A Day in the Life

For years people haven’t understood what I do for a living, now people don’t understand what I’m studying, and throughout it all, most people don’t understand that I truly believe in carpe diem. So inspired by the “Dailies” column that Erin used to run on Design for Mankind, I thought it would be fun to share a day in my life in Paris. Admittedly, it was an extra full day, but at the same time very much in the spirit of my everyday. So enjoy my Wednesday from last week (Nov 25), as I repeat a new variation of the same today.

7:07 AM – Alarm goes off. It’s always the goal to get up without snoozing. I do an amazing job this morning convincing myself more sleep is ok. Not only was I up til 2am working on a project last night, but there’s no need for yoga today because I’ll be getting my exercise later ce soir.

8:30 AM – Out of bed. Put hot water boiler on. Literally step 2 feet and hop in the shower.

{Ok, so this image wasn’t actually shot last Wednesday, but the weather all fall has been incredible and sunny like this. The weather is also highly subject to change, and feeling like 4 different days in one.}

8:45 AM – Open computer, steep pot of tea (addicted to Kumsi), turn on Voltage.fr and mix my bowl of plain yogurt and museli (my morning staple).
8:50 AM – Open all 3 email accounts, flickr, twitter and facebook (yes, I am connected!) and spend the next hour responding to “sneak peek” and freelance/blog related emails. Since I didn’t get it finished the night before, this is when I finish up my own blog post of the day. Today it’s all about the cross-cultural design firm, Nomad Ink.

9:47 AM – Impromptu dance party to Cascada’s “Escape the Dance Floor” (it seems to have replaced “I Gotta Feeling” as Voltage‘s [French radio] favorite song]

9:52 AM – Finished getting dressed, dry hair and get ready for the day. [Note: I must say that bringing my wardrobe of only black, blue, brown and grey clothes has worked wonders for my life and makes getting dressed so easy since everything matches!]

10:00 AM – Call my friend Elizabeth who just arrived in town with her husband the night before to make plans for meeting up. “Anne, it sounds like your day is really full – maybe we should find another day during our visit.” I can only laugh – my every day is scheduled for maximum impact (and fun too). We make a plan for drinks later :)

10:10 AM – Time for school work, so I start with the fun part, which means finishing up the visual portion of my Amelie Project. I went to Montmartre last night so I wanted to add in those images and finesse the final design. I definitely make myself laugh when I decide to put the gnome images on the final slide.
11:10 AM – I have to be smart and strategic every time I leave the apartment. Walking down 6 flights of stairs only to discover you’ve forgotten something is detrimental to the mental health. On really busy days – like today – I’ll only come and go once, it means packing for study/school + clothes for dance. But I have to admit that, three months later, despite feeling winded every time I get to the top, the stairs have done done wonders for my legs and ass!

11:15 AM – Arrive at the local phone store so I can pick up some phone credits for the phone I’m going to lend Elizabeth during her visit (tip: pre-paid phones are seriously miracle makers when you have guests in town!). Recognizing me as one of the Americans, the man behind the desk says “hello” to me, but quickly corrects himself and says “Bonjour” because he knows I like to conduct my business in French there.

11:22 AM – Check my mailbox at school, and it’s one of the few days there’s not a snail mail letter waiting for me from the States. Which is fine, because I have enough to keep me busy for the day.

11:30 AM – It’s early, but as a logistical thinker, I hate back tracking, and it’s drizzling now, so I decide to pick up my lunch. I have about 4 boulangeries I regular, which I like for odd reasons (I admit sometimes the woman with big hair and Dolly Parton make-up can sway me that direction). Today is all about convenience. I’m tempted by the pastries, but instead opt for “sandwich ciabata” with prosciutto, mozzarella and tomato. However, at the cashier, I fall pawn and also order a viennois chocolat. It’s essentially a slightly sweeter baguette (not too sweet) with chocolate chips. I like to think of it as a healthy snack, basically because it’s healthier than a patisserie! And because I have no self control, I decide to start with my dessert and eat the viennois chocolat on the way to the library (and before I can photograph it).

{what the walk to the library looks like on a sunny day!}

11:37 AM – Arrive at the university library so I can print out a couple readings for class, that will also happen to be great for a paper I’m writing.

