cinq lumières

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-2-07-09-pmSmall victories each day, and I had mixed feelings about the weekend after the first week of school. Several times during class I stare at the exercise in front of me and wonder what Im supposed to do. Most people seem to engage in the work quickly and easily but I can’t even start. When I think that I’m not learning anything, all of a sudden something from two days prior creeps into my head. I find myself repeating these odd phrases like a child babbling nonsense in a make believe world. I’m sure people think I have a special needs.

On occasion, I have Claude with me on the Metro and we tackle my homework or general exercises together. I see the looks in people’s eyes as I painfully butcher the annunciation of common words, and the curiosity in the eyes of the children that are happy to have an adult be inferior to them.

I had my first legitimate conversation with the butcher the other day. He said, “Good Morning,” and I replied the same. Then he energetically stated I should have a Good Day, at witch I thanked him; and, said the same back. I know it’s not really a conversation, but he was the first person that didn’t know I don’t speak the language and didn’t ask me anything else to give away the fact that I’m a fraud.

It was a far better conversation that the one I had at the mall, while I trudged a heavy rolling cart of supplies for the house in every which direction looking for the Metro. Every several feet I inquired in horrible grammar where it could be. I was often met with directions that made no sense, since It was too fast for me to follow but I’d go in the direction of their eyes and ask again a few feet futher. At one kiosk, a tall beautiful black girl replied, saying she didn’t know. By the dismissive look she shot me, I became furious and stated clearly and loudly that she worked in the mall, and how can she not know where the metro is? She said she was a new and the women next to her gave me directions that got me a few feet closer to next victim.

We have 5 lights in the house. One in each room and as I am getting older by the minute, I have a hard time seeing my book at night. We plan to buy lamps, but we still have limited space as the old tenant has not come to claim the remainder of her possessions. Claude said he will call the city to inquire how we get rid of the stuff, but we still need to give her more time. The Ugly Couch belongs to his mother, and she has agreed to allow us to haul it to another of her apartments that is being furnished for renters. Of course not having a truck or upper body strength leads to more hurdles.

It’s also a bit of a challenge living without a car. I have seen a couple signs for “Amazon Prime Now,” so, I know someone can help me at a price, but with both of our incomes having decreased drastically, I am trying to avoid paying more than necessary. This of course lead to a 12-mile day of walking in efforts to put art on the walls. I had seen a series of photos that piece together making a large instillation of a couple of panoramas of our favorite cities at a great price. The store has a couple locations in the city and I have been to each now. Sure enough the one I wanted was not available locally.

I was not going to be discouraged and I wasn’t using up one of me “Marcos Favors.” I decided instead to take the metro to the end of the line, then take a bus, in the wrong direction, not intentionally, rerouting back to the correct location. Depart the bus and walk a mile to the store. I easily found what I wanted and teetered the enormous package like an African women totting buckets of water on her head in a 3rd world country. Back to the bus, metro, and the ½ mile walk home after which to return out for more shopping. I do amidt that recovering is better with pretty photos on the walls.

I managed to get to a mall in Paris called; Le Halles, the other day and I victoriously returned to Maison Alfort with both a magnifying mirror and flat iron. Of course I needed to call the credit union to unblock my card…for the 3rd time since that’s crazy French thief is still buying toiletries’, art and wine all over France. I showed up at class by the end of the week feeling prettier than I have since arriving and finally found that hair in my chin that makes me feel older than I am. Each of these adventures takes far longer than imagined with several obstacle’s or opportunities depending on my mood.

Back to not being happy about the weekend, I make it home after school and various attempts at shopping on the way, to have lack or internet and cable. We have decided to go with a new provider that has more locations and gives you the box when you sign up. Of course, I cannot do this alone, I need to wait for Claude, because his name is on the gas bill and he has a bank account. Since I need internet to work, I often leave the house when Claude does, and go to Starbucks where I can sit all day and mooch off their free internet.

Very few businesses are open on Sunday, it is family day. The shopping adventure I had where I learned to speak in anger resulted in a number of charcuterie and chesses for this week’s family visitors. We hosted Juan and his long time girlfriend. Juan is Marcos brother and also a plumber. Hoping that the beer, wine and pastries would help encourage them to make my least favorite room better, I sat quietly while everyone chattered away and preceded to drink too much since I had nothing better to do with my mouth and rather look like a drunk than a pig.

Since Sunday is the day the internet company closes and its illogical to have an employee take two different days off, they also close on Monday allowing the staff two consecutive days for their weekend. Thus meaning there is still no cable in my home. We will see what tomorrow has in store but I did have a good adventure today that I’ll share before bed.

I have looked forward to the high holidays and being able to do the same prayers with foreigner’s that I have memorized from childhood. I looked for a temple online and found the biggest, most influential and one of the oldest in the city. I sent an email and followed up with a call, after struggling they found someone that informed me that tickets where 100 euros which is obviously out of my range. I decided to crash temple. I figured second night would be easier, not being the weekend and of lesser importance to most Jews and god would understand.

I walked thru the barricades to the large Israeli guards who asked why I was there. I said for services, duh. I didn’t really say duh, they were really big. I was questioned as to where I live, what was in my bag and what tribe my people come from before I was allowed entry. I carefully studied the people and saw the women were in the side boxes and stayed with them as not to anger the men.

After a short service, a woman near me asked me in French if I’d like to come with them. I informed her I was American and didn’t speak French. She quickly spoke in broken English to explain that now the congregation would walked to the Seine River to throw their sins away. Seemed like a great idea and I followed the Rabbi and Israeli thugs to the river. I tossed the rock the man from back east gave me with hopes it was an omen to have found a bit of home on the journey. It was a sweet beginning to the year ahead and I look forward to it getting easier. Chan Tova

2 thoughts on “cinq lumières

  1. You are doing great. I know it’s a struggle. But you are making progress. I love you. I’m glad you found a temple. I can’t believe they wanted to know our tribe. My little drunk sister lol. I love you. Chana Tova


  2. Wow. Your experiences there are so dramatically different than the City.

    I was going to use the word dismal to describe what you are experiencing, perhaps, ‘extremely challenging’ is a tad better.

    On the bright side, you’re walking EVERYWHERE, probably in fantastic shape, so there’s a plus!

    The whole cable company fiasco…… how is it France is considered a world power? I mean, seriously, it’s only cable tv…..

    Hang tough Allison, we all love you and enjoy reading about your experiences! You have an amazing attitude for life, so enjoy this time in France.

    Liked by 1 person

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