Tuesday, March 13, 2018

An Eiffel Tower Snow Day

Aslan is on the move in Paris, as evidenced by 60-degree temperatures over the weekend.  Ella and I even spotted a couple of daffodils blooming outside the church building on Sunday.  It felt like the last opportune moment to share my snowy Paris pictures.  

The sidewalks were slick and slushy when we ventured out in all the layers we could find.  The boys couldn't even wait to get off the sidewalks before starting a snowball fight.

There are all kinds of physical reminders that give a sense of place and really ground you to where you live, but I wasn't very consciously aware of them until we began to prepare to move to England.  In the light of moving, I was very aware of the intense heat on my skin in  Alabama, even in October.  The endless green hills and dry rock walls placed me firmly in North Yorkshire.  The mossy cypress trees, thick-bladed grass crawling with little lizards when we visited family in Florida are no longer hidden in my subconscious but stand out vividly.  When I look up and see the Eiffel Tower, one of the most iconic landmarks in the world, I say inwardly every time, "I'm in Paris."  And I don't think I'll get tired of taking pictures of this recognizable tower from wherever I catch a glimpse of it in the city.  I marveled a little bit at seeing my family playing in the snow underneath it.  It was definitely a surreal moment to freeze in time.

Ella wanted her "Lucy" moment at this snow-covered lamppost.  

I was playing around with Lightroom presets while watching a movie with the kids, and I liked the old-fashioned postcard look of the above picture.

Whoever created this Snow Yoda could have stuck around and charged money for pictures, because there was a line of people having their picture made beside it.  One of my favorite things that always makes me laugh is when there are words that just can't be translated from English.  I heard a mom chattering away to her young daughter in an unidentifiable to me language explaining who this was.  All I heard were sounds my brain can't make sense of and then, "Yoda."  Similarly, I laughed Sunday with the kids as we passed an advertisement for Burger King written completely in French but then, "Bacon-lover."  Maybe that's just the official name of the sandwich, but it also seems like some phrases probably don't translate the same.

We had the slickest walk back to the metro and our apartment.  We were so frozen by this point, and the best part of the day for me was this sweet moment:

And then the teamwork involved getting our groceries home with no bags along the icy pavement.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Our First Doctor's Experience in Paris

Last Tuesday I noticed a small red streak in one of James's eyes and felt a tickle in my throat that had me wishing I had a cough drop.  Allergies, I thought?

Wednesday morning James complained of a headache and didn't have the energy to walk across the room.  I've learned to check his temperature when he starts whining and complaining about everything.  Yep, fever.

After speed-walking a few miles through Paris running late to meet someone, I noticed I felt really tired and my legs were aching.  Am I that out of shape?  Nope, fever.

Personal Medicine Stash

We both had the same symptoms, but by Thursday afternoon James's fever was high, and most concerning, he had one red eye, and both eyes were dripping tears.  I'm used to James contracting viruses and running high fevers, but the eye thing had never happened before this.  He slept with me Thursday night because K.J. was speaking over the weekend at a men's retreat and we wanted to protect his throat.  James's breathing sounded terrible.  Friday morning, with K.J. needing to leave in 5 hours, I knew we needed a doctor.  Thank God for church family!  

The Lord is so kind in His provision.  I was picturing having to drag myself who didn't feel good and my terribly sick child on public transportation to visit a doctor, and that prospect felt so overwhelming.  But by some miracle the lady in our church helping us was able to find an English-speaking doctor just a 4 minute walk away.  We were so thankful.

Amazing Architecture at the Doctor's Office

We had a great experience and got everything we needed.  James and I are both on the mend.  Here are some details that stand out about our experience:

  • K.J. shared about having to pay in cash.  I saw he had a question about how much it cost.  She examined both me and James for 80 euros, which translates to about $98 in the U.S. at this point.  As a comparison, with insurance at home, we would have paid $60 in co-pays, so I didn't think that was a bad price.
  • One of the prescriptions for me was for Vitamin C.  I've never been prescribed a vitamin before.
  • We had to mix up James's antibiotic.  K.J. went to the pharmacy for us, and when he got back and I pulled out the antibiotic the bottle was filled with powder I had to add water to and shake.
  • The unit of measurement for James's antibiotic was kilograms.  I'm not a scientist, but I've never seen this used for liquid before.  Is it because it was weighed out as a powder at first?  I don't know.
  • The doctor prescribed a steroid for James's throat, and gave us the dosage in the number of drops.  This was a hard one to figure out.  She wrote out 240 drops, and the medicine came with a dropper measured in gtte, which I haven't completely figured out what that meant either.  I ended up counting out 240 drops into a medicine cup, and it came out at about 1 tsp. so I figured that sounded like a normal dose.  She had written out it was 10 gtte per kilogram, and James weighed 24 kg.  
All in all, the hardest thing about the experience was just the confusion of figuring out strange to us dosing in a language we don't read.  I Google-translated the instructions for mixing up the antibiotic.  Thank God for Google translate!  

