Chez Soi

Adventures of a Year Abroad

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We just had a serious oooppppsss moment in the metro station. Walking in to “ligne une” Me and my mom heard the metro speeding to a stop. So she passed through the entry no problem, using what was thought to be her navigo and running down the stairs. I looked in my pockets, didn’t see it and yelled for my mom to come back. Mais malheureusement, She was already gone!


I calmed down and read a book that I had since I had brought it to the café, our last stop. Luckily, she realized once she got on and she changed directions to get back. When she had returned we realized that I had given my pass to Her. It was okay after that, but when I tried to fall asleep that night, it didn’t work out. So, 1/3 of the way done, and we still have Quite a lot of adjusting to do. Allons-y!

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The Real Deal

Amy Poehler’s new book comes out this week. I remember reading the contract deal a few years ago. And if it had been possible, I would have pressed the ‘pre-buy’ order button right THEN.

Today, it’s out. Releasing first in the US, of course. If you had pre-ordered by October 28th on something like Amazon or via your local bookstore, you can get it on the same day, October 28th. And, if you were anything like me, you’d stay up ALL night assoonaspossible but no later than by October 29th. Cause, really.


So this morning, after listening to the lovely interview on NPR, I worked on buying it.

On Amazon UK, it is 29US dollars, and arrives mid November-ish. At least that’s what it says now. Most orders I’ve done on Amazon work less efficiently than what it says. It says one thing when ordered, for example when I did the Amy Poehler book order this morning it said November 6th. But, just like every other time… one then gets a note about five minutes later that “updates” you that it’s much later, in this case November 13th. And, if it’s like every other order… you get 2-5 notes from that moment on saying something to the effect of “it’ll get there when it gets there…” So basically I could fly to the US for another project, and get it myself before Amazon UK can ship it to me. If ordered from US, and shipped as fast as possible, 50 bucks. And even then, you’ll probably get a bill in the mail to get taxed on that 50 bucks by the French Government. Those notes kill btw. I should talk to you about that at length. But I recently needed a replacement for a shirt that tore in the wash, I knew the brand and so on, so ordered a 40 buck shirt bought on a french site, and it came in about a week. Then about two weeks later, I get a 20 Eur bill from the French Government for “vat”. I pay a 50+% income tax in the US, and then I pay a 20% usage tax here (also known as VAT) for everything here. So probably the book would cost me at least 70 bucks, which is not to say I’m not up for it cause ya know, it’s AMY and all that… But quite often things from the US Amazon shipping process don’t arrive. And I have no idea how much tax bill I would get much later.

(All this on top of the fact that we’re getting paid in US dollars, and paying nearly 30% transaction cost to convert those dollars to Euros for everything we need to buy here, all of which is 2x the price in the US.)

So if you’re so inclined… Devour this little gem, and while you’re doing it realize JUST HOW LUCKY you are to be able to do so. I’m now officially ready to come home.

Damn you, Amy Poehler. You are the straw that broke the camels’ back on wanting to go home.

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While the Whole World Moves

This week was the autumn vacation window for kids (les vacances d’automne) and we got invited to stay in some splendid villa with a new friend in the South of France. We had plans, we have ideas we’re chasing, and we just couldn’t figure out how to stop working long enough to enjoy any time off (after all, it feels like school JUST started…) and we were struck with this tension that very much captured our sense of being here but not REALLY being here. Our rhythm is not aligned to the city, to this place.

And then, another new acquaintance from Paris sent me this today:

A traveler, by definition, moves around the universe—that, at least, is the Copernican view we believe in to begin with. But as we travel around the world, we discover that just the opposite is true, that we are in fact the center of our own universe, as the ancient cosmogony would have it.

Travelers stay put, with their personal tunes, their mobile computers, their phones that store cherished data, their friends in their heads and their pianos in their bellies, as the Henri Tachan song goes. Travelers remain at the center of the world, while the whole world moves and revolves around them, as in one of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films.

Travel is not about rushing to reach some goal or refuge. It’s about stopping to take in the changing surroundings, like a stormy sky. It’s about folding up your umbrella and letting the rain fall on your soul, as on a house without a roof.

(more: here)

We have brought with us all sorts of our American and Californian point of view with us. We are holding on to these and not letting the rain fall on our soul, to be changed by our context. I’m not sure that’s bad, but I’m also not sure that’s good. Fall in Paris

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Parc Monceau

Today we went to the Parc Monceau.


I thought i would research it because there was many cool things to see there, and I was wondering about the park. Phillippe d’Orléans, Duke of Chartres founded the park back in 1778, after purchasing much land in 1769. He hired the artist Louis Carrogis Carmontelle to design the layout of the park. Then he went to a German landscaper named Etickhausen, so that he could get some more help in making. The goal was to amaze and surprise the visitors who visited. They made it slightly in an “English” style, using more walkways than an average french park would need. Going along with the different culture flow, in the park, there are many small attractions that symbolize different countries. For example, an Egyptian pyramid,  a Chinese fort, a Dutch windmill, and Corinthian pillars. And that’s my essay. 😀

Wait! I forgot the most important thing of all! They have free WiFi! ;D

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The Madeline

Yesterday we went to the Église Madeline for about an hour celebrating 200 years of English worship in Paris. The music was AMAZING! The type of stuff you need bold, italic and caps lock to explain! They used a type of bell instrument that used a rubber thing to hit the inside, so that you could control it more. We even got to see people from our own church in Paris come up and speak a few times! AMAZING!


A Near “Oopsy”

Français: Sur Vendridi nous avons sport. Sur la première semaine j’était sort la stade pour allez à le bus quell allez à ma école. Mais j’ai trompé! Je m’étais rendu compte que je était allé avec une autre école!!! J’ai couru à ma ecole et heureusement ils ont dix encore minutes pour resté. J’ai beaucoup de adrénaline unnecessaire mais ca assurée moi je vais jamais faire ca encore.

English: On Friday we have sport. The first week I was going out the stadium to go to the bus which was going to my school. But I made a mistake! I realized that I had gone with another school !!! I ran to my school and thankfully they were still waiting for ten more minutes. I had a lot of unnecessary adrenaline but it assured me I will never do that again.


Sur Vendridi nous avons sport, et on le fait à la stade. C’etait la premiere semaine, et à la fin, je suis sorti de la stade pour aller à le bus qui aura retourner à mon école. Mais je me suis trompé! Je me suis rendue compte que je suis allé avec une autre école!!! J’ai couru dar-dar à la stade et heureusement il y avait encore dix minutes avant qu’on partira. J’avais beaucoup de adrénaline unnecessaire mais ca m’a assuré je le vais jamais faire encore.

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Being Grateful

Today we made a chart of we were “reconnaissant” about, and it turned out like this:FullSizeRender

We have suffered a bit, but we have gained a lot out of going to Paris, not just bragging rights. That is why we sat around the kitchen table and we got to work being appreciative. It really pays off, letting us look back at so many good things and help us feel better here. In fact, I would recommend something. grab out your markers, colored pencils, and an eraser. Then place a piece of paper on the table and just draw out your gratefulness. Let it flow onto the page. spread it until the whole paper is covered, then read what you have done, and take it in. I really helped us, so just try it sometimes. Be grateful. 😀