Thursday, November 7, 2013

First There Were Two...

Let me begin by letting you in on a little secret.
I married a Frenchman.
Sounds exotic does it not?  In fact, I like to say we honeymooned in France for the first nine months of our marriage.  And we did.  Except my Frenchman is really a Renaissance man born and raised in Indiana.  With the heart of a Frenchman and a fabulous grasp of the French language that throws off many a French national, he set off to embrace all that is French.  Uh, that is except for me.  Don't get me wrong, he embraces me but I am not French...just your basic American with a pretty good hold on sarcasm as a second language.  But I digress. So back in 1993 after we wed, we set off on an adventure.  With my PhD candidate husband, we got to live in Grenoble, France while he was on an exchange teaching program at the Universite Stendhal teaching English to French college students.

What was I going to do all day?  I didn't speak the language.  And, keep in mind, this was back in the day when people wrote letters to communicate and we went to a pay phone to call home to the States. Dear foreign gods that makes me feel ancient.  So suffice it to say, I wasn't able to sit in a cafe all day playing Candy Crush on Facebook with my iPad.  Est alors, I did what every French person does.  I walked.  I walked to the boulangerie practically two to three times a day.  In the morning for a pain au chocolat and then a baguette for lunch and dinner.  Keep in mind, this is the woman who can speak "hello", "please", "thank you" and "good bye" in French like a native.  So my pain au chocolat supplier and I had begun to recognize one another.  It was time to branch out with my French.  I decided to ask her how much my drug of choice the pain au chocolat was.  It went something like this:
Me: "Combien pour le pain au chocolat?" (How much for my hooch?)
My Drug dealer: "trois quatre-vingts"
Me: "Répéter s'il vous plaît." (Repeat please -with a very nervous smile on my face)
My Drug Dealer: "trois quatre-vingts"
Me: "Répéter s'il vous plaît." (Repeat please -but said very s-l-o-w-l-y since I didn't know the word for "slowly")
My Drug Dealer (with a line of annoyed French people behind me ready for a second revolution): "Three eighty" - said in a surly voice.
 Hanging my head in shame I paid the woman, grabbed my little bit of flaky chocolatey goodness and went to eat away my sorrows at failing miserably with my first attempt at branching out with the French.  At this rate I am sure I will never make it through nine months if "eighty" translated is "four twenties".  I was doomed.

Ah, did I forget my secret weapon?  I had my Frenchman!  Hearing him speak French was all the aphrodisiac a newlywed needed.  And eventually I became more adventurous and willing to use my dismal French.  I embraced my mistakes and today they make for great stories at cocktail parties.

But who am I kidding?
Cocktail parties?
More like birthday parties or pizza parties or play dates and if we are lucky an adult beverage (for the adults) is included!  Years later my Frenchman is now a tenured French Professor and I am a seasoned (because they don't give tenure in my line of work) clinical social worker. We have a 13 year old son and an 8 year old daughter that keep us busy.  The Professor gets to travel to France at least once a year with his work.  But me?  I get to stay home with the kids.


You see, traveling abroad, as you all may guess, requires planning, time off to go, and, oh, income.  A humanities professor and a social worker aren't exactly making the big bucks.  So the professor embraces his inner Frenchman every year while we hold the fort down until he returns.  We want to go to France as a family.  The kids are ready for their French adventure.  But having lived abroad plus being attached to our sanity, we knew that when we went as a family to France we would need to stay in an apartment.  This is where our desire to travel abroad as a family and Go with Oh paths converged.  Who better to test an Go with Oh apartment in France than the Professor, his sarcastically witty wife and their two children?  We would really put that apartment to the test.  And I have found the perfect one.

In the 11th Arrondissement, Go with Oh offers this Charming Art Studio that has a little bit of everything for the whole family.  I am imagining I might open the door and find Amelie sitting on the couch dreaming up her next adventure.

And then I see the terrace and my breath catches just a bit.  Room to breath.  To just take it all in.  -That is if the kids will be quiet for two minutes and stop asking me where they can get some real food around here and when are we going to see the Eiffel Tower- Back to my fantasy...

Oh, but wait, what did I read?  Does this apartment come with a mini-Mac and wireless internet?  My kids will think they have died and gone to heaven.  Come on...who am I kidding...I will think I have died and gone to heaven too.  The last time I was in France the closest thing we had to the internet was our friend's Minitel. Curious?  Follow the link and learn something new, my dear readers.  But having internet access may shut my children up keep our children occupied while my husband and I catch our collective breaths on the terrace and reminisce about when it was just the two of us.

This lovely slice of Paris that we could call our own for a week also has a beautiful eat in kitchen, a soaker tub and the best part is that it is dripping with character and atmosphere.  I swear if I lived in this apartment for more than a week I would be speaking French fluently.  Maybe Go with Oh and I could try a little experiment.  Think of the news we would make!  We'd become an internet sensation.

No? Uh, okay.  I'll settle for the week then.  Perhaps the next time we can test those fluency waters.

Well, first there were two and now there are four.  And we can't wait to expand our children's world view beyond where they live today.  Go with Oh's choice of apartments in Europe is exciting when imagining the options we would have traveling in Europe and the United Kingdom.  Whether it is in France or other European destinations, Go with Oh gives you the opportunity to feel like you are living there and not just visiting.

Now that is worth the price of admission...even for a professor and a social worker.

Our daughter when she was 2 wearing my t-shirt I wore as a kid. 
See? We've been prepping for years, Go with Oh.

UPDATE (11/21/2013):  I did not win the Go with Oh blogger contest.  I have to say I was very hopeful and very disappointed.  Their properties are gorgeous and provide so many options to those of us who are secretly (or not so secretly) Europhiles.  Maybe next time...sniff, sniff.

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