Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Sylvester!

Today's the last day of year 2010, ready to start a new decade?

2010 for me was quite a good year, started as unemployed living with ny parents, finished with temporary contract in Berlin, almost living on my own (flatshare is not completely living alone but well, this will be for the coming year). An internship in Cologne, a job in Dublin and now this job here, I'm starting to be a real working girl! :D Well, of course the year was not all happiness and stressless, but that's life. ^^

Of 2011, I expect more travels, more job and maybe a miracle which would put an end to this (too) long period of single status (it's not forbidden to dream, is it? :D )

And to you I wish you all that you want, and have fun tonight!

==Greetings from Berlin==

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What a trip!

So yesterday was my trip to France where I'll spend Christmas with my family. My flight from Berlin to Saarbrücken (smallest German airport on the border with France) was scheduled at 8:30am, arriving at 10:10am. Boarding time: 8:20, at 8:00 I was waiting by the gate, still no delay announced, great.... I texted my sister who was picking me up in Saarbrücken that all was ok.
8:20, they announce a 10-20 min delay, then 30min. After boarding, they announced we'll leave with over 1h delay. I wasn't worried, with the snow I expected delay.
Around 11am, the captain announced we were about to land in Saarbrücken, we started going down, and suddenly we went up again. Hum, doesn't sound good... I was already picturing me telling my sis we landed in Zweibrücken or in Luxemburg, and well the captain told us the clouds were too thick, he had no visibility at all, he would try again soon and if that doesn't work we'll be redirected to another airport.... so everybody in the plane whispered the same name: Zweibrücken.

A little bit later, he did announce we woulod try to land in Zweibrücken, we will turn around 1h to see if the sky gets clearer, and that after that we'll still have 1h fuel remaining. And after 1h it was still impossible to land in Zwei so we headed to Luxemburg. They did well since we landed at 1pm and got on the bus to Saarbrücken airport at 2pm and arrived at destination at 3:30pm, which makes a total of 5 and a half hours delay, quite nice! ^^ But well, I guess it's better to land on Luxemburg's runway that in Saarbrücken's terminal! :D

And I arrived in Metz at 5pm, went to Metz Xmas Market, quite disappointing. But nice dinner with friends, time with family, that has no price! :)

==Greetings from Metz, France==

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Berlin's Christmas Markets: Schloss Charlottenburg

So here's my last article on Berlin Xmas markets, I didn't do them all  I guess.
Today was the one by Castle Charlottenburg, my first reaction when getting off the bus was: wow! It's indeed a wonderful place. It's worth seeing just for the lights play on the castle's front.

Then, the markte itself is very pretty, there's  a stage where a chor is singing, some unique handcrafts booths, one of "birds house" I really liked.

There was also a Raclette seller, you know that chesse I can't resist, well guess what? I didn't resist!! ^^ It's so delicious!

It was a nice walk, despite the hords of people, but I couldn't expect otherwise, it's last advent Sunday.


==Greetings from Berlin==

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Berlin's Christmas Markets: Postdamer Platz

Today after a journey to hell (I went  to a big shopping mall in the center of Berlin on a Saturday afternoon one week before Christmas) I went to Postdamer Platz Christmas Market.

Well, it is nothing extraordinary, they could make something better out of it, but there's so soul, no atmosphere. The plus is the sledge slope, but then the booths are almost like everywhere else.

And like everywhere, they sell those gingerbread hearts with written on it "Ich liebe dich" (I love u" or "du bist mein Schatz" (you're my sweetheart), craps like that, and I got the idea that just for fun I could buy myself one with written on "ich liebe dich", because I love myself! ^^ Untill, I saw this one:

No need of translation I guess, if I wouldn't have been alone I would have hung it around my neck, but well alone that's not fun that's stupid. It's now hanging at my wall, I'm thinking of eating it when I won't be single anymore, best before is august 2012, got some time. :D

==Greetings from Berlin==

Friday, December 17, 2010

Berlin's Christmas Markets: Opernpalais (Staatsoper)

So here's #3 of my series! ^^ Tonight, I went to the Xmas Market of Opernpalais, a trendy restaurant next to the National Opera (Opernplais = Opera's Palace; Staatsoper = National Opera).
I kinda struggled to get there, on internet when I looked up for the way, it told me to get 3 buses, but I arrived for the 1st change, I saw that the last bus of the 2nd line I was supposed to get came around 6pm... and it was already 7:30pm. Well, I found another to get there.

The place is very pretty, especially the illuminated buildings all around. One of the alley has " a star sky" small electrical lamps on a large net, with lights yellow and green on the building, it was very nice. It a cery charming market, nice night walk around.

The bad point for me: too many food booths, too many booths only with gloves/scarves/hats and few unique booths, many of them can be found on other markets.

But it's cute and it's woth seeing at least for the background.


