A whole lotta Durex and a whole lotta fun

So, The Frenchman came, he went and I conquered. And we came. And came. A massive box of Durex, gone. Fun times. Right now, I’m battling against a cold and feeling a bit sorry for myself. The cold is courtesy of The Frenchman. He came down with it three days before flying in but hey, it’s a small price to pay for the fun we had.

 The weekend went without a hitch, despite the sky shitting snow all over London. I mean, really?! I had to adjust the plans I’d made a little but on the whole it went to plan. I was unbelievably nervous waiting for him at the airport. I have no idea why. But I was. Proper heart ricocheting in my chest, sweaty palms, sickly nervous. But then when I saw him, well, all was good. He looked deliciously handsome and was wrapped up in the scarf I’d bought him for Christmas. Looked good on him, too. On the drive into London, I showed him various sites – the Olympic Park, Canary Wharf, my house. Yep. We drove straight past it. And if it wasn’t for the fact I’m living with the ‘rents, I’d have been taking him there instead. Having said that, when we got to the hotel, it was clear I’d made the right choice. We got upgraded to a suite for no apparent reason (and I never get upgraded anywhere, on anything, ever). So, instead of just a room, we had a massive living room with a great view over London, massive bathroom with double shower, kitchen and bedroom. Nice. This clearly meant more surfaces to get dirty on. And get dirty we did. Bedroom, tick. Shower, tick. Bath, tick. Kitchen, tick. Sofa, tick. Up against the floor to ceiling height windows overlooking Waterloo station? Tick. Just, fabulous. I’m quite amazed at how good the sex actually is. Very cat that got the cream, I can tell you.

 So, the Friday, we went to look at Egyptian mummies and drink real ale in a chintzy Victorian pub and in the evening, I introduced him to Nandos. I cannot believe they don’t have one in France. I mean, seriously? What’s that all about? I adore Nandos. So we met up with Miss America and her husband, had some food and then headed into central London for some cocktails. It was a lot of fun. I love that The Frenchman loves to dance. I love that he’s so affectionate, even in front of other people. He’ll kiss me anywhere. Over the table in a restaurant, on the Tube, on the bus, in a packed bar. I felt thoroughly adored and I’m sure I was positively glowing. It was a lovely day and night. With the snowfall everything was coated in white and it was nothing short of romantic, walking around the near deserted streets of London at 2am after having argued about whether English or French McDonald’s was better…ahhh, l’amour. Saturday was a chilled affair. We had a long lie in and a nice lunch before wandering around Covent Garden, Soho and Carnaby Street. We stopped off at Yuautcha, a Chinese/Japanese restaurant in Soho and had coffees and macaroons (cola, hazelnut and parma violet flavoured. Just yum) and headed back to the hotel for a nap. That night we went on the London Eye, a first for the both of us, and then into Chinatown for dinner. I think it’s safe to say that his naughty side is definitely becoming a lot more pronounced now. As we were having a cigarette in the freezing cold, he told me he’d love to warm me up by pushing me up against the wall and fucking the life out of me. I almost choked on my cigarette. Not because I’m a prude, but because it came from him. He’s always sensitive, more romantic than aggressive in the bedroom, and even though I knew he had a naughty side to him, it took me by surprise coming from nowhere like it did. Yeah. That was a lot of fun.

 That’s what the weekend was. Fun. We didn’t have any heavy conversations, we just hung out. Enjoyed each others company. Took the piss out of my bad French and his dodgy English phrases. After talking about blowjobs, it transpired I can’t say ‘souffler’ (blow) and it’s a common term of endearment in French to call a woman ‘Ma biche’ (my doe). He calls me his little venison instead. We’re racking up the ‘in jokes’ and each of them make me smile. I didn’t repeat the L-Bomb but it took a LOT of restraint on my part. It’s incredibly hard for me to hold back on what I’m feeling sometimes but, I did it. And as he told me at the airport as he was leaving, ‘we’re strong’. That’s enough for me.

