Emily in Paris


I didn't know of the show until I saw an article in Le Monde. Dear god I could barely make it through one episode (but it was produced by MTV so I vaguely understand the absurdity of it). I know there are going to be so many people who watch the series, and France will get a new influx of wide eyed foreigners thinking that will be them. Lord help the French.

I laughed when she got to her apartment and that big stairwell didn’t have an elevator. On what planet would a building that size not have an elevator? Or when she got to her “chambre de bon”, and it was not in fact a chambre de bon. It was on the 5th floor, which is usually the second nicest floor of a Haussmannian building. Chambre de bons are on the 6th (or 7th). And usually a chambre de bon is the size of just her kitchen (9-12sqm). If she had really been in a chambre de bon she would have been in the grey part of the building (under the roofs). Not to mention no American, being sponsored by their American company, would get an apartment that shabby. 

She wears heels! Gah! Anyone who has ever lived in Paris would never wear heels, or anything higher than an inch, much less stilettos. Have you ever walked on cobbles? You’d be better off sticking needles in your eyes. I remember I was walking home from Grands Boulevard once with a friend of mine. We had just left a club and a girl was further along the street. She kept trying to balance herself in her 6 inch heels. Finally she hit a cobble (they’re uneven), and face-planted right into the street. That was the only time I ever saw someone in heels. 

FYI the button for the light always has a light. You can’t miss them. Nor do you need your phone torch to find it. In fact most common areas of a building have a light that comes on automatically and is motion sensored (apparently it has to do with orthodox Jews being unable to touch light switches during the sabbath) . 

Don’t ever go into your boulangerie and not say bonjour. That’s a one way ticket to getting the day old bread on purpose. I was shocked, that even with no knowledge of French, how rude she was! You don’t have to be the annoying American who is overly friendly but never, ever, do what Emily did.

I totally get the need for diversity on an ‘American’ show, but let’s be real the black character would never work in a French office. There are no black people in most French corporate jobs unless they’re security. The French are racist. My friends Kevin and Yannick worked with me, but only because they had experience living in America, spoke perfect English, and had American accents. Not to mention Kevin graduated from Columbia (and attended Science Po). But even then they were pretty much only in that job because of their flawless American accents. Kevin was always looking for work, but couldn’t get it, despite his uni pedigree, and hated living in France for it. He used to say that’s why the French ask for photos on your resume.

Now I understand why the French think all of the smiling makes you look crazy. She looked manic (like Waity Katie when she pretends to laugh). Stop smiling! 

That said I was like Emily once in my corporate job. I was hired by a French tech firm to help them navigate the American market, and try to build a client base in America. It was not pretty. Their expectations could not be managed and ultimately I did not last long (you can’t become AT&T overnight). I couldn’t handle them having no concept of how America works. If they had wanted to start small and work their way up, I could have handled it, but they didn’t seem to understand that large firms already have their own in house team, and wouldn’t hire a French company to do what they themselves have, or what they could have an American company do. 

Anyhow I will have fun picking this show apart… I know, I’m such a hater. But it seems the French are having fun picking it apart as well. Anyone see the tweet of Emily’s arrival and someone had changed it to dirty streets, graffiti and burned out cars? Paris isn’t that much of a third world country, but while it is clean, it’s not that clean. The show is so absurdly fake that even Le Monde had to put in their two cents, and they’re usually far too highbrow to weigh in on such mishegas.


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Episode 2 -


My running commentary continues. I wish I could watch these sooner, but I am generally too busy during the week to watch tv, much less binge (or make it through my giant pile of books). It’s weird, but these days I don’t know where the day goes. It’s also a little hard to watch these because I have yet to disassociate Christian Kinnersley from Paris, and seeing Paris (or hearing or reading anything Paris related) causes a lot of turmoil, and bouts of depression, but I’ll post when I have time to get in an episode. Tonight we tackle “Masculin Féminin”... 


I lived in Paris for 6 years and never stepped in dog poop. It’s such an old French cliche. There are people who will not pick up after their dogs, but it’s rare these days. Besides most people know the cliche and know to look at the ground when they walk (which is why you miss all of the great architecture). 