==Greetings from Berlin==

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Berlin's Christmas Markets: Gendarmenmarkt

Go to a Berlin's Chritmas Market and you'll feel like in Wonderland! Tonight I went to the one on Gendarmenmarkt (see here for more infos of this famous berliner square), I went to that place on the free tour I took while in Berlin for the job interview, at that time they were setting it up, and the guide told us it was the nicest of all Xmas markets in Berlin.
It is indeed wonderful, but the background is not foreign to that feeling, and it's also very touristic, it was so crowded tonight!
The market is kinda divided into 2 parts, the outter one is free and for the inner one you have to pay 1€.
Here, you have lots of handcraft, some are exhibiting indoor, and I actually fall for a lovely pair of earings in plexiglas, red and black with blue reflections.
In the inner part, there's also a stage with a chor singing Christmas song, so it was very nice to walk around in such an athmosphere, plus tonight's it's heavy snowing (and I do love snow). There was also a show of some circus art, a girl dressed as an angel going up and down a kind of big bed sheet (sorry can't find the English word) gracefully, check out the videos below! ;) It was very nice.

I also saw a stand where they were selling raclette dishes (raclette is a swiss /savoy cheese I worship), it was fucking expensive but couldn't resist, and it was so yummy! It was sad I was alone cause that walk through thisb market was really pleasant, it could have been a magical moment, I was alrady, though alone, in awe but well, you know, it's always nice to share such experiences with someone.

When I went out of the inner part, I saw a stand of French salami! ^^ I also live this stuff! The girl asked me in German if I wanted to taste, so I answered in French, and so we've started talking, and actually the guy owning the place is from a smaller city close to my hometown, yes the world is smaller than we think, I often meet French people abroad (we are everywhere ^^) but almost never from my area, mainly from Paris or other huge cities. Well, we had a nice talk, I got a discount on my donkey salami, it was a nice encounter.

So, well, the guide was right, Gendarmenmarkt's Christmas Market IS wonderfull! Let's see next days what Berlin got in store for me, I keep being surprised every day.


==Greetings from snowy Berlin==

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Berlin's Christmas Markets: Alexander Platz & Roten Rathaus

This week is my X-Mas Markets week. Almost every evening I'll go to one of numerous "Weihnachtsmarkt" of Berlin. I love Christmas Markets, coming from a region at the border with Germany it's also part of my local tradition, and I just can't help it, I love it, especially once snow has felt down, and of course best part is at night time because of the lights.

So this evening I went to Alexander Platz, in the center of the city, the one just by the train station is cute, mainly food but also nice handcrafts. You got an outdoor icering and you can play also a kind of curling (or petanque on ice since you got no broom and can't step on the ice). A little further is a giant shopping mall, and behind it is a little fun fair, with the snow, the smells, the music and the lights it was very nice to walk around, I was a child again, sparkles in my eyes.

Then, kinda half way between Berliner Dom (Berlin's Cathedral) and Alex Platz station, you can find the Roten Rathaus (red townhall), and there is a very charming Xmas market, with a big wheel I'll try to ride this week end by daytime (best for the view it might offer). There's a bigger ice rink, by a beautiful statue, the decoration are also very cute. Well, it was really a charming walk, deep in Christmas Spirit, but better than words are photos.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Early Austrian Christmas

Yesterday night was my company's Christmas party, a great evening. At seven, we all left the office, a bus was waiting for us to drive us all to the restaurant.  When we arrived by the restaurant, I was surprised by the name "No Kangaroo", not getting the point at first, we were welcomed with some Glühwein (hot wine with spices) before getting inside.
Then, I realised it was an Austrian restaurant and thus got the name... seems some people tend to mix up Austria and Australia....

The food was wonderful, it made me think in a way to food from Alsace. It also was for me the opportunity to get to know some of my collegues, shnapps is a good ice-breaker! Especially that almost all are surprise to know I drink schnapps but no beer or wine.

Then we went outside for some Austrian games. First was a sawing competition, they got a big log, 2 at each end, 1st to finish win. But the 2nd team, the sexy boss broke one of the saws... so the competition went on but on the timing. After, it was cow milking... yeah cow milking in the streets of Berlin, but the cow was fake.

It was really fun, the athmosphere in the office is very cool, I really start to liking it here.

===Greetings from Berlin===

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A nice snowy Sunday

Today was a lovely day. I joined 2 CouchSurfing meetings. CouchSurfing is a website for travellers, we help, meet and host each other, great stuff, best way to travel and meet locals and get off the beaten track.
So I first headed to Saroti Hoffe Hotel for a brunch... and what a brunch! For 9€ you got a big buffet, with everything you could imagine for a brunck and even more: cold, hot, sweet, sour, and the must: a chocolate fountain!!! Yummy... with marshmallows, biscuits, orange... The attendees were international, so I got to speak French, German, English (but mostly English).
Then, I headed off to Rixdorf, Neukölln (Neukölln is a district of Berlin) for a Christmas Market. We were 5: 2 Germans, 1 Austrian, 1 Irish speaking fluent German and me... so I could pratice German. We had a very nice time, the Market was quite pretty, then we stopped in a bar to get warm before getting back on the Market after dark for the lights before going to yet another bar.
Berlin is really enjoyable city, I think I'll like it here.