For the entire weekend, we were literally joined at the hip. So much so that I feel a bit lost now. As usual, it’s going to take a good few days for me to feel back to normal, get used to sleeping alone and waking alone. Total balls.

I go back to Marseille in four weeks time and I’m already marking the days in my calendar.

It.Cannot.Come.Quick.Enough.

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The problem with people today…

Ok. Extreme rant coming. So I was on the bus on my way home today and an old man gets on. He clearly has trouble walking, let alone standing and yet nobody gives up their seat. He’s looking around for somewhere to sit. I was sitting at the back where there were a couple of seats spare but at the front, nobody has the impetus to offer their seat. Because I was brought up right, I get up and head towards the front to tell him he can have my seat.

At the same time, someone else gets up to get off the bus towards the front. Fabulous, the old man has somewhere to sit, right? Wrong. A woman sitting with a kid in her lap and another kid on the seat next to her gestures to her third child (around 7 or 8) to take the newly available seat. So I step in and say that maybe the old man should sit there instead. After all, her child is perfectly capable of remaining standing, more so than the old man. An argument ensues.

In the end I told her to do one and pretty much ordered the old man to sit down. Meanwhile, I’m getting a torrent of abuse from this woman. She resorts to personal insults (obviously highly intelligent) but I get the last word, telling her she should be ashamed and should be more concerned about setting a good example to her kids. That shut her trap.

It makes me so angry. What the actual fuck is wrong with people these days? How can you have no respect for your elders? And in giving her a piece of my mind I hope everyone else who stayed seated felt ashamed. I am NOT a racist person, not by any means, but the area I live in is heavily populated by people from a cluster of African countries. And it’s probably the only area in London I’ve seen where people actively push you out of the way to get on an empty bus and other such unsociable things, shout, spit and snort snot from their noses onto the pavement, or floor of a bus/tube. It might be normal where she comes from to behave like that but for me, it’s not.

How’s about learning some respect for other people and your surroundings. This is what’s wrong with society today, people just don’t give a crap about anyone else. I hope when she’s old and decrepit that she’s the one standing on a full bus with a driver who thinks he’s in the formula one.

Twat.

Et maintenant… (And now…)

What a weekend! It sucks to be back home! After a month I finally saw The Frenchman again and it was bloody fantastic.

He was there to meet me at the airport and straight away, the chemistry was there. We grabbed a quick coffee before he drove us to his apartment which was very french. Plenty of stairs (and he lives on the top, 5th floor), hard floors, shutters on the window, balcony, the lot. And, I met his cat, my new best friend. Since we were both tired we stayed in. He cooked dinner to go with the flowers he bought me and we worked our way through a bottle of wine. And had lots of sex. Of course! It was so nice to be with him in his own environment.

When we woke up the next morning, with his cat balanced precariously on my arm (!) we heard the unmistakable sound of rain. It seemed I’d brought the English weather with me because according to him, it’s rare to have rain in Marseille that lasts more than hour. It rained all day. We had planned to wander around town but neither of us wanted to venture out, so we spent the day lounging around, listening to music, having more sex and eating. Not a bad substitute methinks! When the rain finally stopped we went out and my french skills were put into practice with real people! I was nervous, of course, but I actually did ok. I was understood, anyway, and we had a lovely dinner before heading to a cocktail bar to sink mojitos and dance. By the time we got home we were both shattered but still found the energy to make use of his bed (again). Afterwards, we fell asleep. While he was still on top of and, um, inside me. That was a first! But a nice one 🙂

And on Sunday, I woke up at stupid o’clock. I don’t know why but I’m always up at about 8.30am on a Sunday so I left him to sleep a bit before waking him up in my own special way! The sun was shining through the shutters and the sky was perfectly blue. Finally, I was experiencing the sun! After breakfast we headed to Cassis, a gorgeous town on the coast. This isn’t a picture I took – I have photos on various social networking platforms and I’m trying to preserve my anonymity, but this is Cassis.

