Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Holidays...

Spending our first year away from our first country (the US) has been interesting.

Over the winter holidays, it's easy to miss friends and family.  It's been just the two of us, Jude and I.  We go everywhere together, but we also enjoy the occasional diversion of company.

Our first landlords were in town for the start of the season.  Their family had been here to spend a week in their Passy apartment.  It was filled with grandchildren and soccer rivalries (between father and son in law). 

We met our landlords over a very fine lunch at our favorite restaurant.  Three hours passed in the blink of an eye.  We laughed.  We talked.  We looked at photos of their grandchildren (adorable, we must say).  We plotted and planned.  Our friends want to go to the US to ride a motorcycle down Route66.  We want to rent an old car and drive down the National Sept.  We parted with bises and well-wishes.

Out for a New Years Eve Adventure...
We missed being around them the moment they walked away.  We had to find something to do.  We needed to figure out how to enjoy the season without being too sad or too isolated.

Walks and visits to an art show and an artist (who is quickly becoming a pretty good friend), as well as a stroll down the Champs Elysee and promenade through the Tuilleries were very nice ways to pass the time.  Our holiday season was turning out to be fun, even as we wished we could share the experience with people we care about.

For New Years Eve, Jude cooked up a couple wonderful steaks.  I opened a delicious bottle of champagne.  Over dinner, the subject of free Metro rides all night came up.  Plan A was quickly put into action.  It would be interesting to see la tour Eiffel on New Years Eve.

It was raining and cold.  A Little Weather wouldn't stop us, no would it?

Others appeared to have figured out the free rides gig.  The people.  Oh, the people.  Packed in like a Tokyo train at Tokyo rush hour.  Onto every Metro train that pulled into the station they poured.  Drunk Arabs.  Drunk Germans.  Drunk preschoolers (or so it seemed). A few adventurous French.  Packed like a tin of Pickled Sardines.  A good number of these Pickled Sardines carried their own open, soon to be emptied bottles of their favorite hooch.  A Little Weather wouldn't stop a Planned Event like New Years Eve in Paris. 

We must've been the oldest people on the train.

 ... everyone was at la tour Eiffel or on the Champs Elysee...
Several arretes du Metro were closed, including the one we intended to debark at.  We made it as far as the Trocadero.  Taking one look at the rather large throng headed to la tour Eiffel, we decided to retreat.  Somehow we found our way to our ligne du Metro to safely effect our military style repli.

Plan B was pressed into action.  We made our way to an open and very empty arrete du Metro and walked home along  beautifully festively lit and surprisingly deserted streets.  As we walked, we could see into brightly lit apartments where parties were joyously playing out.  It was good we had borrowed a large umbrella from an Italian hotel when we were in Milan the prior month.  The rain come down.

Once back to Home and Hearth and after illuminating the TV, we saw that les immisions does not show parties around town or from around the world.  There are no brightly lit disco balls dropping into the New Year.  There are no views of Drunken Preschooler Sardines wandering the streets of, well, any city, really. 

Jude stumbled on a New Year Eve spectacle.  We watched as people were entertained by various circus performers doing incredible feats of all manner of circus-y things.  We listened to the host talk amoungst Famous French People while the acts changed on stage.  We saw that things here are celebrated with a simplicity and style that many Americans might find naive.  Yet, we could see that simplicity might be a nice counter-weight to the violence that has become America.

Happy New Year!

It is fun to see how things are done here in Paris.  We got to see Paris lit up at night.  We got to lacher les vitrines as we wandered around town.  We got to bises and serrer la main of people all over the city.  We got to wish folks a bonne annee.  We got to participate in the Holiday Season in ways we could never have anticipated. 

We got to experience New Years in Paris.

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