==Greetings from Berlin==

Friday, December 3, 2010

Berlin walls

Berlin might be the city with the more graffitis I ever seen. Most of times, it's ugly writing, all dripping, giving a dirtiness feeling, and the district where I'm working is loaded with graffitis. But some times it's more artistic, then you like it or you don't but that's far better  than those awful & disgusting senseless words.
Here are my firrst discoveries:

==Greetings from Berlin==


On Wednesday evening I went to visit a room in a neighboorhood close to where I am working, I liked the place and the flatmates were cool. Yesterday morning, just after paying for the week at the hotel, I got an SMS (sent the day before and resent 1 hour before... great) telling me I've been chosen! :D I moved in yesterday, so I'm living with a Berlin girl, a Spanish guy... and a French guy. The big plus is that there's a shopping mall just across the street! ^^

==Greetings from Berlin==

Sunday, November 28, 2010

One week and still homeless

Well, it's been one week since I have arrived in Berlin and I'm still staying at the hotel, no more in a nice single room (my company paid for it untill till Friday) but in mixed dorms...

So on Monday, my 1st work day was ok, I go to meet some collegues, I already have tons to do, but the texts can sometimes be funny. But it's hard to really get to know my collegues, I'm still having lunch alone, ans as I have no excuse to talk to them about job-relate dissue it's hard for me. But it should get better soon... I hope... at least the one around me and my bosses are cool.

I visited a few rooms this week end, hope this will work out before Wednesday, but there's so much people looking for rooms, now I'm widening my search and would go to up 1h ride to work (I can start between 9 & 11 am).

This afternoon I went to see one Christmas Market, but I guess it's more charming at night with lights... Later on, I went to visit the East Side Gallery, it's a part of the Wall dedicated to art, it's 1300 meters long, I did only a part of it since it was getting freezing cold and dark, will see the rest next week end.

Not much so far, my social life being around 0, it's getting harder & harder to eat alone at restaurant, but once I'll be  settled in a room that might change, there are always CouchSurfing meetings and I'll have to look for regular activities where I could meet people.

==Greetings from Berlin==

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Zombie in Berlin...

...that's quite how I'm feeling just now. My train left Metz yesterday at 11:50pm and I arrived this morning in Berlin at 9:00 am. I had not much space, could hardly sleep, so I'm totally exhausted and have to wait till 3pm to check in, while waiting I'm at the hotel's bar, I mighht soon go out, have a walk, lunch and fresh air.
Around 5pm I'll be visiting a room to rent, guess I won't go too late to bed, hopefully tomorrow I'm starting at 11am.
I'm very happy to be here and do hope that I'll enjoy Berlin's life.

==Greetings from Berlin==

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Back home...

... but not for too long! Just coming back from Germany, I'll be taking a train back to Berlin on Saturday night and my new life as a Berliner will start on Sunday.

I really enjoyed this short stay in the German capital city, it is a very charming and interesting place. Yesterday, I took the free guided tour organized by New Europe. They are present in a few major European cities as well as in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. They offer theme paying tours and also a free tour of the city. This free tour is tip based only, and it was worth it! Our guide in Berlin was awesome, he had great stories to tell, it was really interesting and we learnt a  lot. We walked 4 hours without seeing time passing by. I highly recommend it to you, it is so enjoyable to learn about the city you're visiting!

==Greetings from Metz, France==

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


So, I had my job interview from noon to 1:00pm, and around 5pm I had received per mail an offer letter, I am starting next Monday! Plus they are paying for my train and first nights at hostel! I am so happy! Now, I also can say "Ich bin eine Berlinerin!"

==Greetings from Berlin==

Monday, November 15, 2010

Live from Berlin

So I made it to Berlin! I left home at 9:30 am and arrived at my host's home at 7pm something. It's already a long way but I made it still longer with my fear to run late. My flight was leaving at 4:20pm from Francfurt-Hahn, so gates closing at 3:50pm which is likely to be the time they actually open with Ryanair... I had a bus arriving at 3pm but I took the one arriving at 1:15pm, I got almost convinced on the way I made the right choice while we were in traffic jam in Luxemburgcity, but we were only 10 min late, when I have no checked bags I could come later.
But I killed time by having lunch at the airport restaurant (quite good indeed) and being polled about the airport.
The flight was ok, I slept like usual. Then going through Berlin with my hosts's directions was quite easy, and speaking German and having lived in Germany made me feel less lost than usual, when I go to unknown city in an unknwon country.
I'm hosted by Martin, a CouchSurfer whom I hosted around 3 years ago in Nancy. He's currently working, so I'm waiting from him, his neighbour let me in, but no wild party tonight since I got this job interview tomorrow. Once this will be done, I'll go discover my maybe future city!!! ^^

==Greetings from Berlin==

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Heading to Berlin!!!

I just got an email from the HR Manager of the company in Berlin in which I am applying as translator. They are inviting me for a face-to-face interview next week!!!!!! I've just checked with Ryanair, from Francfurt-Hahn, there are flights every day from Monday to Saturday, twice a day in week time.
Now, I'm just waiting to know the exact day to book flight and hotel.
I do hope this small trip will be worth it!!!

==Greetings from Metz, France==

Monday, November 8, 2010

Berlin, 1st round

I've just had my phone interview with Berlin. We talked about 20 min, talking about my languages choices, my experiences, and something I hate: my disavantages!
But  I now know more about the position, translation & testing, nice wage, for 3 to 6 months.
She'll get back to me within 3 days and if it's ok, they'll invite me for a face-to-face interview.

==Greetings from Metz, France==

Saturday, November 6, 2010

So stupid!

