As Adam explained earlier, yes, we've finally forced ourselves to get out and start getting involved with some social groups around town. And yes it was crazy to meet so many from the American Embassy. We were baffled to hear a few of them say that our good ole government not only set them up quite comfortably around town, but also shipped over their cars...you know, for all the driving you need to do around town?! We thought, WTF, and they said, yep, this is what your tax dollars go toward. hmmmm.
Aside from that group, I also met a guy from Kansas who had been in Paris for about 4 years with his French girlfriend. Apparently he's been part of this group for the past 3 years, but stopped coming to events bc he said he kept seeing the same weirdos show up. He was back again that night after a 6 month sabbatical in hopes of finding "cool, new people." He says the problem is, you either make close friends from these groups, then they leave within a year or so, or you have those weirdos who do nothing but cling to the Meetup groups. You know, find no other social circles, and that's even more sad. He said even the ringleader of the group was a weirdo himself and was probably only in this to date desperate American girls who have no other friends. And apparently there's a french guy, too, who belongs to the group who's simply in it to date those same desperate American girls. Yes, these guys are kinda creepy, but then again, if you came to Paris knowing no one and got asked out, you'd probably be able to convince yourself these are just 'really nice guys.' Creepos yes, but man, you gotta give them a bit of credit for figuring out the game. Wow, i just said that.
Some other inside tips my Kansas friend shared with me that night:
- Service at restaurants really is shit. Those guys don't care about waiting on you properly no matter what you've been told
- Most of the French are paper pushers in their jobs so, again, if you ask for something (aka, getting visas figured out), they will simply tell you it's impossible so that you'll go away. In order to get anything done, you must a) never get angry and b) prove that you're going to be more of a pain in the ass for them over them actually doing their job. Then you MIGHT get results (yes, adam and i still need to get our visas approved. Mr Kansas is actually still here illegally, 4 years later)
- It really is impossible to become friends with the French. This guy said it took FOREVER to even be invited out with his girlfriend and her friends even though her friends knew him quite well
- If you want to fight the crowds before the huge January sales, you must go to the stores the week before and try on everything you want so you can simply grab-and-go when the madness hits
- If you want to sound really pretentious to your friends, learn each arrondissement and at least a couple good restaurants in each..."well, yes, I'm getting a bit bored with the 6eme (eme=th), so this weekend we decided to venture out in the 8eme instead"
All-in-all, though, we did leave with a few email addresses and were dubbed my Mr. Kansas and a few others 'cool enough' to hang out with again, sometime. Works for me : )