The view from Above

Trip Start May 19, 2008
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of France  ,
Monday, July 14, 2008

Hello from my slouchy green couch. You should know we've wallpapered our living room with maps; we're planning our trip to the UK. After a stressful week of wondering if we had unknowingly conceived a Swedish baby, we were able to set aside money for a vacation instead of baby bumpers and diapers. Can you possibly imagine trying to describe to a pharmacist, in a foreign language, that you need a pregnancy test? Well, Kyle did. It's only in these slightly embarrassing moments that you realize hand gestures and facial expressions are not always internationally recognized. Imagine it. It's funny, right?
We're starting to realize some of the finer differences between the US and France, because at this point in our travels, some of our essential products have become depleted. For instance, we were both surprised that the only kinds of deodorant you can get here are either liquid roll-on or aerosol spray. And I think our "2 in 1" shampoo/conditioner is actually just conditioner. Size matters. Everything here is about a third of the size compared to the US. For instance, my (roll-on) deodorant stands about 3 inches tall-and that's normal. It also smells like coconuts, which may or may not be normal. Wine bottles are normal sized, but you know that. Trash cans are annoyingly small, the one in our kitchen doesn't even make it up to my knee.
Our supply of clean clothes also dwindled this week. So, I experimented with hand washing. We don't have laundry facilities in our building, and the laundromat down the street costs about $12 USD per load. Not kidding. So I washed a load or two in the sink and hung them up to dry in the bathroom. It took 24 hours for even the smallest pair of underwear to dry. For the second try, Kyle tied a rope from the stairs to the door knob to a kitchen stool-creating the ultimate booby trap---and hung some clothes to dry overnight. We opened up all the windows and prayed that the wind wouldn't pick up and blow all our clothes away. They didn't blow away, but they didn't dry either.
If this experience teaches us nothing else, we can at least say we've learned to make do with what we've got. We might have to put up with tiny trash cans, but at least I can say I've made lasagna in a saucepan and cooked it in a toaster oven.
In addition to experimenting with household dilemmas and solutions, we've been establishing a sort of routine. Kyle takes the metro to the university everyday and sometimes I join him when I need an internet fix. Unsecured WIFI doesn't exist here. In the evenings and on the weekends, we walk through our neighborhood and buy groceries. We cross the Seine and check out the happenings in old town. We watch fireworks, play cards, and dash through the rain. Three times since moving here, marching bands have trumpeted down our street, for no apparent reason at all. We lean out the windows and can't help but smile. It's random, it's kind of funny...and it's France.
Today we hiked up the hillside to a popular look out point. We saw church steeples, curving rows of tile roofs, sailboats along the Seine, and busy streets down below.  And now, it's 8:00 PM on Sunday. The sky is blue, and everything seems just right.
Leeza and Kyla
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maggiest on

maggie poppins to the rescue
Oh my goodness, give me a heart attack why don't ya! When I began reading your entry, I thought for sure that I needed to leave my job at Arbor Day and fly to Paris to help Mamma Leeza raise a swedish bumpkin baby. Although it would have been highly exciting, I'm relieved to hear that your first born is not en route...after all, there is still a lot of wine that needs consumed. Not to mention the vodka.

I'm excited to hear about the marching bands...reminds me of the Music Man. So, just pretend like I'm in the marching bands you see...and then you've pretty much 'seen' the musical. Hahaha. I'm intrigued by Kyle's laundry-drying efforts, though I worry about the impact of the visiting birds on your clothes. Hmm. Something to ponder, that is for sure. Do you see clothes hanging out to dry at any neighbor houses? You should have Kyle go ask the pharmacist about that...apparently he is very good at communication. LOL

Miss and love you.... -m

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