in the hair (I always wondered why in late 19th and early 20th century writings about China during the Qing Dynasty, the braid that Chinese men wore was called a queue — now I know), orrrrr, a really nasty and slang-y word for “penis.” It has the equivalent of the word cock in English (not the rooster). We discussed the differences in slang words for body parts like this, and I learned a couple of more, too, for the female anatomy. It was an enlightening discussion on cultural mores and language. The linguist in me was pleased with the discussion.

Speaking of, notice anything going on with this pear I ate this morning?

An Interesting Pear - 01

An Interesting Pear - 02

An Interesting Pear - 03

An Interesting Pear - 04

An Interesting Pear - 05

Yeah, I thought so, too. Hee hee hee hee! I didn’t notice it when I bought it last week, but after I grabbed it out of the fruit basket (I make it sound so fancy — it is a leftover plastic container from packaged fruit; see “ghetto” in the next part of the blog), I saw it in my hand and started cracking up. Had to take some photos, and look how I was able to segue that into the whole blog!

Sometimes I feel so creative. :)

“Ghetto” Living in Paris

I am having a bit of an attitude problem of late. It has to do with what I started in my last blog.

PJ and I are seriously, SERIOUSLY ghetto when it comes right down to it. Kinda white trashy is what we are in a lot of respects and here we are, living in the city that represents the very ANTITHESIS of white trash and ghetto, HA! Part of me feels this ghetto-esqueness with pride, like TAKE THAT, snooty Paris! We are ghetto and we belong here, too!!

Really.

I mean, that is the angle I should take this blog. Ghetto Paris Living: How to do it. Hee hee hee hee!

Anyways, we are pretty normal is all I am saying and the other Paris blogs out there seem to take this kind of fancy-shmancy attitude because people want to believe in some kind of DREAM about Paris that sort of exists, and a lot of blogs “out there” emphasize and promote this dreamlike quality (not naming names here, but you can probably guess which ones by a quick glance at that blogroll have posted). When it comes right down to it, I do not want that kind of a blog.

I spend a lot of time reading up on and researching Paris-based blogs (for example, see the blog links on my top page), and a lot of what I read really does emphasize a version of Paris that everyone wants to read about: the fairytale kind of version.

Heck, I even like reading this stuff, else I would not spend so much time doing it, but there is a part of me that can go on Paris Overload with it. A lot of it is really pretty elitist stuff, too, like you HAVE to have Pierre Hermés macarons, or you have not had a proper one, and you have to shop at Galaries Lafayette, or you have not really shopped. You have to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, or you have not really seen Paris…

Stuff like that. It’s stuff based on keeping up the mythos of what is, I have come to understand, a magical city in many regards. I can’t help but feel, however, that Paris is like the Popular Girl in high school who has her minions to do her PR. You knowwww, maybe you have seen Gossip Girl — it is like how in the first season Blair Waldorf has Queen Bee status for a while (until she loses it, along with her virginity, to Chuck Bass) and has all those friends around her to do her bidding and keep up her appearances.

Paris is like this kind of Teen Queen Bee and bloggers gush over her food, her fashion, her parks and buildings, and her cultural panache. Hell, even I have done some of that here as I am genuinely impressed with a lot of Paris’ plumage.

But if you think I am that kind of chick who is In the Paris Know, wining and dining with her French and Expat elite, heh — no. No way.

I am, pretty much, ghetto.

Literally, ghetto means,

A usually poor section of a city inhabited primarily by people of the same race, religion, or social background, often because of discrimination.

An often walled quarter in a European city to which Jews were restricted beginning in the Middle Ages.

or

Something that resembles the restriction or isolation of a city ghetto

(source)

Urban Dictionary, however, says this about ghetto:

1. (n.) an impoverished, neglected, or otherwise disadvantaged residential area of a city, usually troubled by a disproportionately large amount of crime
2. (adj.) urban; of or relating to (inner) city life
3. (adj.) poor; of or relating to the poor life
4. (adj.) jury-rigged, improvised, or home-made (usually with extremely cheap or sub-standard components), yet still deserving of an odd sense of respect from ghetto dwellers and non-ghetto dwellers alike

Ghettos, according to Wikipedia, are formed in three ways:

  • As ports of illegal entry for racial minorities, and immigrant racial minorities.
  • When the majority uses compulsion (typically violence, hostility, or legal barriers) to force minorities into particular areas.
  • When economic conditions make it difficult for minority members to live in non-minority areas.

