Moving Abroad: Month Four

Well, as you can see I just skipped right over June into July for our monthly update. I can’t tell you how much we love living here, but nowhere is perfect so I will also let you know what isn’t working for me. We are finally settled into our apartment here in the lovely Marais. We live in the upper part of the 3rd arrondissement and feel like we are in a prime location. We have this beautiful view and it’s still unbelievable that we live here.

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Now that summer is here we have been enjoying longer days. It’s weird to us Americans that the sun doesn’t begin to set until after 10 pm at night! Liv usually goes to bed at 9:30 pm and it’s still bright and lively outside. Liv’s last day of school was Friday and these three extra weeks of school have been killing me. I have so many trips planned and guests coming to visit that I couldn’t wait for her to be done with school. She started second grade in Los Angeles during the last week of August 2017 and she finished the first week of July 2018! I would say that’s too long but she missed almost three weeks in March so I’m happy for was able to make up the missed time.

I’m super bummed because her school director is retiring this year and we have already established a rapport with him. I am skeptical to meet his replacement. No one will replace my sweet Harry Potter looking Monsieur W. I have met several parents of Liv’s classmates and even volunteered for a school fête. Even though I didn’t understand anyone I was very popular because I was serving the rosé.

What you don’t see in this photo is when I ran out of “blue” juice for the kids and I already pre-poured Rosé for the parents, someone brought out “pink” juice for the kids and it was identical in color so I had to keep track of which cup had juice for kids and which had wine for adults. I mean, it is France so no one seemed to care if a kid had a sip of rosé. Much less uptight people.

Liv invited us to the most adorable recital. Her Grandmother would be so proud of her xylophone timing. How adorable is her music teacher?!

Liv has a close friend in her class who speaks English but she is moving to Canada. Her parents invited us to their Farewell picnic at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont.

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We have met such fascinating people (many are journalists and writers) and most of them are expats! Our new friends have lived in Paris for more than ten years so they gave us invaluable advice for living abroad. We were welcomed into their group and we are looking forward to getting together with them soon for happy hour!

We are fortunate to live on a lively street and we’ve become accustomed to the late night noise (reminds me of late-night parties in Highland Park minus the ranchero music) however the cigarette smoke from the bar seems to rise up to our third floor and destroy my eyes. I know I am hyper sensitive but I can smell a cigarette a mile away and it’s sometimes hard to sleep! We don’t have a TV in our apartment so we watch Netflix and Hulu (Handmaids Tale is getting too close to reality!) on our iMac computer but we have been keeping up with this silly little thing called the World Cup by the cheering from the two restaurants on our street! ALLEZ LES BLEUS!!

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We know absolutely nothing about soccer (or any sports) but I love supporting France.

So this is the longest I’ve gone without having an actual television with cable in my forty-one years and I must admit, I like not being a slave to the boob tube. It’s nice to not get caught up in the 24 hour CNN drama or spending idle hours watching reality/trash. The only reason we don’t have telly here is our apartment manager promised to hook up new cords for the tv but never sent a guy. We have learned to pick our battles with this apartment management. When we first moved in, I was livid that we didn’t have wifi for almost two weeks. Like, I was ready to sue these people and I raised the loudest, most obnoxious stink about it. I demanded compensation for the days without wifi and they laughed at me and were like “Who’s gonna check me, Boo?” Then finally, they sent a dude over and he set up the router in Liv’s room right on the lovely fireplace mantle.

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He told me there was nowhere else he could hook it up in the apartment. The French have a way about making you feel grateful for when they do the bare minimum. I mean by the time the kid installed the wifi, I didn’t care if the modem it was in the middle of the bathroom. I just was desperate to get back onto Instagram and check my emails. Then there was a list of repairs we needed in the apartment. We were told the handyman would come on the first day we moved in, and he did…but instead of the list of things I wanted fixed, he was only there to fix a broken lock on a window. That he didn’t even fix! So days passed and we went out and bought a new shower head and lamp for Liv’s room but Antz could only halfway install them without his tools. He rigged the showered to work with a hair scrunchie but it took days to get the repair guy back to install it correctly. He halfassed installed the lamp (notice how crooked it is in the photo) and sort of ignored the rest of my list so c’est ce que c’est. After a month of waiting for the TV cord, we decided to let it go. There so many great elements of living here to complain.

The good news is the rude, noisy pigeon I told you about either moved or is dead and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve grown accustomed to the loud, rowdy bar downstairs (they seriously sing Queen songs all night long) however it’s the morning after that bugs me. On our walk to school in the morning Liv and I play a game called don’t step on the broken glass bottles or dog shit. It’s not a fun game. I suppose I didn’t spend close to the same time walking the streets of LA, so I wasn’t aware if there was a people not cleaning up after their dog problem but here, it’s ridiculous. Like mountains of poop and evidence of many unfortunate people slipping in it. Now that there was been less rain (to wash the shit away) and scorching hot weather, along with the daily garbage on the street, you could just imagine the smell. On the brighter side, the boulangeries tend to overpower the stench with the smell of fresh baked bread and I hear the streets are filthier in New York.

