Hello from Paris. We are settling in. Upon arrival on Thursday, we caught a taxi to our new flat on Île St. Louis. Normally we would have taken the RER into town but decided that lugging our bags would be too difficult – we did have four 50-pounders, so we hailed a cab. The cab driver was great – despite the fact that it was rush hour, he was not content to to sit and wait for the cars to move and rapidly switched lanes numerous times and got us to our place in record time, leaving behind a trail of angry motorists. The flat is fantastic and very Parisian. Although it is small (35 square meters or about 324 square feet) it is designed in such a way as to feel more spacious than it actually is. I will be taking pictures soon but in the mean time, we’re loving the fact that this is the first apartment we’ve lived in that has two levels and a spacious bathroom cabinet. It’s those little luxuries people! And the location cannot be beat. Our first days were spent recouping from a rather frantic last week with Scotty submitting his dissertation and me packing up our things. If I’ve been mentioning packing a lot lately, it really has just been my reality. Anyway, it feels great to be unpacked. We’ve found niches and spaces for our books and clothes and really love our little space. We’re both having to get used to low overhangs and sharp corners, so if anyone visits and we’re a bit bruised, it’s just that we’re finding ourselves to be a bit klutzy with those surprising angles.
On Sunday we met up with some friends of my brother, Solomon. They are honeymooning in Paris and wanted some pictures taken. We hit some romantic spots and then headed out for falafel in the Marais. Delicious! And if anyone else wants some pics during their visit, let me know. It was really fun!
Today we had our first major to-do. We had to register for class. We knew that orientation was on Thursday but had emailed the administration and were assured that it would be no problem to arrive early on Monday and take our oral exams. Well, we arrived at 9, as we were told and waited. It quickly became clear that this was going to be our first initiation into doing things “the French way” as we crammed into a tiny waiting room with about twenty other people. The 9AM oral exam appointments were non-existent. The process that normally would take only an hour or so, took seven. Yes, that’s seven hours. While everyone who works as the institute was friendly and lovely, efficiency is not their strong point. I think that if I hadn’t lived in the UK for four years this would have been a more frustrating experience for this efficiency-minded American. Instead, we went for coffees, sat in the Jardin du Luxembourg and just rolled with it. At 4PM, we walked out of the institute, freshly minted student cards and schedules in hand. We’ve missed two days of class and that stresses me out a bit. The former homeschooler inside of me hates missing class and the fact that I’ll walk in on Wednesday after everyone has had a chance to meet one another. Add that to the fact that there was no room in the level that I tested into and they decided to bump me up to a more advanced class and I’m feeling a little insecure. The professor who tested me even told me that I will have to work very hard to catch up. Oy vey! Here goes nothing. I’m pulling out the Rosetta Stone and thumbing through my French textbooks tonight! Nothing like jumping in headfirst after being out of school for nearly a decade. What am I thinking?
We’re really enjoying being here – pinching ourselves as we walk down the streets. Disbelieving that this is going to be home for a year! But we’re also feeling sad about leaving Edinburgh. Our dear friends Joe and Amanda threw us a going-away party and it was such a blessing to be in a room of people who enriched our experience with their friendships. I was given a hugely thoughtful gift – The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz. As my friend Meghan said, “It’s about food, it’s about Paris, and it’s a book. It’s practically you!” So thank you to my dear friends, I am loving David’s thoughts on life in Paris and he’s already saved me from committing a faux pas or two.
Indian Summer is here in France, although I’m pretty sure that’s not what it’s called here! We’re enjoying the warmth and sunshine and really just wish all our friends and family were here with us. The chestnut trees in the Luxembourg turned overnight and are now falling but today the sun was bright and there was not a chill in the air.