Oh, I miss my fabulous girlfriends at home….those I will see back in Wisconsin and those that I don’t get to see very often but have known since I was three! There is such comfort in the presence of friends, isn’t there? I have been lucky enough to find that feeling throughout my life…from Iowa to Florida to Minnesota to Wisconsin. And now in France. There are wonderful women here that have become my confidants. We can share stories about kids and teachers and spouses and parents. And when you feel comfortable enough to tease one another…well, that’s just about the best feeling of all.
There is a group of us that decided after the Noel holiday that we were tired of continuing to add items to our “Things to Do in Paris” lists without really doing them. So we are venturing out regularly now tackling museums, restaurants, shops and coffeehouses (because Lydia just will not start the outing without coffee!). Today was one such day.
Here were my companions today:
Demetria – Caribbean, raised in and moved this fall from Brooklyn, two daughters 9 and 13, completely fluent in French and married to a Frenchman. Probably here at least two years and then back to NYC.
Bakang – from Botswana, married to a Spaniard, two daughters 11 and 13, lived for almost ten years in Shanghai before moving here almost two years ago. Here indefinitely.
Alessandra – Italian, married to an Englishman, four kids from 21 – 11, fluent in French and lived the last seven years in Ohio! Here for now.
Lydia – from the Netherlands, moved from San Francisco, married with two kids 10 and 12. Planning to be here one more year and then move to spend one year on the beach in Australia or New Zealand and homeschool her kids before they start high school and middle school back in San Fran or New York City.
Someone found a coffeehouse run by two Australians so the five of us tucked ourselves into the loft with coffee, hot chocolate and the most amazing scones with jam and butter I have tasted. They tempted us with their lunch menu on our way out the door but we had places to go.
Then we walked. We walked and talked and walked and talked some more. And then it was time to eat. Again.
A fantastic Thai restaurant to the rescue. So amazing and so funny to learn of everyone’s preferences when it comes to food. Bakang wants very spicy while Lydia would prefer no spice. Alessandra would pass it all up for dessert but doesn’t look like she eats anything! Demetria is an amazing cook herself so scrutinizes each dish and figures out how she can recreate, at home, the ones she loves. I had a hot and spicy soup and then green curry dish that was amazing. But Alessandra shared her flan dessert with us and I would go back again just for that. And I don’t even like flan! The presence of friends makes everything taste better, I think.
Although the end of the school day was closing in, we needed to get a bit of shopping in so stopped at a quirky shop on our way to the Metro where they had anything from floral dishes to outdoor chairs to Jesus band-aids (which, if they weren’t 6,50 euros I would have purchased as the perfect Easter gift for Tom or Sarah’s godfather, Fred.).
By that time we were running very late and knew our kids would be pouring out of the school soon. So one mom texted her daughter to tell all the kids to just hang out at the cafe across the street until we arrived. Now, if it were my kids and they had spent all day just playing and hanging out with friends and then told me they were running late, I’m sure I would have said something like, “You did nothing all day and still couldn’t figure out a way to be home on time?” But they forgave us and I realized that sometimes doing nothing with friends really is doing something. And sometimes you just don’t want it to come to an end.
Can’t wait until next week.