01 October 2005

So THAT'S why "European Women Don't Shave"

Welcome to day one of my life in Paris! Well, I guess it's day one ... the last two days have been quite a blur with the flight and time change. First, let me explain my post's title, then I'll go on.

There is a stereotype we all know - that European women, and particularly the French, do not shave their legs or armpits. Well, ladies, I know why. THEY DON'T HAVE ENOUGH ROOM IN THE SHOWER!! Seriously, you have to be a yoga master to be able to shave in my shower. I had to turn off the water to shave my legs, which of course means that I was freezing cold. And, what happens when you're cold? Goosebumps! If you've ever tried to shave your legs with goosebumps, you know that the risk for razor burn is super-high.

Fortunately, I am proud to report that I am clean-shaven and sans cuts or burns. Now, if I can just figure out how I bruised the heck out of my knees, I'll be all set...

Anyway, on to other things. The flight was really great, except that the movie choices were horrible (the best option was Dustin Hoffman in "Tootsie") and the camera mounted on the plane's belly didn't work. So, I didn't get to watch the sun rise over Ireland like Colin did. Still, it was a largely smooth flight, and the crew was really nice. They all spoke English with really heavy French accents, which is OK because I spoke French to them in a really heavy American accent! (Comment dit-on "Git-R-Done" en francais??)

I finally found the elusive "break point" at which I was expecting to cry. Strangely enough, it happened on take-off from Detroit! Fortunately for my seat mate, I didn't sob or anything. Just a stream of tears, mostly of relief that everything was done and that Didge and I were safely on our way. The last week has been stressful in a mostly good way, so it was nice to have a little bit of a release (even though I was crying on a plane!!)

The meal on the flight was amazingly good - they made better chicken than I can! Sadly, though, the highlight for my travel-weary body was the La Creme French Vanilla yogurt. OMG, was it goooooood! Funny what works for you at 10 pm at night on a plane.

Didge was (and still is) AMAZING. I cannot emphasize this enough. He whined a little bit at Detroit Metro, but no screaming or barking fits as I expected. He was clearly intimidated by his noisy surroundings, but he really held together very well. All of the airport officials kept commenting on how good he was, and asked if he was on tranquilizers (he wasn't).

Once I got into the airport at Charles de Gaulle, I realized that I had forgotten to put the phone number of my shuttle company in my carry-on bag, so I freaked out. (For those of you who don't know, I got stranded at CDG last summer when my shuttle didn't have my reservation when I called.) So, I got through customs as fast as I could (the line was much longer than the actual check-in with the attendant), and went straight for the baggage carrousel to get my luggage, and in turn the phone number. I didn't see Didge anywhere, so I figured he wasn't there yet. I found my luggage and dug frantically through it ... no shuttle number. Visions of last summer ran through my head, only worse this time because I was going to have a wild animal on my hands! So, I collected all of my luggage, and decided to start with looking for Didge.

I didn't have to look far -- I turned around and made eye contact with him! He was in his kennel on a luggage cart, just sitting there staring at me through the vents of his "prison." Not a peep - no bark, no cry, nothing! It was surreal. I totally cracked up and said, "Well, hi!" to him, and he just kept on staring at me. "Great," I thought. "He's horribly traumatized and shell shocked." Fortunately, I turned out to be totally wrong ... he was just a good dog! He only cried a little when I got close, and then waited for me to wheel him away.

After a few frantic phone calls, I ran into my shuttle driver (he had gone to a different gate, and my flight apparently switched at the last minute). He looked and acted like the French version of Gustavo Verdesio (a Spanish prof in Romance Languages where I used to work). He was very nice and helpful, so we quickly got to the shuttle and headed out. There was a rather comical moment when my luggage was in a parking space that another driver wanted -- I pointed this out to my driver so that we could move the cart out of the way, and he just turned, looked at the other driver, and said, "Well then, 'e will zhust 'ave to wait!" The driver, not terribly pleased with this, honked at him, at which point the Gustavo look-alike started chastisting him vehemently in French. I have no idea what he said, but at least it wasn't any of the inappropriate phrases that Keely has been teaching me!!

Colin was thrilled to see me, of course, and we got settled in quickly. We took Didge for a walk, since he needed to straighten out something with our Internet provider, and then spent the rest of the evening relaxing in the apartment. I've already taken two naps (I only slept about 3 hours on the plane, so the jet lag is pretty painful). Colin made a yummy dinner with rabbit as the main course, and we had flan in Jello-pudding-style cups for dessert (way better than it sounds). He also bought me this amazing chocolate cake at a bakery just down the street - it was a work of art, I tell you!!

Didge is having major jet lag, too, which is a real boon for us. At the moment, he is completely sacked out on the bed. I've added a couple of photos to this posting so you can see him asleep (cuddling with his ball, of course), as well as him curiously staring out the bedroom window. He's already quite comfortable with his surroundings, as if he knows this is home ... I have to say, it feels like home to me, too!

Anyway, I can feel the sedatives kicking in, so I better go to bed and start working on resetting my internal clock. There is MUCH more to come, of course, so stay tuned!!


At 1/10/05 01:06, Anonymous Julie H said...

Amy, it sounds like you're ally settling in very nicely! I'm sorry I missed your goodbye party. I'll miss you around RLL. :)

At 1/10/05 01:44, Anonymous Linda Heydt said...

This is so exciting. I read "Iberia" once, and always felt like it was close to actually getting to go to Spain myself. Now...I get to go to FRANCE!!! I will check on you often. Buddy says to tell Didge hello. He is getting old, but hey...there's a lot of that going on around here.
Take care,

At 1/10/05 01:49, Anonymous mom said...

You are certainly following my behavior, darling daughter! I started weeping slightly as we pulled away from the curb and quietly blubbered all the way back to your apartment...was still slightly choked up when I handed in your keys at the office, but okay from there.

We had to say good-bye so unexpectedly at the airport when we had to go back and move the car - it caught me off guard. Glad you and Didge are home and sleeping now. We made it home about 5:00 this evening. It was a good trip.
Love you,


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