It occurred to me last week that I'd been pretty vague about what we've been up to lately and the plans we've been making & following through with over the past few months. Even to close friends and family, I hadn't been publicizing our plans because the truth is, we weren't really sure how or if they'd all unfold the way we wanted.
Thursday, February 12, 2015
Exploring Paris with a toddler is interesting. Avienne has a pretty hefty appetite for physical adventures and human interaction. She enjoys social settings so much, even if only to sit and observe others. Riding the métros, busses and trams all over the city with her by my side has been a much different experience than what I remember from my past solitary commutes. She treats everyone like someone she knows and it makes for a somewhat shocking experience for some Parisians. On our very first métro ride together, we sat across from a woman who made it known that she was very offended that I allowed my kid to sit across from her AND that I crossed my legs which she felt extended into her "territory." I couldn't help but laugh at the poor woman, but managed to keep my cool. Another woman sat down across from me who was extremely and abnormally kind to both me and Avienne, and I reminded myself that Paris is full of extreme personalities such as these. I mean, isn't the whole world somewhere between very kind and very rude? We've thankfully avoided other encounters with the rude since that last atrocious one, but I'm sure it won't be our last.
Besides our adventures on public transportation (and there have been many), we've been bouncing around from café to café in hopes of finding our new coffeeshop hangout. Our weekend mostly consisted of discovering new-to-me restaurants and coffee shops and enjoying delicious meals and beautiful places in the process. We spent most of Saturday writing on walls and admiring the Jeff Koons exhibit at the Pompidou museum. We found a nice brasserie [not so] nearby for a very French lunch, followed by a long walk through the Tuileries with a sprinkling of a mini brass band concert and some fountain-side sailboat watching. According to my iPhone, we walked over 9 km (over 5.5 miles) that day, and boy, could I feel it!
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Well, it's bedtime for me and I just erased a 6 paragraph entry about how we spent a lovely Monday around Paris. For the past 8ish years that I've blogged, that's never happened to me. Like ever.
I don't even know how to begin rewriting it, so here's what I can remember in bullet points and pictures until I stop kicking myself and have the time to write about our next adventure.
- We've been in Paris for a week now and it feels both like forever and just yesterday that we arrived.
- I took Avienne to Cojean for lunch on Monday; she had pasta, I had risotta - it was as good as ever.
- A few things she notices most while traveling around the city are cranes, berry bushes, bells, horns and sirens. And pigeons.
- We spent hours going to and from Chateau de Vincennes to finish up a final few meetings for my shop.
- I felt like we spent the whole day hopping from one mode of transport to another or walking around.
- She made me carry her a few times, so I kind of feel like I'm working out again.
- We tried to check out Coutume Lab, but it was closed, so ended up enjoying the warmth, smiles and people watching at Café Coutume instead. We will definitely be lingering around there often.
- I had my first real coffee since being in Paris and Avienne had her first ever "babyccino".
- We ended our 7 hour day with a hot bath, warm pasta and snuggled up reading in bed.
- I'm looking forward to more Mondays.
...still kicking myself, though.
Friday, January 30, 2015
Avienne with two of her favorite baristas.
Week 2: Avienne and Sam
Week 3: Avienne and Ryan
About two years ago, while grabbing tacos one day, we stumbled upon a cozy, little coffeeshop that we soon discovered offered comfy couch seating and made perfect cappuccinos. We eventually made it our second home and have begun the majority of our mornings ever since with a coffee and a smile at Houndstooth.
It didn't take us long to realize that besides the promise of a cup of stellar coffee, seeing some really friendly and incredibly sweet faces every day was the real reason we kept going back. "Cossee shop" as Avienne calls our favorite coffee spot, is where we go to start our day, have a few moments of calm or to share a bit of news. It's our go-to when we need to regroup or meet up with loved ones. And it's a place we'll miss dearly when we're no longer a short (or long) drive away. These two faces (along with a few others) are already missed!
Sunday, January 11, 2015
2014 was such a hazy year for me. So much changed, so many tears ran and frustrations sprouted; so many nights were filled with brutal thoughts and painful sobs - days filled with puffy eyes and coffee overdoses. I floated through most of last year, pushed through the days and sheltered myself from reality.
If there's any resolution to be made for 2015, it's a hope to regain a bit of normalcy and calm. To gather my thoughts and reset my goals. To stay focused and aware. To find the silver lining of it all and take only the good from the bad. Let myself go, relax and enjoy my life and family and all the love that blooms there.
So, I'm hopping back in the saddle with one of my old favorites that went wayward when things turned upside down last year - my 52 Project. This year, I want to capture Avienne again, but not alone. I think she would love to look back some day to see portraits of herself with someone she appreciates, loves or admires. As much as she enjoys her independence, she is a fierce friend to those she has time to know and happily makes new friends wherever she goes. Plus, she's got a pretty large extended family who could fill a 52 project at least threefold.
> > > > >
1/52: Avienne with Papa | taken 1/3/15
Thursday, November 20, 2014
We love New York. Really love it. I wish we could live there, but things like preschool and toddler soccer are forever wait-listed and just too dang expensive for us to even seriously consider living there. So, we go when we have a good excuse and let ourselves pretend like we live there for those few precious days.
Last weekend, Gui's mom and sister were visiting his aunt and uncle who live in the city, so we decided to meet up with them for a few days of their stay. We hadn't seen them in person since January, which feels like a lifetime ago. They Skype with Avienne nearly every weekend, so it wasn't a huge surprise when she saw them in New York and went a little crazy-happy with the hugs and smiles. It's the first time she's really been old enough to get excited about traveling and seeing relatives.
It was really cold for the first 2 days and rained cats and dogs on our last day, but the weather is part of what I love about New York, and for me, cold and rain just mean more time spent at our favorite restaurants and coffee shops. We stayed in a different area than usual and discovered some new great restaurants and neighborhoods. As creatures of habit, it's hard to get us to move out of our comfort zone, but we managed and succeeded in falling in love even more with our favorite Stateside city.