Wow. What a week it’s been. Since arriving in Paris on Monday morning, it seems life has been non-stop. I don’t know if it’s the newness of being retired (only 9 days now), or the excitement of actually living here? I suspect it’s both.
It’s very strange but already, just by accident, or perhaps environment, we have quickly settled into a parisienne style schedule, awakening around 8am, coffee and breakfast until 11 or so, a few activities or tasks of the day, and finally a small but rich and leisurely dinner around 8 or 9pm. A couple of times we have even supplemented this with an 11pm trip to a nice cafe for a glass of wine and a little people watching. It’s a million miles and a world away from our cadence back in Las Vegas. I don’t know if it’s any worse or any better, but for now it feels absolutely wonderful. Of course, school starts for me in 3 weeks. That will no doubt add a wrinkle to this current little “scam” i have going. 😉
Today was finally a day to get our bearings and take a little sunday three hour walk to see some of the city. We walked from our apartment to a wonderful narrow little street called “Mouffetard” which is filled with shops and cafe’s. I’ve interspersed a few photo’s of what we encountered today.
It’s interesting to me that the littlest things here can become complex challenges. For example, the simple task of mailing a letter to the power company became a half day project. It’s brainless in the states, but here? Where do you buy envelopes? What is the address of the power company? How do you properly address a postal letter in France? Where do you buy stamps? Where can you find a mailbox? It wasn’t necessarily difficult, it just took a darn long time! Thank God for Google translate.
French people and the Americans
There is a wide misconception back in the states that French people are rude and dislike Americans. For the most part, I have found them to be largely kind and helpful. I do think that they are very proud of their language and their culture (something frankly, I wish we had more of in the U.S.). But if you make the effort to treat their language and culture with the respect it deserves, you will be treated in kind. In fact, most younger French people we have met seem to like to “practice” their english by conversing with Americans.
There are however a few cultural “faux pas”‘ to be wary of. For example, never, and i mean “NEVER,” attempt to walk up to a fruit stand in the morning before the proprietor has finished arranging the very last peach in his pile. Doing so will result in a rabid 60 year old french man waving his arms and chasing you away while yelling what are almost certainly the most vulgar of obscenities in his beloved and romantic language.
So I guess I have to say, overall, a pretty darn good first week of this new life. Since school doesn’t start for 3 more weeks, we are headed up to Copenhagen in the morning to catch a cruise ship and visit Northern Europe and Russia for a couple of weeks. Will post more soon.