Yesterday, I was supposed to have a phone interview with the Berlin's company. It was scheduled at 4:00pm. During half an hour, I kept my mobile phone just next to me, not daring going anywhere... at 4:25 I went to my pc to send them an email, the HR manager had sent me a mail a few minutes before, saying that she could not reach me, asking me if I was still interested in the position.
I first supposed there was a problem with my mobile and gave her my landline number. A few seconds after, I thought maybe I made  a mistake in my phone number on my CV... I found the mail I had sent, had a look at my application mail: it was my Irish phone number! Then I saw that my application was sent on Sept 30th! Ooooops! I was still in Ireland, so they were trying to call me on a number I'm not using anymore! I was then feeling very stupid!
I explained her the problem, she rescheduled the interview on Monday morning! I'm really angry at myself! How could I be so stupid?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A week end in Strasburg

The Cathedral
This week end was a long one, with Monday blank holiday, well for me it didn't change anything since I'm currently unemployed but I decided to leave to Strasburg with a friend. We wanted to go somewhere, quite close, in France since she had not yet all the ID documents of her new car, so on Friday evening, on the phone and on internet we made our choice. I had been to Strasburg quite a few times, but never more than one single day. It is located in the North East of France, very close to Germany: you just have to cross a bridge (by car, bus or foot) to get to Kehl, Germany. Strasburg is also widely known for the Cathedral, the "Petite France" (meaning "Small France") district and the European Institutions.

@ Chocolate Museum
So we left, on Saturday late morning, we drove around 2-3h, including lunch stop and time to get lost on our way to the hotel, her GPS not knowing the hotel's street. Our first thing after settling in the hotel was the visit of the Chocolate Museum which was located just nearby. It was a bit expensive, €8 (but at the hotel they gave us a €2 discount voucher) but quite interesting. It's all starting with a small movie about the chocolate's history, told by a male voice, almost sensual! ^^ Then, a small exhibition, some nice phrases about chocolate and it's ending on a workshop. The hostess is explaining and demonstrating how to make a casting and then we got to taste chocolate at different stages of production, from crushed bean to dark chocolate. And of course after the gift shop, with everything around chocolate. But you get a little chocolate gift.

Place Kléber by night
After, we went to the city center, did a few shopping in the old town, went to see the wonderful cathedral. It was already night, and the lightning of the monument was really nice. Then, we met some friends of my friend and went to restaurant. It was an Italian restaurant, Papa Lisa, it was very nice, nice food, got a pizza with Parma ham, mozza and gorgonzola, quite big and very cheap.
Then, with my friend we headed to our hotel to get changed. We then met in the old city some people, there's a website called OVS (Urbizz in English), people organize events (clubbing, restaurant, walks, exibition, whatever,...) and other people can join, not knowing each other, very nice concept. So, before leaving we  went on the website and spotted a night in club, so we decided to join. The club, Le Seven, seemed quite nice at first. But, the DJ didn't play the songs in their whole, got from one style to another completely different, and it was over crowded, they kept on letting people in whereas we could barely move inside. But the people we were  with were very nice, we all in all had a great night.

Our Alsacian lunch
On Sunday, we went first to the city centre late morning, had a nice walk. We stopped in a great restaurant, Le Caquelon, it was very nice inside. We had some typical Alsacian food: one was a "Croûte au fromage à l'alsacienne", it was bread soaked in white wine with bacon and lots of melted Munster (very strong smelly cheese, delicious, specialty from this part of France) and the other a "Poêlée de roësti Campagnarde", minced potatoes with onions, chopped bacon, egg, cheese and ham. It was delicious, the Munster was very strong, just as I like it, but too strong for my friend. And plus it was cheap! ^^
After lunch, we kept on walking, along the canal to the "Petite France" district, it's among different canals, very cute, with typical alsacian houses, so lovely.

Petite France
Later on, we went to another OVS event: Bowling and Flammekueche. I suck so much at bowling but it was very nice, lots of fun, the locals were teasing us, calling us "The Strangers", since people from Alsace have the reputation to be quite chauvinistic. Of course, I lost! Then, we went to restaurant to eat flammekueche. When the first one arrived, I wanted to use fork and knife since we were in restaurant, but no way! I got yelled at! That's a crime to eat it with cuttlery, gotta use your hands. They were very good. After that, we went in a bar/club and had a very nice night out.

On Monday, we went for lunch at my friends' friends, had a nice time, before getting back home. We had a very nice time there, met some nice people, and weems they expect us to come back, which we will of course! Plus, it's a very nice city, might try to see more of it next time, like European Parliament and Commission.

Some more photos.

==Greetings from Metz, France==

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Today, i took the theoretical exam of the driving licence and I passed! ^^ So now, the fun can start! I had tried to get my licence around 8 years ago, I passed the theory within less than 2 months, then I took around 50 driving lessons and I was far to be ready to take the practice exam.
But now, I'm more motivated & mature, and I do need it!

Well, that is if I don't leave to Berlin. Lately, I've applied to lots of Video Games Companies, and I just got an email from a German company, they're interested in my CV and asked me to complete a translation and answer a few questions. Depending on how good will be my test, they might schedule a phone or on-site interview! :D

==Greetings from Metz, France==

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A nice walk in Metz

I love walking, so yesterday I decided to go for a nice walk, under the sun, the weather was nice, fresh air, some wind. In Metz, there's a trail I like to take, starting near my place, taking me around the city centre.

