Saturday, August 30, 2008

Missing Monkey Pajamas, and other Mysteries...

When you move, you toss a lot of stuff. You donate. You throw away. You give away. You simply leave in the house and let someone else deal with it. (What, you don't do that? Oops.)

Anyway, I understand some things are just gone, and I'll never get them back. For the most part, I think this is a wonderful thing. On the other hand, I keep looking for things and wondering why I can't find them.

Yeah, I know I'm still not done organizing/unpacking... but I've seen the monkey pajamas since we've been here. I know they're here somewhere. And they're really cute, and A loves them. They have a picture of sock monkey playing guitar. Too cute. And all I can find are the bottoms.

Which is to say, I've been doing laundry all day. And I hate doing laundry. I need me a cleaning/laundry gal, and soon!

School starts in three days for the littles. Counting down!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life in France (in pictures)

This is what I look like blogging... see how I can ignore all the mess around me.

Ham sandwiches for lunch on crusty French bread. YUM!

Can you believe it? All four boys occupied with the same activity. For over an hour!

One Month Later...

Apparently I'm settling in okay. Now I'm too busy with four kids to keep up a blog. (With only two, apparently it was easier).

Yesterday I walked the older two boys to school (youngers at home with Grandma & Grandpa), hitched a ride back up the hill with another mom, who invited me out to coffee, then proceeded to give me a boatload of information about where to get things, and how to get to them (making maps and everything!)

I called a new friend to accompany me to this shopping area, managed to get the rental vehicle out of the (very steep) driveway the first time without grinding it or dying (stick shift). Found the place, found parking, managed to ask for what I wanted, and got a few other things too.

After getting home, managing lunch & naps, woke up younger boys and walked them down to get older boys, got a snack (at a restaurant, in French) and walked home.

All this was easily managed. How much difference one month makes.

Talking to my new friend, I remember that it was a very short time ago that I felt overwhelmed too! Some of it is so much easier now. Some of it I still don't have a *!#^ing clue!

I'm still waiting for school to start for the youngers, so I can figure out what I want in my life.

Other than a cleaning lady, I mean. (This place is a MESS - and cleaning is not my favorite activity).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Things NOT to do (alone)...

Although I have to admit, it WAS fun... I don't want to do it again EVER (by myself, I mean... with another adult, I'd be happy to). Alone, I took four boys to see/climb the Eiffel Tower.

We walked, then took a bus, then got on the Metro. Then we walked some more. Then we stood in line for a long, long, long time. Then we climbed (over) 704 steps. Even E climbed! All of them. "By SELF!"

We took the elevator to the top level (after waiting in line some more), and then took the elevator back down to level one, where we stopped for an overpriced snack that nobody liked. (On the other hand, the over-priced expresso really hit the spot).

Climbed back down from level one to the ground, and walked back to the Trocadero Metro stop. Made it to the end of the subway line, but then gave up and took a taxi the rest of the way home. (Thank goodness, because A fell asleep, and both R & E almost did!)
At the bottom, before we left, we had fun watching (and then joining) the street dancers.

R, J & E joined in. J stood on his head too - very impressive! (Unfortunately, I missed the photo op.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

2+2... equals 8???

My older boys arrived yesterday, accompanied by my parents. So, my family, which has been just the two little boys, my husband and myself has just doubled in size.

Instead of figuring out how to feed the little boys and myself (while T is at work), I now have to make dinner for eight.

The house got a lot louder. The mood got crazier. The space got smaller. But it's all good.

I just have to remember that last post about grace... (and remember to breathe!)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


Our task is to meet the rise and fall of each day with grace (from my calendar).

I was talking to my friend B the other day. He reminded me that, while this seems to be all about expatriation, it's actually a spiritual journey - and I have teachers all around me.

So even when the kids are driving me crazy (maybe, especially then), my task is to be present. They are better at this BEing stuff than I am, anyway.

And even when there is a lot to do (when isn't there?), my task is still to practice being present. And to meet the rise and fall of each day with grace.

I love that.

Friday, August 08, 2008

First Sabbath

Finally, Sabbath in my own home. Not quite settled, but settled enough.

Now what?

Well, here I am. The furniture has arrived. We're mostly unpacked (but hardly organized). This is what it looked like on Monday and Tuesday. Today (Friday), I can see half of the table, half of the counter and all of the stovetop. (And the yard has been cleared of debris).

This is the part of moving I hate the most. It's just so overwhelming to see stuff that needs doing in every single room! I know the idea of finding "one room" that can be completely finished so you can relax, but for a number of reasons, that's just not yet possible.

On the other hand, I have parts of rooms, where if I squint and just look out the window, I can pretend I'm "settled."

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Ya Gotta *Really* Want It

Yesterday I spent almost four hours in the SFR store getting a cell phone. It happened that I had met an American woman who has lived and worked here for two years. Her french is excellent and she offered to accompany me to the store, as she needed to replace her son's phone this weekend also.

We walked in at about 2:30, and were helped immediately* by a very helpful friendly young man, who explained about the new deals available. The one I got will allow me to call the US and Europe and French land lines for a flat rate - it's apparently a great price (but how would I know)?

*(Later, the store got crowded, and people had to wait thirty to forty minutes just to get someone to help them!)

Then came picking out the phone. He suggested three, and told us the merits of each one. Okay, I have no idea... I closed my eyes and said "that one." Great choice.

He proceeded to copy all of the necessary items - my passport, my "carte de sejour" (like a visa), a utility bill with my name and address (proof of residence), and the bank routing number for automatic payment. Oh, and my credit card (to make sure it was good, I guess).

And then came the fun part. He offered to program it for me and to switch it to English. Excellent. Sixty-five minutes later he admits that it is impossible on this telephone, and would I like to select another?

Um, okay. So I picked another one. And he programmed it for me. Which took almost as long again. Along the way I picked up insurance against theft or damage, and GPS (which I'm told will be incredibly useful once I get it to work).

And in the meantime my new friend bought her new phone. And switched service plans. And something else.

Then at 6:20 we walked out out the door and fell into a coffee shop.

WTF??? (Also, apparently... "welcome to France.")

Friday, August 01, 2008

Getting there...

Here, for no particular reason, is a picture of a fountain near where T works. (For all the D.F.'s reading).

I haven't been able to post because we've been in the house since Monday, but haven't had internet until last night.

It's nice to be connected. It would be nice to be connected via wireless, and not have to sit here on the floor. But we're not there yet.

One interesting thing it took me awhile to understand... we have an "induction stove," which means it cooks by transferring heat to the (special) pot, and does not get hot itself. Which would be fine, except for the special pot part.

None of our pots/pans will work on the stove. A kind English-speaking mom who I met through this fabulous group has lent me pots until I can get my own.

So as of today, I have a stove I can cook on (along with a microwave & regular oven), a washer & dryer, four working air mattresses, some clothes and an internet connection.

What else can a girl ask for? Other than furniture, I mean... :)