March 2013
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Friday, March 29, 2013

How to Say "Open Wide" in French...

Dentail care from the US (gifts each Christmas)

There are certain parts of growing up that I have delayed for as long as I can.  I don’t own any property or automobiles.  I don’t know anything about a retirement plan.  I don’t have any framed art on my walls.  And, until this week, I had never scheduled my own dentist appointment.  Whoops.

Up until I left the US, and even a year or two after at Christmastime, I went to the same dentist as my family.  I said, “Dad, I need to go to the dentist, right?” and the appointment was made.  The last one I went to was a family friend, so it worked out nicely.

But living in Paris for nearly five years now, I thought it might be time to go and get a checkup, just in case, by a local dentist.  I floss, I brush faithfully, but I wanted an expert’s opinion.  That’s what adults do, right?

After Googling dental terms in French, I was prepared to make an appointment, per the suggestion of my friend Lindsey.  How do you pick a doctor or a dentist?  Ask around, apparently, and hope for the best.

Well, I made an appointment, and just two weeks later I found myself in the hot seat at 11:30, with the dentist and his assistant ready to dig inside my mouth.  All of the natural fear that comes with going to the dentist was hidden behind a fear of not understanding what he was going to ask me (how do you say “right incisor” or “inflamed gums” in French?).  But none of that mattered for the moment.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Running in Paris: A Retrospective


So cheerful!
This weekend marked the 1 year anniversary of running in Paris with HeatherTheEcotrail 18k run, while not a race, was the first organized group run we ever participated in together in Paris last year (with bibs and all!).  This was the first time we could retrace the steps of our younger selves and see what “progress” actually means.

For instance, last year, we were in pain.  Not like, “Stop running” pain, more like, “Don’t stop running because it hurts more” pain.  It was intense.  Walking up and down steps was a task that our knees did not want to perform, and one which days later we were fighting against.

This year, pain was (mostly) absent.  In full marathon-training mode, I had no problem with an 18k, and even though she said her knees were a little achy, I’m pretty sure Heather was 98% fine.  We had conquered a task and walked to the metro, up the (obviously) broken escalator, and made it home with no agonizing, no limping, and no whining.  Pain is so 2012.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Post Office Post

Mail's here!
Nothing gets me excited in Paris quite as much as the post office.  Have your caf├ęs and your Michelin star restaurants.  I spend my days at La Poste, and with good reason.  I like getting my mail.

In most developed nations where the postal system has been in place for decades, you can reasonably expect to receive your mail, be it an Amazon delivery or a letter from your mother.  In Paris, the mail is not so much unreliable as it is a learning curve. 

The mail does actually get sent, but there is a problem with follow-through that demands you, the customer, to pick up the slack.  After nearly five years, I’ve just about earned my wings.

With several packages lost, and others returned to the US after 15 days of me not picking them up at the post office, I’ve become savvier when two common scenarios present themselves:

Scenario 1: It’s a typical Friday.  I order a book from Amazon.  I receive an email confirmation that it’s been sent.  I wait.  I wait.  I wait.  And I wait.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

French Telemarketer Tango


The cold shiver that used to run down my back when my landline rings in Paris has been replaced by disdain and disgust.  No one who I care about calls my landline, so the conclusion is inevitable – telemarketers.

We all need to make a living, right?  I don’t judge them, but I don’t appreciate them.  When I see that 01 or 09 number blink on my phone, I hesitate to answer it.  I know there’s no reason to, but in the off/not-so-off chance that it’s President Hollande calling to congratulate me with the Legion of Honor, well, I push “talk.”

“Mister Peerollee? This is Nancy from the XYZ Association and I’m going to talk to you about something at length before even asking if you really care about it,” the voice sings in French on the other end.