Sadly Emily is the stereotypical American who moves to France (an airhead). Your parents have to have a lot of money to get you an apartment (or in the case of older ones, their companies, or they’re just rich in general), and afford to send you there. She’s like every American who attends University of Paris or whatever that US school is called. What does an American University degree even get you? Besides the ability to live in Paris for 4 years and a degree that has no weight behind it? I moved to Paris because I couldn’t get a visa for London so I can’t speak to the mindset of those people, but once you live there, you’ll know what I mean by “the stereotype”, the “cliche American”. Usually they’re from California. 


One thing I’ve always mused about... I’m pretty sure the French have developed mutant genes that enable them to smoke and live forever. Not everyone in France smokes, that’s a misnomer, but some do, and I have yet to meet one person who had lung cancer. Or had a relative who had lung cancer. Lung cancer obviously exists, but out of all of the people I met (and I met a lot), not one. 


Never once heard someone say “mon dieu”. But I did hear a lot of “my god” (with accent of course). Or my favorite “my gosh”, which sounds funny coming from a French. 


Ugh every Frenchman (even men I worked for) uses that same line “the best way to learn French is to get a French boyfriend” and yes, it’s what they usually say when they’re trying to sleep with you. That’s a true cliche for once. 


Her outfits are so ridiculous. If you ever saw someone in Paris dressed like that you’d wonder if they were mentally ill (or a tourist). Please never dress like that. Paris isn’t Sex and the City. Looking like Carrie Bradshaw would make you look like a clown. We’d all laugh. 


No one shows that much skin either. That’s a sure fire way to have a creep follow you home. It’s skanky, not chic. You will never see a Frenchwoman dressed like that.


They were smart to film in the 5th because the buildings in the 5th are clean, and just the right shade of beige. Anywhere near the Pantheon is sure to give you that perfect stereotypical ‘Paris’ look. There aren’t any other districts that look like that. Only near the Pantheon, or the Sénat towards Odeon. Possibly Palais Royale... but that yellow beige color is really uncommon. It changes color when it rains. 


They filmed this entire series during the first week of June right? Paris is never warm enough to wear such little clothes, but it’s also too hot to not be covered in sweat when it is warm. Plus it’s never sunny that many days in a row. Unless it’s July or August, and you’re praying for the rain to come back because it’s better than 40+ degrees. 


I envy Emily for finding a friend so easily. Paris is a hard city to make friends in. Frenchgirls close ranks, and I never gelled with American girls because they were all like Emily. When the only thing you have in common is that you both live in Paris it doesn’t make for a stable or lasting friendship. I only made one really good friend while I was there, who understood my personality and my humor, but he’s gone now... Don’t be fooled by the show, Paris is a tough place, and not at all how they portray it. 



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Episode 3


I have never in my Paris life seen a Frenchgirl work out. Maybe they do, but I never saw them. Men jog... maybe I saw a woman once? I honestly can’t remember seeing many women. A pastime of mine was sitting in Luxembourg and laughing at the Frenchmen jogging because the French run weird. Emphasis on the men because they were mostly men


And that spin class? Never seen one of those either. There was a treadmill/bike thing near my house in Passy, but I saw maybe one older woman in there every now and again. I’m telling you Frenchwomen don’t exercise. All of the women I worked for barely ever ate food. 


The guardienne. For once a truth. I never met a nice one. And just an FYI the guardiens in Paris are all Portuguese. Someone once told me it’s a Portuguese mafia. It’s a cushy job if you can get it (free rent, salary, and all you have to do is mop the stairwell from time to time). 


As much as I grew to like the Paris way of life, if I were an American, or an American company, my biggest piece of advice would be to never do business with the French. Don’t open an office there. Don’t anything there. American capitalist’s heads would explode if they had to deal with them for long enough. My head wanted to explode dealing with them, and I’m the least interested in money person. When Macron was pushing his French agenda in the US a few years back I cackled. There are two mindsets that are like oil and water, and that’s the French and the American. If you want to make money, avoid France. 


2 points about the commercial; 1) the French would never expect to show a women walking nude down the street and call it sexy. The whole point of French sexy is the allure. And showing skin isn’t alluring. It’s trashy, and too in your face. You have to have mystique.


