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My Technology Does Not Speak French

Paris - September 1, 2012 - 20 Comments

It’s been a rough start. I must say that if I wasn’t so tethered to technology, I would be having a much easier time.

Cell phones have been tough. Of the three of us, all with different makes and models of phones, only my sister is able to get online. I’ve made the executive decision to surrender and forgo cell phone technology. All those wonderful internet-based apps I used in New York? No go. I’ll just use the maps that are on every street corner here in Paris.

Other than tech struggles, all else has been good. The weather couldn’t be more delightful. Both days have been sunny and in the 60s to low 70s. We’ve logged in about 10-1/2 miles with no blisters on our feet. Overall, most Parisians have been patient with us as we butcher their beautiful language.

Jet lag’s hit me hard on this trip – another sleepless night. After tossing and turning for two hours, I finally got up at 4:15am and typed a rough draft, then quietly slithered out of the apartment at 6:15 for an early morning walk. Still dark outside, I was a bit nervous about being on the streets alone.

As I approached Rue de St. Antoine, the main street near our apartment, I was delighted to see some activity at a bistro nearby. I was in dire need of a cup of coffee. The closer I got, the clearer it became that the patrons were still partying from the evening before. Silly me, mother of 3 teenagers, to think young people would be up shortly after 6am having coffee. I did find a patisserie in the next block with freshly baked chocolate croissants. And yes, if you’re gonna be rude and keep count, it was my 3rd in two days.

I was struck by the many homeless families sleeping on the street. There were mothers, fathers and their children all are snuggled up together in pallets, sound asleep. All their worldly possessions were nearby, stacked in push carts. Pots and pans, shoes, books . . . all out in the open for anyone to steal as they slumbered on the cold pavement. Although they looked peaceful in their sleep, I could hardly bear to look, especially at the small children.

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One of my sister’s good friends, Alicia, is also here in Paris, visiting her brother who works for the State Department. They very graciously invited us to dinner last night and what a treat! We had the rare opportunity to peer inside a real Parisian home. The beautiful oval dining room adorned with 1-foot moulding, the circular marble staircase, the 12-foot tall doors – yes, it looked just like Julia Child’s apartment in the movie Julie Julia.

As we sat around this lovely table enjoying our wine, Alicia entered the dining room and announced that we had a problem. You see, her command of the French language was no better than ours. In her attempt to navigate the oven, all knobs labeled in French, she had accidently hit the ‘clean’ button. The oven was on lockdown for two hours and the temperature was quickly rising to the 800-degree mark. Our dinner, fish and potatoes, was inside.

You can only imagine how the evening ended. I’ve never laughed so hard in my life.

The view from our apartment.

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