So much to say, so little time!!!
The first thing I did was go in search of a phone. I actually went to three different places and had three different conversations (almost in French) about what was the best– and cheapest– phone to buy. Of course, as soon as I knew how to say mobile la carte (a pay-as-you-go cell phone), the process became much easier. I’m improving my vocabulary daily.
It actually surprised me a little that English isn’t more widely spoken here. I know thats an extremely ethnocentric thing to say, but I guess I figured that since there was a large festival here every year (conducted mostly in English), that more people would know it. But I don’t mind. I actually love getting to speak French, and the locals here are so helpful and inviting. They appreciate that I’m learning and trying to speak their language (which apparently is not the same case in Paris).
I’m also to the point where I can order all my food in French without pointing. A funny side note on ordering in French restaurants is that the waiters don’t automatically bring you your check. You have to ask for it (“L’addition, s’il vous plait!”), because they just expect you to sit around for forever afterward. I like it that way. You don’t feel rushed.
And you don’t tip here in France at all. The tip money is built into the food prices and the taxi fare. As is the tax. So that’s pretty nice. The price they list is the price you pay, and I appreciate the simplicity of that very much.
I started my job Wednesday. I think I forgot how tired I always am after working six hours at home. Don’t know why I was surprised when I was wiped out after a six hour shift in Cannes. Maybe I thought that the ocean would magically swipe the exhaustion away.
But not to worry! The job is still great. I love it. I work by the ocean (have I told you that yet?), where I can watch all the beautiful yachts (including a giant pirate ship) floating around in the deep blue. And the sunset over the water was stunning.
Everyone says that waitressing is the best networking job here, and I tended to agree. But now I have proof. In one day, almost everyone got at least one person’s card. Lauren made friends with some filmmakers from Scotland who will be filming in Philadelphia (her hometown) this summer. They said they had extra red carpet tickets that they wouldn’t be using. Shannon met a producer from England who gave her the number of a producer in Hollywood. Cassie gave a producer/filmmaker a copy of her Family Guy script. And I met Kim, a producer from Denmark who produced the Oscar-winning short film in 1999 (he got to give an acceptance speech) and works for the company that produced the Oscar-winning shorts in 2002 and, most recently, 2010 (The New Tenant). A good day on the networking front for all.
That being said, some of the kids are way too aggressive. It’s crazy. I can’t imagine that any producer would enjoy being approached solely by some student just so they can give them their card. I’m not giving out my cards. I mean, if someone asks, then yes, I have one (it’s pretty too!). But otherwise, no pushing my name and phone number on some director who is just going to throw it away as soon as he leaves the table.
Work is veeeeerrrry easy. So there’s lots of standing around time. This will come in handy when they start holding round-table discussions at the Pavilion, because I can pop in and listen whenever. And they are getting some pretty big names for those discussions too. Thursday is the United States Ambassador to France, and sometime in the future, we’ll also have Ryan Gosling and James Franco. Oh. Yeah.
After work, a lot of students got tickets to the red carpet premiere of Robin Hood. A few of us didn’t get tickets but decided to dress up and go to the premiere anyway. We figured we’d stand outside and there was a good chance there’d be someone there not wanting their tickets. Here, if you get a ticket, it must be used, or else the person will be “blacklisted” for the rest of the film festival (can’t get anymore tickets, etc).
That’s a good thing for us poor students who don’t get tickets. There’s almost always someone wanting to get rid of their tickets.
So we went and stood in this huge crowd. We watched as the large crowd from the first showing of Robin Hood (the one attended by all the stars) left the theater. The stars all went down the stairs in small, small groups. Which wouldn’t have been a problem, if the sky hadn’t decided that this would be an ideal time for a pretty good rainstorm. My group was without umbrellas, so we just stood there at the rain from other people’s umbrellas pooled and then poured on our shoulders. We used our bags to protect our dresses, but our hair was destroyed.
And then suddenly, out of the blue, the night turned very eventful. Lauren fainted. Just completely passed out. At first she was complaining about feeling sick. Then she wanted food. I didn’t have food but offered her my water. She took the water bottle, but by then was shaking so badly that she couldn’t unscrew the lid. In the time it took me to take off the water bottle cap, she’d started convulsing. I threw all my stuff at Julian (the guy with us) and grabbed Lauren as her knees started giving out. Holding her up and supporting her against my body with a giant bear hug, I pushed/waddled my way through the crowd, saying “Excuse me” in both languages (which I’m sure was unnecessary, since the look of minor panic on my face probably said it all).
I thought that maybe we’d get out of the crowd and she’d be okay. But just as we found an open sidewalk stretch, I lost her completely. She fainted and I couldn’t support all her body weight (not in heels, at least). I turned and gave her to Julian. He told me to go get help. Not having any idea what kind of help we needed (and even less idea how to say it in French), I rushed through the next set of people to find a security guard standing at the door of the Palais.
Now, try asking for help in another language when you are coursing with adrenaline, don’t really know what kind of help you need, and remember zero vocabulary words relating to medical emergencies. Let’s just say that there was a LOT of pantomiming involved. By the time I finally conveyed that I needed help carrying a girl into the Palais who’d fainted and we returned to where Lauren had passed out, she was gone. People pointed me in the direction of where she went, and after a quick merci to the poor guard (who was probably still completely confused as to what was going on), I ran after Lauren, who was quickly disappearing into the Palais (via a private entrance).
Of course, by the time I got there, she was completely coherent and asking for food. There was a team of three paramedics (probably there to watch over the event), and they took her blood pressure and asked her (in broken English) when was the last time she’d eaten, etc. After convincing them that she was fine and didn’t need anything else, we left in search of food for the poor girl’s blood sugar.
We found a cute little restaurant, and after ordering pizza and wine, we pretty much just laughed the entire time about our eventful evening. All in all, it was way better than watching Robin Hood. I can see that in the States.
**pictures to come**