Tuesday, November 24, 2009

France, Day 13 part 1

Day 13, Saturday.
Return to Paris.
After leaving the city a few days ago we get to return today. The plan is for us to meet with a missionary family in Paris, hit an open air Paris market, do some souvenir shopping for friends and family, meet up with some friends of Jeremy from his high school days, grab some crepes and a few of our other favorite French delicacies before we leave and maybe a date in Paris, just the two of us.

I can’t believe it, I’m in Starbucks again. Jeremy’s friend wanted to meet in a Starbucks so here we are. It is fun listening to them jabber away in French. Both friends speak English but I’ve released the three of them from having to include me so they can speak freely about whatever French teenage boys now grown up would want to speak of. Saves me from having to feign interest in everything they reminisce about. I’ll write instead.

Note to self, don’t start writing a blog post for the day until the majority of the day’s activities are done. This day was nothing like we anticipated. We started our time in the city with a stop at a little cafe for some breakfast since I couldn’t eat the breakfast offered by our hosts due to my teeth. The cafe we selected had free wi-fi for an hour if you bought something so we ordered and hopped on in order to check e-mail and catch up on blog posts. So, cafe au lait, pain au chocolat, and orange juice in front of us we attempted to multi-task eating, figuring out our day and FaceBooking/e-mailing/blogging at the same time. An hour shot there to do all those things we headed to the metro only to discover a ridiculous line just to buy tickets and opted to walk to the next station and see if we would find a shorter line there to buy tickets. That did work except by that point I needed a bathroom and since the toilette was out at the cafe we got breakfast in we were looking for another one. Now, in France there are sometimes (often) public restrooms that you can pay to use. I refuse to use them. I mean, I could pee every 20 minutes, it seems like a system deliberately set about to take advantage of pregnant women and small children. However, I got desperate enough that I caved this time, much to my horror. I’ll write more about that experience in another post because, yes, it does deserve to be expounded upon. Anyway, we eventually got on the metro but by the time we got to the shopping area a friend had told us would have the best prices due to the number of souvenir shops we had barely a half an hour before we had to head to some other missionaries home for a lunch meeting and the market we thought we were going to was on Sundays, not Saturdays. Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as we got off we were met with a busy open Paris market. Figures. We didn’t have time to shop and had to move quickly to get to our lunch appointment. It was great fun to see all the bustling activity of a typical Paris Saturday with families shopping, market vendors calling out to passers-by, dogs waiting for their owners outside of the butcher/bakery/and community shops, and shop owners or workers taking a smoking break on the sidewalk with their store windows and doors thrown open to entice shoppers in. I loved it. The noise, the chaos, the dogs (not their contributions to the sidewalk, however), the smells, and the children everywhere. I wanted so bad to have my reusable shopping bags and large bag on wheels just to join in and get my groceries for the week. We made it to our friends’ apartment and immediately felt at home there too. Al and Nicole have been for many years now, meeting on French soil, getting married and having children. They are with International Teams as well and work with La Fonderie with Steve and Mikkie Thrall. They have 3 sweet children and we were blessed to get to meet them all. We learned a lot about having a family in Paris and they were very encouraging regarding learning how to live in the city with a large family. It was a wonderful lunch Nicole made for us and the time passed far too quickly. They shared about some of the work they are doing, Nicole talked about the English club she ran just that morning with neighborhood children, Al talked about their work with the arts and technology and the kids showed us just by their infectious personalities what an impact they must be having on their friends at school. We talked about possible collaborations, we have gave them some of our background and the vision we have from God and our burden for Paris. They were supportive and voiced that the time is right, the need is great. We can’t get there soon enough. Before we knew it we were out of time, our plans for shopping before meeting with two of Jeremy’s high school friends were shot and we had to hurry to make it to the appointed meeting place on time. Contact information exchanged with Al and Nicole we were on our way out the door after feeling like we had just gotten there.

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