Two; trying to teach sexism to a French male is not something that will ever happen. French society is sexist. Frenchmen don’t think much of women. True there are a lot of women in corporate jobs, but I doubt Frenchmen see them as their equals. Look at French politics. They had one female president and they’ve bashed that women for years, and continue to use her as an example for why women can’t hold power. Don’t expect female empowerment. 


I can only speak from second hand knowledge but the hate Emily’s boss has for her seems to be something that happens to younger women in French work culture. I’ve heard stories about women who were treated badly because they were younger. I don’t pretend to know how female relationships work in France, as I never had more than a handful of French female friends, but I do remember hearing about that.

 

I laughed at the French guy, and yes they are that ballsy with Americans because they can be. I doubt they’re like that with Frenchgirls. They think American and British girls are easy. That part was on brand.


The hot neighbor *headshake* I’ve lived in 50 apartments? I hardly ever saw my neighbors, much less had one that hot. Hot men exist, obviously, Frenchmen are incredibly good looking, and I’d be willing to bet Paris has the highest proportion of good looking people per population, but I never lived in the same building as them. 


And I never dated a cook. Weird right? All of my boyfriends were pretty much in finance. I dated a painter once. His work was atrocious but he painted his penis which was, to be fair amazing, so I could understand why it ended up in his work, but I hardly met any artists.


Edit - Oh yeah I dated a furniture maker. Also an amazing dick. But alas I hardly met any artists. And I forgot I did have a cute neighbor. Not hot but cute. But he smoked weed, and had strange men over all the time, possibly selling to them, and it was a turn off. Every time he opened his door, the hallway would smell like stale smoke. Like he probably never, ever opened his window, and just smoked with it closed, and it just lingered and the smell was so, so bad. 



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Episode 4


I miss the Paris flower shops. I love fresh flowers, and seeing them everywhere made Paris even more beautiful. Maybe it’s an oddity, but it was one of my favorite things about Paris. 


Some random Frenchgirl meeting you on the street and being friendly? Wouldn’t happen. The French don’t talk to strangers. 


The hot cook neighbor with the beautiful kitchen... Kitchens that nice don’t usually exist in Paris. Most kitchens are small, ugly, and shoved in the back of the house facing the courtyard. I’ve only seen kitchens like that in American houses which they usually had remodeled so it could be that size. In French culture the kitchen wasn’t important because only the servants used it, hence being small, and in the back away from the rest of the apartment. 


I know I’m just being salty regarding anything that deals with romance. I wish I could fall in love again. I wish I could look at a man and not feel contempt. I tried. There was a gorgeous guy at work in America who was funny, and sweet, and so tall, but I don’t have the ability to produce those feelings anymore. I don’t know if they’ll ever come back. I don’t want to ever go through what I’m going through now again, and maybe it’s subconsciously blocking me. It doesn’t feel like I can ever produce those feelings again. So I’m just a lonely hater who hates on romance because I will never have it. I hope Christian Kinnersley rots in hell for turning me into this. Much like I can never find happiness, I hope the same happens for him. 


Peanut butter, while it used to be hard to find, can be found now. The big Monoprix near my house had an American shelf which had marshmallows, Dr. Pepper, and peanut butter. Sunpat (which I think is British), and Skippy. 


Paris is full of gorgeous men, but they’re not everywhere, despite what this show has you believe. The extras they got for the show are completely unrealistic. 


Hate to break it to everyone but lingerie isn’t the big deal the Anglo media has you believe. As someone who has worked as the hired help (teaching kids English), I’ve seen the femme de manage doing the laundry, and French women don’t have drawers full of spectacular La Perla lingerie. 


*Spoiler Alert* The hot chef being a total cheating ass. Now that’s on brand. Finally some realism. I never dated a guy who was taken, but there are plenty of them on Tinder/Happn/Bumble (thankfully they usually put it in their profiles so you can avoid). 


I feel bad because I’m actually beginning to like this show. It’s a bit of a mockery of the French, and of Paris but... I don’t know, I’m actually interested in seeing what happens next #TheyGotMe



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Episode 5 -


The first time I ever heard of the Eiffel tower sex position was from some Frenchmen who had done it. I remember one guy bragged to me about it, as if it would score him points. Before that I had never heard of it. On brand. 


The only time I’ve ever been to an Influencer event was when I went to an event at Colette with my friend Geraldine. They didn’t dress as tacky, but it was just as naff. And if you were in the know you know what Colette was. 


