Hey everyone! I’m currently on a TGV heading back to Dieppe with nothing to do, so I thought I’d write a quick sum up of the week as a way to pass the time! First off, I mentioned some disciplinary issues in my last post with Zoé (6). Well, the combined efforts of all (though mostly her) seem to have paid off. She was an angel for the rest of the week and I now owe her ice cream. Which is great, seeing as how I just got done spending a ton of money in Paris.
Let’s see… Until now, I’ve been bonding with Augustin (8) via our mutual and profound love for Pokémon. He just loves having someone to talk to about it in the house and I not only love the subject (10 year old Tyler never grows old) but also am enjoying discovering each pokémon’s name in French. There’s a ton of wordplay just like in English, though our wordplay is more so based around Greek and Latin prefixes whereas theirs’ is more frequently based on sounds and other various linguistic aspects. In fact, I’ve been enjoying myself so much that I decided to buy some cards
to play with him! The smile on his face when I told him was worth the 20 euro, and then there was also the smile of victory when he actually ended up beating me as I taught him how to play. I wasn’t smiling at this point.
That was Thursday night; Friday Rachel and I went off to Paris. Guillaume serving as our chauffeur/tour guide as we went through Rouen (a town on the way that is actually pretty rough to pronounce correctly) was fun, there was actually a boat exposition going on that only happens every three years. I believe it was called the Armada
? One of Guillaume’s dreams in life is to have a boat and sail to the Corsica and the surrounding islands, so because of this he’s pretty knowledgeable when it comes to boats. Well… he’s actually pretty knowledgeable with just about everything. He has a hard time sleeping at night so he researches random things to occupy his thoughts. For example, so far he’s informed us about the countryside between Kirksville and St. Louis as well as asked us about the pictures we have up on Truman’s chapter of the national French honor
Enough rambling, let’s talk about Paris! First off, arriving in the vicinity of Paris, Guillaume actually asked if we’d mind stopping by Versailles. He’s currently working on a building a second restaurant for his company (Élior) in the garden and therefore works there 2 days a week, so I guess you could say he feels quite at home there. We did a little walkthrough, not bothering to tame the serpentine line required to enter the palace itself. Though I do have to say something about the garden, that being that I never expected it to be that big! It was like a hedge maze built for Polyphemus! Anyways, something I want to do when there is more time is kayak in the garden’s lake, I’m not so sure how the almighty Sun King would react to that, but apparently that’s possible?
After going to Versailles we went out and had lunch, our request being sushi. This needs no explanation, because sushi is wonderful, however because of the overarching culinary theme of what’s to come, I do feel the need to mention a few things. First that I have a huge affinity for Asian food thanks to traveling with my dad through SE Asia as well as having a Thai step-mom who insists on cooking all the time, so, naturally, this combined with Dieppe only having one Asian restaurant means I’ve been looking at dogs in a whole new light (that may seem like a distasteful stereotype joke, but I’ve witnessed it about as first hand as you can get and it is a thing.) After sushi we arrived in our apartment, which to give those who know
Paris an idea of how perfectly placed it was, is about a 5 minute walk from the Massy station. Guillaume gave us a quick tour of the neighborhood then left Paris in our hands, at which point we promptly passed out, exhausted after a week of waking of at 7a.m to take the kids to school and staying up until 2 (though in our defense, the sun stays out until 11:30-11:50.) When we woke up it was almost dinner time, so we walked around exploring our options. Rachel, being my best friend and, by default, an expert on Tyler, knew as soon as we saw a Chinese restaurant that I wanted it. Needless to say, Tyler was a very happy camper at this moment. A couple random remarks, third-person Tyler also misses truly spicy food with a passion (hint hint Tioy!) And random linguistic fact, playing Thumb war is often referred to as ‘jouer au chinois’ and instead of 1-2-3-4 I declare thumb war (or its French equivalent,) it’s actually 1-2-3 bras de fer chinois (arm(s) of chinese iron.)
The next day we met up with Guillaume, but this is a different Guillaume than the dad who drove us. This is Guillaume Hamelin, one of the coolest French guys I know who came to Truman for a semester when I was a Freshman. We met up with him in Paris (true Paris, because according to him Massy station is not in Paris) and he bought us pizza down the street from Sacré-Cœur. It’s been 2.5 years since we’ve seen him, so we were a little bit nervous about meeting up with him, but he’s really goofy and easy to talk to. We were really surprised by how well his English has held up! After testing our French out in the beginning, he seemed to want to practice with us in English. So he gave us a bilingual tour of Sacré-Cœur, L’Arc-de-Triomphe, Les Champs Élysées, and La Madeleine before heading out to meet up with some friends. Afterwards Rachel and I went to the Eiffel tower, laid out and enjoyed the sun (it was the second sunny weekend of the summer thus far according to Guillaume.) After an hour some menacing clouds starting up so we decided to head back to the apartment, where we ordered Sushi for dinner (because it delivers here.)
Today (Sunday) was pretty uneventful, we didn’t really have time to go back into Paris because our train left so we walked around, found a nearly abandoned mall (abandoned because it’s Sunday in France,) and our way back to the apartment found a random park hosting a family of duck-like birds (any bird watchers our there? Their hind legs looked like skeleton bones.) I can also now say that the T.G.V ride went without any issues and we’re back in Dieppe. This was definitely a great first vacation. Next weekend we’re going to visit Guillaume(the dad)’s parents, then after that England. So there are another two trips in the next two weeks alone! I’m loving my life, but also missing my family a bit. Love you guys and hope the move to Chicago/trip to Thailand is going well.
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