Par Jo Lee
Upon informing her family that she was moving to France for a few months, Jennifer began packing right away. She had to, or else she’d lose impetus. That morning after making the big decision, she booked a flight for two days later and spent two hours typing the perfect resignation letter. She went back to bed in the early morning, sleeping throughout the day in complete peace.
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE MOVING TO FRANCE?? WHO DO YOU KNOW THERE??”, her mother had almost spilled her coffee once she saw the printed flight reservation.
“No one! Which is exactly what I was hoping for.”, Jennifer beamed happily.
Her mother almost had a nervous breakdown but eventually got around the fact that it was happening with or without her approval. So she changed her tune and helped her pack instead, trying to fit every practical thing into the suitcase. Dropping her only daughter off at the airport, she had to resist the constant urge to break down and cry. Jennifer looked so happy and hopeful, it was hard to stay sad.
Following a six-hour turbulent flight, the pilot announced they were landing a few hours ahead of schedule.
Thank the Lord, I’m exhausted.
On the descent, Jennifer almost broke her neck trying to locate the Eiffel tower from her window seat. She didn’t find it but instead, she saw miles and miles on lush landscape surrounding terrains of concrete. It looked so healthy and pretty, she saved the imagery as a mental screensaver. Check-in and baggage check-out went smoothly as she noticed the French hardly let anything ruffle their feathers, tourists included. She browsed through the airport with the biggest, cheesiest smile, knowing that this was her home now. After a long and arduous drive to her studio apartment due to the insane traffic, she unloaded and crashed onto her bed. She didn’t wake until the following morning due to extreme hunger pains. She hurriedly washed her face and changed shirts before dashing downstairs to get some breakfast. Luckily in Paris, there were 5 bakeries per block so shortage of food was the least of her concerns. She couldn’t wait to order food and take it back so she sat down at a pretty corner café and had her first Parisian meal. She was taken back by how friendly the men seemed to be. They’d either stare at her flirtatiously while walking by or pay her a compliment in passing. An older woman stopped by the café and ordered something. Jennifer didn’t notice her until she felt someone’s sudden glare on her. She turned around and the lady just sat there with a cappuccino in front of her and a smile on her face. Feeling bold and a bit lonely, she approached the friendly face.
“Bonjour, je m’appele Jenny.” (Hi, my name’s Jenny),she said shyly.
“Bonjour Mademoiselle. Vous passez un bon temps?” (Hi young lady, enjoying the weather?), the lady smiled.
“Si si, au faite.. je suis nouvelle ici.” (Yeah, actually I’m new around here), she replied.
“Ah oui? Vous venez d’ou?” (Really? Where are you from?), the woman asked.
“L’amerique!”,(America!) Jennifer answered.
“Alors que faites vous a Paris?” (So what are you doing in Paris?), the woman continued questioning.
“Bein, je compte vivre, respirer, marcher, admirer, manger, lire, regarder les gens, etc…” (Well, I’m planning to live, breathe, walk, admire, eat, read, people-watch), Jennifer stated dreamily.
“C’est bien ca. Vous travaillez ou?” (That’s good, where do you work?), the woman watched Jenny intently, waiting for a response.
“C’est la seule chose qui manque.” (That’s the only thing I haven’t worked out yet), Jennifer answered, suddenly returning from her dreamy bubble.
“Ah, peut etre que je peux aider. J’ai une vieille amie qui cherche une assistante de sorte. Elle a 8 enfants a bas-age et elle est tres occupe. Ca t’interresse?” (Oh, maybe I can help. I have an old friend who needs an assistant. She has 8 underage kids and she’s very busy. Do you think you’d be interested?) , the woman perked up.
“Bien sur, bien sur. Merci bien.” (Of course, of course), Jennifer replied instantly, not believing her luck.
The woman proceeded in calling her friend and telling her about Jennifer, giving her reassurance that she seemed capable enough for the position and seemed to have a nice, pleasant attitude. Her friend being in a rush to cater to her kids promptly told her that Jennifer had the job if she wanted it before hanging up. The woman offered the job to Jennifer, told her it was minimum wage and introduced herself as Madeline. They shared some tea before exchanging numbers and parting ways. Jennifer rushed back home with a baguette in hand to unpack her suitcase and called her mother to tell her the good news. When she hung up, she opened her window and listened to the Parisian traffic, smiling to herself.