I feel like living in Paris I missed the whole influencer thing. I don’t get it. As you can see I’m terrible at Instagram. I tried to do something with Billingsley, but I don’t possess the Instagram gene. I don’t care what other people are doing, or how they live their lives, and I hate dishonesty, which is what I believe Instagram is. I’m a lover of realism for a reason. All of the posting they do on the show is weird because the French don’t do it. It’s not a ‘thing’ in French culture. Only tourists do it. 


They went to the Van Gogh exhibit at the Atelier des Lumières which sadly I always wanted to do but never got to. It was one of the things in Paris I had on my list, and never checked it off.


For Emily’s “last story”, you’d have to go from Montmartre, Pigalle, Palais Royale, Trocadéro, and then back to Montmartre. 


Door codes always have a pattern to them. That’s how you remember them. The numbers will always form a shape. 


The carpet in Emily’s building is weird. Most Paris buildings have the same carpets throughout (and I actually found the bricolages where they come from one day). I can’t figure out if the production changed her’s on purpose because it’s not a standard Paris pattern. They’re usually red.


I love that the hot neighbor wears the ‘Paris uniform’. One year all of Paris males in their 20’s and 30’s wore that jacket, plain white T-shirt, blue jeans, and of course all white trainers. I once tried to buy my ex Christian that jacket because I unsubconsciously had seen it so much, and I liked buying him things so I thought he might like it, but he flat out refused it. Now I realize it was the Paris male uniform. Kind of like when I moved to Paris and all Frenchgirls wore black jeans, leather moto jacket, and white trainers. Every new year produces a new Paris uniform, and yes they all wear it. It’s weird. In Paris you don’t dare to be different. 



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Episode 6 -


“Frenchmen never get tired of having sex”. Myth. They work too much. And just like with all men, it’s a mixed bag. I’ve had some great French lovers, but as I only really started dating when I moved to France my experience is limited to Frenchmen (and some English). 


Being a nanny is such an easier life than having to be an adult in America. You can get by with relatively little in France. Like 20€ a week. Have you ever tried to get by with $100 a week in America? Never gonna happen. Paris is a much easier city. 


“People in Paris don’t judge you for doing nothing”. Myth. People in Paris are hard workers, and I don’t know if it’s because I moved in the upper middle class/upper class circles, but those people didn’t buy million dollar flats by doing nothing. Obviously I worked for some pretty powerful people, and anytime I told someone “I don’t really do anything” I was always judged. 


That said Paris is a good place to hide from life. It’s so easy to live there on nothing that you can spend 6 years there doing nothing, and not even realize it. I miss it. 


Café de Flore is never that empty. It’s packed day and night. It’s a tourist attraction. I tried to get Christian to go there a few times, and he refused. It’s always crammed with people. And people don’t sit on laptops in cafes. 


I love Camille Razat (who I know from somewhere and I can’t figure out where). She reminds me of Julie Delpy who is one of my icons. 


It’s super weird that Emily never, ever takes the metro. Not even a bus? Does she never leave the 5th? When she went to the art gallery in the 4th that was in a square near the river (I’ve walked through it a few times) so it wouldn’t have been more than 10 minutes walk from the Pantheon (her apartment is in a little square I used to walk through every night to get from my apartment on Lacépède to Saint Michel). 


Fun fact, I used to work for a family. I loved working for them. They were very, very rich. Triple digits in the millions rich. And they would go to the Opera once a week or so. Their daughter had actually gotten into the school that Opera has for primas in training. She went to 9 ballet classes a week, she was determined to get in. She was rejected the first year, but the second year she was in. Anyhow they always went to the opera and they always went in jeans. They never dressed up. Well Sonia only ever wore dresses but it wasn’t “dressy”. I just thought it was always funny because I would have pulled an Emily and went in full on drama.  


I used to joke with some of my French boyfriends that I was more Parisian than them because I had lived there longer. Most people in Paris aren’t from Paris. The French migrate from elsewhere because it’s the only city in France with that much industry. You’re not going to move to Lyon or Marseille for work. There’s only one ‘city’ in France, and that’s Paris. 