The ghetto usually refers to a “broader range of social situations, such as any poverty-stricken urban area.”

I am a Caucasian chick who grew up in a white, middle-class part of Colorado, so I am not really and truly ghetto. Also, there are a lot of *actual* ghettos in the suburbs which surround Paris, and I do not live in one of them. I am living within what is considered the municipality of Paris and because it is a top tourist destination in the world**, safety and security have a high priority. Technically, there is nothing truly ghetto about either my living conditions or my life.

(** France is the number one tourist destination on the planet according to this Wikipedia article, Paris is the most-visited city of 2007, also according to this Wikipedia article, and is the number one tourist city, according to this article on Bukisa.com.)

When I am speaking of the fact that PJ and I are “ghetto” in this blog, I mean it in the sense that he and I lead a very urban, somewhat impoverished by comparison, sort of sub-standard Parisian life when it comes to things like dining and going out and keeping our lives presentable in the manner to which a lot of bloggers would have you believe the Paris Life really is all about. Not saying that that kind of life is not what those bloggers are living, just saying that it is not our kind of Paris living, by a long stretch.

I do not want to seem like I am wingeing about living in Paris. That’s not the point here (okay, maybe a little, lol. There is a slight bit of sour grapes I feel about being in Paris, what with my lack of funds and food intolerances). But I want people to have a realistic picture of some lives here, too. What it is really like for people who do not give (much of) a rat’s bum about cuisine and fashion and art and architecture, just some of the things for which Paris is famous.

I just keep thinking about how Paris is like that Popular Girl. For those of you who are older, the movies Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club conjure up what I am thinking of. In the latter example, this is Paris:

Molly Ringwald as Claire Standish

(Source)

Paris is really good-looking, she’s sexy and rich, she’s of a very high standing and family background, she wraps millions around her pinky finger each and every year. She is the Star, she is the one *everyone* wants to be friends with. Paris has it all.

In contrast, I feel like I am and my Paris life is this person:

Ally Sheedy as Allison Reynolds

(Source. By the way, while you are at that blog, you should read this post: Sincerely, John Hughes. It is about the author of the blog’s two-year correspondence as a young girl with the late screenwriter and director, John Hughes. A remarkable post. It made me cry.)

Ally Sheedy as Allison Reynolds

(Source. Another blog post that is a touching tribute to John Hughes.)

As the blogger for that second picture describes Allison, she is “the outcast, loner weirdo.”  The Wikipedia article on her states,

“The ‘basket case’ of the group, she is in detention because according to her, she “had nothing better to do.” She is the most socially isolated and claims to have no friends. For the first half of the film she is quiet, save for occasional squeaks of fear and a few random outbursts, and contributes nothing to the conversations between the others.

Okay, so maybe it I am not that bad, although in all honesty I kind of was when I first got here. I had a semi-serious case of agoraphobia for about the first six months I was here. I still barely make a peep when it comes to speaking French. I really feel a lot of empathy with Allison Reynolds when it comes to my Parisian life.

Our Freebox Free Home Video subscription channel on TV had the whole first season of Gossip Girl not long ago, and I watched it all. With this more up-to-date example, Paris (at least the Paris that is portrayed by the vast majority of bloggers I have run into and as I already mentioned above) is definitely Blair Waldorf:

Gossip Girl, Blair Waldorf

(Source — a great description of the character, if you don’t know who she is)

Blair Waldorf of Gossip Girl

Blair Waldorf of Gossip Girl

(Source – funny post about Halloween costumes!)

