Monday, October 17, 2011

Perks of Being a Nanny

Today started off rough. Ever have one of those nights where you talk yourself into how serious and hardworking you’re going to be, set up a good “study station”, prepare some good “study tunes,” and place “study snacks” in arms reach, only to wake up at 4 am fully clothed, lying on your bed with all of the lights on? Well. This was one of those nights. 
I had my first exposé today, a graded oral presentation that is an essential part of the Sciences Po methodology, and is required in most classes. Determined to do well, I thought I would a) refuse to think about it all weekend, and b) stay up really, really late on Sunday and crank it out. I had full faith in this strategy. My week had been super busy and my weekend was full and fun (shopping, dinner parties, cooking, doing my laundry - which is taking over 48 hours to dry and is currently draped over every surface in my apartment generating a lovely mold-like smell... but that is a tale for another time), I just did not want to think about any work. So, I didn’t! The power of positive thinking is well and alive my friends. 
Back to the point: my “cat-nap” had failed and I was in a scramble. I had a very disorienting morning (quick summary: woke up at 6 am, ate breakfast and practically died of exhaustion, went back to sleep until 9, panicked, went to school), but long-story-short the exposé went fine. 
For parties interested in my academic life here, I’ll say a word or two about this class, the exposé, etc. This class is entitled “Global Public Goods,” and is an international relations class that analyzes both the characteristics of global issues (ex. climate change, peace and security, etc.) and how the international community can and/or conceivably will cooperate effectively to make progress on worldwide problems. It’s very interesting for me because I really love studying international conflict resolution (as you can probably tell if you look back at the classes I’m taking, I think I put those in one of the old posts), but I’ve never quite considered the theory behind “global cooperation” before. My exposé today was on Global Public Health and it was done with a group.  We lead the class in discussion and debate for the whole of the two hour class, made a long powerpoint, fun fun, went well, etc.
The idea behind all of this added information is to explain how my day was stressful, and energy-consuming. Since I can’t seem to tell a short story (not an new trait for those who know me), I’m going to skip talking about how and why I’m a nanny and tutor here, but I am. Promise, promise I will fill in the details tomorrow.  Essentially I am working for a nanny agency here that puts me in touch with families looking for native-English speaking nannies and tutors. It’s a nice way to make an extra buck in this town. More on this later. 
Sidenote: One of the weird things about having a blog, is that now my random thoughts have a potential “audience,” so I immediately edit them in my mind. Therefore, I know that I will write about nannying tomorrow or the next day because I have some pre-prepared jokes, or as we professionals say, I’m working on some material. Blogs do strange things to you.
On to my story. I was having a pretty shit day, felt like I hadn’t slept, worked all day, had an hour to rest until I went to go nanny for these kids from 4:30-7. The kids are great so it was fine, I was just exhausted and couldn’t wait to go home and crash. However, I go to drop off my kids (as I’ve come to think of them) and their mother says to me, “My husband and I, we have a serious problem.” Seeing as how they the only context I know them is is my employment, I panicked and assumed the worst. Did I break something? Did I say something wrong? Did they find out that I’m too lazy to discipline the kids when they stand on the kitchen counter? But the mother simply smiled at me and explained that her husband had an extra ticket to the Bob Dylan concert that night, and they couldn’t find anyone who wanted to go with them. Would I like the ticket? I was dumbfounded. Here was this family I had just started working with two weeks before, who didn’t really know me at all, offering me a ticket (for free!) to a Bob Dylan concert!? I wavered for a second, thought back to how I’d been dreaming of my bed all day... and then I realized that I was being a huge idiot and said, “Oui merci!” (although the conversation was in english... i just think it sounds better there in french). 
So I went to a Bob Dylan concert, for free, in Paris, by myself, on the spur of the moment. I didn’t bring a camera, or I’d post a picture of 70 year old Bob in his cowboy hat crooning away... “like a rolling stone...” It was unbelievable. It pulled me out of my bad mood, made me forget all my deadlines, and pumped a little ol' time folk into my body and soul. I cannot think of anything better than that to turn one of those no-good-terrible days around.
That’s all for now. Just a short story I wanted to share on something out of the ordinary, something deserving of a little reflection. I have no cute “wrap up” or resounding message to send you home with today, kids. Try out being a nanny and you just might meet Bob Dylan. How’s that?

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