Thursday, October 2, 2008


October 2, 2008 Adjusting
Now that we’ve been here for 22 days, we are starting to adjust our lives to reduce frustration and save money. It’s really hard to get past the fact that the stores and offices are going to close at noon (but many times at 11:45 AM, even if the door says noon) and don’t reopen until around 4:00PM. This has always been true in Spain, but when did the French start having a “siesta”?! Yesterday, I put my debt card into the machine to take out cash at 11:54 AM and the machine kept it! Suddenly, the screen said, “Windows is shutting down.” And that was that. Even though there were people working in the bank at the time, I had to wait until 1:30 for the bank to reopen to get my card; they were all going to lunch! Also, cafés and restaurants are done serving at 2:00. Don’t even think about eating between 2:00-6:00. Not gunna happen, unless you want pastries, which are available on every corner – much to my dismay. I am still eating my way through France in search of a bad pastry.
Saving money? That’s a joke. We have only been under our budget of $200.00 /day for eight of the 22 days – in part because there are such cool things to buy – an antique wooden tap for a wine keg, all kinds of interesting wine serving gadgets, an iron door bell with beautiful iron work - how to get that home? (We just found out that Lufthansa will only allow 44 pounds per bag! Will my wonderful sister, Carma, who’s coming next week, help out? News to come. . .), but best of all an entire 14 piece place setting of Guy Degrenne china. That’s its own story. The french stores won’t send it to the USA, so we got online and found out it’s not sold in the US, but it’s available in Canada. Twenty e-mails later (no exaggeration!), a really nice guy, Jeff Gilman, in Montreal is pulling together the whole order and will send it to Arkansas for us. Someday we will be serving all of you on a beautiful plate decorated with olive branches and olive trees and it will have all been worth it.

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