In this whole scenario of Paris as Popular Girl/Gossip Girl I am either a:

Gilmore Girl

Gilmore Girls

(Source – what an interesting blog! I love that it is called “Holly Hobbie.” That is the name I have given one of my “alter egos.” The blogger has written about Paris, too.)

or a Suicide Girl.

Suicide Smash

Suicide Smash

(Source. Note: lots of photos NSFW.)

Rory Gilmore is the young daughter of single mother Lorelai. She attends a rich prep school while being raised distinctly lower-middle class. Her wealthy grandparents are the ones funding her education, but her mother, Lorelai, has distanced herself from her upper class roots to make it on her own. Suicide Girls are well known for their alterna-sexy photos. Tattooed and pierced (I am both), they set themselves apart from the typical standards of beauty and self-expression.

Due to PJ’s and my socioeconomic status here in Paris, our location (in the non-touristy 19th, which has sections that are pretty gritty and ghetto by the standard definition), and the way we approach life (distinctly non-elitist), I think of us as living a pretty ghetto life in Paris.

Case in point, the part of the blog I shall call

F*CK FAUCHON

I think it was in the previous blog, the one about the Christmas windows, where I wrote about how at the Place de la Madeleine my new friend Priscilla and I went into the chichi Fauchon. Central Paris, the areas around which tourists tend to stay such as the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th arrondissements, has a lot of world-class shopping and restaurants nearby. It is Haussmann’s Paris, with traditional  limestone buildings and their wrought iron balconies. It is classical Paris, which has been depicted in films and photos for decades.

This is not my Paris — not the one of my day-to-day existence in this city.

Awwwriiiight, I am being a bit hard with the whole F*ck Fauchon thing up there — it is the writer in me that is going for not only hyperbole, but alliteration, and I liked how it sounded when I repeated it over and over. Give me just a little slack on that one, will you? I understand that there are centuries of Paris being the epicenter of class, taste, cuisine, and fashion. I can totally see someone saying to me, “If you don’t like it, leave.” I know, I know.

But I am here a little bit by accident, it just so happened that PJ was here and I wanted not to be in Paris, but to be with him, and there is a part of me that didn’t ask for life to move me to a place like this one, it kind of just happened to me. I cover some of this in another blog on almost the same theme here: Paris is Often Not My Kind of Girl.

I am still just trying to work out in my head how someone like me can make it in a Popular Girl Place such as this, and sometimes saying “F*ck Fauchon!” is my solution.

Let me introduce to you the store that is eminently more practical and cheap, and Oh So Ghetto:

Leader Price

Leader Price

Leader Price has 558 stores in all of France and 17 in Paris proper (source: store website). It is a part of the Groupe Casino umbrella company. This Leader Price is one of two in the 19th, the one on Rue de Meaux.  I also note from the website that there are NO Leader Price stores in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th arrondissements. That makes me giggle a little. I also note that a competing store, one which also used to be owned by Groupe Casino, but which may not be any longer (I saw some conflicting info about this on the interwebz), Franprix, has more locations in and around Paris, even in the center of the city. Franprix also carries the Leader Price brand in their stores.

Leader Price

See? Ghetto tagging!

Leader Price Yogurt Aisle

This is the Wall of Yogurt. Leader Price may be a discount supermarket carrying only its own brand of products, but it is still France. Yogurts of all kinds, crème fraîche, fromage blanc, cream, and lait férmente (buttermilk) line this section, of which I could only take a part of with the cell phone camera (yeah, I did not bring the Coolpix in here to snap photos. I thought the cell phone would be more surreptitious).

Leader Price Vino Aisle

Then there is the Wine Aisle. These are just the reds (lol). Most bottles are under 10€ and there are quite a few under 5€. I’ve had some wine from here and it is good stuff!  Yeah, that is wine in a box, too. See? Ghetto!

