It's spring break somewhere and Paris is once again flush with tourists. The bazaar that is the base of the Eiffel Tower is in full swing: lines of visitors waiting their turn to ascend, trinket sellers, ice cream vendors, families with small children who are falling apart, the Roma ladies in long skirts asking "do you speak English." And then there's a new addition to the scene: teenagers armed with paperwork, indicating to you by their gestures that they are deaf-mute and just want you to sign their paper and give a donation. DO NOT BE FOOLED. Yesterday, after waving these girls away and stopping to take a few photos, I noticed that the two deaf-mute girls had sat down on a bench. They were talking to each other, and what's more they weren't even looking at each other. So by all means, folks, do your part to help the disabled. But I'd recommend making your donation to a reputable charity.
For a long time, we were just another typical Washington, DC family: two policy-oriented jobs, two kids, and two cars. Out of the blue, my husband got a new assignment; we ditched the old jobs and the cars (but kept the kids) and headed to Paris for what started out to be a three-year, and eventually became a four-year tour.