Not a few of my blog updates have been in the form of photos featuring French Stuff, and I tweet about La Vie Parisienne all the time. But unless you know me, you might wonder what I’m doing here, why I’m here. Am I on vacation?
Er, yes…and no.
The story goes like this: twelve years ago I met a French Boy (I am tempted to put everything qualified by the adjective “French” in capital letters, as if its Frenchness turns it into its own category) who was very different from me in a significant way. I.e., he could do math. Like, a lot of it. With crazy formulas containing Greek letters. Once, when I looked over his shoulder at the screen at a formula and asked what it meant, he replied, “Oh, that describes what happens when someone thinks an object is valuable and so other people do, too.” I married the French Boy. We moved to New York City. We had two sons— one very recently, a May baby, of splendid plump cheeks and a charming disposition.
Then the French Boy was offered a job in the French Government.
FB and I are academics, so we requested time off from our usual jobs as professors. We moved to Paris in July, and here we are, in an apartment in the 10th arrondissement near the Canal St. Martin. We’ll be here for a while. There will be much to report. For now, a brief list of pros and cons about Paris. I will update this list as time goes on.
1. The food.
2. THE FOOD.
3. Relatedly, the bakeries. There’s one on every block. My favorite makes bread with chestnut flour and brioche (sweet, soft bread) with orange water.
4. I don’t have to pay to send my son to school. NYC is insane on this front. If you want your kid to go to preschool, you pay, oh, you do. Here, pre-K is free, well-run, awesome.
5. Pony rides in the park! Eliot (the elder son) loves this.
Actually, I don’t want to say much, as it’ll sound petty. I mean, it’s Paris. Living in Paris is great, right? But…
1. It seems like I always have to explain to people why I nurse my baby. It’s not that French People think breastfeeding is weird….but they want to know why I’m doing it. And then they ask how long I nursed Eliot. And when I say a year, their eyes get round.
2. I can never remember which is the Left Bank and which is the Right Bank. This is my problem. I know that.
3. HOW am I supposed to know which way the Seine flows? Because that’s how you tell Left B from Right B.
4. Hey, I appreciate that there’s a pharmacy on every block, but why are they always crowded? And hot.
5. Relatedly, I miss my NYC air conditioned subway cars.
All for now.