Saturday, December 29, 2012

Meet Danielle

She is officially going to kill me for posting this as her introduction picture.  I am sorry, I just adore this picture.  Yes, it is totally dorky.  Yes, it is an unflattering angle.  And, yes, everyone should know that this girl is drop-dead gorgeous and could woop anybodies butt most any day of the week.  So, don't be hating on this picture.

Okay, okay, introduction time.  Danielle and I met...well....actually, Danielle met my dear friends the Richardson's (whom you will meet soon) on a train where she gave them her phone number.  This transaction occurred before I met the Richardson's, but upon meeting them, Andrea (Mom Richardson) gave me Danielle's number for a potential au pair friend. 

Boy, what a lifesaver.  Danielle and I played phone texting for a while, not meeting up for a month or so.  Finally, we got together in La Defense, and, as she describes it, there were fireworks.  Immediate connection.  No awkward what-shall-we-talk-about, can-I-leave-yet, this-is-exhausting moments, just pure awesomeness.  And this is how I would generally describe Danielle: just pure awesomeness.  She is courageous, strong, blunt, bold and full of so much self-respect.  I would be quite lost and lonely without her here in Paris.  Without her just a few stops away.  Without her being my au pair cousin (our host-moms are sisters).  She has listened and scolded and consoled and advised and laughed with me.  For that I am extremely thankful.  Just wanted to introduce you to this rockstar that I call my friend.

Boat Ride on the Seine

I decided to do some catching up on some special events that happened during my first couple of months in France.  Hence the previous winter wonderland post.  Arriving in France, I got the rather special treat of meeting, working, and living with Magi.  A Russian beauty, born and raised in Germany, she worked as an au pair for the Russ family before me.  We got to work together for about a month and a half before she packed up her bags and moved back to Germany.  (Important side note: this girl and her family are incredible.  They let me stay with them for a week and fed me while I took an intensive German language course.  They spoke to me in Russian accented German and shared their home with me.  I could never be thankful enough.)

Before Magi left, Demet and Roland bought all of us tickets for a lunch/boat ride on the River Seine.  Absolutely amazing!  It was a clear and windy day, cold, but who cares if you are sitting inside, eating and listening to live singing and accordion accompaniment?  That's right, no one.  We ate reasonably tasty food and watched the beauty of Paris pass peacefully by.

And then there was that music.  Music that was just to movement inducing.  Wiggling in your seat and watching lustfully as a beautiful couple waltzed and glided down the aisle between sitting customers is just too much.  I threw caution to the wind and got those girls up and dancing.  We all held hands, and spun, and spun, and spun a bit too much, but it was thrilling and exciting to stand in the middle of everyone and be serenaded by Mister Accordion Man.  So we kept spinning, even though we had no other steps and no other moves but the ones that just came from holding each others' hands and letting the music move us. 

 Thanks for the memory, it's a favorite.

Reminiscing About Snow

It was early on a Saturday morning when I woke up and saw that the world was covered in white.  Admittedly, the white was not very thick and I knew it was going to last maybe a day, but my heart leapt into my throat and I ran down the stairs.  My stay with the Russ's had perhaps reached its one month mark and when I saw my two little girls, Aylin and Melis downstairs, the excitement could not be contained.  "Schnee!!  Snow!!  Schnee!!  It snowed!!!" ensued by lots of jumping and waving of hands and squealing.

That afternoon we all took a walk together down to the forest that is situated right next to the Saint Francis Domain where I used to live with the Russ's.  We reached the pond at the bottom of the hill, in the middle of the forest, and discovered a frozen skating rink, slightly iced with snow.  Roland and I made a skating "line" where we could take running head starts to then hit cleared runways where we would slide until the end.  We made snow angels, drew hearts and wrote our names in the snow with our feet.  It's one of my favorite memories with the Russ family and looking back nearly a year since then, I am grateful for such a wonderful, white, and Christmasy memory.