Click here for the week of 05/29/16.

Sun, 05/22/16. Toilet of Terror.

The kids have been extending Disenyland's Tower of Terror to virtually everything, including calling Small World the Small World of Terror and bathrooms the Toilet of Terror. Today was kind of Toilet of Terror day actually for us in more ways than one, maybe because of the Pirates of the Caribbean restaurant. We took it easy and stayed in the apartment, with Max and Gems playing a lot of indoor tennis. Their favorite parts of Roland Garros were clearly the Argentines celebrating for Nicholas Kicker and the linesmen yelling when balls were out.

Sat, 05/21/16. The Blue Lagoon.

Today we all went to Disneyland, for the first time since Jean's annualpass got confiscated 2 months ago. When we got off the RER at Disneyland station, the first thing you have to do is line up to go up a huge staircase, and this funny French guy behind us said, very loudly and emphatically, "Le premier spectacle est ... les escaliers!" We made it by 9am and got an hour of the uncrowded morning time, during which we did 2 Pinnochios (getting to stay on the boat even), 1 Buzz Lightyear, and the kids and I did a spaceship ride while Jean went on Space Mountain. On Buzz, Jean got by far the highest score any of us has ever gotten, with 112,700 points. We then did Small World, Casey Jr., Pirates, and Alice's Laybrnth, all of which are always great, and extremely boring Disneyland Express, before going to a delicious lunch at The Blue Lagoon, the restaurant overlooking the Pirates ride. We then gave the Sword in the stone a shot and went to Disney Studios where we went on the tram tour, which was probably the highlight of the day as we all loved it. We ended the day with the Auto stunt show, which was very impressive but for some reason riddled with little gnats flying around. For the kids, probably their favorite thing was playing in front of the huge fan on the way out of the Studios. The kids decided not to do the Tower of Terror again, which surprised Jean and me, as that's all they've been talking about the past 2 months. They really wanted Jean to do it but when push came to shove they were too scared to do it again. At home, and totally exhausted, Jean and I remembered wise words Dr. Woo once told us, the first time we told him we were going on vacation with the kids. He said "It's not a vacation. It's a trip. Those days are over." It kind of sums up this whole year in Paris. It's been great, but somehow exhausting even though we're doing nothing.

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Fri, 05/20/16. Mugs.

We got mugs and bags from their school today, each with self portrait drawings made by the kids on them. Max's has jazz hands of course and Gemma's is a huge, strong woman in a very short dress. Yesterday we were just talking in the apartment, in English as usual, and Gemma started whining about something and Max looked at me and said "N'importe quoi." I didn't know he'd even heard that expression before. Max also has been correcting our French and grading us on our pronunciation lately. Last time he gave me a C-, Jean a D+, and Gemma a B-. He also has been getting really good at math and we're not sure how he's getting it exactly. He was asking how many metro stops are equal to one RER stop and Jean said two, and going from our place to La Defense is 14 stops, so Jean asked how many RER stops that would be and he quickly said "7". Meanwhile Gemma has some of our favorite quotes from this year in Paris, such as "Dada, who's that wizard?" about a painting of Saint John the Baptist, and "Wait, you mean we've been on this boring thing all day?" on our tour of Provence.

Thu, 05/19/16. Last French class.

Jean had her last French class today and had to say Au Revoir to her teacher. My ankle is feeling much better and the swelling is down a little. A photo is above. We decided on Sat we're gonna take the kids to Disneyland again which is about the only thing keeping them going through school this week as they are starting to complain about it more and more. However, they're not as extreme as Gemma's friend Auri, who cries and clings to her Mom or Dad every morning until they painfully extricate themselves away from her. It must be something about knowing the end of school is close making kids not want to go to school.

Wed, 05/18/16. Burnt cake.
Today was Jean's day to give the kids dessert, and they decided they'd all make a chocolate cake. The recipe said to bake it for "12-24 minutes", which seems like a wide range, and after 12 min it was already burned on the top. Jean scraped off the burnt parts and the rest was delicious, so maybe she discovered a new recipe and it'll be all the rage in France someday. Jean took care of the kids all day while I worked on my book and tried to rest my ankle which is getting a little better though I am still hobbling around. Gemma is really amused by it, and when she woke up this morning the first thing she wanted to do was look at my ankle and inspect it. It's so swollen you can't see the anklebone jutting out as you normally can, but I think by Fri or Sat it will be much better. On Sat we plan to go to Disneyland again, and today I made a lunch reservation for the restaurant called the Blue Lagoon overlooking Pirates. By the way, Jean and I always laugh about how all these French people seem to have names where their first name is one of about 10 standard names and then their last name is a French 1 word. For example, today there was a notice at the school saying a teacher named Sophie L'Amour was sick. Our landlady in our first apartment here was named Michelle Petit. Gemma's teacher is Melanie Gentil. The list goes on and on but those are our favorites.

