Saturday, July 30, 2016

Home Sweet Apartment on The Seine (well, almost)

  Are we really here? Or is it just a wondrous dream?

The Barnes and The Seine--incoyable!

In fourth grade I learned a song about The Seine: Oh, the cool and winding river, gently wends its way along. On a lovely summer morning, it sings this happy song: Elle chante, chante, chante, chante, chante le jour et la nuit. Car la Seine est une amante et son amant c'est Paris!

Even in my fourth grade dreams I couldn't have imagined that I would ever be here sharing this dream with someone I love.

When we moved into our new apartment, we were thrilled to learn that our short path along the Seine to the mission office was named "Barnes Way." Could the sign be a sign???

Probably not, but we always KNEW we were meant to be here! And we are so thankful we are.

So we are finally settled in our new apartment! We're just thrilled to be here and to be so comfortable for the next 17 months. In the picture below, our apartment is the one on the second floor with the flowerbox on the railing.
Doug coming home from the grocery store up the street

And now (drum roll, please), a tour of our new home.

The living room/dining room:

We christened our new apartment with a going-away get together for two departing missionary couples--the Wilsons and the Graffs. The Todds, Vandivers, Monsons, and Barnes wished them "Bon Voyage."

Continuing our tour:

Our one-person kitchen, complete with washer, dryer, and dishwasher.

Our bedroom

YOUR bedroom

The WC

The bathroom

That's all folks...home sweet apartment. And we couldn't be happier!

Monday, July 11, 2016

First Family Visitor and Grandkid Fix

Our nine-year-old grandson Elliot Peters came last weekend with his other grandpa John Peters and spent a few days with us. What a joy! We met them in Versailles, went through the Palace (including the Hall of Mirrors) and the gardens (where we watched beautiful fountain shows accompanied by Baroque music throughout the grounds). We took a break for lunch at a sidewalk café, where I once again enjoyed French onion soup (I’m learning that it is really called “Soupe à l’Oignon Gratinée”—I can spot it on any menu anywhere now—my French is definitely improving, as needed, anyway). Elliot loved the French “frites” and ice cream. 

We returned home, parked at the apartment, walked to the neighborhood patisserie, each chose a treat, checked out the apartment with special attention to see if the black and white cat that comes in through our second-story window was visiting, had dinner at the downstairs crêperie, and then played games. Elliot beat us all soundly.

Elliot preferred calling it the "Creep-erie"
The next morning we had breakfast, went to church in Versailles followed by a trip to the construction site of the Paris temple where we peeked through gaps in the fence and enjoyed seeing its progress, then came home for more games, a pork chop dinner prepared by Grandpa Doug, still more games, and then went through the trauma of saying goodbye, once more.

We loved having time with them. We wish Marsha (the other grandma) could have joined us—it would have been perfect if she had. We’re so grateful to John for providing this opportunity to Elliot and all of us. We’d love to have more visitors at any time! Just let us know.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

My first trip to Paris

We took the train into the Latin Quarter (left bank of the Seine) and then walked to the Ils de la Cite to visit Notre Dame cathedral, which was begun in 1163 in the Reign of Louis VII. I had my picture taken there with Great (great, great, great…?) Grandpa Charlemagne; well, at least a statue of him and his horse. My dad was always so proud to be a descendant of Charlemagne so that picture was for my dad. 

Grandpa Charlemagne and me
We then went to the Sainte-Chapelle, which housed relics from the crusades including the Crown of Thorns purchased by St. Louis. The Crown itself cost more than the cost of building the chapel to house it and other relics brought to Paris. We then walked (finding ourselves in the midst of a huge LGBT Pride Day parade!) by the Louvre and through the Tuileries Gardens to the Place de la Concorde (the largest square in Paris) where we took the metro up to Montmartre and climbed hundreds of steps to reach Sacred Heart church and the artists’ square. There I got my first official bowl of my much anticipated French Onion Soup. Delicious! The day was filled with wondrous sights, sounds, history and tastes (and sore muscles). 
Doug feeding the pigeons at Notre Dame

I should mention that the highlight of Doug’s day in Paris was being stopped by a French couple who asked HIM for directions, which he administered with complete fluency, confidence and accuracy—he definitely fits in here as a Frenchman. People are constantly telling me how impeccable his French is and, after speaking with him, the French themselves are often amazed that he was not born and raised in France. As for me and my French, I’m getting really good at standing by him and looking engaged while proudly nodding and smiling, quite often at the appropriate times.