La onzième heure

I knew when I woke up that the projected winner would be obvious and I scanned several web sites trying to figure out what really was happening before it became clear that the President Elect is really Trump. In France the discussion of politics is very open, they do not hesitate to ask you who your voting for and I found that several people that don’t usually get beyond the common courtesy’s of “Bon Jour, ca va bien,” stopped to discuss the news. Americans have a hard time understanding the electoral college but in a different language there is an added challenge not to mention the permission it gives them to confirm how screwed up we are. The good news of the day was that a friend was in route to Paris and I had someone to commiserate with.

It was a welcome opportunity to see a museum and act like a tourist since the majority of the time I’m trying to keep up with the loads of homework that are a daily routine. I spend more than 3 hours per day working on homework in some form or another. Sometimes just reviewing; but trust me, this is not enough.

The International crowd of photographers my friend Monique invited me to dine with where much more fashionable than myself and the I felt the needed to buy a camera and black turtleneck.  I enjoyed the complex conversations that were over my head and tried to sound smart when opportunity arouse. Of course my only comedic addition was my inability as a stupid American to stop giggling in class when they use words like “douche,” “tard” and “ménage.” Keeping it classy, right?

After a couple days of dining, my budget was exceeded and I continued back to the mundane and exhausting runs to various locations with my “old lady cart.” I have made several trip to Pierre’s house. Each time I struggle back with a load of valuable items to make life easier. The harvest of the day included a tool bag for the growing collection Claude is building to “fix’” the place up.

Also, a box of paints that pushes me a step closer to being the artist I want to be here. An unexpected addition I bought back was a pretty good cut on my forehead above my brow and a bit of a black eye. Note to self, check to see if there is anything stacked inside of an item your taking down from a high shelf. When I bleed, I know it is time to leave.

Claude has managed to get all the ugly dirty looking old wallpaper off the walls. It looks more like a construction zone in the apartment, which is a refreshing change. Some work must be done to the walls prior to use priming and I received approval on the colors I have in mind, but it will be some time before we get to that stage.

One reason we came here was the fact that they don’t work as much. You would not think so with the crazy schedule he currently works. He is gone from about 10 in the morning till about 1 in the morning. The commute is between 40-60 minutes, and he has a rather long afternoon break, but the restaurant plans to close for the holiday’s which means we will finally be able to adventure.

The first week we were here, Claude was focused on getting a job and started work the same week. I started school the second week and we have not had more than an evening together in over a month. We are eager to get out of the city and see something, and the list of options is endless.

Azer, my Turkish friend from class invited Claude and I to have dinner at her husband restaurant one night. It was the first time I have had a double date outside of family dinners since we have been here and a real relief to speak English. We all agreed when she returns to get together again. She has family visiting and will return home with them next week to straighten out some visa issues.

This made me push Claude in trying to contact the agency that holds my future in their hands. The situation of my papers is a long complicated one I’ll save for another time. Since more people than ever are eager to renew passports and visa and concerned about their future, we are sure that all offices are working more than they have prior to now.  Needless to say the phone is always busy and the location is not in Paris, so we tried to send a fax and will continue to battle.

I’m very sad my friend had to leave school, and optimistic regarding her return. Our class is getting smaller and for the first time today I read a page and realized I understood most of it. The better news is that it was not a child’s book.

Over a glass of wine at school last night; yes that happens, my teacher and I were in a position to discuss a few things including, how I am doing. I’ve been talking to Claude about retaking the level I’m currently enrolled in and she was encouraging in telling me I’m actually doing fine. Confirming I was in the middle of the class and not the low end as I thought was a much needed boost to the moral.

We have two more weeks before we are tested on the current level and then two weeks later the school closes for 3 weeks for the holidays resuming after. There are lots of tentative plans on the table and for now, I just need to table them and keep plugging away at the variety of tenses and conjugation’s hoping for the best.

Although I speak very badly, I do speak much more and am being understood. I managed to get a prescription from a local doctor that I saw during open clinic hours. She didn’t speak English, so it was on me to make it work and somehow I came thru. My doctor in California conformed the prescription she wrote was for the same medication I am currently using. I’m happy to be prepared instead of waiting to the 11th hour, and proud to have taken another step in acclimating to my new life.

It’s getting colder each day and I managed to get an affordable pass for all the movies I can see in a year. I look forward to spending time in crowded theaters watching American movies with French subtitles. We excitedly woke to snow one day and look forward to more on the way.



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