Saturday, July 30, 2011

Things That Are Awesome

I'll admit, I have felt the first pangs of homesickness.  It started on Thursday when I shlepped all the way to the Jardin d'Acclimatation, which is a children's park originally founded by Napoleon, and which is nowhere near where we live. I had a "playdate" with two other American moms - who I never found or who never showed.  Boo.

There will be more homesickness and at some point, there will be actual tears.  But for now, I present my list of "Things That Are Awesome" to remind me that while we are far away from home, and while we miss our friends and family terribly,  some things are really great about being here.

1. The moustaches (Les moustaches)

If I were braver/ruder, I would have pictoral evidence, but suffice to say there are some amazing moustaches here in France.  They come in the very, incredibly bushy variety, and also in the primped and polished variety.  Excellent in all forms.

2. Flowers

For years I have tried to hint, encourage, cajole, and outright ask for my husband to bring me flowers.  Every so often he would comply, but now that we live one block from a beautiful French flower shop, he has already brought me flowers twice - in less than two weeks.  See below.

3. Our balcony (notre balcon)

It is fantastically Parisian, and my favorite part of our apartment.  See below.

4. Creative parking

I thought Mr. Oil was the king of create-a-parking-space, but now I realize he is more like a minor league player.  Take the case below - this car is literally parked in between two lanes, where one curves off to the side.  Totally unclear whether this is legal, but definitely awesome. The car behind is actually moving - the car in the middle is the one parked.

5. The scarf (L'echarpe)

I completely underestimated the seriousness of scarves in this city.  I thought the whole "French-women-and-their-scarves" thing was either a throwback to the 50s, or something Hollywood made up.  Wrong.  Very wrong.  This is as serious as it gets.  First of all, there is actually a practical use - the mornings are often quite cool and your neck gets cold (and yes, this is what we all tell ourselves when we decide to buy another scarf).  Second, I feel as though a scarf is a secret handshake, like if I'm wearing one, then maybe other Parisian women will think I actually am supposed to be here, despite my Old Navy capris, Timex watch, and lack of French.  I'm on a scarf-a-week plan (in that we've been here almost two weeks and I have acquired two scarves).  So the fact that I like scarves and they are the one thing besides food and cleaning products that I have purchased in this city merits the scarf a place on the "Things That Are Awesome" list.

6. Leaving the city

Today we took a day trip to Chantilly, home of creme de Chantilly and a lovely chateau.  Also fantastic was the outdoor market we stumbled upon (site of scarf purchase #2).  It was peaceful, quiet, relaxing, and the chateau was gorgeous.  Mr. Oil took many lovely photos but since right now I only have photos I took on my phone, I am including Le Boudoir on my list - the adorable cafe where we had our creme de Chantilly (which is really just whipped cream - yum) on top of mango sorbet with red berry coulis.

So cute, right?

7. Lamb samosa

As some of you know, I have long anticipated eating at Darjeeling, the kosher meat Indian restaurant in Paris.  Mission accomplished.  Awesome-ness includes lamb samosa and chicken tikka masala.

Things that are Not Awesome

I know, I'm supposed to be all chipper and positive now that I have officially articulated the TTAA list.  But the side of me that craves the catharsis of letting it all out wants to have its turn.   Briefly:

1. The poop parade (Baby Oil pooped about six times today - enough already!)
2. The guy at the horse stable at Chantilly that wouldn't let me show Baby Oil the horses because (and this is so classically French) we could only buy a ticket for an equestrian performance that we didn't want to attend in order to walk down the 15 feet of stables immediately in front of us.  And even though at some times of day you can buy a ticket that would let you just see the stables, at the time of day we were there, that ticket could not be bought. 

To end on a good note, however, I will tell you all about my new favorite French snack - toasted baguette with fig jam and brie.  Yum.  Mouth-watering.  Most definitely awesome.