Click here for the Paris journal from 2016.
Click here for the week of 09/20/15.
Sun, 9/13/15. Zadig.
Today we went to Zadig's house for brunch, and Jean was still coughing so I just went with Max and Gems. Zadig is really nice as are his parents, Aurelie and Tabue. They also have a 6 month old boy named Swann. Their place is really cute and kinda feels like a treehouse in a way, and Max and Zadig had a blast playing with swords and shields with each other. We spoke about 60 percent French and 40 percent English, and it worked out great, and I think everyone understood each other though I had trouble getting words out of my mouth a lot of the time. Afterwards we went to Monge Parc where kids were playing soccer and Max and Gemma were very scared to play with them but were interested, and I coerced them into trying and said they just had to make contact with the ball once, and after about 30 min the ball came right to them and they were able to do it, and were very happy about it.

Sat, 9/12/15. Ouliana.
It was rainy all day today, so we went to the Pompidou Library for video games and macpaint, which Max and Gems call "Mrs. Paint". At night we got invited to Ouliana's house for apertifs but Jean's cough was too bad to go, so I went with Max and Gemma. Ouliana is really sweet and the kids did puzzles and watched cartoons while I talked with Arina and Olivier, who are also extremely nice. Ouliana is originally Russian and Olivier is French but born in the U.S., and the two met in Sweden so they are really international and fluent in a million different languages. It was fun getting invited over to someone's apartment for the very first time, and we all had a great time.

Fri, 9/11/15. Donne moi le rock.
Phew, I got beat up in my basketball league today. I'd heard the players were better on Fridays but didn't realize they'd be that good. Those were some tough games. They play zone defense here, which is totally different than what they do in the U.S., so I have no idea what I'm doing and the language barrier doesn't make it easier. They always put me on the "exterieur" but there are typically 4 offensive players out there and only 2 defenders so I always feel like I'm guarding 2 or 3 guys and my team is always yelling things at me and I have no idea what they want or expect me to do. Anyway it was fun and exhausting. Jean was sick today so I took Max and Gemma to the Pompidou after school today, and we had fun there. Max's best friend in his class is Timeo, who's a nice kid but we'd never met Timeo's parents because his teacher won't let any parents enter the class, but today after dropoff I met Timeo's Dad kind of randomly, and he seems like a nice guy. A bunch of us Dads were there today and were all talking about how annoying it is that the teacher doesn't let us in. Some of them have been at the school for years and they would like to know who is in their kid's class and they just have no idea. Anyway, the food is good so Max and Gemma are happy, and Gemma's class is a social happy hour every morning so both Max and Gemma are making friends there, esp Auri Zadig, Ouliana and Angelina. All 4 are nice kids and their parents are extremely nice as well.

