Thursday, July 16, 2009

countdown to Paris

I had a request awhile back to post about Paris. I didn't do it before now because I've been in denial. Now, that is no longer possible.

But first, a brief history. We've lived in Paris 3 times before: once for 10 months when Max was 18 months old, once for 6 months when Lucas was 2, and once for 2 months when Eva was 2. (I have no idea why we always lived there when we had a 2-year-old! Crazy.)

The first time we went on our own. Marc was doing research for his dissertation, he found us an apartment, and we had to furnish it completely from scratch. As in, you move in and you have light bulbs dangling from the ceiling and nothing else. Then we had to sell everything when we left. It was a very expensive year. It was also an incredibly fun year. I bought a big map of the city and tacked it to our bedroom wall. Every day I would look at the map and choose a new area to explore. With only one toddler, it was fairly easy to do what I wanted (of course I would throw him a bone every so often as well).

The last two times we have gone with Marc as the director of BYU Study Abroad in Paris. It's much easier to move to a different country when you have a furnished apartment awaiting your arrival. It's also harder to do when you have more children, and older children. Logistically, it's just harder. Plus, they have opinions about what we should do while we're there! (They don't like shopping like I do.) And did I mention how badly I wanted to lose weight before going back to Paris? It's about the worst place in the world to be overweight. And no, I haven't managed to do it. Let's not even go there.

Now we are preparing to go back for another Study Abroad program, this time for the Fall semester. Only 8 more weeks! Marc is a big city kind of guy, and Paris is his favorite city. He would happily stay there forever. I love Paris as well, but I would never go there indefinitely. I'm way too attached to my friends and family. And all of my stuff. And having a car. And customer service.

I don't want to be a whiner -- I know we're blessed to have this opportunity. It's a wonderful education for our kids, and just the kind of eye-opening experience we are determined for them to have. But it's hard, I won't lie. It's hard to get everything ready to go. Hard to pack what we need for 3 months -- and 2 seasons -- in only our suitcases. Hard to resurrect my long-buried French. Hard to take a stroller on public transportation everywhere we go. And just hard to be away from home. But Marc's gift of time to myself every Friday while we're there is definitely sweetening the deal!

So there you have it. I have 8 weeks to get ready to go, and I'm feeling overwhelmed. Here are a few of the tasks I need to complete before then:

  • clean out the abominable garage!! (AGAIN)
  • get to the bottom of the water leak that we have somewhere, causing our meter to run constantly
  • dentist appointments
  • doctor appointment
  • get my car fixed
  • either get the sprinklers fixed or become hose-draggers again
  • figure out a way to get 3 months worth of prescriptions, when the insurance company is not entirely cooperative
  • get the house organized and ready for a new tenant (our neighbor's daughter is going to live here and take care of the dog for us)
  • put my studio back together (still a post-flood disaster)
  • pack up and store stuff we're not taking so that said tenant will have room for her own stuff (this does NOT include furniture, thank goodness!)
  • help Lucas finish all the Bear requirements for Cub Scouts
  • plan Lucas's birthday party, gifts, etc.
  • figure out how to get Max's school requirements taken care of (we're trying to do electronic high school, but it is nearly impossible to get into any classes! -- this one is stressing me out)
  • thoroughly clean the whole house
  • pack

Oh, and entertain Jessie and her kids, they're coming to visit! Hooray!

I'm sure I'll think of more. Wish me luck.


Neighbor Jane Payne said...

Oh dear, Michelle, I don't think luck will do it. Instead, I shall wish you time and energy. I hope you get everything done so that you can enjoy the things that are to be enjoyed.

Kristy said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I know it was a long post for you but I really feel in the loop now and I can't imagine how stressed you must be! I don't know if there is a to do list long enough for all that you have but I'm confident you'll be able to get it all done and hopefully enjoy Paris. I can't wait to hear about Eva's escapades in Paris!! :)
She reminds me a lot of my 4 year old.

Susan said...

Your list and comments take me back once again to Aunt Patti's words, " You never know, it could be really good...but then again,it could be really bad"!

