Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunny Sunday

It's another sunny day in Paris.  One of the members of my study group at home recommended the American Church in Paris to me so I took the #63 bus to attend a service.  Paris sunshine makes me feel happy and free but I was a little surprised when the handsome bus driver remarked that I have a nice smile. Only in Paris! C'est bonne pour les dames d'un certain âge.

The church is interdenominational and a gathering place for expats from around the English-speaking world.  Their organ is spectacular and the choir and the young bell-ringer group provide a rich musical experience. If you visit Paris, this church has free concerts every Sunday afternoon. I enjoy attending church services (English or French speaking) in Paris. The sermon was based on the story of the Good Shepherd and reminded us that the Good Shepherd cares for the weakest  and neediest of his flock. I think of those I know and love who need spiritual help right now and of those on the street with an empty cup who lack food or shelter.

After the service, I continued to walk in the sunshine along the Seine. The white dome of Sacré Coeur was looking down on the city and the gilding of the Pont Alexandre III shone brightly as I passed. I  no longer  feel like a tourist in Paris, just a woman walking home from church.  On the Boulevard Saint Germain, I stopped for une salade sucrée salée and un verre de chablis at A la Dauphine near the Assemblée Nationale. Sitting at a table in the sunshine with my chablis, quelle joie!

I passed a vide-grenier (empty your attic sale) on Boulevard Raspail earlier on the bus so I headed up there to check it out. Clothes, household items, old books, toys...Last year, I bought a Quimper bonbon dish at the vide-grenier held on rue Auguste Comte but I am a year older and my mother is in the process of downsizing so I just enjoy looking at the goods and watching the people.

Empty your attic

Last year, when my dad was in the hospital, I called my mother on Skype every day at 4:00 pm Paris time.  I pay for a version of Skype that I use on my computer to call Mum on her telephone.  She knows that the "unknown" caller at 7:00 am is me.  This year, when Dad has recently passed away, I continue to call her. She is feeling the loss of her partner of 62 years and the uncertainty of having to move to a small apartment and to give up so many of the belongings that she has treasured. My sister is coming to help her move some furniture and mum is dreading it. It is the first time in her adult life that she has lived in a home without Dad. Their anniversary is this week and my sister will be on her way to meet me in Europe. Daughter has been  entrusted with a bottle of champagne to toast her grandparents on the day. Our conversation  today was brief and sad.


Mum and Dad were meant to be together
These last two weeks in Paris, I am devoting to my oral practise so I must do my Eliza Doolittle exercises. "Je hais les haies" and other phrases for 30 minutes twice a day. A bird on my windowsill would find it very strange. But I am sure that my efforts will pay off!

It's time for Visible Monday. I try to take at least one picture of myself on Photobooth on my computer to send.  I can only do head shots when I am alone. This week, it will be my new hairstyle. As no new Mr. Selfridge has arrived, I will read my book, Dreaming in French by Alice Kaplan.  What a great Sunday!

3 comments:

  1. What a lovely picture of your parents! My mother also found it really tough to adjust to life as a widow -- it was probably made easier by happening earlier (she was only 69) AND by my sister's family moving in to share Mom's home -- a 9 and 7-year old with twin girls added only a few months after my Dad died. They managed happily together for 8 or 9 years, but then Mom moved to a condo for her last 4. Location was a big part of that being successful -- she was in a complex near a mall with grocery, drug store, food court, etc., across from a Senior's Rec Centre, a block from a bus stop, and in a city she knew so well that she walked confidently. I hope your mother is able to adjust -- such a difficult change with so much sadness and loneliness at an age when resilience is often tapped out.
    On a lighter note, I am so enjoying following you through the streets of Paris. . . merci!

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  2. My mother's new apartment is across from the Community Centre and library and close to the park where my dad used to walk. She has always preferred housework and gardening to the company of strangers. I hope that she can walk more and find a little bit of companionship. The topic that I chose for my exposé and discussion is Lafontaine's fable of the oak and the willow. Si nous ne sommes pas capables de nous plier, nous sommes en danger de rompre dans un orage. When do you leave for France?

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  3. We leave at the end of May. I'd say I can't wait, but I'm enjoying watching my garden move into spring right now.
    My mom spent whole days in her garden and that was the toughest adjustment to her move. She wasn't good about joining in, being shy and introverted, yet often said she felt lonely. She'd get restless in her apartment (part of the cognitive decline, I think) and her answer was to get out and walk and walk and walk. And somehow, she ended up walking herself into some social activities, despite herself. I hope that happens for your mother. IF she can be like the willow and bend . . .


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