Paris marked the kick-off of our trip after visiting family in familiar places. It would be the first country where the language was very foreign to us (learning how to say hello and introduce yourself over a few months in jr. high doesn’t quite cut it) and where only one of us had been before (Wayne). So we studied up on the speedy Eurostar.
Thanks to La La and Pa for lending us the very handy French phrasebook!
When we arrived at Gare du Nord, Annabelle was the first of us to step up and ask a question in French. She practiced the line ten times: “Ou est le Metro s’il vous plait?” The man in the information booth grunted and pointed behind him. I guess with big circled M signs everywhere it was kind of obvious, but his response was a good reminder that not everyone thinks American kids trying to speak French are super cute.
We were extremely lucky to be able to meet our Seattle friends and explore Paris together. It made the time there so much fun and extended the welcome dilution of our future 24/7 unit of four – a factor of this trip that is not lost on us in its uniqueness in our lives and potential for emotional breakdown. There is courage in spades in a gang, and the kiddos impressively walked miles, braved strange self-cleaning toilettes with automatic doors, and together withstood their parents’ choices of restaurants and attractions (a cemetery, really Dad?). They were rewarded with croissants, sweet crepes (after collectively ruling the savory ones not to their liking), and the chance to test climbing, spinning and sliding – as well as kid-to-kid French- on many Parisian playgrounds.
And then there was the massive bottomless pot of chocolate mousse, which provided not only a dessert we couldn’t stop eating (self-justified after very rare steak and pasta aux escargots) but at least an hour of entertainment trying on mustaches and sultry lipstick. Chez Janou will definitely go down as one of our most memorable evenings – we are grateful to our Airbnb host for recommending it and to Sadie for letting us join her birthday celebration!
Getting time out to run is critically important for Wayne and me; even more critical with this new eating routine of bread + cheese + meat, pastry, repeat. My running partners back in Seattle (missing all of you!!!!) know that time to run together is a decadent treat we move mountains (or just get up crazy early) for. So having friends to go on exploration runs with in a city like Paris was simply awesome. Many thanks to Kim for the companionship and tolerance for my lack of direction.
Running along la Seine with a stellar view of Notre-Dame.
Thank you Paris, thank you friends.
On to Normandy…