Thursday, October 13, 2005

I'm fitting in better, I think.

Today was good.

First of all, it was the 3rd day in a row of beautiful, 70 degree
weather with sunshine. I don't think this is normal--I can't quite
trust it and still feel guilty leaving my jacket and umbrella at
home. I can't believe I am complaining about good weather!

But, this morning, after talking with our neighbor about the leak
that came through our ceiling, I had to call our new insurance agent
(whom we just mailed the stuff off to, um, yesterday...) She said
"ce n'est pas grave" (it's not big deal) and told me that my french
was very good. This made me so happy! The neighbor (with the leak)
also told me that, so people must be understanding what I say. I
know it's not great (when I am speaking quickly, I often mess up my
verb tenses), but I think they must be getting the gist of what I am
saying. I also met another neighbor on the street, who thought my
accent was "charmante". OK, so they know I am American (or at least
not French) right away, but at least they can understand me and they
do speak to me in French. And the insurance agent was very helpful,
as well, which was very reassuring!

C told me yesterday that she had figured something out about my
french comprehension. She said, "when you don't know what I just
said, you say "D'accord." (Which means "OK"). I told her she was
absolutely right. That is usually what I say when I want to appear
like I know what they are talking about. When I don't. But those
instances are getting fewer and fewer. Yay!

Also had several people ask me for directions (which, I am proud to
say, I was able to give). I guess I am fitting in better now,
despite being taller, blonder, and much, much paler than the average
french woman. And I made it through all the errands I had planned
despite a major chink in the plans. :) Yay! (This is so rare--it
seems that everything always takes twice as long as it should to do
here.)

Major chink:

After talking with the insurance people this morning, and taking Lucy
for another walk, I went to go to our local supermarket. I knew I
needed a bunch of stuff, so took my handy new rolling caddie--which
is a little cart on wheels that I can pull behind me. Unfortunately,
on the escalator down to the supermarket (it is in the basement of
the Centre Commercial [mall] that is 1 block from our apartment) the
caddy got hooked on the side and the wheel flew off, throwing the
little jobbie that holds it onto the axle to who knows where. AGH!
I went first to the Bricorama (hardware store across from the grocery
store) to try to find something to fix it, but the guy told me that
if I tried to fix it, it wouldn't last anyway and I should just go
back where I bought it and they should give me another. OK. A 25
minute walk to Monoprix. Yay.

So, I did. And I explained the situation (and that I didn't have the
receipt) and the woman at the Acceuil desk (service/home/greetings/
welcome/all-purpose word) did exchange it for another, since I had
just bought it last week. Phew. So I did my grocery shopping there
instead (they do have a better selection anyway), and then headed
home, and made some lunch.

Still had a little time before it was time to pick up the girls, so
went to H&M in Montparnasse (found a jacket and 2 long sleeve T's),
got a "Paris Pas Cher" book at the local Papetrie (Paris for Cheap--a
book that lists the places to find bargains of all sorts), and still
made it to the school before the girls came out.

Plus, P was in a really good mood, so it made the afternoon very
enjoyable. We watered their pet snails, had a snack, they did
homework, and I helped them with their music. Their parents came
home early today, so I was home in time to take another walk with
Lucy and Dr. B, and made dinner (sautéed Cote de Veau [veal] with
green peppercorn sauce, baked eggplant with garlic, herbs and spices,
Carrottes Rapées salad, Champignons de Paris with vinaigrette
[mushrooms], pickles, red wine, and followed by a cheese course of
Mimolette and Chèvre. Mmmmm!)

Now Dr. B is out again with the dog. She must be constipated or
something.

He's back now--he said he let her lead the way, and she took him on a
good walk, but also brought him right back home. So she is starting
to feel like Paris is home, too!

Welcome home!

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