101 Goal Challenge: Week 5

Celebratory Champagne

I’m free!

Tuesday was my last day of work at my former job, and man, am I glad to be done with that. As I expected, my boss used my multipotentiality to give me a smaller severance that we had agreed to and to insult me during my exit interview: “I just get the impression that you made a lot of mistakes because you spent the last few weeks staring out the window and daydreaming about your other projects.” Of course, some of the mistakes are due to the fact that I’m not very good at tax returns, and others just *may* have been due to the fact that he basically held me hostage in the job by refusing to let me leave until I did 100 tax returns. Since I did all of 278 returns during the 10 months I worked there in 2011, that works out to 4 months of work in 6 weeks.

I have 6 months to contest the severance if I want to, but I probably won’t. The difference wouldn’t even pay the lawyer’s fees, and I don’t want a long, drawn-out court case that could take up to 18 months. I just want to never go back to that office – or anyone’s office but my own – again. And I strongly believe that what goes around, comes around. So my ex-boss should be expecting a big ass-whooping from Karma, I should think.

On Monday, I ended up negotiating with Hamid’s mom and he decided to stay until Wednesday. His parents won’t be around forever, and I know his mom likes having him there.

On Wednesday, after sleeping late, I wrote a substantial blog post for Paris Unraveled that took most of the afternoon.  I had originally floated the “free and pas cher” articles a while ago on the blog, highlighting one activity that was either free or less than 10€ for every day of the week. After a while, it got tiresome to write a post about free activities every week, and it constantly took my energy away from writing other, better posts on the blog. Since I still like the idea, I decided to do one post on the first of every month with a free activity for every day. Though it will take me quite a while to do, I think it will be useful for my readers and less tedious than doing one every week.

I also spent time this week writing two guest posts. The first, 72 Killer Resources for Studying Abroad in France, I submitted to Gadling, a website owned by AOL. I had emailed the editor to enquire and never heard anything back, so I don’t know if they’ll publish it. I’ll submit it somewhere else if I don’t hear anything back by next week. I also wrote another article, “5 Warning Signs You Picked the Wrong Study Abroad Program,” but I’m not sure yet where I’ll submit that one.

The diagram Hamid drew for me.

In the culture department, I watched The Queen and Goodbye, Lenin with Hamid off of the 1001 Best Films list, and read Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann, the 2009 winner of the National Book Award. It was a very quick read, with fantastic characters. Set in the early 1970s in New York City, each chapter tells the story of a different character: an Irish Catholic priest, a tightrope walker, a young black hooker, a white woman from the Upper East Side whose son was killed in Vietnam, and others. It’s not until the last third or so of the book that it becomes clear what these characters have in common and how their lives intertwined. It’s a great read, with beautiful storytelling.

Finally, Hamid gave me my first lesson in driving a stick shift today. We went to a big parking lot nearby, and since it was Sunday, everything was closed. After a brief theoretical lesson, I drove around the parking lot in 1st and 2nd gear. I spent a lot of time practicing stopping, since rather than just step on the brake, I have to now step on the clutch, put the car into neutral, and THEN brake. It requires far more coordination that just regular old stopping. And while it’s not a problem if I occasionally stall out or take a minute to get the car started up at a light, it’ll be a big problem if someone walks out in front of me and I can’t coordinate fast enough to avoid running them over. I think I’ll need two or three more lessons to get comfortable enough to drive on the road, and even then, I won’t drive in Paris right away, but I think I’ll get the hang of it. After all, I’m not learning how to drive, I just have to learn how to shift gears.


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