Thursday, September 30, 2004

Ice Cream on the Champs Elysees

Just got back from a movie on the Champs Elysees. We went to see Collateral with Tom Cruise. The movie opened yesterday in France so there was a long line outside of the movie theater. It was a pretty good movie. Then, as usual, my husband and I went to the Hagen Daas. I always get a milk shake and then we sit for a minute and mull how wonderful it is to live in Paris.
Today I had one of those small break-through's in my expat life here. My son's teacher from last year, a French woman a little older then me, invited me to jog with her. Well, when she invited me I actually thought I'd be biking, but it was one of those classic moments of misunderstanding when talking to a person that speaks another language as her primary language. Anyway, I considered it a breakthrough because it takes a long time to make French friends, I found. I've had children go to this school for four years and I feel it's a real accomplishment to be asked out. I was almost as nervous as a real date! It was a really nice hour.
Another thing that happened today involved my son. His school friend, who is French, has a very strict mother. Today when she picked up her son after school, I walked away for a minute to chase my daughter in the playground. When I walked back she was complaining about the way our sons and another friend were behaving. Apparently, she had taken all three boys sequentially, in a quick, painful neckgrab -- but I hadn't seen it. My son ran off and when we left the school he told me what she had done and started crying. I couldn't help but have one of these moments 'that would never happen in the US!'

-- said Auntie M in Paris
11:29 PM



Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Life in Paris

My husband and I met in Washington DC while working for the Federal government. It was our first job out of graduate school and we worked long hours. We started an interoffice romance and married three years later. We lived in the Dupont Circle/Georgetown neighborhood. We dreamed about one day living abroad, specifically in France. My great grandparents were French and my sister lived in France. My husband was also interested in that part of the world because he had studied abroad in France for a couple of years.

Three years after that we started our family and moved to the suburbs in Virginia. After our son was born in 1997 we both continued to work -- my husband on Capitol Hill and me in the private sector. In 1999, while pregnant, I got a call from my husband that he wanted to quit work, be a stay-at-home father and write a book. When my daughter was born the next year he quit his work and I became the breadwinner of the family. That lasted just a few weeks.

A friend from our Federal government days called to tell us about a job vacancy at his organization in Paris. My husband applied for the position and 6 months after our daughter was born we moved to Paris. We've been enjoying life here for nearly 5 years -- and I am the stay-at-home parent.

The first three years I was completely occupied with my very young children. I rarely left the house. I did some volunteer work, but only what I could do from home, e.g., phone calls and spreadsheets. The last two years, and mostly this year, I have been out and about town. My children both go to school from 9:00am until 4:30pm every day (except on Wednesdays which are half days). I do pick up my daughter for lunch most days, but other than that, my day is my own (except for that constant grocery shopping!).

Since there is a large chance we will be leaving this summer to return to the US, I wanted to write down, on a daily basis, how we spend our days. The blog has certainly changed my life this year. I've gotten to meet some great people, sometimes in person, but mostly in cyberspace. It's caused me to get out even more than I probably normally would ... I should go see that museum because it would be great to write about on the blog...kind of thing. Finally, the blog has reinforced in me how fortunate I am... to have a healthy family, to afford to go out once in a while, to live in a beautiful city, to have loyal friends, .....these are my stories.

-- said Auntie M in Paris
8:37 PM