Click here for the Paris journal from 2016.
Click here for the week of 09/06/15.
Sun, 8/30/15. Birthday.
Today is my 44th birthday, and it was a great one. We slept in, went to le Jardin du Luxembourg where I played basketball while Jean took Max and Gemma to the playground, and then came home and watched Spirit in our air conditioned apartment.

Sat, 8/29/15. Medicaments and Jardin d'Acclimation.
Today we went early to our old apartment to try to track down the woman who runs the apartment and see if she would let us in to check on Jean's allergy medicines, and it worked. As soon as we got to the apartment building, I saw her and sprinted up to her, and she let us in and the medicines were still there. So we took em back home to our new apartment and felt very relieved, because they are very expensive and it is impossible to get them in France, we have heard. We then went with Elijah, Tony and Margaret to le Jardin d'Acclimation in the Bois de Boulogne, and it was an amusement park to our surprise, with tons of rides and fun things to do. We went on roller coasters, boats, bumper cars, and all kinds of things. It was scorching hot today but we had a great time. Tonight Tony and Margaret babysat Max and Gemma while Jean and I had our first time away from the kids since we've been in France. We went to a souffle restaurant, La Cigale Recamier, which I think is my favorite restaurant in the world. We both ordered the same things, a mushroom souffle for dinner and a chocolate souffle for dessert. It was scrumptious. They give you a little spoon-fork combo for the souffles, and we called it a soufflork. After dinner, we shopped around a little for something for Margaret and Tony to thank them, and thought it would be funny to get Margaret a Monoprix tshirt because she loves that market. However, they didn't have one, and in Monoprix I suddenly had to go to the bathroom, probably the worst I have ever had to go both ways at the same time. Of course the bathroom in Monoprix was closed, and I even tried to sneak in but it was barricaded and I snuck past the barricade but it was locked, so I went outside and just in time found a hotel around the corner that was a lifesaver.

Fri, 8/28/15. Directeur.
Today we met the Directeur of the ecole maternelle, and he was really nice. He spoke only in French and tried a little French on Max and Gemma who did not understand at all, so we were a little worried he would deny them or something, but he said it was ok. He said twins are separated in school in France though, and he thinks it is good for their development and their learning of French, so Max and Gemma will be in separate classes, though they can play together at recess and have lunch together. Lunch is 2 hours by the way, from 1130 to 130. A lot of the discussion was about lunch actually, and I had to run to la mairie to set up an account to pay for lunch, after our meeting. Another thing we learned at the meeting was the new directrice, who will start Sep 7, has boy girl twins of her own, who are 20 years old! After I signed up for lunches for the kids, we raced off to meet Elijah, Margaret and Tony at a Korean restaurant and were about 20 min late due to my wonderful sense of direction, but they were ok with it and the lunch was delicious. Jean then cleaned the old Bellechasse apartment and then I met with the proprietress and gave her the keys, but only tonight did we realize we left some important allergy medicine of Jean's in her fridge, so hopefully we will be able to get it from her before she throws it out. The kids have been making up a lot of knock knock jokes on our trip, inspired by the movie Home which we saw on the plane here. So far the main one is
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Interrupting shower.
Interrupting show....
On. You're all wet.
Another is
Knock knock.
Who's there?
Auguste Rodin.
Auguste Ro....
Shh. I'm thinking.

Thu, 8/27/15. d'Orsay.

Today we went to the Musee d'Orsay with Elijah and Tony. It was great. The kids had a lot of fun playing with the audio guides. Max said his favorite part was "the channel selected is unavailable" or something like that. Max said the last photo above was someone saying Help. I'm stuck in a block of cheese! In the afternoon we cleaned our old apt, skyped with Mima, the kids napped, and I set up an appointment for tomorrow with our school. At night we had another delicious meal with Elijah and Tony, at a delicious place Ellen recommended on Rue de Bellechasse. We had tried to go there before but it was closed all month. It was delicious, and not exactly kid friendly but there was one other kid there, for I think the first time ever in a restaurant in France, and it turned out to be an American family!

Wed, 8/26/15. Ecole and moving day.

Today I went back to la Mairie to try to beg them to let Max and Gemma into school without an EDF bill, and they agreed! So, we are in school. Elijah, Tony and Margaret came in to town last night, so while Margaret worked we met Elijah and Tony for lunch, and then while the kids napped I went to our new place on Rue St Jacques and got the keys, and in the evening we moved in. Max had to say goodbye to his beloved elevator but the new place seems to be going over well as they each have their own bed now. Max says his favorite things about Paris are the elevator and putting the ticket in the turnstile on the metro. To celebrate moving in, Max had a nutella crepe at our old crepe place from 11 years ago which is fortunately still here and still delicious, and Gemma had a crepe au nutella et banane . It feels great to move in and unpack. However, we won't have phone, internet, or tv service for another 7 to 10 days. In the meantime we have very limited internet signal from another apartment.

