L'Observateur : Year-End Edition

A German-born client with whom I’ve had a few personal exchanges told me that my job isn’t “a job.” Then he called me an “aussteiger” and recounted a German fable about a successful gent who quits his job, takes a train into the forest, and steps off at the most remote stop. That man is the aussteiger. In modern practice, the term aussteiger applies to a professional “career” type between 30 and 50 who drops out and tries to change his or her life. The verb aussteigen literally means to “step down.”

Lately, clients have started tipping me. I’m not sure if it’s because of the holidays or because I’m getting better at my “job.” I made about 80 extra euros this week.

The best culinary deal that we have found in Paris is Chez Gladines, a French/Basque place in Butte aux Cailles that has huge salads with mounds of potatoes, jambon de pays, and eggs. Not to mention the duck and veal dishes. Dinner for four with two bottles of vin rouge and an oversized escargot appetizer ran us 74 euros. And it’s an easy walk from the house. Runner-up: Le Bec Fin.

After riding the bus/Metro and walking everywhere for a month straight, it is painfully obvious that biking is by far the best way to get around Paris, France.

Some friends from the U.S.A. showed up for the holidays, and that’s when it finally sunk in: I live in France. I think I have been in a quasi-dream state until very recently.

2007 was the second-craziest year of my life behind 2001.

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