Saturday, June 20, 2009

Run Club = Fun Club!

Bobby and I are very lucky to have two very good friends living in Paris: Kate and Olivier. Kate is the younger sister of Bobby's old Junior High School school friend Phil. Growing up together in Colorado, Bobby tormented the then 10-year-old Katie by "Bowling for Barbies." Now Bobby no longer bowls for Barbies, and Kate no longer plays with Barbies, so a proper friendship can blossom. Olivier is Kate's French husband. He grew up in northern France before moving to Chicago for his studies and work, where he met Kate. Luckily for us, Kate and Olivier moved to the Paris area around the same time we did. Since March, the four of us have hung out several times. In May, when the weather almost turned nice, we initiated Run Club! As we mentioned in a previous post, we sometimes run in the nearby wooded forest/park Bois de Boulogne. Here is how our Run Club nights usually proceed:

7:45-8:00: Bobby and Carla arrive at Kate and Olivier's apartment in Puteaux, around which time Kate arrives home from work
8:00-8:20: Bobby, Carla, and Olivier all complain about how much they don't want to run, while Kate encourages everyone to be excited about running
8:20-9:00 (or later): Run Club commences, with a very long and fast run (by Bobby and Carla's standards, or short and slow by Kate and Olivier's standards)
9:00-9:20: Kate and Carla stretch and do ab-work while Olivier and Bobby buy dinner, chicken shwarma and French fries
9:20-10:00: Run Club becomes Eat and Drink Club

A few things were different about last Thursday's Run Club, though. Olivier twisted his foot and tore some ligaments while walking in Paris, so he hasn't been able to run with us for a few weeks (oddly enough, he doesn't seem to be too sad about missing out on running). Instead of running through the Bois de Boulogne, we all went to the park on the Île de Puteaux (a little island in the Seine between Puteaux and Neuilly), where there are free exercise machines and other work-out enhancements like monkey bars and pull-up bars, so Olivier could do some foot-free activities. After our work-out, we all went back to Kate and Olivier's apartment where we had Taco Club instead of Eating Club! We had all the fixings for a great meal: corn tortillas (I found these in the 'ethnic' section of a grocery store. They are quite expensive), home-made salsa, home-made beans, home-made guacamole, ground beef, taco seasoning Bobby and I brought from the States, shredded Mimolette cheese (as close as it gets to Cheddar in France), crème fraîche (even better than sour creme!), iceberg lettuce, and chips! Bobby and I haven't had tacos since we've moved to Paris, so it was a nice treat.

In other news, I have a part-time job lined up, thanks to Kate! Kate works at a pharmaceutical advertising agency, and her boss had mentioned that she wanted an English-speaking nanny for her children. Kate said, "I know an American woman looking for work!" I met with the woman and we discussed hours and activities and her expectations. The first two weeks of July, I will be with the children from 9am-8pm Monday-Friday. The children are 5 and 7 years old. The 7 year old has had one year of English lessons at school, while the 5 year old speaks not a work of English! However, I am to only speak English with them in order for them to learn the language. I am pretty sure that I will end up learning a lot of French from them as well. After those two weeks, the children will be on vacation outside of Paris. Starting in September, I will nanny them from 9am-8pm every Wednesday (their mother wanted to hire me full-time, Mon-Tues, Thurs-Fri 5-9, all day on Wednesday, but I want to keep my schedule open for more flute teaching and playing). The coolest part about the job (beside the fact it pays in cash) is that on these Wednesdays (in France, there is no school on Wednesdays. Instead, children attend school Mon-Tues, Thurs-Fri from 8 or 9 until 5pm) she wants me to take the children to different museums and exhibitions, so I'll be paid to go to museums!

In other slightly less exciting news, Bobby and I have started our 'garden.' We have a window box where we are growing (or at least trying to keep alive) 3 herbs: chives, tarragon, and Thai basil. The chives are delicious on scrambled eggs, pasta, and boiled potatoes. The tarragon is great for making vegetable dip and goes in many traditional French sauces. Bobby is also a big fan of my French recipe for Tarragon Chicken. The Thai basil gets added to stir-fry, boiled potatoes, and Thai curries. We really enjoy having the fresh herbs and look forward to adding to our little garden!

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