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Saturday, March 4, 2017

Paris Beginnings

We arrived on Monday evening and were very thankful for our dear friends from Stockholm days who picked us and our luggage up!
We didn't do any shipments so crammed 7-8 months worth of clothes and personal effects into 3 suitcases a piece along with 2 carry-ons. It seems like a lot but with seasonal changes and not wanting to feel like a tourist the entire time, it really wasn't all that much! It is great to be unpacked and settling into our apartment on the river Seine.
A view down the Seine, not far from where we live
Our friends had also been busy getting the apartment ready for us, with clean bed sheets and towels, along with a gorgeous basket of French delights. Numerous bakeries and grocery stores line the nearby streets so I'm pretty sure we will not starve! To the contrary, I hope I will continue to fit into the clothes I packed!
Having been to Paris a number of times, and attended 2 different pastors' conferences here at the American Church, along with staying here last year when I did the women's retreat, the area is very familiar to us, which is a blessing. Even so, there are the usual feelings of disorientation that accompany a move abroad, especially to a country where we have little knowledge of the language. Working on it, but French is not easy! My favorite phrase of late is Désolé je ne parle pas français! But, I am determined to make progress.
We both love the French grocery stores...what's there not to like? We look forward to exploring the outdoor market scenes as well.
The juxtaposition of the old obelisk and the new ferris wheel at the
Palace de la Concorde
No matter how many times you've visited a country however, it's still a bit overwhelming to begin to figure out how to do daily life. Getting unpacked and re-arranging the furniture in the apartment helps to help us feel at home and not just on vacation. We have successfully run the dishwasher and washer and dryer! The other staff members at the church have all warmly welcomed us and been very helpful with the small but important details. We managed to get sim cards for our cell phones but Doug's doesn't work and mine only partially works! Hope to have that resolved soon. We obtained our Navigo travel cards after only 2 tries! We haven't solved the banking issue yet but think because we still have our account in the UK, we will be able to use that with a Euro account. The bank here was hesitant to open an account for us since we will be here less than a year. Our Swedish (EU) passports make life 100% easier than if we only held a passport that was outside of the EU so that is a great gift indeed.
Thus far the weather has been dodgy, lots of gray and some rain with only a smattering of sunshine along the way. But temperatures are mild and spring is coming. The daffodils are emerging and the trees are showing some buds. Springtime in Paris holds great promise for much beauty!
It's been a good week.
The beautiful altar of the American Church on Ash Wednesday
We attended a worship planning meeting, attended a beautiful Ash Wednesday worship service, met with the senior pastor, shared meals with various staff members and their families, met with the intern for youth and young adults ministry, attended a young adults gathering and met many of the amazing young people we will be working with in the coming year. With each new gathering and new acquaintance we feel a deep resonance with the international church community. It remains the place we feel most at home and are delighted that the privilege of serving this community and being a part of the family of God here in Paris is now ours to enjoy.
The view of the American Church spire alongside of the Tour Eiffel
Tomorrow is a big day. 3 worship services, meeting the parents of the teenagers we'll be working with, gathering with the teenagers we'll be working with and meeting with the leaders of the teenage groups we'll be working with! Cue a nice bottle of red wine around 8.00 p.m. tomorrow! In the meantime, we'll keep fighting through the jet lag, wandering through the grocery store, eating baguettes and croissants, discovering a new place to soak in Parisien beauty, and learning French. La vie est belle.