Leader Price Cheese and Butter Aisle

This is the cheese and packaged salad and other refrigerated goods that are not dairy products like yogurt (I’ll explain milk in a moment). There is no cheddar but there are lots of packages of a Swiss-type cheese called Emmental. In the far upper right are processed cheese slices called “Special Hamburger.” The packaging says it is spécialité fromagère fondue, which basically means it can melt. PJ and the kids like this cheese on their burgers. Very Ghetto. They also have Camembert and chèvre and other soft cheeses. I don’t know if they are “official” Normandy Camemberts or not. I guess it has to be made from unpasteurized milk to be official. There also is not any specialty cheese such as Cantal or Comté, but there are a couple of decent Mimolettes (aged and not aged) with which I have made mac ‘n’ cheese (Ghetto!!). Right now, though, I don’t eat any cheeses because of my apparent intolerance to dairy.

I learned a heckuva lot for this section from this listing of French cheeses on Wikipedia! Have a read if you are not up on cheeses like I am not.

Leader Price Milk and Jam - baking stuff Aisle

On the right side of the photo we have the milk section. Yeah! Unrefrigerated. Milk and related products such as cream and coconut milk are packaged in UHT boxes. UHT is ultra-high temperature processing and special packaging which gives milk, juices, etc. a shelf life of 6-9 months. The Wikipedia article on this states that “UHT milk has seen large success in much of Europe, where across the continent as a whole 7 out of 10 Europeans drink it regularly.” It then goes on to say that in France, 95.5% of the milk consumed is UHT (stats here).

I did not get a photo of it, but just across from the milk are the eggs. Unrefrigerated. Stacked on shelves. Yeah, turns out eggs do not really have to reside in a refrigerated section! They do not last quite as long, but it is possible to leave them out for up to a week or so. Also on that aisle are the baking products, such as flour and baking mixes,  jams and syrups, honey and coffee. The baskets just past the milk hold mini-chocolate chips, almond flour, almonds, marzipan, and other nuts (walnuts, I think. Peanuts and pistachios are on the snacks aisle, of which I did not get a photo either).

There were lots of things I would have taken photos of, if I had been thinking about what to write about concerning Leader Price. I totally missed the cleaning products, soap, and toilet paper aisle, for example. Part of that was because I did not have to buy anything in that section that trip. As it was, too, I was lurking around with the cell phone, just trying to snap what I could because I felt paranoid about taking photos there. I don’t know why. It’s not like anyone would have arrested me, I don’t think. Anyway, this is a smattering of photos to show what the store looks like.

Leader Price Veggies

Veggies. A lot of them are imported from countries like Spain. Frenchies kind of have a thing about food origins and prefer them to be from France. French produce is often more expensive, however. Leader Price often has great bargains on produce in season, and I like getting stuff from here. Generally the quality is very good and fresh. It may not all have French origins, but I don’t care. Ghetto!!

Leader Price Fruits and Veggies Aisle

Part of the fruits and veggies section, with cookies and cereals in the background. This lady is an Asian lady weighing out her produce and getting the sticker with the bar code and price to put on the produce. In a lot of supermarkets you have to weigh and get the scanner labels for your fruits and veggies. It is not rung up at the checkout all of the time. At the Monoprix where I sometimes shop and where things seem to cost four times as much, I do not have to pre-weigh the produce. How you tell whether or not you need to weigh your own produce before the checkout is whether or not you see this kind of scale with pictures of the produce with lot numbers and a scale. Some things are also sold by the piece. I have to look at the signs to see if the produce has a price per kilo sign or a sign that says “la piece.” Things like cabbage and cauliflower are often sold by the piece. Apples and oranges are not. My French for fruits and vegetables has improved a lot by my doing the shopping for PJ and me. I mentioned that this lady was Asian because she asked me a question. I am not exactly sure what she said, but I could tell that she could not find the photo and word for “oranges” (spelled the same as in English, but pronounced “oh-rahnzh” even in the plural. The “s” is never pronounced unless there is a word following that begins with a vowel) on the scale. I pointed to it for her and pushed the button. She seemed thankful. It crossed my mind to try to talk to her in Chinese, but then I think I have forgotten most of it at this point! Ha! At any rate, it is good to know I am not alone in negotiating words and so on in this country. Ghetto.