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I have to say, being on a beach with the sun blazing in my skin in the middle of November was a nice touch. As we sat outside a restaurant with a glass of wine, we had ‘a conversation’.

He really likes me. He feels comfortable and natural with me (rare for him) and I understand him. It’s hard for him to see me only once a month and until now, he hasn’t wanted to ask himself whether he’s ready for a serious relationship. This is his way of protecting himself and he’s told me before that he tends to put barriers up whereas I’m the opposite. And in a perfect world, I’d be with him in Marseille. Everything he said echoed what I was thinking, and I told him that I have to keep reminding myself that he’s ‘him’. I’m not sure if its because he’s French or because he’s him but things he says and does aren’t what is expect a guy to say or do. I’m used to the idea that attempting to have a ‘serious where is this going’ conversation could spell the end of a potential relationship but he’s the opposite to what I’ve grown used to. He’s incredibly affectionate, declaring his family ‘complete’ when we were snuggled with Icar on the sofa. So, the upshot is that he has to ask himself if he’s ready to take a risk with me or not.

He’s worried it would be difficult with our different cultures. I told him it would be. I did a relationship like that for nearly 10 years and it isn’t easy, but then good things generally take work. He agreed with that sentiment.

I’m going back for four days in 3 weeks and then he wants to come here mid December. After that, the plan is that February-ish, I’ll go for a bit longer so we can spend some proper time together.

So, are we ‘exclusive’? I didn’t ask. Strangely, I don’t feel like I have to. I trust him and I’m sure he feels the same way I do. Add to that the fact he says sex with me is the best he’s ever had and, well, I’m not worrying too much about him straying.

Of course, the weekend went far too quickly. And yes, I cried at the airport when it was time to come home. I’m a total sap. But it’s not long to go now until I’m back out there…

Exciting stuff!

Ooh la la avec les hommes Francais

So after an hour of feeling pissed off on Thursday after hearing Mr Double-Barrel on the radio, Miss America and I decided to go out on the piss and I was under strict orders to pull me an Irishman. I failed, dismally. And picked up a Frenchman instead. We went out for dinner and met a group of French guys who were in Ireland for a fishing trip. They were all the same age, 32/33, and all of them were lovely, compounding the stereotypical image of unfriendly French natives!

There were three of them who lived in Westport, I’m not sure what their relationship was to the guys who we were talking to but they seemed nice enough. And one of them took a shine to Miss America – never mind the fact he was there with his girlfriend. He was seriously cute and honestly, if looks could talk his would have said ‘I want to eat you now’. Intense wasn’t the word.

I’m sure you’ve already gathered, but Miss America is a great wing woman. I can be shy around guys but she thinks to ask leading questions and keep them interested. So we ended up going on for a few drinks with them and I got chatting to the one I’d had my eye on from the start. I’ll call him The Frenchman. He was very much my type – snowboarder, indie looking. He reminded me of a cuter Fred Durst and I used to love him back in the day. Over the course of some drinks we chatted and swapped English and French. When the club got ready to close, we went back to their cottage and Miss America was more than happy to keep me company.

Once there, the champagne and whiskey came out. Looking back, it could’ve been dangerous – two girls getting drunk with five French dudes, but hey, it was fun. And I fancied the pants off The Frenchman. Miss America decided she wanted to see the sunrise and suggested we go for a hike up the hill, but as time moved on, she ended up nudging me, telling me that if I wanted to pull him, I’d better get on with it before I lost the chance.

You already know I’m shy. I hadn’t even kissed the guy, though we had been flirting over the course of the evening. So I put my 50 Shades hat on, gulped down the rest of my drink, took his hand and into the bedroom we went.

