Monday, March 12, 2012

A Day in the Life

Beep beep.  Beep beep.  Click.  I roll over in my bed, alarm in one hand, the other warm by my side beneath the blankets.  It's 6:00 a.m.  My feet curl up towards my body, snuggling deeper into the comfyness of my bed.  I can hear the morning birds singing sweetly outside and the light pollution of Paris peaks gently around my window curtain.  Time to get up. 

After quickly choosing an outfit, taking a shower, and doing the basics for getting ready, I head quietly downstairs to begin making the girls' school snacks and breakfast.  The process is simple.  The girls eat healthy.  Fruits and vegetables fill their plates and little lunch boxes.  The healthy hippie inside of my smiles.  I turn the lights on in the dinning room, empty the dishwasher, and open the shutters on all the windows on the main floor.  As I have mentioned before, this is my favorite part of the morning.  Spring is rushing towards us and the sun has already begun to rise earlier.  Dawn is breaking as I open the windows and fresh air brushes my face along with more birdsong.

It's 7:05 a.m.  Aylin, the eldest, comes down the stairs, sleep still in her eyes.  She tells me she is cold so I wrap a blanket around her and rub her arms to get some heat going.  Another favorite part of my morning, loving on the girls before they head out to school and kindergarten.  Melis comes down next, or sometimes she comes down first, singing while she clomps down the stairs.  Sometimes she wants a different backpack to go to school.  Yesterday it was an adorable little sheep backpack, with head and feet and soft wool.  Tomorrow it is a denim hippopotamus backpack, eyes and nostrils the same size.  Mama and Papa come next, dressed to professionally impress.  Both of them hold an air of confidence that befits two managers in fairly well-known international companies (I may be bragging about my host parents a bit.  Just saying, they are pretty legit.).  I like the picture of us all, early in the morning, sitting at the breakfast table, eating toast and cereal, before rushing off in our separate directions, talking and laughing and yawning.  I contentedly sigh.

Then we're off.  It's 7:40 a.m. and it is time to go.  The temperature is cold outside, that nippy spring cold that happens in the morning time before it warms up to a balmy 50 in the afternoon.  Fog hangs lightly around the cars, houses, and trees.  France in the morning somehow always makes me feel like I am living in a fairy tale.  The perfectly set greenery everywhere, the quaint houses, the small driveway to our street's houses and the even smaller foot path to our house.  You have to credit the French for their appreciation for aesthetic beauty in all things, in all seasons. 

I wave goodbye to the girls, Demet, and Roland.  "Viel Spass!  Tchuss!"  The door closes and I lock it.  Perhaps it's Wednesday and I will go to the open market just down the road from us to buy salmon, fruits, and veggies.  I can walk there, on the small path that weaves through our Chateau's domain, that everyone comments on because it is too small for two people to walk abreast.  I will walk past budding trees, creme colored houses with terraces and outdoor wooden furniture waiting to be used in warmer days.  Small flowers bloom throughout the green grass on either side of the path. 

In stark contrast to the green outside, the inside of the market is grey with bright florescent lights flooding the area.  It's cold.  The shopkeepers have jackets and gloves on, their breath visible in the morning air.  I walk past piles of fresh fish on ice, skinned rabbits, a fake, but adorable looking, wild hog on the edge of a butcher's stand, and beautiful, unfortunately expensive, tulips in packages.  I head for the Bio stand where all the fruits and vegetables are organic and mostly from France.  Who would've guessed that I would get to live with a family that prefers to eat organic fruits and veggies from the market?  I mean, I could have gotten stuck with a family who only ate fast food and iceberg lettuce.  Ah, how the spirit moves. 

In the market, French drifts around me, going over my head, in one ear and out the next.  That's okay.  I'm getting to learning French, German is highly more fascinating and useful now.  But the shopkeepers in the market are kind, understanding with my fumbling words and horrible pronunciations.  We all have fingers for pointing as well.  Arms for gesturing.  And written numbers need no translation here.

After buying food for the next couple of days from the market, I head home.  It's nearly 1:00 p.m. so I pack up my purse and lace up my 10 euro, plaid kicks that I bought during the January to February massive "last season" sale here in Paris.  My little, dark-blue hatchback sits parked snugly between our neighbor's even smaller lime-sherbet colored car and our American neighbor's too large-for-France vehicle.  I squeeze in, throwing my purse onto the passenger's seat which currently holds an extra booster seat.  Pulling out of the parking place, my vision takes in the two booster seats in the back, crumbs strewn in between them, the reminder that I need to vacuum out the car and wash it prancing through my head again.  I whiz backwards through the narrow driveway to then turn around at the end of the drive and make my way out of our domain.

The roads are small here in France.  At times I am worried I will hit the sidewalk or perhaps the car that is coming towards me because I'm not so used to such small roads.  The stoplights are great though.  They do not hang over the street like the ones in America, but rather stand to the right of the road with a set of larger lights at the top and then a smaller set of lights a little higher than eye level when sitting in a car.  These allow one to be sitting right next to the stoplight and you can still see when the light turns green.  Pretty cool, actually.  Oh, and all is in kilometers.  Of course, so is my car's speedometer.  But my mind is still translating to itself how fast something is.  From the feel of it, as I have not looked this up, is that 35 km is about 20 miles.  That's a pretty common speed for me, being that along the roads I travel there are large, and I do mean large, speed bumps every so often down the road. 

BREAK:  Sorry, I want to finish this description proper, and it's 10:42 p.m. now, and I need to go to bed.  Thus, ya'll are just gonna have to wait to hear about the rest of a typical day for me!  Thanks for reading so far, though!