Saturday, October 01, 2005

Sophia in the Mediteranean Sea

Sophia in St Peters Square

Sophia & the leaning tower of Pisa

Sophia & her first taste of Gelatti

The Z family at the top of the Spanish Steps Posted by Picasa

September 2005

So it’s been a few months since our last update, but it has gone by so fast, I can’t believe it is October already. We have been extremely busy, but having a lot of fun.
We returned from Seattle with a week left in August, enough time to experience a little bit of what Paris feels like when there are no Parisians here. August is a great time to have a car in Paris, because you can find parking just about anywhere near your house or your destination. Troy jumped back into work, while Sophia & I tried to recover from jet-lag (it takes her about a week to sleep thru the night again), and try to find places in Paris that were still open. Most of the smaller shops near our apartment were closed, some of the bakeries (although apparently the bakeries in one area all have to get together & decide when they are going to close because by law there has to be at least one open per day within a certain area), our favorite neighborhood bar closed for the month, corner markets, and fruit & meat shops on our market street. It was like a Sunday every day of the week. By September 4th most things were back open. The influx of people & noise was amazing!
We started to get back into our routine with one small change, Sophia was accepted into an “Halte Garderie” at one of the local schools. She goes to “school” 2 afternoons a week for up to 4 hours at a time & it is amazing. It took her 2 days to figure out that I was going to return to pick her up, and that she could have a lot of fun while she was there. The Garderie is basically like a little playschool for her where she is able to play with other kids her age, color, ride on the plastic cars on the terrace, paint, go up & down the indoor slide (she learned how to slide sitting up!!), play make-believe in a little house & market, and have story & singing time. The best part is that it is all in French. In fact, I will have to learn French very quickly in order to keep up with what is going on in the school. She is having a great time. Walks up the stairs & into the “class/playroom” and waves at me over her shoulder. It is a joy to see her having so much fun, and I love the little French words she is learning.
After getting settled into our routine, we decided it was time for a little break again. Troy had a conference in Rome on September 28-29th, so we took advantage of his travel (& staying in one place for a couple of days) to take a little trip of our own. We flew down to Rome, drove up to Florence for a night (had to take in the markets there) and then drove the rest of the way to Monterosso al Mare in the Cinque Terra for 4 days of laying on the beach & 1 day of hiking between the 5 towns that make up the coast. Well, not really all of the 5 towns. We did the first part of the trail from Monterosso to Vernazza. It took 1-1/2 hours. 45 min going up & 45 min going down. We were about 20 min into the “walk” (which consisted of 400 steps up the side of the cliff) when Sophia said “Where’s the elevator?’. This coming from someone that wasn’t even hiking, but riding in the backpack. Plus “elevator” comes out sounding like “Alligator”. It was pretty funny. But when we got to the first town Troy decided he had enough of hiking & we turned to the boats. Needless to say that the boats were wonderful. Sophia had a great time on the beaches. She actually scares us a little bit because she is so comfortable in the water that she would decide, just as we got comfortable in our chairs, to go running for the waters edge to go “swimming”. Troy & I took turns being the one to dart after her. So that was our entire exercise for the week.
Then Rome was wonderful, but extremely crowded. It’s an amazing city, just not a “great’ place for kids. One of the only places that I could think of for Sophia to run around & actually get out of the stroller for a little bit was St Peters Square in front of the basilica. That & the Spanish steps. It is an amazing feeling. Not exactly a Catholic Tour of Rome or an Ancient Roman tour of Rome, but definitely the “Parents of a toddler” tour of Rome. We had a great time.
On return to Paris the weather has definitely changed. The leaves are falling all around us & there is a nip in the air as the days are getting cooler & nights colder. I even had to turn the heat on in the apartment just to take out the damp feeling… Old grumpy man winter will be here soon. That will be interesting.
Anyway, just wanted to say hello & hope all is well with you.
Happy Halloween & happy fall festival!
Troy, Moya & Sophia Z