I started walking along the Canal, towards what we call the Plan d'Eau (here the Moselle river is looking like a small lake, surrounded by large lawns and play areas), then along an amateur harbour, continuing towards the old city, a wonderful place indeed! ^^

After that I took a part of a trail called "Circuit des Remparts" (Ramparts Trail) which takes you, as you can guess out of its name, along the old ramparts of the town, walking along the river Moselle or Seille, immersed in nature inside the city. That's really very nice. I ended the Ramparts Trail at the "Porte des Allemands" (Germans Gate) and then to the rail station. It took me about 2 hours, and it everytime I'm walking in my city it reminds me how beautiful it is. Well, that's not something I forget but I'm still amazed, even after 27 years ( I was born and raised in Metz, left and came back a few times since the age of 19).
Here are some pics.

==Greetings from Metz, France==

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Flat hunting is on

So I've just started to look for a flat, as I'm living with my parents right now I'm looking forward to living alone again.

It can be quite hard since I have a low budget and don't want something too small (I'm not neither looking for something too big), but thanksfully in France there are some social aids for unemployed people which will help me a lot.

I visited a first flat on Friday afternoon, but it was way too small, like you put 1 table, 4 chairs and 1 bed and that's it, I don't like to sleep with my head in the fridge (I might exaggerate a bit but you got the idea), but the landlord asked for my budget and will send me a mail if he got something bigger.
Yesterday, I was supposed to visit another flat, on the ad it was written 30m² (so good size), for 310€/month, close to Metz's railstation (so good spot), the appointement was set at 3:30pm, but at 3:45pm still no one, I called the tenant but got directly the voicemail, I'm still waiting for her to call me back to set another appointement...

I do hope I'll find something soon, or maybe will I soon find a job somewhere else! ^^

==Greetings from Metz, France==

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bratislava's Blue Church

All along my travels I've seen many attonishing places and buildings, some of them were unexpected and awesome. Bratislava's Blue Church was one of them.
When I was living in Brno, I went often to the Slovak capital city to get planes, but it's only last november, while I was on my way to a short trip to Brno that I took some time to discover more of Bratislava.

A friend living over there at that time advised me to go and see the blue church. He told me it looked like a big cake and it was quite something, worth seeing.
I had the good idea to follow his advice, got kinda lost on the way (I'm not very good at finding my way anyway), it's a bit out of the very center but very close.

And it was wonderful! If you're in Bratislava or around you should consider going there, it's one of a kind church. I was really amazed by both the outside and the inside. Here you can find some more pics.

Some facts found thanks to Wikipedia:

Its real name is Church of St. Elisabeth (Slovak: Kostol svätej Alžbety, Hungarian: Szent Erzsébet templom), it's a Hungarian Secessionist (Jugendstil) Catholic church located in the eastern part of the Old Town and is consecrated to Elisabeth of Hungary, daughter of Andrew II, who grew up in Bratislava's Castle (pozsonyi vár).

The one-nave church was built in 1907-1908, after the plans of Ödön Lechner. The so-called Hungarian secessionist style forms dominate in the church.
The ground floor of the church is oval. In the foreground there is a 36.8 metre high cylindrical church tower. At first, a cupola was planned, but was never constructed; instead, a barrel vault was built, topped by a hip roof. The roof is covered with glazed bricks with decoration, for the purpose of parting.
The main and side entrances are enclosed with Romanesque double-pillars, which have an Oriental feeling. Pillars are also located near the windows.
The façade was at first painted with light pastel colours. Later the church got its characteristic blue colour. A line of blue tiles and wave-strip encircles the church.

==Greetings from Metz, France==

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Could be a good track...

Back in France and job hunting I'm trying to follow every possible track.
After my experience in dublin, I'm thinking I could search in the video games industry, as translator or localisation tester.
I already applied at Nintendo, Ubisoft and Sega, and Nintendo has just replied to me: they'll soon process with my application. I also wanna have a look at all firms doing translation and localisation testing.
Hope this will work out soon, don't wanna stay unemployed too long...

==Greetings from Metz, France==

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Aaaah, Paris...

I came back from hell Paris yesterday afternoon, back in Metz and job hunting life!

This was quite something, Sunday was nothing special, watched TV, surfed the net. On Monday, I went to my 2 first exams, on lunch break I met my ex flatmate/workmate who was taking the same competitive examination. We were working  and living in the same place in Dublin, and we're trying now to get same job! That was nice to see some familiar face!
The exams went ok, we had a translation French to English, I hate this, when I am talking in English I am thinking in English but when translation, as it's not my mother tongue, it's hard sometimes to get away from French...