Leader Price Pears & Lemons

Pears. This is where I bought the curious-looking one pictured earlier in the post.

Leader Price Checkout

The checkout with the stuff purchased by the gentleman in line in front of me. Also, pictured there is one of the nicest cashiers at this Leader Price. PJ thinks she may be from Eastern Europe as her French has an accent, he says. I don’t know if she has one or not, I just like her smile, and she always smiles at me. I blurred out the faces in Picasa, though, as I wanted to protect the identity of the people whose permission I do not have to post the photo here. The guy in front of me is buying a dried sausage, some potato chips, some grenadine syrup (I have learned since moving here that grenadine — or grenade– is the French for pomegranate! Who knew? I have thought all the time since I used to get Shirley Temples as a kid that grenadine was some kind of an exotic non-alcoholic liqueur), cotton swabs and sugar cubes, some bread and something between the sugar cubes and bread which I cannot identify. It is in a plastic wrap and with red, cube-looking things. Cheese for fondue, maybe? Don’t know. Looks pretty ghetto, though, eh? ;-)

Leader Price, through the window

This was taken outside of the Leader Price. There is a sign stating ERRATUM in the window. It is explaining that an ensemble de table 12 couverts for 3 € 90 is momentarily not available. The set includes a tablecloth and forks and stuff. Presumably paper and plastic for the price. No, I do not know what couverts are, but I can guess the word means “place setting” or something like that.

Like I wrote, not the best photos, but not too bad for a humble cell phone. Maybe I can get better ones again soon!

To close this segment, here are a couple of links I found really good when writing/researching for this blog. First, here is a link to customer photos from the Leader Price website: Customer Photos. I thought they were cute and it shows a diversity of people shopping. Okayyy, actually, I kind of take that back. Our Leader Price has a lot more persons of color and of diverse ethnic backgrounds than the folks in these photos. Still fun to look at, though, in my opinion.

Next, here is a comprehensive and helpful link I found on shopping in Paris: Discover France – Shopping in Paris. Author Ian Mills mentions supermarkets in Paris in one of the paragraphs. There is a drop-down menu with links to various kinds of places to shop such as bakeries and chocolatiers. If you are into that kind of thing, hahaha. Fauchon is listed under “Epiceries.” *snort*

Finally, thanks to reader Carole who commented on the previous blog that she would indeed like to read more about Ghetto Parisian Living. This is the first part in who knows how many segments I might write on this topic!  Thanks to her and to others who commented the same, you have been reading about Ghetto Shopping. I will try to think of more posts and keep my eyes open for the ghetto side of life here in Paris: the non-elitist, kinda white trashy point-of-view. :)

Well, I am off to meet up with some Frenchwomen who are intent on practicing English tonight! We are meeting at Forum Les Halles at 7:30 pm, 19.30 local time, and will head to a pub or something to drink and chat. I will be the only native speaker. Priscilla will be there and our mutual friend Karine, who has made arrangements.

Tomorrow I am meeting Tess to go to Versailles. It just re-opened fully in the past couple of days after a museum workers strike (*snicker* Museum workers strike, hee hee. WTF. Welcome to France).

Then on Monday I am meeting Peter of Peter’s Paris. We have made an appointment to check out the Mouzaïa neighborhood of the 19th arrondissement. It is a historical heritage area designated by the City of Paris (French website on it here).  There is an architectural walk that is downloadable from the website, and it is a place I have been meaning to check out. I’m looking forward to the meetup!

Now that I have typed all those plans, it sounds exhausting, too, heh. Wish me luck in keeping up.

I hope you all have a bon week-end. See you here again soon.

xoxo

an alien parisienne

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Categories: Cross-Cultural Living, Food Intolerances, Ghetto Paris Living, Language Learning, Life in Paris, Paris Friends | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

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19 thoughts on “Ghetto Living in Paris, Part 1

  1. Carole

    Thank you for writing this post. Certain places just seem to bring out the sheep in people. Congrats for not being one of them! Paris as a working class city is no less interesting than the glamorous side. It is refreshing to read something that cuts through the bullsh*t and gets down to the nitty gritty of city living. BUT what are the odds that I would be able to buy a similar looking pear in the US? ;-)

    • pariskarin

      Thank you, Carole!! I am sorry it took me a couple of days to get back to your comment, but I have actually been out and about, and am about to get out again! This is a good thing for me, and I am getting more ideas to post about, too.

