Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Settling In

Thank you to those who have written to ask what is going on with me. It's been a few months and you might think that was enough for me to get my life in order. However, it's taken me a lot longer to organize my life. Nothing about the move was traumatic. In fact, it's been far easier than I imagined. But it has still been a slow process for me.

What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of time it takes to get acclimated -- renewing old frienships, starting new friendships, getting used to the American school system, getting the house we bought over the internet into shape. It's a great house and we are happy with our purchase, but it needs a lot of updating. I've already painted 5 rooms, changed light switches, put together bookcases.... some days it was a bit overwhelming... and I still have two more rooms to paint.

Some adjustments made me laugh. My daughter came home one day and said she learned about the "pleasures of Egypt." Since she is only in kindergarten and goes to school for just 3 hours a day, I was surprised, but happy and started to ask her questions. She stopped me and said that wasn't what she learned. It took a minute to realize she meant "the pledge of alligence." I didn't think about some of the more basic cultural differences for the kids, like learning the pledge of alligence, which they recite every morning.

As I am beginning to feel my life settle down a bit here in DC, our family is preparing for our first trip back to Paris in November. The kids are so happy and excited about the trip and seeing their friends. We all miss our Paris friends a lot. My son will actually go to school, with his former classmates, for a day. I am already writing lists of the items I want to bring back to the US with me.

Here is a picture of me in my empty Paris apartment the day we moved out.

After we moved out we headed over to my sister's apartment in the 6th. We spent the night there and then left Paris the next morning for our new life in the US. I took some final pictures that last morning. Here is one...

Finally, as we were checking in for our flight from CDG, the woman at the counter asked us a few questions and we explained that we were tired because we were moving back to the US after 5 years in France. We learned when our names were called in the boarding area that she had upgraded us to business class. Although we all slept on the flight back, my daughter didn't even bother waiting for take-off. Thank goodness for those wonderful business class seats.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
3:14 PM


Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Hello. I'm been thinking of all of you. I just wanted to let you know that the move went well and I'm getting along alright. Of course, there is so much to do. I wanted to continue the Paris blog for another week or so of content. However, my pictures really didn't make it. I seemed to have packed the picture software in the shipping freight, which takes 6 weeks to get here. I think I will still write some more when I get the picture software. So if you feel like it, check back in a couple of weeks.

I am also probably going to start a weekly blog (that daily stuff is so much work!) about life in the DC suburbs. I'm looking for a new domain. I'll keep you apprised.

That's again for you loyal readers. You were great passengers on my Paris blogging ride.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
10:46 PM


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Paris Plage

The 4th annual Paris Plage is in full swing. About two miles of the road along the right bank of the Seine is turned into a "beach" thanks to tons of imported sand where people can lay in hammocks, walk through sprinklers, eat a picnic, swim in a public pool (but not in the Seine!), jump on a trampoline, play volleyball... really it is quite a set up and there are tons of activities from which to choose. So successful, it is now widely imitated throughout France and around Europe.

Volleyball in front of the Hotel de Ville

Since 2005 is the year of Brazil in France, it is also the theme of the Paris Plage. There are samba and capoeira classes at the beach too!

I was surprised to see that this year there are actually souvenir stations at the Paris Plage. You can buy beach towels, watches, mugs and shirts with the Paris Plage logo. It's pricey, but cute.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
3:18 PM


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Nom de la Rose

Flowers shops are everywhere in Paris. One of my favorite places is Au Nom de la Rose. The store is unmistakable because they sell only roses and they throw rose petals on the ground in front of their store.

Nom de la Rose is a chain flower shop in Paris. They are all over the place, and aside from the petals on the ground, they have lovely displays. Over the years, when people came for dinner I would receive one of these beautiful bouquets.

You'd think with a middle name "Rose," I would receive more roses than I do.... hint, hint...

Happy Birthday to my husband!

-- said Auntie M in Paris
3:02 PM


Monday, August 01, 2005


According to the website, there are something like 73 McDonald's restaurants in Paris. Quelle honte!

I'm sad to report that my children have had lots of experience with McDo (pronounced Mack Dough) in France. It really hit home when we entered the city of Saumur on our Brittany road trip to have my son say "Oh yeah, I've been to this town before.... I've been to that McDonald's!"

During the two week trip we took the kids to McDo's a number of times while we were driving from one point to another. The Happy Meal toy this summer is a little radio that comes in 6 colors and each plays a different tune. My children collected four of the radios over the two weeks and my son in particular would walk around with each little radio hanging from a belt buckle with the music playing. All I could think of was.... he is a walking announcement that he has a terrible mother who takes him to McDo all the time. He was obviously oblivious to the matter, asking me "what does embarrass mean, Mommy?"

I think this is the most interesting McDonald's facade I've ever seen. It's located around Gare Saint Lazare in the 8th arrondissement. It looks like it belongs in Germany.

But here's the dirty little secret -- the French eat there too.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
9:00 PM


Saturday, July 30, 2005


I remember that my mother always had Paul Masson Rose in our refrigerator. She would drink it throughout the year. It was her drink with dinner. I had an occasional taste and liked it enough. That was more than 20 years ago.

Years have gone by with no mention of Rose. It's always "white or red" with dinner. But a few weeks ago when I walked into the wine chain store Nicolas, I asked them for a bottle of wine to bring to a girlfriend's house. Imagine my surprise when a light Rose was recommended. I gave monsieur a look. Rose? I'm forever making faux pas in Paris (hey my mother drank Paul Masson Rose, 'nuff said) and I didn't want to bring a bottle of wine that would be looked down upon. The vendeur assured me that Rose has begun a new life.

Shortly after that experience, I began to see Rose all over the place -- in stores, at friend's houses, at restaurants... while it has always been a perfectly acceptable summer drink in France, it's now the new summer drink... light and refreshing and not too expensive.

What about where you live? Has Rose truly made a comeback?

-- said Auntie M in Paris
11:10 AM


Friday, July 29, 2005


After spending the night in Amboise we planned to head home to Paris. We thought it would be fun to stop at a couple of chateaux along the way. We visited Chaumont and then Blois.

Chaumont was a real treat because we'd never been there before. The only thing I knew about Chaumont chateau was that it was the place that Catherine de Medici banished the mistress of her husband, Henry II, once he died. The mistress, Diane de Poitiers, made her home, while King Henry II was alive, the beautiful Chateau Chenonceau.

Ever since I'd heard the story of Diane being kicked out of Chenonceau and forced to live in Chaumont Chateau I've felt sorry for her. Not anymore! The Chateau is lovely. It is another amazing chateaux to visit in the Loire Valley.

After walking through the Chateau, we visited the stables. My husband noted they were the best maintained stables we've seen. The Chateau also has lovely gardens to walk through. In fact, as you take a tour through the Chateau, nearly every room is filled with faux flowers -- mostly orchids.

After Chaumont we decided to stop in Blois for a snack. We walked to the Chateau hoping to take a picture of the famous stairwell. However, they have hung up banners to prevent such picture taking without paying the price of admission. While we were standing there my son asked if he could check whether there was a medallion machine. I told him yes and the next thing I know he is in the Chateau court. While he was there we told him to take a picture. Here is his picture. Pas Mal!

-- said Auntie M in Paris
11:55 PM