As Tuesday a big strike was planned, I decided to book a taxi when coming back to my hotel, I phoned around 15 taxi companies, ruined my credit for nothing! They were either fully booked, or they did not take any bookings on striking days. So I went on-line to see what was the forecast for the suburb train and metros I had to take: there was a few trains planed for the part from hotel to connection station, then the metro I had to take was driving normally. But it was forecast, I would have worried less with a taxi. So I woke up at 6:15am, didn't take my breakfast at the hotel (I thought I'd rather loose €4 than getting late), got a nice guy helping me pulling my huge suitcase to the train station (yep I was travelling with heavy luggage: 1 suitcase of 24kg and one of 11) and another one lifted it in the stairs (there are very few stations with lifts or rolling stairs in Paris), didn't pay any ticket since the doors were open and anyway the counter was closed and the machine didn't accept coins, notes and electron bank card which was all I had. But I was quite worried as you often need a ticket to exit the stations.
So I had a train at 7am, got squizzed in an over packed train, got insulted since I wasn't getting off at each station. But I was in the middle, there was space on the left and on the right, and even if I got off my suitcases would still be in the middle, and sorry I don't lift down and up 35kg of luggage at every station.
When I got off, I could exit with other people who had a ticket, then could buy a metro ticket and ride to the examination place without problems (except the suitcases but as always there are nice people helping me).

So I arrived there at 7:30am, nice, since I was due at 8:45am for my exam... Got time to breakfast at McDonald's, took my exam which went well. I'll get the results on Dec 16th, if I pass I'll have oral examination late February/early March.
After this, I went for lunch. I first waanted to go to MacDonald's and take away since I could hardly see me handling the tray and my suitcases, knowing it'll be full around noon. So, I ended up in a restaurant, I was in the "business park" La Défense, so if you're ever over there I can advise you "Bistrot Romain", it was very nice, better than a fast food since they open the door for you when seeing you with all your crap, I can sit,  eat good food, quite cheap. I paid €20 for a three course meal, very good, the service was excellent.

Then, I headed to the train station to take a train home. I had booked a train leaving at 4pm but it was cancelled so I took the one leaving at 2pm, after 1h30 I was eventually in Metz! But with the strike, the demonstration and the soccer match (France vs Luxemburg), the buses not striking were stucked in traffic jam, so I decided to take a taxi as they could avoid the roads stucked. It was cheap (around €7) so I'll keep this in mind if one day I don't want to go home on foot after a night in town.

So I'm quite happy to be home (I would also be happy to go back to Dublin), now I can enjoy some time with friends and family, start job hunting again, flat hunting might start soon as well.

==Greetings from Metz==

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Quite a trip!

I have to tell you my trip from Dublin to Paris, it's unforgetable!
So, yesterday I went to bed at 8:30pm, but had some trouble sleeping, woke up at 1:30am, and left home at 2am, with 2 suitcases: 1 over 20 kg and 1 around 10kg.

While I was walking, close to aircoach station, on the opposite sidewalk, 2 dogs began barking at me, I had the bad idea to stop here to rest my arms and to switch suitcases, and then I saw the dogs running accross the road towards me, I can tell you I quite panicked and forgot the heavy weight I was pulling and started to run.

Then, I got my bus, got to the airport, with Aer Lingus you can have up to 20 kg of luggage, knowing I was in overweight I booked 3 extra kilos, but I was fearing to be even over 23... and I was 24kg and something, at seeing  this I thought ok I'm gonna ruin myself now, but the girl at the check in desk just gave me my boarding pass! ^^
After that, I wandered in the airport, took my last Burger King breakfast (BK doesn't exist in France) and bought a book, it was cheap and I need to increase my collection of books in English. The fly went ok and that's where the fun is starting!

First the airport (Roissy Charles de Gaule) is very big, so it takes some time to go to the luggage delivery. Then, there was a bunch of people bloking all the space next to an exit, at seeing my face and hearing me sighing, one of the blockers was almost yelling at me, saying I should just say excuse me, I wanted to ask her if she had a brain she could use to realise that coommon sense and politeness would make them leave some space for the other people, but all I could say was: "Fuck off!", in English but I guess she got it! ^^

Then, as the suburb train from airport to Paris city was off, I had to take an over packed bus, stuck between suitcases, for 9€, riding standing up... I thought with tenderness about the aircoach I had in Dublin, "luxury" bus, several stops, confy seats, baggage hold for 8€...

Then, I kinda struggle to find the metro, at my step down metro station I had to connect with suburb train, so I was happy to have rolling stairs to get to the upper floor, so I bought my ticket and then struggled to go through the tiny doors, got some help though! And then I saw there's no train today! Gotta take a bus, but to get on the street there are stairs! Great! Hopefully, some guy helped me out (there are some very nice people, even in Paris ^^ )

So I took my bus, and after on my way to the hotel a guy help me and pulled my big suitcase to the hotel, and I guess he wanted to go my hotel room too, but no! And luckily, at the hotel there's a lift! I'm on the 5th floor so I'm very happy about it!

Now, I'm settled in the hotel, found some restaurants around and will rest, since tomorrow I'll have to use my brain! ^^

==Greetings from Paris==

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A return to Ireland could be likely to happen...

Yesterday, at the end of my last working day, I was talking with my team leader and he told me he had heard good feeback about me, which is always nice to hear.

Then, I went and say goodbye to the Project Manager who was always trying to steal me from Project 1 to work on Projects 2 & 3. He told me he might ask me to come back after my "break" in France if big project is coming... Wow, nice piece of news! ^^ But that's a "if", so I'll of course go on looking for other jobs (I just sent application to be guide in Champagne Cellar...)