Friday, March 2, 2018

February in Paris

February was our first full month living in Paris.  I always like looking back and choosing a picture a day from the previous month.  From this month's pictures it seems life was full of walking, a lot of snow, homeschooling, friends, and sending K.J. to the bakery for baguettes at dinnertime.  That sounds about right.  

February 1 - Surprise View of Sacre Coeur from Galeries Lafayette

February 2 - My Sweet Little Loves

February 4 - Sunday Lunch when Parker Returned

February 5 - Secret to Staying Warm on Cold Paris Streets

February 6 - Snowy, Blustery Day

February 7 - Flowers in the Snow

February 8 - Morning Sun and Blue Skies

February 9 - Ella's Favorite Shop Window

February 10 - Ella and the Secret of the Clock

February 11 - Bus Ride to Church

February 12 - Waiting for the Crossing Light to Change (Might as well take a picture)

February 13 - Found the Buttermilk! (made some pancakes)

February 14 - My Valentine Date

February 15 - Homeschool Days

February 16 - Stopping at the Bakery with a Friend

February 17 - Saturday Morning Full of Possibility

February 18 - First Signs of Spring

February 19 - The Mighty Baguette

February 20 - The kids and I are loving this so much.

February 21 - Familiarity 

February 22 - Walking by...

February 23 - Yum!

February 24 - Cutest Little Toy Store

February 25 - Sunday Walk After Church with Friends

February 26 - A Wintry Forecast

February 28 - Bookstore Browsing

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Walking to the Library

Every year for Christmas K.J.'s parents give us some money to go shopping with, and after much contemplation of all the shelves at Barnes & Noble, I walked away with this book.  After all, we were about to be "Americans in Paris," and this book promised stories of adventure in a significant historical time period.  

I've been reading it aloud to K.J., and so far we've learned things that showcase the strengths of America in the past and also weaknesses and failures.  For instance, the American ambassador was the only one who stayed in Paris when it became clear the Nazis were coming in to take over the city.  All other diplomats, and the French government left the city and put Ambassador Bullitt in charge as mayor, and it was this American man who transferred the keeping of the city into the hands of the German army.  Who knew?!

On the side of cultural failures, we've learned some fascinating stories of black Americans who stayed in Paris after WWI, a place where they had more opportunity and freedom not to be judged by the color of their skin.  

It's a book filled with stories of Americans with vastly different backgrounds who found themselves in Nazi-occupied Paris, many of whom ended up involved in moving information around right under the Germans noses.  It also tells the story of two American institutions formed after WWI that played an important role during WWII as well, The American Hospital and The American Library of Paris.  When these places showed up in the story again and again, I of course wondered if they were still up and running, and indeed they are!  I thought our reading lives might be reduced to mainly books available on Kindle this year, but I am really happy to have access to a historical institution and thousands of books in English.

The picture below is not the library, just a hotel; I thought it might be confusing!  I didn't actually take a picture of the outside of the library.

The American Library of Paris began with donations from libraries in the U.S. with the aim to distribute books to U.S. armed forces serving in and after WWI.  On our first visit to the library the lady working in the children's section asked me how we heard about it.  When I explained she said that was not the usual answer she heard, and few people knew about their long and interesting history.  The women who kept the library open during WWII secretly lent books to Jews in the city who were banned by the Nazis from using French libraries.

On our first visit we took the Metro, but a couple of days later I found myself in need of a walk, and the kids had requested books that were waiting for pick-up, so I went all the way on foot.  I didn't think anything about walking two and a half miles, but I should have thought about not walking two and a half miles in boots I hadn't worn in a long time.  I got a huge blister on the back of one heel, but I also got some good books and a chance to take pictures along the way, so it's a draw.

I loved this perspective of the Eiffel Tower.  

Next time maybe I'll be like the smart Parisian women who put their tennishoes on with their hose.  My heels would be much happier.  Thanks for walking along with me to the library!