This blog over the last few months has turned into a bit of a travelogue. Which makes sense, I guess, but we are doing some fun stuff here in Paris as well. So, with the new year, and after talking to some friends and family recently, we feel like we should update everyone a little more on our everyday doings.
In five months here, we have discovered that one of our worst traits as a married couple is that we enable each other’s propensity to be a homebody. When you don’t work, there is always the overwhelming temptation — no matter where you are in the world — to binge on as much Netflix as possible and click on ALL of the clickbait. We also make plenty of time for that (like while trying to write this!), sometimes too much time.
So, in line with our goal to take more short trips throughout France, we are trying to do the same in Paris and the surrounding area. Essentially, we are trying to make seeing Paris (on a budget!) our full-time jobs.
We have also had some visitors, which made the holidays a lot less lonely. Friends Greg and Brianni came at Thanksgiving. We really enjoyed having them here, cooking for them and showing them around Paris. It was necessary after a few months, and we are very excited that other friends (Could it be YOU? There’s still time!) are planning trips as well.
We were able to host a big Thanksgiving dinner for 15 people that included many who were enjoying their first-ever Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending), turkey is way too expensive in France, so we made a huge plate of sausages to go with all of the traditional accompaniments. The French people in attendance were amused by the stuffing (“How can it be a stuffing if it isn’t stuffed inside anything?!?!”) candied yams, green bean casserole and the insane amount of food that was prepared.
We then spent Christmas and New Year’s with Erin’s family. Since they have all been to Paris too many times to count, we used it as an opportunity to do see some less-popular sights. We even took in a performance of Cirque du Soleil. I’m probably good on that for the rest of my life.
Sometimes the weather makes it rather difficult to enjoy being outside. A note about the weather: while if you checked the Internet and saw that the temperature is usually between 40-50 here in the winter, that really only tells part of the story. It is windy as shit, often rainy, and even when it isn’t raining, the humidity is typically about 80 percent or higher. It is painfully chilly here. Minnesota did not prepare us for this. We are wimps again.
As far as what happened in November, life appears to be quite normal again. We are now used to being checked by security in just about every building we go into, and that’s fine. It’s unsettling to see fully armed soldiers walking around everywhere, but I guess that will be the new normal for a while, especially with Euro 16 just around the corner. If you were thinking about visiting before everything went down, please still consider coming.
We’ve also continued to eat our faces off. It has meant a commitment to eating less meat and unhealthy things when eating in so we can continue to TREAT YOSELF(ves) when out.
Of course, we’ve also learned a thing or two in our five months here, which we will try to remember on our return to the U.S.:
- Do not take good Mexican or Indian food for granted. Just don’t.
- The same goes for good-quality beer. We are lucky that we have a bit here in Montreuil.
- French people don’t really like spicy food. This has sometimes been a problem.
- I can survive without peanut butter, but I’m barely hanging on without good salsa.
- Language barriers suck, but they often lead to moments of profound happiness when you and the other party in the conversation find a way to understand each other.
- Learn how to adapt and take things a little slower.
- Learn how to relax in ways that don’t include watching Netflix.
- Sometimes a kiss on each cheek is a better greeting than a handshake. Sometimes.
- Most U.S. cities have a long way to go to match Paris in quality of public transportation. I will happily sacrifice cleanliness for efficient, timely service.
- You don’t need your car as much as you think you do.
- Castles tend to run together, but different countries have different styles of churches that remain interesting.
- Europop sucks.
- Many soccer fans are just as boorish and horrible as the numbnuts at most major sporting events in the U.S. It’s cool to like soccer (I love soccer!), just realize that it doesn’t make you fuggin’ Aristotle or anything. It’s just another sport.
- Know ahead of time if you’ll be good traveling alone. I always thought I would be, but I’m glad I never ran off somewhere and then found out that I’m actually not. I have a great wife. In fact, the best ever.
We are looking forward to figuring out what the next 8 months hold in store for us. And we hope that you’ll keep following along with us.