Well, Yes. I Actually DO Feel Horrible About The Lack Of Updates.

So, looking at the calendar, it would seem that there have been no updates of substance for 16 days.

I could blame BBC coverage of events in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, and Libya. I could admit to voraciously reading “The City & The City” by China Miéville. I could point at our incredibly full social/educational calendar: we’ve been to Bath (Eli’s report is forthcoming), Lewes, and Dulwich as a family; Lana attended a Jane Austen Study Day (in addition to her scheduled teaching); I went to see a science event called Kosmica (my friend Tim Blazdell performed some killer music as part of the proceedings), as well as attending “Legally Blonde!” And hey, we had a nice Valentine’s Day dinner at Le Mercury in Islington.

So, in short, we’ve been busy.

We have a landmark day tomorrow– we are in the middle of the half-term break, and Eli is having a friend come over to play. He keeps referring to this as a “playdate,” a term of relatively recent coinage (in my mind anyway– Mirriam-Webster puts first use as 1984, but I certainly don’t remember using it growing up); a term which I just can’t seem to get behind. Regardless, though, Daniel is coming over; Eli’s meteoric enthusiasm is matched only by Finley’s when she occasionally remembers that “a real princess is going to get made by being married in England.”

It should be mentioned here that Finley has been checking the entrance hallway for the mail regularly, on the off chance that one of the 1,938 Royal Wedding invitations has slid through the mail slot; she, of course expects the trifecta of three separate cards– invites for the wedding at Westminster Abbey, the Queen’s Reception, AND Prince Charles’ (perhaps ill-advised) Fête. We haven’t seen one yet.

Anyway, Daniel arrives tomorrow. This is important to us, as putting the kids in a position to make friends while abroad was an important part of our choice to come over in the first place. We hope that in making friends, they will learn about what it means to be a citizen of the world, as well as learning (for better and for worse) all the things being an American means to OTHER people. SO, we’re hoping it goes well. In my mind, it would be ideal for Eli to make a friend that he could become pen pals with (god knows he could use the penmanship practice), which in turn might lead to an interest in a study abroad program or traveling for a gap year. Anyway, Daniel seems like a good kid– Eli hangs out with him “like, all the time” at school– so hopefully (whatever the hypothetical long-term benefits) he has a good time “you know, hanging out and playing Legos.”

Lana will be heading out to the Dickens Museum tomorrow night (Eli will not be reporting on this, sadly, though he has been to the Museum before); she hopes to take her students to the Cleveland Street Workhouse (which is probably a primary source for the workhouse in Oliver Twist) in the next few weeks… i.e., before they tear it down (if the building is not granted a reprieve). In other Dickens news, we look forward to attending Dickens World (yes, I said it) on March 25th with Lana’s students… which may result in a totally awesome Eli post.

Speaking of Eli’s posts, I plan to get installment three– the trip to Bath– up tomorrow. I need to get it done, not only because I have been sucking so bad at posting regularly, but because we leave for Paris next Saturday! We are all very excited. Slightly LESS excited now, since the children have learned that The Chunnel is a tunnel through the soil and rock of the sea floor of the English Channel, rather than a space-age, Tom Swift-esque transparent tube lying on the floor of the Channel that “we could see sharks and stuff from.”

We should point out at this point how much Eli loves the Tom Swift, Jr. stories– though we have had to gloss the occasional questionable Stratemeyer racial characterization while reading them to him.

Finley has pointed out several times that France is where Fancy Nancy says “all the best words come from.” This began when we asked the kids (jokingly) if they were working on their language skills in preparation for the trip; Finley smiled & nodded, while Eli looked non-plussed. We asked him what language he thought they spoke in France, and he replied “Spanish?”

Fortunately, he is a sweet boy, with a kindly disposition.

While on the subject of France, we would like to ask that anyone who has a favorite Parisian restaurant, museum, or attraction would please comment so below… we will be there for five days, and so far are optimistically committed to seeing the Musée d’Orsay (gotta see the ballerinas), Sacré-Cœur (all those steps coming up from the butte Montmartre), the Mœbius retrospective at Fondation Cartier (respect the greatest French comics artist), the Musee du Quai Branly (indigenous art from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas), the Jardin du Luxembourg (second largest public park in Paris), and the Carré Marigny of the Jardins des Champs-Elysées (because I have always loved “Charade!”). You will note that the list suffers from a paucity of restaurants. Please suggest away! Also, if you have suggestions for Barcelona, we will be heading there in April… however, I will probably post that question again as that trip gets closer.

Alright, interwebs. Hold me to my word– another post tomorrow.


Filed under Going To English School, In England

6 responses to “Well, Yes. I Actually DO Feel Horrible About The Lack Of Updates.

  1. Ellen

    The reason you have a paucity of restaurants is because you don’t need restaurants, you can live on bread and cheese. I like the market on Rue de Seine. My favorite place in Paris is Sacre Coeur – definitely worth all the steps. I think the kids might enjoy the fountain at Centre Pompidou. The building causes me no end of anxiety, but the fountain is fun and colorful.

  2. Curt Humphrey

    I do remember plateaus being a more yuppie term. I never heard my mother say we are going to have a playmate. Luckily I had an abundance of local children to play with. It will be nice to find out what others think of Americans in general, and if children really care one way or the other about the world and society at large.

  3. Café de Flore, 172 bd. St-Germain, 6e, Paris — I know, it’s like “the cafe,” but it’s not the tourist trap so many others are. And if you’re going to schlep to the Left Bank, sit where Sartre sat . . . and say that five times fast.

  4. Arthur F Dalley

    We had an absolutely wonderful dinner at Le Train Blue in Gare de Lyon, close to the Bastille. Not only was the food (and even service to Americans!) great, but it is like a museum in itself–paintings all over the walls and ceilings. It is not inexpensive (listed as $$–not bad as far as French restaurants go). Go to http://www.le-train-bleu.com/ We sort of stumbled our way into it, and during an off-hour crowd wise, so it really seemed like a find–read about it in the tour guides after-the-fact. Was a Paris highlight for us. Even if you don’t decide to eat there with the family, it’s worth a peek in if you are nearby.

  5. Robin

    Tristan, if you have time in Paris, go to “L’ Orangerie” and see the original water lily paintings by Monet – they are not to be missed! Robin

  6. Hannah

    I think I’ve probably missed the boat here…but if not, the Rodin Museum is amazing. You can just go into the gardens for a picnic for a euro I think, even if you don’t go into the house. If Eli is as impressed by horses in armour and terrifying Japanese weaponry as my husband is, Les Invalides (and Napoleon’s Tomb) is worth a visit. I threw up in front of the Mona Lisa when my parents took me on a cultural visit, age 4. Beat that, Finley…

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