Sunday, November 29, 2009

Paris through my son's eyes

I've had a visitor all this week. Two actually. My niece (who is my age) and her father - my husband's brother. N had a list of the "Top 10 places to visit in Paris." As I still hadn't seen some of them and/or I wanted to be a good hostess, I went with her.

So, in the past week, I have been to:

1) The Musee d'Orsay
2) The Arche du Triomphe
3) Walking on the Champs Elysee
4) Chateau Versailles
5) Patisserie Laudree (supposedly the best macaroons in the world)

I actually went to the Arch with my oldest son (who had a doctor's appointment that morning just down the street). He has been experimenting with his camera, but left it home that day. I let him use mine. And what a treat it was to see through his eyes.
The walkway under the surrounding roads (where 12 roads come together in a roundabout).
Looking up at the arch from underneath.
Looking down the spiral staircase from inside one of the pillars.

Near the top there was a room that was inaccessible, but we could see. He liked how the window looked.

Looking out from the top. (That is the Sacre Coeur).

Thursday, November 19, 2009

People have been asking me...

Will you miss it?
Are you ready?
You must be really busy preparing to leave.
What do you need help with?

And what I've been doing this morning is lying on the couch, looking out the window, thinking about the answers (in no particular order).

I'm going to miss the georgeous red berries in my neighbor's yard. I am going to miss the houses around here that are built with multi-shaded, multi-shaped stones cemented together in no apparent pattern, but with great appreciation for the texture of the rock. I am going to miss seeing the Eiffel Tower whenever I go into town. I am going to miss the incredibly fresh food I get from market every Wednesday and Saturday.

I have made such wonderful friends here, in the expat community, in the moms-married-to-French-men community & in the French community where my children go to school and to temple. I am going to miss them all. I trust that some friendships will fall away with time. But others will get richer & deeper, no matter where we may live. I've learned from this experience that the world is indeed, a very small place. I can, and will, get around.

Right now, my preparations to leave involve thinking about where I haven't yet been. What will I regret missing if I don't do. The list is fortunately, not unattainable. But there are things I've had to take off the list. Things I would have done if I'd had more time. Gien. Normandy. Nice. Loire Valley. The things I'm going to do/see over the next six weeks: Get a portrait done at Monmartre. Visit the Opera house. Take the Paris Fashion Tour. Get a guided tour at the Louvre (don't just wander around on my own). Walk in the forest. See the chateau at Versailles.

Things I'll try to do differently next time: 1) Dont' worry so much about feeding the kids. Trust that if they're hungry, they'll eat. Praise god they like fruits & a number of vegetables and we'll work out the rest. 2) Visit places sooner. Remain a tourist longer. Don't trust that there will be a "next year" to get there. Go now. You'll make friends along the way. 3) Arrange babysitters sooner. And use them more. Spend time with each child individually and with T.

What do I need help with? I'm working on my lists and I'm sure there will be a number of things. The most important one is to remember that it's ALL temporary. I do not need to stress about what I cannot change. Remind me to keep laughing & keep loving & appreciate what's in front of me (not just Paris, but family & friendships). I'll keep you posted. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

What's next

Maybe you'll be interested to know where we're going from here. We've decided to leave France sooner rather than later. We'll spend a few days on holiday in Germany (doing the whole train-ride thing so everyone gets the opportunity to run around while travelling), then I will fly home (to Colorado) with all the boys for a short visit with grandma & grandpa.

From there, we will return to Sugarland, Texas (Houston area) for six to eight months. The company wants to put us up in a 3-bedroom apartment for that time. We've told them this is unacceptable. Our plan is to rent a house in/near the neighborhood we lived before, so the boys (and I) will not have to re-learn everything all over again. (T will join us after packing up the house here).

Afterwards (sometime in the spring or summer), we'll find out where we're moving next. T will work on the next project in the office of the contractor with the winning bid. We don't know where that will be; but it is unlikely to be in the USA.

I am looking forward to living in a place I am comfortable. I will miss here a LOT. But it's been a good adventure, and I no longer have the fear of the unknown I had earlier. I have lived through an expatriation in France. If I can do it here, I can do it anywhere.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Pictures - Tunisia

Cool pottery - each piece comes out. Yes, I own one.

The meat market. What you can't see is the cow in the donkey's wagon.

Making things is cool.

E is riding his toy camel.

Top of the mountain. We really did ride a long time.

You must have a hajib to ride a camel. Apparently.


Four different styles decorating this room in the (former) governor's palace.

Might as well jump.

The ruins at Carthage.

Pictures - London (+1 of R)

Obligatory picture of the London Bridge.

Strawberry beer!

Nirvana is a restaurant in London. It was closed.

Slept here.

8-year old with home-made dragon

I am NOT going to apologize.

I haven't written. I've done lots of blog-worthy things. But I haven't told you about any of it. And now, there is too much new stuff going on to go back & report on all the past. But I'll try to give a short recap:

September: Way too busy, doing things for the Parent-Faculty Association of the school AND starting to teach Jazzercise again. Loved one; wished I hadn't done the other. I'll leave it up to you to figure out which is which.

Early October: Took a much needed, much deserved vacation with my husband, sans children. We went to London and had a wonderful time. Stayed in a church-turned-bed&breakfast. Exceedingly cool.

Late October: Took the kids on an all-inclusive vacation to the beaches of Tunisia. This time I was sans husband. I traveled with another mom. Between us there were seven kids. Or six kids plus one teenager. I found something there I hadn't realized I'd lost (the ability to cut loose on the dance floor - wahoo!) This trip included camel-riding, a visit to Carthage & a Tunisian pottery market.

November: T's project has been cancelled. Instead of staying in France for three years, we'll leave after 18 months. Which means January. Or possibly December. We're scrambling to make arrangements & plans. Maybe I'll start posting again. I'll put up pictures in a separate post. Probably.