Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Year in the Life

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure a year in the life?

One year ago today, we stepped off the airplane at Charles de Gaulle and into the rainy mist of cool Paris morning. In some ways, it's gone by in a flash. In others, our old life in DC seems forever away in the rear view mirror.

I've worn out several pairs of shoes and used up one eyeliner pencil, half a bottle of Windex, three jars of Trader Joe's black bean dip, and the battery on our laptop computer. My 14 year old child is now two inches taller than me. I've read 47 books, visited at least 30 different art exhibitions, and my guess is that the family has eaten some 200 baguettes. In addition to getting to know France, we've been to Belgium, Denmark, Italy, and Spain. Business has also taken my husband to England, Germany, Greece, and Norway. Our kids went on their own school trips to Normandy, Portugal, and England. My facility in French has improved as has my efficiency in grocery shopping. I've learned that you can get a bad meal in Paris and even bad bread. But we've also enjoyed delicious food from street vendors and two of Paris' top tables.

There's so much more ahead of us. I still haven't been to the Pompidou Centre, the Musee Quai Branly, and half a dozen other notable sites in Paris. I have yet to get an authentic plate of couscous or eat in a West African restaurant. My reading skills are better suited to the tabloidish Le Parisien than the more serious Le Monde, and I can't begin to understand an entire movie in French. Many regions of the country still beckon.

It's been a great ride. I'm buckling up to take on the next.

*"Seasons of Love" from the musical Rent by Jonathan Larson.

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