|Let the Paris-schooling begin!|
Ok - if you want to know about the past few days, here they are. They're mostly a record for me, in the name of not forgetting.
And so, little recuperations from the past days when the neighborhood underwent a “collective derangement” (“dérangement collectif”) in its internet service. I’ve always loved those old journals (or the annals of old!) when it’s just one line that says it all: “rain” or “the Huns.”
It’s still grand being around the Eiffel Tower, trying to decipher the name of the all the engineering greats Eiffel had displayed for all eternity/to see on the lower support ring of the Tower. The girls went up with our dear friends, and the rest of us waited below in what became a little circle of people waiting for loved ones. A bus ride to Notre-Dame was like one back through time and I must say that the medieval line moved faster than the modern one. Less at stake perhaps. But Notre-Dame looks so clean now, resplendent in its 19th-century self. Viollet-le-Duc would be happy. It meant a lot to take our friends there. Parting was sweet sorrow too soon, but as I watch it pour rain now, I feel that Paris smiled on us big time.
This was our first day to explore Courbevoie: we’d been walking the immediate neighborhood, but in this city of 80,000 (!!!) attached directly to Paris, there was more to explore. So, buses of course. And soon, a park still housing both the Swedish&Norwegian as well as the Indian palaces from the 1867 World’s Fair. The Swedish & Norwegian palace is now a terrific (free!) little museum and we chatted with the lonely art historian at the front desk. The Indian palace is available by appointment only, but oh yes we will. On our way home, we discovered a Breton crêperie, so all is well. Also, we discovered the term “dérangement collectif,” which, with each passing day without internet, is becoming more metaphysical.
When the Orange internet provider customer service line gets jammed with calls in France you get a message that says “Because so many of you are calling, the wait would be too long. Good-bye.” And then the line hangs up on you. Brilliant! No endless musak, just circling helplessness. So off we went to open a bank account. On the way, we stopped at the SNCF Boutique (yes, it’s called that) and made nice with the wonderful man there who got us a cool reduction card we don’t understand, but which (through Iris - !) gets us 25-50% off of all of our travels. We booked tickets for Brittany (bliss) and Chartres (Assumption Day) and merrily went on our way. The sordid tale of the bank is too stupid to tell. Changes in American banking laws require that we now provide not just our usual passports and proof of living here to open a bank account, but also a W-9 and a utility bill from our home in the U.S. notarized by the American Embassy here in Paris. This last part just cannot be right, but I assure you it is. We will return to visit the imminently capable and stunningly beautiful woman who helped us and see what happens. On verra. Hovered over the first load of laundry today – success.
The kids insisted on starting school alongside their friends in Indiana today. This was the first time for any of us and we were all pretty excited. So it breaks down like this: an hour of math, an hour of English, a half an hour of social studies/history, and a half an hour of science (the latter two heavily supplemented by the afternoon’s activities, as is whatever literature we’re reading for English) – all of this in rotation. The kids fell into the rotation idea really well, and we had the timing pretty much right so that they had little breaks. While the kids work, we’re there for consult and so we’re using the time to read articles (i.e. not write – that time we’ll be forging out for each other as things settle in). Then lunch at home, then the city! Save that it was pouring rain, so we opted for a movie instead – our beloved Petit Nicolas in Les Vacances de Petit Nicolas. Seeing a movie at La Défense is truly its own blog post. So suffice it to say that the kids laughed, we did, too, and that coming home was lovely.