Then, out of subject, but the little party at home yesterday was pretty nice. After work, we went to a liquor store, €24 for a bottle of vodka Zubrowka is quite a lot but we were 2 to buy it, and well that's Zubro and in Ireland you can't find a bottle of decent alcohol under €17. Then, the home party was giant pizzas party with beer, wine, cider and vodka (let you guess what I chose to drink ^^)! It's kinda sad I had to wait for my departure time to meet some nice collegues (yeah, we were all gamers yesterday), but who knows, I'll perhaps fly back to Dublin quite soon! ^^

Still out of subject, I'm very unlucky with my stay in Paris, since tomorrow the suburb train going from airport to Paris is not working, so I'll have to take a bus, a metro and a suburb train to go to my hotel, that's gonna be funny with my heavy luggage!

==Greetings from Dublin==

Friday, October 8, 2010

Last working day...

So, I'm about to start my last day at work, I'm both happy & sad, sad to leave a job I like, a city I enjoy and to go back to unemployement, and happy to be able to see my family & friends again and to get the opportunity to take this competitive examination to work for French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

But as one of the project mangers is worried that I forget them and that I get bored at home, he might send me some work... can't get out of this company so easily... ^^

Tonight, little party at home, and on Sunday I'll fly back to France...

==Greetings from Dublin==

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Of course...

Yesterday, I had a look at French news, great news: Big strike on tuesday 12th of October!

That's just the second day of my exam and the day I'm supposed to take a train home... I hate those fucking strikes, just because of lazy bastards who don't wanna work and piss off those who wanna work!

That's gonna be fun & expensive, to be sure to get on time at my exam I'll get a taxi, then I'll have 4h before my train, if it's not canceled... if it is then they'll have to find a solution for me, when I'm paying 50€ for a train ticket, I expect to arrive at destination without spending more... And the funniest thing is that I'll have over 30kg of luggage with me...

What a wonderful welcome home from my country! :s

==Greetings from Dublin==

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Irish joke

It's the story of Shamus, an old Irish guy living in New York. He's often thinking about his green land and wishes he could go back to Ireland someday.

One day, he meets a Leprechaun, so the Leprechaun tells Shamus:

- I can realise one of your wishes, what would it be?

- Oh thank you Mr. Leprechaun, I'm missing green and sheeps from Ireland, I wanna go there.

- Ok Shamus, here it is: 1st class ticket on Aer Lingus New York - Shannon.

- Oh no, answers Shamus, thanks but I can't take the plane, I'm afraid!

- Ok, then here it is, one ticket for a luxury cruise from the USA to Ireland.

- Ah, you know Mr. Leprechaun, I came here on a boat and got sick for weeks. I was more thinking of a bridge over the ocean.

Then, the Leprechaun is thinking: "Oh God, that's gonna be a tricky one and will cost me loads of money" and so says to Shamus:

- Well, I know I should not ask you that, but it's gonna quite hard, so if you'd agree to change your wish that'd be awesome.

So, Shamus starts thinking of another wish and ends telling the Leprechaun:

- Oh you know Mr. Leprechaun, I'm single, you know I'm not very smart...

- Yeah, I know Shamus.

- I'm not very handsome...

- Yeah Shamus, you're right.

- So here's my new wish: I'd like to know what women think!

So the Leprechaun answers Shamus:

- Ok Shamus, how many lanes do you want on your bridge?

==Greetings from Dublin===

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another step towards France...

This morning, I took another step towards France: I bought my train ticket from Paris to Metz. That's becoming real, I'm leaving Dublin on sunday morning, surely at 7am!

I guess I'll be a little sad to leave, but who knows, maybe they'll call me back! ^^

==Greetings from Dublin==

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The End is coming soon...

On Monday I'm gonna start my last week at work, the project is ending on Thursday and I'll go back to France next week end, after a stop in Paris to take some competitive examinations to work for French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

I pre-booked my train ticket from Paris to Metz yesterday (I still hope they'll ask me to stay at last minute ^^ ), this was my 1st step in preparing my return home, this morning I posted some books to my parents. I think I'll miss Dublin and the job. I hope this time I won't stay too long unemployed.

But I have to see the bright side: 1st I'll be able to see my family and my friends, I'll be able to start again  the theory part of driving license and I keep nicememories from this stay here, in Ireland.

==Greetings from Dublin==

Thursday, September 30, 2010

House moving: Check!

So, yesterday I changed house. The landlord had the flat cleaned thinking I had already moved, so I felt quite bad since I had some garbage left in the kitchen and dishes not yet washed in the sink... :s

So I went back home after work, gathered my 2 suite cases, my small backpack, my big bag, my shopping bag and my hand bag and called for a taxi, when I gave my name the girl on the phone switched to French... ok.

The taxi driver was very nice, and I was surprised it cost me less than 20€ (good to know if I miss the last tram, especially if I'm with other people). I'm staying in a house owned by the company, 2 floors, 4 flatmates, 1 garden, quite close to work (20 - 25 min walking), the people seem nice.

==Greetings from Dublin==

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I might be Wonder Woman in the end...

... I think that's what might be thinking one of the Project Managers.
So today, I went back on Project1 after working on Project2 last week and Project3 on Monday and Tuesday.