      Thank you for commenting that I am not a sheep. :) And while I know that Paris *does* have the magic, France, too, it really does have a no BS side, too. I like to find the authentic, so here’s to hoping that I can continue to do so.

      And yeah, that pear!! :D It is a special one, eh?

      Thanks for reading.

  2. Ken

    First let me admit that it took a couple of seconds to figure out my eyes weren’t acting up and you have a snow app. Yeah, I’m that worried about falling apart. Secondly, this is the type of blog I’ve expected vis-a-vie An Alien Parisienne. Don’t get me wrong as your blogs have been and will continue to be wonderful windows into your life (I loved the bathroom remodeling, heck redoing the whole apartment and the drama that lead up to it, the delicious and creative ways you’ve delt with your diet restrictions and getting to know Paris, but now we get the real Paris, the everyday mundane Paris that exists between the museums, restaurants and historical buildings. This is what we want to know, if we were in your shoes, how would we get by day to day and what chalenges will we meet.

    One wonders if the cold weather has brought attention to health symptoms that were always there in the background (ie; it hurts more because it is cold)

    How wonderful, just like anyone learning a new language, the first lessons are on words one would seldom use in polite conversation.

    Happy we didn’t get progressive photos of the pear as you ate it (even the thought is rather traumatizing).

    Since you are in Paris for PJ, is there anywhere in this world you would like to be just beause of the place it is and not because of any person that lives there?

    Hmmm “Special Hamburger” = american or velveta? Stores here now have several lines of TV dinners that are not refidgerated. I wonder if that is the same UHT technology.

    • pariskarin

      Hi Ken! As I said to Carole, it’s been busy the past few days, and is about to be busier.

      You’re not falling apart. It is a WordPress holiday feature that PJ showed to me.

      I am glad to know this: “but now we get the real Paris, the everyday mundane Paris that exists between the museums, restaurants and historical buildings. This is what we want to know, if we were in your shoes, how would we get by day to day and what chalenges will we meet.” It is reassuring know I should keep being MYSELF in these blogs and just go for doing what feels right and authentic.

      I peeled the pear and cut it into pieces first, mwah hah hah hah!! :D

      Ohhhhh, good, good question. You know what? I think part of my struggle in life is to come to full acceptance that “Wherever you go, there you are.” It is a continual struggle I have to be able to fully grasp the moment and the current time and place in which I exist. So, in a way, the answer is “No, I cannot picture anywhere else, no place sounds better, not really.” Maybe a warmer place, lol, it’s cold these days. But I have learned that while the grass always *appears* greener on the other side, it rarely is. I need to continue to work on being fully present here in Paris, which is part of what this blog is about.

      Ohhhh, I *wish* it were Velveeta!! It is more like the rubbery American cheese slices, but not the thicker, creamier Kraft Deluxe ones. I don’t even think the Special Hamburger is cheese, really. It’s “cheese-ish.” It’s pretty bland, too.

      I bet those unrefrigerated meals are UHT processed. I think I know which ones you mean — Dinty Moore had some I used to buy back in the day.

      Thanks Ken, for coming by.

  3. Pocketful of Shells

    Oh I have to say that one has not been to Paris if they have not been to Leader Price. NOT the top of the Eiffel Tower. :)

    • pariskarin

      I still would go to the top of the ET when you next visit, chica. We DO have to go there and to Notre Dame as well. I hope you can visit for 2-3 days, at least, and soon! :)

      Here are some more photos I snapped yesterday in the store:

      A closeup of the UHT milk
      More Leader Price -- Milk

      The eggs
      More Leader Price - Eggs
      (Sorry it is a little blurry — I think I moved the phone when I took the pic.)

