Today was Clara's 6th birthday
at a playhouse where they did a
performance of Le Petit Prince. It was way too advanced for me to
understand let alone the kids, who were falling asleep during the play,
but afterwards it was great fun with face painting, cake,
where Clara was blindfolded and would try to guess who was giving her the
animals, and a great group of kids and adults,
surprisingly pretty much the
same people we would invite if we were having a party here. Most of the
French people just drop their kids off, so at the party most of the time
it was just Eva, me, and Clara's parents.
During Le Petit Prince I was thinking about how narrowminded it is to
assume that just because something has a kid in it, it is for kids,
despite it basically being a philosophical dialogue about the absurdity of
society, with no action or plot whatsoever. The French aren't the only
ones to do this, as I think Alice in Wonderland and
Huckleberry Finn are similar, in that people treat them as though they're
for kids but they really have no aspect to them that kids would like.
We've seen some other shows and kids' things that have similar
misconceptions about kids. For example, it seems like a lot of people
think kids like noise. They don't like noise. They like making noise.
Similarly, they don't like passively listening to others talk about the
creativity of children. They do like expressing their own creativity
themselves. Anyway, Jean leaves tomorrow morning for Africa and I'll have
the kids on my own for 10 days. Monday I give my seminar in French at the
Institute Henri Poincare.
Fri, 06/10/16. The Friedlanders.
Today Jean had a cold but I took the kids to Caroline Friedlander's where
they served us a very gourmet American-style dinner with chicken and
french fries but also delicious cheeses, strawberries, raspberries, ice
cream, wine and coffee. Caroline and Jean-Paul were there as well as
Caroline's daughter Alexia who played very nicely with the kids and showed
them her room and her huge Hello Kitty doll. The kids also loved playing
with their 3 year old terrier dog, Isaac, and on the way home Max said "I
miss Isaac." The conversation was mostly in English but with quite a bit
of French thrown in and Max and Gemma were holding their own.
Coincidentally, it looks like Randy and Caroline's brother were just
together in LA too. Earlier
today I randomly ran into Sorin Popa on Blvd Saint Germain, and we're
gonna meet for gelati on Wednesday sometime. He's also super nice and also
on sabbatical from UCLA, though he is just starting his now.
Thu, 06/09/16. Police, encore.
I recommend going back to yesterday's blog entry, which I changed a little
bit today to note the similarity between Max's song he made up and a
rock song from the early 80s.
Today really was the last time we had to spend the whole day at the police
station. I've thought it would be the last time about 7 or 8 times but
today it really was. Last time they said we had to come back and show them
our plane tickets home and, for no reason whatsoever, our gas bill. So I
am sitting here waiting with Jean as I write this, with our gas bill and
plane tickets in hand, and during the 2.5 hours of waiting (which is
normal, and by the way we had an appointment each time), we are predicting
what they will ask for this time. My guess is a receipt from our apartment
rental insurance. Jean guesses they will want us to bring our
rental contract, translated into English. Anyway, it seems
irrelevant now, as in the past they have just told us to come back in a
month or two, and this time we are leaving in a month so I think they will
just tell us to come back in 2 months and we just won't be here. We've been
talking a lot about how much Max is learning here. He is correcting our
French all the time. Yesterday Jean said she saw a movie and used "voir"
and Max corrected her and said "regarder". However, he's still very shy.
This morning two parents of classmates said hi to him and he didn't say hi
back despite me prodding him to. Gemma, meanwhile, is easygoing and not
shy but her French is pretty nonexistent. It might be because Gemma's
teacher can speak English well. Today our landlord Fred came with his worker
friend to help us open a few windows which were jammed shut, and Fred
noticed mold growing on the windowsills, since it's been so humid and
rainy here, and he accused us of it being our fault because we hung
laundry by the window. Whatev.
Postscript: we did it! After 3 hours, a worker at the police station said
our case was so simple he'd let us skip in line and quickly extended
Jean's carte de sejour for 3 months. So, we're done. Yay! Gemma had a
field trip today to a natural history museum and got to hold a horse's
tooth from a horse skeleton. She liked the sortie but was very
disappointed that neither Jean nor I went with the class. We explained
that we couldn't because of the police meeting but she was sad anyway. Max
made a list of who he wants to invite to his birthday party and it's so
funny. I didn't help him spell it so it's really hard to tell who is who.
It goes, in his spelling,
Wed, 06/08/16. Soccer theft.
Today we went to Monge Park with a frisbee, soccerball, and two scooters,
and while we were playing with other stuff the soccerball got stolen.
Max made up a great song
about a man who doesn't want anything on his head.
a lot like Gone
by the Violent Femmes, a song Max had
never heard before.
For treat the kids decided on a gauffre au nutella, which was a big hit.
Tue, 06/07/16. Jennifer's coming.
It was 83 degrees today. It went straight from rainy and cold to sunny and
very hot, with one nice day yesterday in between. So I guess yesterday
Today we found out Jennifer and her Dad, Fadi, are coming to Paris in
July. We can't wait, esp Gemma. Today on the way back from
making a list of their favorite things in Paris that
they want to show Jennifer. Here it is.
1. Disneyland Paris.
2. Jardin du Luxembourg.
3. La Sirene.
5. Les Arenes de Lutece.
7. Le Notre Dame.
8. Ecole Sommerard, Gemma and Max's school.
10. Pompidou museum.
11. Shop for matching outfits.
12. Sushi on conveyor belts at La Defense.
13. Saint Severin Park, the tiny park right across from our apartment.
14. The monkey game at the Quai d'Orsay.
Mon, 06/06/16. Work.
So much work stuff is happening this week for me. I had proofs due for one
paper, need to get another paper out this week before my grant review is
due next week, and meanwhile my publisher is going back and forth with me
about little stuff I need, like an index, for the 2nd edition of my book which needs to
get to the printer this week. Also I'm giving my seminar a week from
today, in French, and Jean leaves for Africa Sun. Everything is going
well. The rain has stopped for the time being at least and the weather is
beautiful now. We have a busy week this week, with what I really think is
our last meeting with the police regarding Jean's residency status on Thu,
and Caroline Friedlander's on Fri, and Clara's birthday party Sat.
Jean and I were both saying today how we feel ready to come back to LA.
It would be great if we could bottle up a week or two of Paris and save it
for later, and while we're at it maybe we could bottle up some of this
rain and flooding and bring it to LA.