Some of my favourite moments from France thus far, that I have remembered on the spot. There are surely more, which from now on I will jot down so that I can re-tell. There are also some photos down the bottom, of various things both pertaining to this post and also unrelated.
- Shane, wanting to keep up his fitness, spent the first two weeks in Paris assaulting anything he could with exercise. The exposed beam holding up the building in our apartment was a chin up bar, the Nike shop floor was a push up arena whilst we awaited service – can you please take a moment to imagine this: me, being normal, in a store. I turn to say something to my husband and he’s banging out 30 pushups AT SPEED, whilst people continue their shopping around us. This happened again on the outdoor basketball court at Jardin de Luxembourg, where a group of teenage boys were shooting hoops. Suddenly, there’s this Australian weirdo doing pushups just off to the right whilst his wife pretends not to know him.
- Obviously, the duck incident in Paris.
- Shane holding Arlo over the toilet to do a pipi (boy style) and Arlo not telling him he actually needed to do a number 2 – so that ended up on the bathroom floor mat.
- Drinking a coffee at La Dolce Italia, speaking to the owner Karine, who called her Australian friend on the spot and with whom I spoke with and then met the following day. Eve introduced me to her two American friends, Audrey and Daria, and they were both a wealth of information and friendliness; I felt like I’d known them for yonks. Arlo and I ran into the latter two later that afternoon and he loved them both instantly, asking them if they were coming to the park with us and giving them each a “yuddle” before storming purposefully off up the street, stopping 15 metres away and calling out “au revoir” and “ByyyyyyE” multiple times as they both waved and did the same. Upon walking a little further, Arlo stopped, looked up at me and said, “friends gone,” whilst shrugging his shoulders, palms facing upwards. I’ll look for a photo of him doing this to add so you can see it in action.
- Having any sort of interaction with a French person who naturally assumes you know what they’re saying, until you actually don’t, and you give an unexpected response. You receive a priceless look of “…huh?” on the face which cannot be rectified, instead you cover the errors up with “bonne journée!” or “bon weekend” and “au revoir” and quickly scuttle away.
- Spending the extremely valuable afternoon time (after Arlo wakes up) looking for a circus for which Shane had spotted signs around town several days beforehand. With Shane and I being natural performers (lol) and each coming from families filled with talent, we feel a certain connection with such events and love attending them. We searched for this circus for what seemed like hours (it was definitely over one hour and under 1.5), asking for directions and driving through unknown villages and tiny streets, we saw the big top (medium sized). The gate was shut and there were llamas grazing about the place; it looked like nothing was happening. Then, Shane somehow summons a lady (from where she came, no idea) and she opens the gate and ushers us in, saying the show is about to finish. Instead of 5 euros each, she tells us we can pay 5 in total. We go through the flap and there are quite literally FOUR PEOPLE in the audience, seated on fold up chairs, dirt floor. The performer? A woman in her sixties all dolled up, upside down and balancing and throwing balls and cylindrical shaped thingies on her feet. It was absolutely very impressive! And she was in great shape! Her performance smile never faltered, despite there being almost nobody watching the show. Bittersweet – these people spend their lives practicing and performing, and even on a day when there are less than 10 in the audience, the show must go on. Kudos to them. Shane ends up paying the 10 euros after all, and Arlo gets his hands sniffed and snuffled by some very cute ponies (see previous post for photos).
- Walking through le marché and seeing that Shane had been granted the honour of a ginormous bird poo on the front of his black shirt. I have thought in depth about the size of that poo, and I honestly can’t think of what bird would have ejected it. A pigeon is only a small bird (although they are very puffy here, is it the winter feathers or are they overweight?) and the size of the poo is evidence of a larger type of flying species. This question of whodunit still plagues me today.
- Asking Arlo if he knows what my name is and him replying with “GABBY-GOO!!!” I die.
- Arlo walking past (any, random) children on the street and saying “friend?” As it would for most, this also breaks my heart and prompts me to reflect on the importance of children being around other children for healthy social and emotional development.
- Attempting to purchase a baguette (“tradition,” of course) and two croissants, but realising too late that I only had enough change for the baguette. I said I would gladly come back later for the croissants, but was urged to take the croissants, and bring the money back another day. What a gem of a woman!
- A lot of children (and adults, actually) ride scooters around cities here. In fact Arlo received one from the Easter Bunny, who found us in Chamonix this year. What luck! On occasion, we have walked and not scooted to the park, which means that obviously Arlo’s scooter hasn’t come with us. Arlo does this quite hilarious thing where he will be playing in the playground when a child with a scooter OR a bike enters and drops it, deserting it to scale the ladder instead. Arlo spots the abandoned two wheeler, renouncing his upward assault on the slide. He runs (fast) until he is close, then within a metre and half of the trotinette or velo, he moves more slowly, steadily breaching the periphery of safety and stepping inside the circle of another child’s possession. Then, he’ll do one of two things. Either he will patiently wait for one parent to notice him, whereby he will point at the object and say “this Arlo’s.” OR, he will go straight in for the kill and take it. Both are hilarious and test my skill as a parent in giving reason for why it’s not okay to take someone else’s belongings without asking. Once he rode another child’s little bike for 20 minutes straight before saying “I park it,” and backing away from it, eyes fixed incase of other predacious children. Photo attached of this in action.
These are certainly not all of the moments, and there will be more; of this I am sure. Feel free to share your comments and thoughts : )