Friday, December 9, 2011

bonjour paris!

After saying many tearful goodbyes to friends and family, we packed up our home, closed the shutters, locked the doors and spent our final night at a downtown Seattle hotel… with a pool!  It was both luxurious and the smartest decision we’ve ever made.  We swam, had late night room service, and watched ‘Arthur’s Christmas’ before drifting off to sleep.  

We opted to rise early in favor of less sleep and more time to say adieu to our city.  It was a crisp, sunny morning as I jogged past my first Seattle apartment as well as the waterfront and many of my favorite old haunts.  I admit I shed a few tears as I bid ‘au revoir’ to the place I’ve called home for well over a decade. 

DSC_5809 paris’ newest resident

It was morning when we arrived in Paris, still dark, and very cold and wet.  Big drops of rain splattered the airplane windows as we landed on the Charles de Gaulle runway.  

DSC_5817  so much adventure lies ahead for this jetlagged girl

Our cab driver was flabbergasted by our many suitcases, but congenial nonetheless.  He and Naud made small talk in French as Annabelle and I squeezed in a morning nap.  We awoke to the song, ‘Celebrate Good Times, Come On!’ blasting from the radio, and an impressive view of Notre Dame.

waiting for a huge taxi to transport our mountain of luggage

We chose an apartment in the area where we have stayed several times before.  Because it is not available immediately, we are staying in another apartment, on the same street, for a short spell. 

Upon our arrival at the apartment, we were greeted by a tall, burly Asian man, in his late twenties.  We figured they sent him because we warned them about our many bags.  He wore an enormous violet-hued puffy jacket and had a shiner to match.  Bar fight, anyone?

He huffed and puffed up the winding stairs (no elevator) to our third floor apartment.  When it came time to give us the lowdown on the apartment, the fellow was so out of breath that he panted and wheezed and wiped droplets of sweat from his brow as he tried to explain how to run the dishwasher and turn on the heat.  I cracked up at the sight of this huge guy with a black eye, reduced to a pathetic whisper because of our ridiculously heavy bags.  Fortunately, he also saw the hilarity of the situation.  Needless to say, we tipped very well. 

Rather than settle in, we headed outdoors straight away.  Because we are familiar with jetlag, we know that the best remedy is exposure to natural light and to avoid napping.

DSC_5834this darling street is just around the corner from our apartment

Annabelle was eager to select postcards for her friends and family and we were all quite hungry.  We headed to our favorite little cafe for a baguette with jam and butter, a pain au chocolate and coffee, the latter which: (a)doesn’t do much to combat jetlag and (b)is a far cry from the quality beans available back in dear old Seattle. 

DSC_5836 annabelle makes good on her promise to write her friends in seattle

It was a good plan, the staying awake bit.  We ducked in to many shops to avoid the constant drizzle, but always managed to duck out before the exhaustion set in.  Naud wasn’t all that thrilled with the shopping but didn’t complain when we found him a very French, striped sweater to ward off the winter damp and cold.

It seemed the jetlag was not as extreme this time around.  I surmise that jetlag could do little to touch the keenly felt physical and emotional exhaustion of packing and moving our family abroad. 

DSC_5838 concealer can’t touch these undereye bags, baby

What with the rain and all, a visit to the park was out of the question.  Instead, we visited one of Paris’ many magical toy stores, where Annabelle worked on her Christmas list and plotted various ways to spend her allowance (which we generously converted to Euros in an even exchange).  She left with a doll bathing set and couldn’t wait to give it a whirl.

bathtub included but not pictured.  the floor tiles, called tomettes, are original 17th century (or just really, really old)

Afternoon catnaps were a sorry affair.  Annabelle awoke in puddle of homesick, exhausted misery.  Once we managed to scrape her off the floor, we headed out for dinner at a nearby Spanish place where I repeatedly fell asleep, sitting up.  Annabelle came around for the most part, but after she went to bed, I dissolved into tears, certain that I was the cruelest mother on earth for ripping my poor child away from her friends, school and life as she knew it.

alas, tomorrow is another day…

In the meantime, for your entertainment:

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