for the Paris journal from 2016.
for the week of 09/27/15.
Sun, 9/20/15. Air Duh Day Duh.
We passed by a store with Star Wars figures in it and heard a French kid
talking about R2D2, which is pronounced like the title of today's entry.
It makes sense, but it just sounds weird until you think about it.
We were gonna go to the Science museum today but didn't get rolling until
so late, we changed our minds and decided to just go to the Jardin
Luxembourg where Max and Gems played on the
spiderwebs and other stuff at the very fun playground. We then ate at
always delicious Cosy for dinner and Gems went crazy for their apple
crumble, which she says is her favorite dessert in Paris. We also had a
skype call with Chloe today, which made Gems much happier. Chloe asked if
we could have a playdate with her when we come back from Paris.
Sat, 9/19/15. Roland Garros.
Today Gems woke up very upset about not having any friends here in Paris,
and complained how even in school the kids she likes don't play with her
and seem to run away from her during recess. She wanted to stay home today
and sulk with Jean, so I just took Max to Roland Garros and we had a great
time. They open it up this weekend to the public, and it was not crowded
because tons of places are opened up to the public this weekend so
everyone is doing other stuff I guess. It was great. They had a little
kids tennis court where Max got to hit the ball on the red clay with an
older girl named Aidee, and Max hit the ball 14 times. He was very proud
of himself, rightly so, and won great prizes including 3 keychains, a tiny bag
of red clay, and a frisbee.
I got to hit on Court 9 for 10 min with a former
professional tennis player named Fabian Boudet who is now marketing
director for Roland Garros. It was interesting because he very gradually
started hitting the ball harder and harder to me until he finally reached
my limit of what I could get back. Max enjoyed watching me and also really
was intrigued by the tour of players locker room. He was especially
interested in the locks themselves, and why some lockers were locked and
others unlocked. There was also an
incredibly difficult treasure hunt at the Roland Garros museum where you
had to study all the exhibits to answer these incredibly hard questions.
We gave up after a few min but then I realized it was really easy
to correctly guess the final
answer, which combined 1 letter from each of the former answers, to spell
the obvious "J'aime le tennis". So while all the frenchies were struggling with it,
Max and I sprinted to the finish line and won this cool book on French
tennis as a prize. After Roland Garros, we
went to the Pompidou which supposedly was having a big thing for kids, but
it totally sucked. It was just a few kind of lame
looking arts and crafts and kids were crowding in and lining up to do
them, and they were giving out free popsicles and Max and I waited in line
for one and they ran out right on Max's turn to get one. So I consoled him
by taking him to the market on the way home and letting him choose
whatever popsicles he wanted. Meanwhile, Jean took Gems shopping at the
local Monoprix right around the corner from us and somehow spent 2+ hours
there, because "a. They had cute kids' clothes there, and I ended up
basically buying Gemma a new wardrobe.
b. I walked down every aisle at least twice looking for eggs only
to have the monoprix guy tell me that they are in the corner in
the non-refrigerated aisle. bien sur!
c. There was a manif for the environment that took over both major
streets and the intersection and Gemma saw someone dressed as a
tiger and someone else as a banana." At night Jean and I discussed whether
I could get a game off of Boudet, who was obviously better than me but was
in his late 50s and out of shape. I feel like I could have gotten a game
but Jean says no way.
Fri, 9/18/15. He's American. They're always fighting.
Today I found that when you deposit a check from a French bank into a
French bank account here, it takes 12 days before the money shows up in
your account. 12 days! I don't know why I continue to be shocked about
this kind of thing here, but somehow I do. Jean was feeling a lot better
today thanks to her medicine which seems something like vanilla extract
and Eucalyptus oil,
and we had lunch together at a delcious little place in the marais,
another Ellen rec called Le Loir dans le Theiere, which had incredibly
delicious and huge desserts. Check out our meringue pie and millefeuile
above. We are reading Harry Potter and decided Gems has the magic touch
when it comes to picking cheeses to buy. She loves going to the cheese
shop with us and is amazing at picking which one to get. Today she chose
one called something like Crottin de la Loire and I think it was the best
cheese I've ever had in my life. A picture of it is above.
We looked it up and apparently it comes
from wild mountain goats who graze on these hills in the Loire where the
grass is fertilized completely naturally with no chemicals at all. I guess
that makes a difference because the cheese is sooooo good. At night I
played basketball. The Fri night games are good so I have to play my
absolute hardest just to keep up. I played well today, and got a key
offensive rebound that helped us win a close game. One guy on the other
team said "How did he get that rebound?" and the other guy replied "He's
American. They're always fighting."