      Some TP
      More Leader Price - Toilet Paper

      What was in my cart (yes, those are panty liners, hahaha. Eh. Someone out there might need to know the French name for them, so there you are: protège-slips)
      What's in My Cart

      Oranges. I thought they looked nice.
      More Leader Price -- Oranges

  4. Janet

    Oooh, you brave girl, you. I kept meaning to snap pics in the grocery store for my 360 blog, but then never had the nerve. You brave thing. I’m impressed. And you are also winning Miss Conviviality among us American expats — I think the agoraphobia is endemic. Sigh. But I’m glad someone’s getting out there, and I hope you’ve unstiffened further since you posted this.

    • pariskarin

      It is much, much easier to snap the pics with the cell phone, I have learned!! The key is to not move, though, or they come out blurry. Still, the cell camera does a pretty good job! I am happy with that. Miss Conviviality, lol. Welllll, by comparison to how I was, I am definitely Miss Conviviality. Yes, I unstiffened a little too much with the girl’s night out on Friday, heh! I hope to post about that before the end of the week. Love you, J! Thanks for commenting!

  5. Today it’s Monday (actually it’s already Tuesday) and, as you indicated, we met! I’m so impressed by the deep and real knowledge of Paris you have acquired in such a short time … and you tell many truths! Paris is not only Fauchon! I sometimes try to persuade visitors to make detours out of the ordinary tourist tracks, but of course you need time, good legs… Your attitude is different and I like it, but of course you must accept that Paris has ALSO the Tour Eiffel, the Sacré Coeur, the macarons…!

    One small addendum to the ghetto part: The word comes from Venice, where there was a confined area, for the Jews during the 16th to the 19th centuries. It used previously to be an area for iron foundries and the Venetian “gheta” stands for slag. (Maybe you knew it!)

    It was really nice meeting you and I hope we can make another tour together, maybe with a bit milder weather! :-)

    • pariskarin

      Peter, it was genuinely a wonderful experience to meet you on Monday and I am so very glad we took the time to get together and visit the Mouzaïa! I hope that I can find time to post about it very soon. The photos came out great, and I very much appreciated being able to have the adventure, even in the cold.

      Yes, I very much DO have to accept that Paris also has the big spots… In fact, on a couple of previous posts here I was going crazy for the Laudurée macarons, so I am not totally immune, for sure. I think some days I just get a little grumpy is all. LOL. Then I have really fun experiences like we did on Monday, and I am less grouchy about life, and have something interesting about which to write!

      Thank you, too, for really complimenting my real knowledge about Paris. That means a lot coming from a long-time resident. I don’t expect to ever fully be integrated into Paris like a real Parisienne (thus the “alien” part), but I at least owe it to this place to learn and know as much as I can. I have PJ to thank for telling stories and giving me information, too. And all the bloggers such as yourself “out there.” What you have written has helped me understand and know a lot. I love to take the information in and read and know and experience as much as I can. Then I will know I will have no regrets, eh?

      Thank you again, and I will be back by your site very, very soon!

    • pariskarin

      P.S. Re: Ghetto

      “One small addendum to the ghetto part: The word comes from Venice, where there was a confined area, for the Jews during the 16th to the 19th centuries. It used previously to be an area for iron foundries and the Venetian “gheta” stands for slag. (Maybe you knew it!)”

      I did not, and I like to know the origins of things, so thank you very much for sharing that!

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  10. “couverts de table” means hostess set :)

    • Hi! Hey — thanks for that! Hostess set. Of course! Makes perfect sense. Thank you for helping out. :)

  11. You have a wonderful blog here. I was trying to get information on the life of a Parisian for research on my novel when I came to this blog post. I am taking it all in. Thanks for sharing an unbiased perspective with everybody on Paris.

    • Thank you, Shruti! I’m glad you found the blog and that you enjoyed the perspective here. :) I hope to post again soon, but I’ve had some busy weeks recently. I’m glad you are enjoying what is already written here.

      Karin

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