Sounds like there are a lot of conflicting emotions that go along with being in that delightful city!

And, garage cleaning is a life=long struggle!

Max and his schooling...that does sound stressful. 8 weeks will pass awfully quickly. It's almost fall now in the eyes of retail!

Good luck!

Jill said...

This gives me pain, I'll have to come back and read it later.

Diane said...

How about adding to your list: Paint the front door? BTW I really like it!

Julia said...

I can totally imagine how stressed you are. Getting everything figured out sounds like a bit of a nightmare. But I have to admit that I am so jealous. I went to Paris for the first time this spring, and I LOVED it (but I should mention that I went with my good friend, and we left our kids home). I will always love New York the most, and I want to stay here forever, but I wouldn't mind an excuse to live in Paris.

Amy said...

Oh, Michelle, I hope you don't have to add anything else to that list! It's completely overwhelming!!! But I may have a few questions come the first of the year. . .

Jill said...

Okay, it's the wee hours of the morning and I can now handle seeing this post. It's a comfort to me that I've seen the view in the picture in real life, but it pains me too because I want to see it again. Aargh.

I think you to-do list is totally doable and possibly easier than you think. Plus, you've been super stressed pre-Paris before and it always works out fine.

Natasha said...

I have been wondering about the school thing. What will Lucas do?

I know it must be overwhelming at times, but what an incredible opportunity!

lelly said...

lists like your stress me out. but the anticipation of the trip would be amazing (i think). pace yourself!

Petey said...

While I'm not preparing to move to paris, I feel for you.
I have finals and I have to get all my projects finished and turned in, keep up with home work, study, pack to some degree, and clean for white glove.
But you can do it, just plan it out

Christine said...

I was disappointed when you didn't have "teach Christine Pack how to take incredible pictures" on your list of things to do before you left. :(

Send Eva over anytime. We love to hear her little quips. "Oh no, it's coming...I'm scared...I want to go inside." (After the back hoe dumped a bunch of rocks into the dump truck. Everyone else was saying, "Let's go see!") She's a hoot!

Liz said...

Your list is overwhelming...but I am sure that somehow you will manage to get it all done. I would love to be able to do what your family is doing. Paris isn't really in the cards for Ben's kind of work...more like places with lots of oil such as the middle east, and frankly I'm just not that interested in living there. Good luck with your list!!

Denise said...

I actually a bit queasy after reading your list and feeling the anticipatory weight of it all. Whew! I hope it's worth it for you in the end. I will put you on my prayer list!

Lexi said...

I just heard about this stroller/bike called Taga that is only manufactured in Europe right now. It can seat up to two children- either a car seat and a single child or two seats- one even had an attachment where two could sit in a covered seat where they could face each other. It turns into a bike so you can ride through the streets and then converts back into a stroller when you want to use it in a store. Absolutely unique and useful! I thought of that when you said you were dreading the rail system. Check it out when you get a chance!

TX Girl said...

Can't you get them filled by a mail in pharmacy? Usually they can do 3 months and you only pay 2 months of prescriptions.

I cannot believe how much you have going on. I'm excited for y'all to go to Paris again, but I'm not sure I would be so adventurous. I'm too set in my routine.

Anonymous said...

It seems like this is coming too soon- 8 weeks, really???

We are hose draggers- and the lawn is winning this month. Oh deee.

I am happily ready to help entertain Jess and her kids and help in any way I can. I would also LOVE to have all the girls at least one day so you and Jessie can get out during the day to do whatever for a few hours. If you want- which you know you do. I mean come on!

Amie said...

There is so much to do to get ready... always makes me question if it is worth it.... but three months! That seems worth it. I hope you guys have a great time again... what great memories for your kids. I am excited for you about the Friday gifts from Marc.

Barb said...

I hope that list is shrinking with some projects/tasks completed - especially the highschool one! With the way colleges will love to see his international experiences, you'd think online highschool would be better supported and more easily arranged!

Claudissima said...

Oh are great! yOU will be able to wrap this one!

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