Getting tickets that easily for an Opera/Ballet would have been impossible. I tried to get tickets a few times. You need to jump on the sale right when they drop. It’s so hard to get them later too. 



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Episode 7 -


“The French Ending”. One thing I always loved about France was the brutal honesty about life. They are not a people who are into fantasy. Nihilistic pessimists the lot of them, and I miss them. 


I just realized why Camille’s accent sounds so weird, and it’s because I’m not used to French people (in Paris) who talk with such a heavy accent. The natural born Parisians have nannies or aupairs who teach them to speak English without an accent, and they really do speak flawlessly. When you’re hired as a tutor you are explicitly told by their parents to obliterate their accents. And most people in Paris speak English because they have to in order to find jobs in the Capital. So an accent that heavy is rare. It’s also a sign of class in a way because the wealthier ones don’t have an accent in English. It means their parents could afford to hire someone to teach them, and if your nanny was an Anglo, then you are even wealthier because usually families who refuse to shell out money will just get a Filipino and then their English is all wrong. It’s also why you see less Filipinos and more American/English/Canadian/Australians picking up children in the richer neighborhoods. You have to have money to afford an Anglo. 


“Mathieu Cadault” is closer to what you will hear in Paris, except his accent is bad. He clearly learned English from an English speaker but... yikes. 


I wish I dated more guys who had scooters. I dated more guys who had cars than scooters. I have a horribly depressing story about my first time on a scooter on Christmas night and my ex Léo that I should write on the blog. It was on the original one, but it got deleted. 


Merde is my favorite French word and the one I adopted every time something goes wrong. In English we say fuck? Well now I say ‘merde’ or ‘c’est merde!’ when something goes wrong, I stub my toe, etc. And bonus no one in America realizes what I’m saying so I don’t get in trouble for using it in a professional situation. 


I kind of love Sylvie after this episode. She’s a realist. I prefer her to Emily. Emily is an idealist. The whole show is an idealistic view of what Paris should be. The truth is Paris is not “the dream”. It’s a city like anywhere else. If shows like this focused on making it what it is the Chinese Embassy wouldn’t need therapists on standby to help the tourists who try to commit suicide after getting there, and realizing it’s not what they thought. 


And your white knight doesn’t save you. He crushes you. And when you ask him for the whole crepe he lies to you, and then destroys you. And if you’d like to know about what your White Knight becomes, well his story is at the top of the blog entitled “Christian Kinnersley”. 


I know, ‘bitter party of one’. I wish I was my usual carefree self, moving from one guy to the next like I’ve always done, instead of this salty, unhappy, destined to die alone person who can’t even enjoy a fluffy romcom about Paris without moaning about it. But... I can’t articulate what I’m going through. I love him, I miss him, I hate him for what he did, and I can’t understand any of it. 


There is no place in Montmartre that serves crepes and is open all night. There is a boulangerie in Pigalle that stays open until midnight or 1am, but that’s as close as it gets. Paris is not a city that stays open all night. There’s is one restaurant open 24 hours near Les Halles, but the rest all close at 11pm.  


And I just realized my French ending was indeed a ‘French Ending’.



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Episode 8 -


Don’t get pukey drunk. French people don’t get pukey drunk. They specifically look at the alcohol content in beer so that they don’t. You’ll look English if you do, and if there’s one thing French people loathe and look down on it’s the English. The way the English look down on Americans, that’s how the French look at the English. 


Super curious that they showed ligne 6 (the above ground metro) in either the 15th or the 13th as scenery for Emily’s neighborhood in the 5th because it’s nowhere near the Pantheon. 


Not much to add for this episode. I dated a guy once who’s family owned a vineyard in Champagne (and a lot of real estate in Paris), and while he offered my ex and I the opportunity to stay in his flat in Reims, I never got the opportunity to go. Another thing on my bucket list I wish I had done and will have to try to check off when I am back in France. I will definitely be contacting him when I’m back. 


Such a mortifying episode. Anyone who noticed that he said college, and not university, knew what was coming. And actually he should have said lycée because college is middle school. If he was 17 he would have been in a lycée.


Why do French people always have Harari’s Sapiens just lying around??? I swear every French person has a copy. They should hand them out at Charles de Gaulle so you too can fit in when you arrive. 