Who needs an Irishman when you can have a sensual Frenchman instead! Remember my blog post where I said I couldn’t remember the best sex I ever had? Yeah. I do now. I don’t think I’ve ever slept with anyone who was do focussed on my pleasure before. Plenty of kissing, massaging, intense staring…yum. I missed out on the sunrise (it was cloudy anyway) but I didn’t really care. I remember Miss America shouting that she was going to take my hiking boots, but that’s about it. A couple of hours later they came back and after a quick hello and a drink, we all went to bed. After a few hours kip cuddled up to The Frenchman, he told me he only had one hours sleep, because I was in his bed. It was apparently a ‘great, great moment.’ And no, Miss America, I don’t think he meant my snoring!

It’s safe to say Friday was a write off, but after such a fabulous night it was an even price to pay. It took my mind off Mr Double-Barrel completely and it put a smile on my face. Not bad 🙂

I’m working for a cash machine…

Ah, money, money, money. Not my favourite topic of conversation, it must be said. Not enough can make you feel depressed but too much can (supposedly) ruin your life. Remember Callie Rogers? She won the National Lottery at the tender age of 16 and has been chronicled in the papers ever since. By last year, she’d almost run out of money thanks to spending sprees, cocaine and plastic surgery (apparently). There’s no shortage of lotto winners out there who’ve since said that their win has made them miserable and it’s not hard to see why. Old ‘friends’ and family creeping out of the woodwork expecting a handout, not to mention the tough decisions about just what to do with your hard won cash. Fortunately for me, (or unfortunately), the chances of this kind of stress invading my life are minimal. That said, a bit of dollar wouldn’t go amiss right now.

I’m crap with money. I’ll put my hands up. I’ve been working now for 12 years and have no savings to speak of. It flows through my hands like water. Now that I’m single, it seems to have got even worse, given that I actually have a social life now. Add to the fact that I’ve had to help my sister out and well, let’s just say I’m waiting for payday to roll back around. I have to say that I’ve saved an awful lot of money this month by switching from cigarettes to roll ups (yes, I smoke…please don’t judge me *rolls eyes*) so that’s got to be a plus, although, I can’t actually see where this saved money has gone. Mojitos, probably. Drawing out a tenner a day for cigarettes and lunch is probably the quickest way to drain a bank balance. But now that I’ve come to a decision about my travelling plans, I’ll have to make a concerted effort to put money away.

This is where I’ll be this time next year. I was planning on going anyway and I will, all being well, be there for around 4 weeks. Now that I’ve found out I can sneakily carry over more than the stipulated 5 days of leave into next year, I’ll be able to spend a month in Rio de Janeiro AND take a second trip without having to take a break in my salary. I’ve been delving into research and my plan is to volunteer for 2 weeks and use the other 2 weeks to generally just be. I’ve called a few agents to get a ballpark figure on flights and it looks like I can get out there for under £600. Add to that the volunteering cost (which includes accommodation and meals) of around £800, plus hostel accommodation for the remaining two weeks and I’ll need to shell out £2.5k at least. It’s doable. I’ve already started adjusting my (slightly anal) Excel budget spreadsheet and it can be done. Nay, it WILL be done. I’ll get out there if it kills me.

Now, I may be being ambitious, but there is another destination I’m looking at for May next year, again, volunteering but this time for a month. Again, it’s doable. I’ve checked around on flights (based on this years prices), volunteering costs etc and that’s another £2.5 to £3k. My sensible head is saying I could use this money to put towards a deposit for a flat or something, but that would only further tie me down. I’d rather have life experiences to look back on than money in the bank and feel that niggling sense of ‘if only’.

Money, and the lack of, can be a bitch. It can depress even the lightest of souls, but while I might not have much, there are people out there in much worse situations than I am. I can give myself a weekend off in a month and save myself around £50. It will all add up to what will be, for me anyway, the trip of a lifetime. I’ll still be working for a cash machine, but at least my cash will be spent doing something fun and worthwhile.