Thu, 9/10/15. Renters.
The big news is it seems we finally got renters for our house in LA. Establishing residency is becoming a bit of a saga. By French law, according to French govt websites, EU citizens can live in France for up to a year, and spouses and children of EU citizens can be here as well for up to a year but need to apply for a residency permit in their first 90 days by visiting the local police prefecture and supplying the necessary documents. Children of EU citizens who wish to work in France also need to apply for residency. Yesterday the woman at our local police prefecture told us we first had to head to some other place, so Jean and I metro'd there, only to realize this was totally the wrong place since it was for student visas. So we ate lunch, a delicious lunch at a place in the 1st called Ellsworth, a sister restaurant of a place Ellen recommended called Verjus which is only open for dinner, and then walked back to our police station for more ridiculousness. At the check in, the woman asked what we wanted, and when I explained it, she said "impossible", referring to Jean's chances of obtaining legal residence for our year here. Her interpretation of the law is so interesting to me. She was contending that, because EU citizens' spouses and children who want to work in France must apply for residency, it therefore follows that if they do NOT intend to work here, then they cannot apply for residency. In other words, the law says if you want to work, you need this document. Her interpretation is that since Jean does not want to work, she therefore ... has no right to exist. Can you imagine a world where that was the law, and that was the way they chose to express it? It is endlessly fascinating to me that she could have had that conviction, and have been so sure of herself about it. It is such a weird, hilarious, and farfetched line of legal reasoning. Actually, the website above explicitly states that adult family members of EU citizens must apply for residency whether they intend to work here or not. But whatever. I know it won't surprise anyone that France is crazily bureaucratic, but this one surprised me. When I started arguing with her that we were at her same office yesterday and were told otherwise, one of her coworkers overheard and corrected her, and she was the one I'd talked to yesterday. So then we got in to see someone else, and the craziness continued yet again. The next woman we talked to told us we need to go somewhere else tomorrow, in the 17th arrondissement, and they will make an appointment to speak to her. And she told me what papers I need. I said "I have all those papers now. Do I still need to go there just to make an appointment to speak to you?" And she said yes. This was all in French, by the way, so there goes my speculation that things go smoothly when I speak French. Then again, maybe in English it would've been even worse. Anyway, I have no doubt it will all work out, and after school we played at the Notre Dame park with Auri and her Mom and sister. Gemma and Auri held hands on the way back. Today we were invited to Auri's birthday party as well as to Zadig's house for brunch this weekend and Ouliana's house for aperitifs. So we are starting to have a social calendar. We still can't find really good afterschool activities for Max and Gemma. Jean joked that their summer camps here are probably called "Camp Doucement" where counselors just yell at the kids over and over "Doucement!"

Wed, 9/9/15. Anniversaire.
Today was Jean and my 16th anniversary. We celebrated by going with the kids to Georges, a swanky restaurant on the top of the Pompidou we heard was kid friendly but it was definitely ritsy and adults only. It had glass everywhere, roses on the tables and waiters in tuxedos (for lunch!). But whatev, the kids did great and the view was amazing. The food was good too. Then we took the kids to a different dance class to try it out, and then went back to the Pompidou library where Max and Gemma played video games and macpaint. At night I played for the first time in my basketball league, and it was really fun. The level was perfect for me. I met a bunch of nice people including a very nice American guy named Jeff, who helped me get in and thanks to his perfect French, kept me in the loop of what was going on. Jean and I also went to the police station today but it was a wild fois gras chase, as they sent us to this other place where we have to fill out something and then come back to the police station again.

Tue, 9/8/15. Dance.
Today was my turn to take it easy and recover from the cold everyone else had already got. Jean took Max and Gemma to their first dance class after school, and they both really liked it. Gemma had another existentialist quote today, something like "This is the strangest life I've ever lived." I pulled a Carol Steele, listening to tennis radio since our tv cable still isn't installed. It was surprisingly entertaining, actually. Tomorrow Jean and I are going to the prefecture de police to register, which is our last major step toward getting our feet on the ground here.

Mon, 9/7/15. L'hotel Californie.
Today Gemma was getting over a little cold, so I took Max to school while Gemma stayed home, and we thought we'd take Max out early, like 130pm, just to make sure he took it easy too, but the school Directrice said "Non." We either had to take him out all day, or let him stay for the whole 8 hour day, so I left him there, poor guy. He seems to be making a friend there named Timeo. After school we made it up to him by giving him a crepe au nutella and letting him watch videos. In the morning I went to the electric company to give them our Banque Paribas info and to change the names on the account from Frederic and Barbara to Frederic and Jean, and it went well. Gemma's feeling a lot better now. I love the corner of Blvd. Saint Germain and Rue Monge, just a couple blocks East of us. It seems everything is there: a great fish shop, a delicious cheese shop, a terrific boulangerie, a patisserie, and knick knack shop, and lots of other stuff too. For some reason the fish shops are all closed on Mondays though. Is it because the fishermen are all praying on Sunday? Or maybe it's because the fish are all at church on Sunday?

Click here for the week of 09/06/15.