The mother talking to Emily was weird. French people don’t talk like that. French people don’t want to know that. They’re not that or whatever the outside media wants you to believe. Having worked for dozens of French families, the parents would never talk like that or even accept that. The French are not libertines. That whole scene was an insult to the French and pretty crass actually. 



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Episode 9 - 


Ralph’s is overrated and over priced. But the building is beautiful. I tried to get Christian and I a reservation there for Thanksgiving one year and they were so awful, they opened the reservations up like a day before. It annoyed me so much we ended up going to Ellsworth instead because at least then I was sure I had a reservation. Kanye was spotted having Thanksgiving there once. That tells you everything.  


No idea why Emily was so shocked to see a cheeseburger. If you go to any French restaurant they will always have a burger on the menu. The French serve burgers everywhere. Oddly enough I’ve tried to try a burger at every restaurant in Paris, because I wanted to find a good one, but I never found that spectacular one. The French think the burger should be over an inch thick and it’s almost impossible to eat. My favorite “American” restaurant was Schwartz’s if anyone wants a recommendation. Christian and I went there (or Le Bois) every Friday night when he came in on the Eurostar. It was our tradition because the first time he came to Paris we spent the evening having sex, and he didn’t want to go out, so I ordered UberEats, and that ended up being our first meal together 


I’ve never heard of the American Friends of the Louvre, but I know the American Friends of d’Orsay. My friends Mum started it and it’s her thing (along with Roland Garros). She was even recognized by the French Embassy for it recently. But I think the ceremony was cancelled due to Covid. 


I wonder if the Pierre Cadault storyline is supposed to be like Pierre Cardin? To be fair I don’t know anyone who wears Pierre Cardin. My aforementioned friend owns a flat above the Pierre Cardin museum in the Marais and I would stay at her house for weeks at a time and hardly saw anyone go inside it. 



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Episode 10 -


Unless you’re in the 1st, or in the Marais, you will never know when Fashion Week is happening. It’s not that big of a deal to the rest of Paris. 


There is no such thing called Le Pause but there is Fluctuart which is like an art gallery/bar on a boat on the Seine. There’s also Rosa Bonheaur and a few others. 


I’ve been wondering why Emily’s business’s building always looked so familiar and it’s because I got there one day by accident. It’s near Palais Royale. I went there one day when a friend and I were walking around Paris and stumbled on it. There are not many places like that with a private little square, and I remember thinking how odd it looked. 


Sylvie’s comment was ironic. I’ve dated two execs at marketing firms. Both guys were obviously French, and they both worked for (highly famous) American marketing firms that had offices in Paris.  


Luc and Julien are right, it’s impossible to get fired in France IF you have a CDI contract, which I doubt Emily would have. Still Sylvie would have to give her at least a month’s notice. The termination wouldn’t be instantaneous. 


Love locks are not allowed anymore. No idea where the bridge they walked over was located, but there hasn’t been a love lock bridge for years. They replaced the mesh with glass. People keep trying to place them on other bridges but it’s not taking off because they’re bad for the environment and the bridge. 


Mindy is wrong. You can overstay your visa, and be illegal, and still can’t be fired. See my article on Saisir Prud’Hommes. 


I’m curious to see if Netflix renews the show. It’s probably pretty expensive to film, and they’ve had a habit of nixing a lot of the shows I like. It feels like lately they don’t have a lot of loyalty to franchises, nor do they care about fans, and what they want. It seems like they’re throwing a lot of money around, and hoping something sticks, and if something isn’t hugely successful right away, they axe it. Emily in Paris got a lot of (bad) press so we’ll see. 


I kind of love that they played De Profundis, Ni Fleurs, Ni Couronnes at the end. De Profundis holds many meanings for me. My post about Christian was the flame that burned down my ‘Paris’ for good (and salted the earth). It probably wasn’t the best course of action in hindsight, that relationship is beyond irreparable at this point, but we have to live with the choices we make. 


I hope they bring the show back. Even if it’s kind of hard to watch (because of the memories). I wish I could say non je ne regrette rien, but I regret. Mostly I regret not having kept block on back in August of 2018. If Christian hadn’t pushed me to leave Paris so he could break up with me, I’d still be there today. I would have found my way, because as history has shown, in Paris I was always able to find my way.