I was lucky to get to celebrate two Mother’s day (American and French) so I was treated by my loves to brunch at my favorite place, named after my favorite flowers Peonies. It’s a tiny, cute cafe that also has flower workshops downstairs. We have been a few times and it’s our favorite place to get carrot cake.

I have been forced into eating healthier against my will because the food here has less chemicals and preservatives and I find the fast food is pretty gross. I still miss In & Out and fried chicken desperately. However I have been fine with eating rotisserie chicken and buttery croissants. When we were in Nantes waiting forever for the delayed train, I bought a bag of cheetos from a vending machine. The bag looked identical to the ones in LA but I’ll never forget the taste of stale cardboard and dust. Nothing remotely like good ole’ American cheesy cheetos. That awful taste will follow me to my end of days. I even craved a salad for the first time in years a few days ago. We found a salad bar place near our apartment that makes custom salads.

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Father’s Day was the same date in France as the Us so we took Antz for Fête des Pères to a space I heard about on the ‘Gram. I didn’t know what to expect when we trekked out to the boonies (13th arrondissement) across the river. Station F is an old train station turned into a massive co-work space and restaurant called La Felicità which reminds me of Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market.

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You can see it’s pretty rad. Most of the restaurants are Italian. Italy happened to be playing in the World Cup semi-finals during our dinner so the staff was singing songs in Italian.

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The food was really good! I had truffle pasta and Antz had smoked salmon. Of course Liv had pizza. We definitely will go back again.

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This month there has been lots of people selling antiques on the street of our neighborhood. I have been browsing all the magnificent wicker baskets but I haven’t committed to buying anything just yet. I would have taken more photos but I was yelled at by a guy when I took a photo of his dinosaurs. I don’t understand the no photos stance here at all.

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I wanted to buy a bouquet for our apartment so I mustered the courage to visit the lovely flower shop by our apartment and I made the transaction without speaking any English! The owner, Julie, barely spoke English as well so we used a lot of sign language. We put together this pretty bouquet and I made a new friend.

The end of May and early June we saw a surge of art take over the city. Aimee told me to get my ass over to the Palais du Tokyo to see the dollhouse exhibit that looked exactly like Olivia’s Calico Critter dollhouse. Liv damn near lost her mind when she saw the exact same rabbit family she has living on the top floor.

This cute little place emerged from Gare Nord.

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A new rad mural popped up around the corner from our place.

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So just as I was sad about missing the Los Angeles Invasion by one of my favorite street artists, Space Invader, I was shook to see that my hero BANKSY hit up Paris with new art! I happened to be driving a rental car when I found out he put up a piece in the Porte la Chappelle area. We found it very quickly based on his Instagram posts and just my luck…we found this.

Just a few hours in daylight and someone already destroyed it. I understand why Banksy installed it in this neighborhood. It’s a migrant area in a rough part of the 18th arrondissement. I guess they didn’t like the attention the art piece was creating when they are suffering there. I hate to say it, but the migrants here in Paris are still treated better than in America. PATHETIC!

On the drive home, we found this Banksy a few blocks from our apartment next to the Georges Pompidou Center in le Marais.

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Early morning the next day, I stopped at Bataclan before returning the rental car and found this shrouded angel Banksy. Have you seen the Netflix documentary about the November 13th attack? I have watched it several times and it’s heartbreaking to hear the events of that night directly from the survivors.

Antz and I spent an early morning Banksy hunting while Liv was still in school and we found a few. The Napoleon one is also in the 18th near the Stalingrad Metro. The poor doggy is located in the 5th near La Sorbonne.

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There are a couple more I didn’t see in person but I haven’t been anywhere near the Eiffel Tower (tourist trap) or Montmartre (I don’t go there because it’s all hills). Also, I heard someone carved out the mouse on the champagne cork. I didn’t hear about his last piece which is about the student uprising that took place at the Sorbonne in May 1968 until a few weeks later. I also found a recent Invader in the area that also commemorates the May 1968 student protests.

These are from his website.

On Liv’s last week of school we had an after school snack (known as the goûter) at the Hello Kitty Pop Up Matcha Cafe. The matcha donuts were yummy but we didn’t like the matcha iced lattes.

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So all is well so far. We have found the cutest laundromat near our place however, it’s pricey to me (I usually do three loads for €40!) but I rather have nice fluffy dry towels which makes doing laundry there bearable. Liv has been a wonderful laundry helper.

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I’m sorry I’ve taken forever to post lately but I gave my blog theme a makeover and it took my old lady brain ages to figure it out and I’ve been super busy with all the many trips we’ve taken in the last few months. I promise to post about them soon.

Bonne journée mes amis!

Peonies

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Bonjour, I am a Francophile who enjoys blogging, baking, Björk, peonies, & traveling. Married to 💍Antz & Mummy to Liv 🇫🇷💄🎈🍰🍟🌸

4 thoughts on “Moving Abroad: Month Four

  1. I do not know why crew of italian restaurant started to sing their anthem…..it’s bizarre cause during this World Cup Italy did not play at all !! In semi final played 4 teams: France vs Belgium and Croatia vs England…..;)

    1. You are right! I guess Costa Rico must have been playing but they were either cheering for them or Brazil. We went on June 17th.

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