Tue, 05/17/16. Sprained ankle.

Today I sprained my ankle playing basketball. It's the same ankle I've sprained two or three times before in my life, but I hadn't done it in many years. It's a minor sprain though. If I were in my 20s I'd probably be fine in a few days, but since I'm 44 it will probably be swollen for a week. Anyway, it's not really bad. After school today we had Clara come over, and then Jean read on the net that there was a big "manifestation" right near dance class, with tons of police, and since there'd just been a big manif last week in Rennes with violence and tear gas, we thought it was a no brainer to skip dance class and stay home. However, to our surprise, when Clara's nanny Kady came over and we told her about the manif, she called Clara's parents and they said she should go to dance class anyway. We stayed home, watched Monsters Academy, and just played around here. Max bumped his head really hard on the wall playing with Gemma in their room, and we had to ice the bottom of the back of his head, and he was fine shortly after.

Mon, 05/16/16. Tennis and teeth.

Today we all went to Roland Garros. We had fun but it was ridiculously badly organized. It opened at 10am, we got there at 1030am, and we had to wait in "line" for 90 minutes. That's nine zero. It's a lot with 5 year olds. There was first a line about an hour long just to get through the metal detector, followed by a line to scan your ticket but their scanners weren't working so we had to wait in the moshpit for guest services, where it was reminiscent of a crowded bar where a million people are cramming to get the attention of two bartenders. While in line, Gemma lost a tooth, her second ever. Then when we were near the front, a few workers come in carrying a big printer and laptops and start pushing through the crowds and setting up the machines. It was quite ridiculous. We even saw a couple of players, including Albano Olivetti and Yoshihito Nishioka, wading through the crowds right near us at different points. Complete mayhem. You'd think this was the first time they'd ever run a tournament here. Anyway, once we got in it was fun. It was much more crowded than I expected, maybe because today was Pentacost which is a National holiday here. Every match had completely full bleachers and you had to wait to get on, though usually not too long. By the time we got in, we were too late to see Jean's player, Dustin Brown, who'd already won, but we got there in time to see my guy, number 1 seed Konstantin Kravchuk, a huge, powerful Russian who hit every shot a million miles an hour, against France's David Guez. Guez was not impressive at all but still managed to split the first two sets and took a 5-1 lead in the 3rd on unforced errors by Kravchuk. In the 3rd set I started cheering very vocally, embarrassing Jean and the kids a bit, but it was a lot of fun. The entire crowd was for Guez, except for me and 3 people in the front on the other side who were obviously Konstantin's entourage and were just quietly and occasionally clapping a bit when he won a point, so very often you could literally hear only me clapping and yelling "Come on, Konstantin!" I got two long stares from Konstantin as well as so many glances from his entourage, who must have been wondering who I was and why I was such a Kravchuk fan. I'm convinced it was largely due to my encouragement that he stormed back from 5-1 down in the 3rd all the way to 5-4, 30-30, but then he lost the next 2 points. After that we saw Nicolas Kicker beat Albano Olivetti in another small guy beats big hard-hitting guy match. Max loved the Argentine posse vociferously cheering for Kicker and stomping their feet. He tried his best to repeat this in the next match while rooting for Brazil's Monteiro. The only problem was Monteiro was playing against Belgium's Ruben Bemelmans, whose coach was sitting right next to Maxie. I tried to get Max to switch sides but couldn't, and Max insisted on clapping every single time Monteiro won a point. He'd just look at the scoreboard and when it moved by Monteiro's name Max would go nuts. The coach didn't seem too pleased especially when Max clapped and stomped his feet after a Bemelmans doublefault. But he was in a good enough mood since Bemelmans won easily. We then saw a little of De Greef against Zopp before going home. All in all we had a really good time but it was way more crowded and disorganized than I thought it would be.
Click here for the week of 05/29/16.

Click here for the week of 05/15/16.

Click here for the Paris journal from 2015.