Click here for the Paris journal from 2016.
Click here for the week of 11/22/15.
Sun, 11/15/15. Lockdown.

Everything in Paris seems to be closed. You can hear lots of police sirens, and people are scared and advised to stay at home so the streets are pretty empty. Today in the afternoon we invited over Zadig and Clara and their families, and had a little playdate here. It was a lot of fun, and both families brought over delicious sweets, including the fantastic profiteroles Zadig brought from Odette, pictured above, so the kids and we are on a sugar high. After the amazing coincidence with Auri's family being friends with Marlena's former boss, I am half expecting everyone I come in contact with to have some connection with me. Aurelie, Zadig's mom, was talking today about one of her childhood friends who married an American and lives in L.A. now, and I fully expected it to be our nextdoor neighbor or something. For lunch today, to get ready for our upcoming Vienna trip in 2 weeks, I made an Austrian lunch consisting of sausage, spatzle, and ribisls. The ribisls here were so sour the kids wouldn't eat them, and Mima informs me spatzle is actually swiss not Austrian, but it's the closest I could come.

Sat, 11/14/15. Attacks.
Last night Paris had a series of terrorist attacks that killed 120 people and injured many others. It's very scary and on the news here they show it very graphically. The scariest part may be the responses by the Prime Minister and President saying it is an act of war and will be responded to in kind. On the other hand, while the tv makes it look like there is carnage on every street in Paris, the truth is, if we didn't turn on the tv or our computers, we'd never know about it. There is a suggested curfew so the streets are quiet, but that's about it. Also they closed all the museums and a lot of the public places today, and we are not sure when they will open again. But really in some ways it is business as usual and it doesn't directly feel or look like anything's wrong. Jean disagrees with me about this however and feels it is very scary, whereas I feel like, given the media coverage, it seems like it would feel scarier than this. I went to the supermarket today and it was crowded, as it often is on Sat. We had tickets for a tour of the Musee Quai Branly but since that's closed now we just went over to our Finnish friends' apartment and hung out with them all day. Amazingly, just a couple hours before we went over, their old friend Arno came over, and it turns out he was Marlena's supervisor at UCLA. His daughter is one of Eva's longest and oldest friends since they were kids. And Eva is Auri's Mom. Auri is Gems's best friend here in Paris. It's such a small world. When I first heard they were Finnish I thought about this connection but then I thought, no way, Finland's gotta have more people in it. But I guess not. We had quite different opinions about Leena as you might imagine. We spent most of the afternoon playing Spades with them and exchanging math puzzles, as the Dad Kale was a math major. They played spades for the first time today, and Eva played well and Kale played like a jedi master. When we got home tonight Max said "Gemma, asseyez vous!" and I said "What did you say?" He said "I said sit down." I said, "No you didn't, you said it in French." He didn't even realize he was speaking French.

Fri, 11/13/15. Le Louvre.
The Louvre opens, and the book is drunk.
The sentence above is a lot more fun to say in French than in English. We're very excited to have gotten a comment from Kala on the blog yesterday! Max and Gems are very curious about the plunger people story. I've been emailing with Melz, Randy and Mars about the mild but slightly annoying GI issues I've been having in Paris and getting lots of good advice from the experts. Fortunately I don't have anything serious, but seem to be having to poo like 3-4 times a day which is unusual for me. Meanwhile Jean and Gems are the opposite, and Max is normal. Anyway, today Jean and I got a year pass to the Louvre and saw it for the first time this trip. It brought back a lot of memories of our 2003 trip and was quite emotional actually. So much has changed since then. I feel like about a dozen miracles have happened in our lives. Max and Gems had a great school week with no crying and no complaining about other kids being mean to them really. Max has 2 kids in his class who are rough and their names are Nathan and Joseph. Sometimes Max complains that they hit or kick him, but on the other hand when I ask Max who he likes best in his class and who he plays with the most, he usually says "Nathan and Joseph".

Thu, 11/12/15. Miznon.

Today Jean and I met for lunch at always delicious Miznon after her French class. I guess Miznon means "buffet" in Hebrew. Speaking of languages, on the walk there I saw a sign for a politician and under his face it said "Legalite. Hommes. Femmes." I initially thought it meant something about the legality of gay marriage, before realizing it was about equal rights for men and women. It's weird that legality and equality are spelled and pronounced exactly the same except for a silent and easily missable apostrophe, "L'egalite". Anyway, after lunch we went to the Picasso museum to see some new things there that were under construction before. The museum is so great. Above, the 4 Picassos together made us think of Gems and how she always tries to draw the same thing over and over, and keeps getting frustrated when it's not perfect, as Melz used to do too. It's funny to think of Picasso possibly having been the same way. Actually Max draws the same thing over and over but not out of frustration, but just because he likes it. I'd say once a day or so he draws a planet being destroyed by a spaceship. Did Kala draw the same thing over and over too? We discovered today that Picasso died when Jean was 10 days old. So, they were contemporaries. I'm still enjoying looking at the photos of Max and me looking identical at age 14 months or so. Max and Gems were asking if I sucked my thumb when I was little as Max likes to, and I can't remember.

Wed, 11/11/15. Villette.

Today was Veteran's Day here so there was no school. We went to Parc de la Villette, which is huge, and saw the shadows and light exhibit there. On the way to the park we passed a parade of soldiers on horseback right by the Seine. Max and Gems's favorite part of the Villette seemed to be trotinetting down the steep and smooth bridges, and after that the best was climbing and playing on the spinning wheel and huge tire sculpture. We only left home around noon and by 3:30pm we were all so tired, we just went back home and watched Peter Pan, which is now Maxie's favorite movie. He laughs really hard at it. Kala would probably like it too.

Tue, 11/10/15. Guitar.
Today I bought a used guitar on leboncoin.com for 85 Euros. We figure it'll be a nice winter activity. It's been very warm lately though, with highs like 20C, and someone said it's been the hottest Nov on record. Jean talked all morning about the big "excursion" she was gonna go on but was so late getting going that it turned into more of a trip to Monoprix. My work is going terrifically well lately. After school we trotinetted with the kids to dance class, then I came back early to skype in for a student's defense, and after dinner got the guitar and played basketball. By the way, yesterday at le souris the waiter asked "Parlez-vous francais" and I just said "Oui" instead of "un peu". We figured if I said no, he would have said "We're out of everything except hot dogs."

Mon, 11/9/15. Le cubing.
I've learned how to do the Rubik's cube and am teaching Jean and the kids, and looked online to see the world champ who did it in 5 sec, and very modestly said "cubing" really isn't that hard. We were laughing that "cubing" is a word, and joked that Jean should ask her French teacher how to say it in French. Jean and I went to the teahouse, Le Souris dans le Theiere, for lunch today and partook of their delicious pies again. They are just as good as they look above. Gems seems to be learning French despite herself, as we went to the park after school today and she saw a stray cat and said something like "That chat lives here in the park?" A lot of their friends went to the park with us too, and we played "Quelle heure est-il Monsieur Renard" together until one of them named Ouliana realized it was close to a game they knew involving a wolf and sheep that was kind of like tag, and the game kind of disintegrated. M and G are very chatty with the guy Johann who works at the Boba place next to us, and very excited about the Buy 9, get 1 free policy in the store. So far we have gotten 3 and they can't wait til we get our free one.

Click here for the week of 11/08/15.