Tue, 8/25/15. Rodin.
Today we were gonna go to the musee d'Orsay but it was too long a line so we went to the musee Rodin, which was not too crowded and very fun and nice. It was our first art museum here really. The main building was under construction but the whole outdoor grounds were available and we had a great time. Max and Gemma were a little rowdy at times but in general were very good and liked it. Max's favorite part seemed to be looking through the binocular thingies they had outside. Gemma liked taking photos of everything on Jean's camera, and sitting outside drawing. I had a step backward in my efforts to get Max and Gemma in school, as I went to EDF and tried to get some kind of bill or statement or contract and got nowhere with them. After I first started saying what I wanted, the woman I talked to said, "You can speak English if you'd like" and she spoke perfect English so I did. But now I think it was a trap. I feel like the word they are most comfortable saying in English is "no", but somehow when I speak French, they are a lot more constructive. They said I need a French bank with a IBAN number to set up an account, so I looked into opening a French bank account and online they all seem to require a utility bill, so it seems like we are in a Catch 22. Jean and I had heard of this problem before. Maybe France isn't so brilliant after all. I'm gonna go back to la Mairie and see if they can take some other kind of bill instead, or some other kind of verification that we live in our apartment. If that doesn't work, I'm thinking maybe we can keep the electricity bill in our landlord's name and add my name to the account, or something. Tomorrow we move into our new place, which may or may not have electricity, and also Elijah comes into town tonight and we will see him tomorrow at le Jardin Luxembourg.

Mon, 8/24/15. le Buffet and la Mairie.
Today it rained and we looked for restaurants for lunch but kept finding ones that were closed, til we found a Maison Pradier with a delicious buffet and ate there. It was awesome. We gorged on their salad of cantalope, shrimp and broccoli and then ate 8 desserts, namely 2 chocolate eclairs, millefeuille, lemon tart, charlotte, chocolate cream cake, raspberry tart with marzipan, and chocoate tiramisu. Their lemon cake was the sourest thing we'd ever had. It was somehow more sour than just biting into a lemon. The whole shabang was pretty incredible. We're not sure they will let us back in there after the amount we ate. In the afternoon, I got dressed up in my best clothes, shaved and showered, and went to la Mairie, the town hall. I had heard they were rude and difficult, but the workers there were so nice. It is hard to imagine them being any more nice and helpful. They patiently waited for me to finish my slow French sentences, spoke slowly back to me in french, and were in general extremely helpful and considerate. I was all ready to get super mad, because when I called them in Spring, they said they could not accept documents from me by email or fax, and I had to come in person, and could do it in Aug when I arrived. However, now on their website it says school registration must be done by June 1. So I thought they'd just say "non" and I'd have to get mad, but instead they seemed to be ready to accept my application. They even were willing to accept photocopies of Max and Gemma's birth certificates in English, though I'd heard they sometimes need things translated in French and I fully expected them to want the original, certified copies. But they were super cool. The only problem was they need a utility bill from me verifying our new address. However, they even helped me figure out how to get such a bill from EDF, the electricity company here, and gave me directions there. So now I am much more optimistic that we will be able to get them into school here and be able to settle our visa issues, and I'm much more positive about France in general. Before this it seemed like everything was so difficult, and we were wondering if we were gonna be able to work things out, but now it seems like we will. In fact, it seems like a lot of American tourists here are kind of bratty, and while the French may at times be rude, they really can't be blamed. If you're a waiter in a nice cafe, it just is not part of your job description to give every American tourist who passes by polite directions to the Louvre or whatever, in English. If anything, I think Americans should be more respectful of French culture and not the other way around. The French also seem to really think about things. Like just the way their traffic works is kind of interesting. You can jaywalk if no cars or bikes are coming, but if cars come, you have to wait til it's green or get your butt out of the street. That's a great system, and it must be incredibly difficult to get a whole society to agree to it and pull it off, but the French do it. In general they seem like as a society they have often really thought about things that others just don't think about, and they remind me in that way of our friends Doug and John, which makes it all the more remarkable that Doug also finds the French rude. But, maybe he will change his mind. Or, maybe he's right and I just got lucky today with a nice Mairie worker.

Click here for the week of 08/23/15.