Quarter Life Crisis

I’m in a strange mood today. Well, I’m a bit strange most of the time, but today I’m in a particularly strange mood. For some time now I’ve felt like my life has been stagnating, which I guess has been made worse by my splitting with the Ex. For a long time, I’ve held a distant dream of travelling but it’s now developing into a serious want, which isn’t helped by my awful penchant for impatience. In fact, it’s getting to me so much that I’m blogging from work, something I’ve actively tried to avoid.

It was something I’d discussed often with the Ex but we had wildly different views. His idea of travelling contained way more adrenaline than mine. He wanted to go trekking in rainforests and hiking up mountains and to be honest, I’m a little too chicken for that. I just want to see the world, without having a near death experience, so we never made plans to travel together since he’d only get annoyed at my reluctance to hike up a mountain because of my ridiculous fear that I’d slip, fall back down again and die.

There’s a couple of things that have brought about this current bout of…wanting. One, was a post I’d read on BAExpat’s page, which I came across as it was ‘Freshly Pressed’ (lucky thing). I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since and I’d recommend the read: http://baexpat.com/2012/02/16/the-most-important-thing-youll-ever-learn/. He’s doing what I wish I was…

The other thing is my career. I have a great job but I’m getting more and more bored. My problem is that to move on in my chosen field (which is specialist), I need more qualifications. I left school at 16 and went straight to work. No college, no uni. The qualifications I have above GCSE level are either NVQ or professional qualifications, but not at the required level for me to achieve my ultimate goal of working abroad and earning a decent wage. Nor are they enough for me to leave my current job and go into another specialist role at the same level or salary. And to be honest, the thought of applying for and starting another job in London just depresses me right now. After some investigation, it looks like the course I’ll need to take to get me to a decent standard lasts about 2 years, at a cost of £10k. My company would pay for it, but it means I’d have to stay here for another 2 years once it’s completed. That’s 4 more years working here. The twist is that within the next 18 months, it looks increasingly likely that there’ll be a massive reorganisation which means the threat of redunancy. And the draw of taking redundancy money, which would be great. It means I’d be able to pay off my debt and travel without worrying about sustaining an income to pay my bills. The downside? If I study, my company would take the cost of the course out of that lump sum. Not so good since it would likely eat up most of, if not all of the money.

In an ideal world, I’d wait it out, hope for the redunancy money, pay my bills off and get out of here. But then it doesn’t solve the issue that when I get back, I’d still have to study to get to a decent level in my field.

What to do, what to do?

I don’t want to study for another 2 years and then not be able to travel. A lot can happen in 2 years. I look at my friends getting married and having babies, and it’s the last thing I want. Well, it isn’t. Of course I want to settle down and stuff, but you know what I mean. I’m free and single for the first time in almost 10 years and I feel like I should be doing something with my life. Who knows what could happen. I could meet a really great guy, my soulmate, and get married and start popping out babies in 2 years time. I’ve seen it happen with my friends. But equally, my sensible head is saying that I need to get this qualification. It’s something that would set me up for the next x years of my working life.

The other thing about travelling, is that it would push me out of my comfort zone. I can be naturally shy and tend to stick to routine. I don’t like to eat from dodgy places. I like comfort. But I wasn’t always like this. I used to be outgoing and gregarious. I want to be that person again. It feels like I AM this person inside, but I’ve supressed her for so long that I don’t know how to find her again. I hate that I didn’t do what everyone else did. If I’d have gone to college and uni, I’d have the qualifications I need already. If I’d have gone travelling when I was younger, I’d not feel so lost right now. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret committing to a long term relationship at the tender age of 17 – I’ve learnt a hell of a lot. It’s just that it feels like its come at a price. Namely, my life.

The thing is, it feels like I’m running out of time. The longer I put off studying, the harder it will be to progress in my career. But the longer I put off travelling, the less likely it will be to happen. It feels like this is one of those moments in my life where I have a crucial decision to make, like I’m on the cusp of…I dunno…something. Or maybe I’m just putting too much pressure on myself and doing what I tend to do…over analyse.

Oh, life.

And apologies, I think this is the first whingy post I’ve done. Shall not be making a habit of it!