Thursday, June 21, 2007

Farewell, Paris!

Our goldfish Nemo has been adopted by some good friends, our dog Leo has just left this morning (5:15 am) in a Jaguar to go to the airport (a Jaguar because the dog-chauffeuring service, Taxi-Dog, had all of its other vehicles in use for other dog transfers), and our movers finally arrived yesterday after a two-day delay due to a nearly catastrophic miscommunication problem. We were able to spend the night in our own beds even though nearly everything else has been packed up in cardboard boxes. John and I had a picnic lunch of Subway sandwiches (there's a new Subway at Porte de Champerret!) on our bed yesterday, but we took Maylin out for a nice dinner in a nice Provencal restaurant at Porte Maillot called Le Sud. We hadn't eaten there in almost three years (the length of our residence in France) and our pricey bill reminded us why. The food was pretty good though. They are known for their boulliabaise (fish soup) which, if ordered as an entree, comes with homemade croutons, grated cheese, and spicy aioli (garlic mayo) to mix in. Pay about 15 euros more and get it as a main course (under a different name) with bite-size bits of seafood tossed in.

The whole moving process didn't get stressful for me until a week ago when we got the moving quote which shocked and enraged us. I immediately started shopping online for other estimates and found the average to be half-price! Unfortunately or fortunately, we had to go with the original moving company and after a re-quote which seemed to never have been confirmed, we found ourselves stranded on the day of our move. Fortunately, everything got resolved in the end which just resulted in a two-day delay, causing a domino effect of changes that needed to be made by me. Our flight and car reservation had to be rebooked, hotels had to be cancelled or rescheduled, buyers of our kitchen appliances had to be notified of the date change for pick-up (our refrigerator, dishwasher, washer/dryer, and stove/oven have to be removed through the kitchen window down to the courtyard by our movers with an electric outdoor elevator), our phone service had to be extended, the check-out inspection with the guardien had to be rescheduled, etc., etc.

Moving out of Paris is a complicated process. If I get the chance, I will post a to-do list for those of you who are or will be going through the same thing.

Okay, I'm going to have some breakfast and do some last-minute packing. I didn't pack away (or hide) enough stuff yesterday because the movers ended up packing our cleaning supplies which the cleaners will need tonight (supplies recovered -- they didn't see my Post-It) and after they left yesterday, I realized they had also packed Leo's required papers for travel (I think I was not clear enough with them)! That was scary. Fortunately, they labeled the boxes precisely and we were able to narrow down our choices to two boxes and found success with box number one. What a great relief!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Me? A model?

Today, on the street, I was approached by a man who, after verifying that I was pregnant (duh! my belly's a basketball!), asked if I had some time to do some modeling. Who knows if he was another scam artist, but I told him I was busy getting ready to moves to the States. I felt flattered just the same.

Speaking of scams, remember when I got tricked into giving money to a man in exchange for some jackets? Was that September or October? Anyways, around Christmas time, there was a clothing drive and I decided it was a good opportunity to donate the fake leather and the fake suede jackets. So, I put them downstairs along with some other unwanted clothes according to the instructions on the flyer in the foyer. I assumed they were picked up and donated to charity. But guess what? I looked out my kitchen window into the courtyard the other day and voila! I saw those same jackets being hung from the window railing of one of my second floor neighbors. For a moment I considered them thieves and thought I would go up and question them into embarrassment. But nah, not worth the hassle. I was already amused that they wanted to take those stinky things. And they really were stinky -- which was why they had to be hung outside to air out. Some nice, smelly synthetic material. One man's junk is another man's...junk.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My daughter's too computer-savvy

Maylin is very adept at using the mouse at the computer. She can play her educational games, navigate through Smurf cartoons on youtube.com, and just recently, can get two clicks away from ordering Disney DVDs from amazon.com. Yikes! I was taking an afternoon nap on a very hot day recently and had told Maylin to not bother me before setting my head down on the pillow. She was very obedient. I left her at the computer to look at a slideshow of our Berlin Zoo photos in iphoto. When I woke up, she was in her room coloring quietly (I was actually scared for a moment because I couldn't find her anywhere in the apartment and didn't hear a peep, but there she was, hidden behind a whole bunch of toys, sitting on the ground, coloring in her Manga coloring book). I peeked in on her but left her alone because she was concentrating very hard on her work. Then, I went to the computer to check e-mail. I was shocked to see the amazon.com website page open to someone's list of Disney DVDs. Wow! How did a four and a half year-old girl figure that out? I didn't have the amazon.com site open at all. And now she was literally two clicks away from ordering a DVD. I need to disable that 1-click purchasing function now!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sweet spot

Maylin started out perfectly healthy last Wednesday morning, but by afternoon, she had a fever, no appetite, and vomiting. The poor thing. She slept a lot. When she woke up and got sick, I would help her get cleaned up, and cool off her feverishly hot body with a cool, wet towel (she refuses medication). We went through this a few times. After the last time, she felt much better and immediately gave me a kiss and hug. She said, "Thank you for making me feel better, Mommy." She hit my sweet spot then. I was so touched, but I was also so amazed that a four year-old girl could already feel such appreciation for what I did for her. I told her how happy I was to take care of her and to be able to stay at home to do it. Because not all mommies get to do that. Then I made her some egg drop soup, of which she ate many bowls. I fed her every bite and loved every minute of it.

This reminds me of one time recently when we were both at home. I got up too early and had to go back to bed after giving Maylin her breakfast. She let me sleep as long as I liked. At 10:30 am, I woke up, and we did lots of activities together. Then I went into her room and noticed she had spilled a puddle of liquid yogurt on the floor. I asked her why she didn't call me when it happened, and she explained that she didn't want to wake me up. Once again I was touched that she would be so considerate. She also proudly told me that she did pick up the yogurt bottle off the floor (to prevent the entire bottle from emptying). And that is a big improvement from our previous spills, where the liquid would flow and flow without any action on her part. She's a big girl now.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The yummiest falafel in Paris

I found it, I found it, I founnnnd it! After my less than inspiring lunch at L'As du Falafel, the most famous falafel restaurant in Paris, awhile ago, I vowed to seek out the best falafel in Paris. And guess what? It's just right across the street from L'As du Falafel. It's a relatively new place called Mi-Va-Mi, on the corner of rue des Rosiers and rue des Ecouffes in the Marais (4th arrondissement). I was planning on checking it out anyways because I saw a long line of high schoolers there last time and had a hunch that the local teens would know what's happening in the world of cheap eats. For only 4 euros, you can get a falafel sandwich, which is composed of the actual falafel balls (made of ground chickpeas and herbs) -- crispy on the outside, moist and full-flavored on the inside, roasted eggplant, and various pickled cabbages tucked inside the softest, freshest pita ever, drizzled with a hummus dressing. While you're waiting in line and paying in advance to the slightly pushy salesman, he and his colleagues will serve you fresh-out-of-the-fryer, crispy hummus and little cups of cool lemonade! What a deal! And you also get to watch the competition across the street do exactly the same thing for their clients. I don't have much time left in the City of Light, but I want to go back and get a falafel sandwich AND try their brochette sandwich (should be like lamb kebab) for a couple euros more.