12:00 PM – Leave the library to head to another library so I don’t have to fight for a seat. Paris has all sorts of amazing libraries hidden around the city and in the museums, so I like to use studying as an excuse to get out and explore. Not only do I have a panoramic view of Paris, but today I have the added benefit of watching men in funny suits doing work on the roof in the rain.
12:10 -3:00 PM – Read about hybridization (as opposed to homogenization when it comes to globalization) and think about how I’m going to apply it to my paper on Bollywood. I admit, I kind of love it.
3:10 PM – Arrive 10 minutes early to class to catch up with my friend Andrea and finally eat my delicious sandwich.

3:20 – 4:40 PM – This is seriously the only time of my day where time not only stands still, but I swear at times the clock goes backwards. In general I love my classes, but this one just doesn’t make me tick. (But I do love that I’m writing my final paper on the representation of culture in tourism advertising, so that makes it all better, and so I daydream about that).
4:50 PM – Head to the metro while checking my iPhone and finding an email that makes my day and makes me stop in my tracks. This is also a good reminder that I need to look up and look at the world around me sometimes. Not only is the lighting beautiful now, but there happens to be some group strike outside the metro (I figured it was either a strike or soccer fans). Oh, how Parisian!
5:00 PM – On schedule and on the metro to go meet Elizabeth and Matt for a drink. Catch up with the world thanks to the iPhone (which has seriously changed my life!) on npr and nytimes apps. I even have enough time to catch up on “The Biggest Loser.”

{Pop Quiz: Leaving the metro station, do you take the stairs or escalator? Answer: always the stairs (despite what this image suggests)}

5:25 PM – Mad impressed that I’m totally on schedule. Leave the metro at Bastille and head like I’m heading to my old apartment. Pass the hair salon where I had bangs cut two weeks ago (or as most people call them here, “fringes,” as influenced by the Brits) and catch the eye of the guy who cut them for me and have one of those unspoken moments as I pass on my way.

5:30 PM – Arrive at Cafe de l’Industrie to meet Elizabeth and Matt for a drink. I’m so impressed by my timing, and shocked that I beat them. Once they get there it’s great to see them, sit down and get a drink in me after a long day! Luckily, I know I’m going to be seeing them again, so it’s ok that we didn’t get a full update. Also, I start thinking that I should have a drink before class more often! (So exciting chatting the I forget to take a picture!).

6:45 PM – Run to the dance studio for hip-hop class. (Yes, I seriously packed for the day!). I get changed just in time for class to start.7:00 – I’m in hip-hop world. Sometimes I like to blame the fact that I miss a step on the fact that class is in French, but really it’s because I’m not that good! But I’ve been going to the same studio for 8 years now, every time I find myself in Paris. It’s my weekly sanity. Today is one of the rare instances when we’re not dancing to Michael Jackson, but it’s still fun.

8:29 PM – With one mintue left in class, I think I finally get the moves down.

8:34 PM – On my way out of the studio, I catch a wink from my teacher. It makes me happy to know that I’m a regular in his book. A la prochaine…

8:40 PM – Make my way back to the metro, resisting 4 creperies on the way.
8:45 PM – On the metro for great people watching this time and probably the worst metro singer I’ve witnessed yet. (I’ve actually been recording random musicians on my iPhone these days, now just to figure out how to download them, and then what to do with them! However, this woman was too awful to make the cut).
9:10 PM – Realize that I don’t think I’m going to be able to make it up the 6 flights of stairs unless I have some food in me so I get off of the metro one stop early so I can visit my favorite crepe man. Besides making a delicious crepe, I also enjoy the excuse to speak French in the English-speaking bubble I live in. We’re on a first name basis, so I’m glad Sudha let me take this picture as he made my citron and sucre crepe.

{the Chirstmas lights are on for the first time on my walk home!}

9:25 PM – Winded, but make it up the stairs and to my apartment.

9:30 PM – Wash up and throw together a salad to pretend I got a little nourishment on a day where I decided that dessert comes before real meals.

9:50 PM – Decide it’s probably time to finish up my paper due tomorrow that goes with my Amelie project. [The real epiphany won’t come until the middle of the night lying in bed, and part of it gets finished in the am].

1:00 AM – After emails, business and life, 1 AM is finally time for bed, and I swear every day my bed gets more and more comfortable. It was a full day, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I never was a super late night person until I came here. Now it jives with my lifestyle – there is too much to do and too many opportunities to sleep though it all…

SECRETS OF LIFE: balance, efficiency and logistics (no back-tracking!) :)

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