This morning, my PM came to ask me my availabilities for over time since we got new stuffs on Project2, we decided that I'll be working 6 - 10 pm on Thursday & Friday and whole day on Saturday & Sunday. A few hours later, well the assignments for Project2 will be less than expected so I'll be working at home since no one else needs to do extra hours...

And 2 hours ago, I got a mail with instructions for Project3... hum there's a problem guys, I won't be able to make it... and I'm sure they can find other French testers willing to do over time (we got paid 50% more, not bad ^^ )

==Greetings from Dublin== 

Moving out by taxi...

Tonight I'm changing flat, and for the 1st time of my life I'm gonna use a taxi to do so! I had once done it with tram, but this time I have little time and too many things to bring by tram to work and walk to my new place.
But as I'm not paying any rent, I don't mind spending €50 for a taxi ride (well I might be exaggerating but the 2 flats are quite far one from the other).

That might be lots of fun ahead...

==Greetings from Dublin== 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How wonderful it is to do overtime in Autumn...

My company is great, one week 2 days off and the next week, I got to do overtime. Well, I don't HAVE TO, but it was strongly suggested by my team leader, since tomorrow I'm going back on my initial project and handling 3 projects at a time will be hard. Yes, 3, well I might finish one today as yesterday I staid at work until 8pm. But it can be creepy and gloomy as after 6pm the office is becoming empty and well outside, it's dark and you gotta exit through the car park, I'm in a Business Park so there's no one out there, some light, though. Strangely, yesterday night my 15-20 min walk to the tram seemed quite long...

And it ruined my yesterday night plans: cooking & packing (I'll soon change flat), so as I have 1h to get back home I wasn't feeling like cooking and had to stop by Burger King (life is sooo cruel ^^)

And all this week I will have to do more over time, but good news they are paying for my food if i stay after 8pm and extra hours are paid 50% more!

==Greetings from Dublin== 

Monday, September 27, 2010

My team leader is sadistic...

... he's having fun at having everyone taste a licorice candy, specialty from Scandivia. It's dark, thin, roud... and awfull to my opinion. I couldn't help but spitting it out... Argh!

And of course he's laughing at seeing the face of people who don't like it, it's strong, bitter and salty...

==Greetings from Dublin== 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Nancy, France

Place Stanislas
Nancy, located in North East of France, is the city where I lived and studied during 6 years. 6 awesome years, full of parties and great memory, where I always enjoy going for one day or more to meet some of my closest friends.

It's a middle-sized city, very nice to live in, offering a lot. Culturally speaking you sure can not miss our local pride: "Place Stanislas", former Royal square, made by command of King Stanislas, King of Poland and Duke of Lorraine (the region). It's been renovated a few years ago and is only pedestrian now. In the middle, stands a statue of Stanislas, as a thank to fight against Germany to remain French. In 2 corners are 2 fountains one representing Venus and the other Jupiter.
Venus Fountain on Place Stanislas
On the square, also stands the City Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Opera. It is also surrounding by fences in steel, piece of art of Jean Lamour.
 One of the exit of the square is an Arch of Triumph, leading to Place de la Carrière at the end of which stands the Governor's Palace, now military premises. 
This square is often the theater of lots of even, in summer time, don't miss the light & sound show on the walls of the city hall, it's very nice and quite impressive.

Just next to the square is the biggest park of the city: "La Pépinière". You can find there nice lawns, a small zoo, big lawns for people to play, lie, and so on, kid play area, concert stage, sport field,... It's nice for a walk, there are also lots of events there all year round. Like the jazz festival every october.

Craffe Gate
In the same area you'll find what we call the Old City, with remains of Middle Age like Craffe Gate (remains of ancient remparts), St Epvre church (the city's biggest), the local museum (Musée Lorrain),  the citadel,...

But Nancy is also known for having a lively night life, as a students city, parties are going every night. There are tons of pubs, restaurants, bars, clubs.
Flower clock in La Pépinière
Don't miss the "Rue Gourmande", "rue" means "street" and "gourmand" means "fond of good food", it's not its official name which is "Rue des Maréchaux". This nickname is due to the fact there are almost only restaurants in this street. My top 5 restaurant in Nancy are (not only in the "Rue Gourmande"): Le Bouche à Oreille (cheese), "L'Epicerie" (local), La Boucherie (meat), "Le Bistrot de Gilles" (classical cuisine) and "L'arrosoir".

As for pubs & bar, I do like "The Garden" and "Hemingway" for their cocktails, want some beer? Go to Phoenix Bar, MacCarthy or Opéra Café.

Saint Epvre Chruch
As for clubs! Oh my! "Le Chat Noir" has been like my 2nd house for a couple of years, it's normally for people over 25, all kind of music. I recently discovered "L'endroit" which is very cool, 2 rooms one more 80's the other more latino, when I went around Easter only one room was open so it was a mix of all, unforgettable night with the guy from clock room doing a strip tease at the end. But I still had no opportunity to go back.

Some other interesting stuffs can be the all time indoor market, just next to it is an outdoor other kind of markets for bags, shoes, clothes and so on. The mall "Saint Sébastien" offers a wide range of shops, including Disney Store! ^^ Every April is the fun fair in the city centre.
Fun Fair
And the "Jardins D'eau" (Water Gardens) along the canal are very nice too, especially in summer time of course.

Well, going to Nancy should be a pleasant experience.

==Greetings from Dublin==