Thu, 9/17/15. Police.
Today we went to the police agency for foreigners requesting visas and
residency. We had about 3.5 hours to get it done, and had to wait in the
waiting room for about 2.5 hours. We were nervous we wouldn't even get to
speak with anyone after all that time, but sure enough we got in. They
asked for every paper imaginable, including things like Jean's birth
certificate that were not on the list of required documents, and we had
them but they complained that some of them were in English and not French
and they initially said we would have to translate them and come back, but
then changed their minds. I complimented the Polish woman helping us on
her good English and she seemed to loosen up towards us afterwards.
Jean described it as "beaucoup de la beurre".
Anyway, in the end it all got done and Jean is now a legal resident. After
establishing a French bank account, getting the kids in school, getting an EDF
account, paying for the school lunch program, and various other setup
activities, this was basically our last step so it is very relieving to
have it done. Officially we just have temporary residency status and
on Jan 18 we have to go to the main police station to get residency
status, but anyway it's nice to be done for a while.
After school I took the kids to hip hop dance class with Zadig and talked
to his Mom Aurelie while the kids were in class. I asked her many personal
questions such as whether they were gonna have more kids and why they
never got married, and later Jean asked me what Aurelie's favorite cheese
is and I said "I didn't ask her. That's too personal a question."
Wed, 9/16/15. Achilles.
I played basketball again tonight, and my American friend Jeff tore his
Achilles tendon and had to be carried away in a wheelchair. Poor guy. They
say it takes 4 to 6 months to recover and requires surgery. The ambulance
took 45 min to arrive and there was a lot of yelling about the delay
between the head of the basketball league and
the medics who arrived. Gems, Max and I walked all the way up
the Notre Dame steps today. The
hardest part was waiting in line 30 min in the rain before we could go.
It's been raining almost every day this month. We knew Paris would be cold
in winter, but we didn't realize it rained this much.
Gems was in a really foul mood tonight and did a lot of
crying. She snapped out of it when we got crepes with nutella, and said "I
was just whiny because I was hungry" but then fell back into the whiny
mood again later. My French is still pretty bad. I was talking to a nice
guy at the basketball courts when we were leaving, and I accidentally said
"See you last week." At least I'm trying. When I asked him if he's coming
Fri, he said no, and I asked why not and he started to say it's a long
story, and I interrupted him and said "You're scared?" I think he was
surprised that I would try to joke around in French even though my French
is so bad. Meanwhile, Max is not scared at all. In the market today he
said "Merci Monsieur" to the checkout guy about 15 times. Gemma is not
nearly as adventurous or vocal but seems to be understanding most of what
people are saying.
Tue, 9/15/15. School night.
After school I took Max and Gemma to a store to get ballet clothes and
then they had ballet class with Auri, and everyone liked it. At night
there was school night, and Jean watched the kids while I went. I couldn't
really go back and forth between the classes because they closed the doors
to each classroom, so I stayed in Max's class and tried to find Timeo's
Mom but was not successful, as the teacher just lectured the whole time
and there was no time for us to chat or even introduce ourselves. Mme
Laurent seemed much nicer and better than I expected though. Afterwards,
Ouliana's Mom gave me the lowdown on how it went in Gemma's class, and it
was very similar. I had been thinking of asking Mme Laurent if she would
let us stay in the class a little in the morning, but instead during her
lecture she explained that she likes the kids to get used to the classroom
being theirs and theirs alone, and meanwhile in Gemma's class, Mme Gentil
said she wants the parents not to stay so long in the mornings, so there
you go. Jean's cough is persisting, and our Tennis Channel prospective
renters seem to have backed out for no reason. Max and Gemma say they are
homesick, Gemma because she is missing her friends and Max because he is
missing his teddy bear and his books. We found out we will finally be
getting telephone, tv, and internet service on Sep 24.
Mon, 9/14/15. Jumeaux.
We found out today that Max's best and only friend from his class, Timeo,
has a twin sister named Marie in Gemma's class!
I met their Dad Samir today in Gemma's class and was curious why he was
there til he told me.
Jean has a persistent cough that just won't go away.
Gemma and Max love the fromage here and are already cheese snobs.
Gemma said "When I get back to LA,
I won't want to eat orange cheese any more." There is something strange
called Schweppes Indian Tonic and it is sold everywhere here. Like if a
little market has only 3 different sodas, they will probably be Coke,
Fanta, and Scheppes Indian Tonic. We are fans. It's weird but good.
for the week of 09/13/15.