Le dimanche! I can't believe I've already had another dimanche pass by me. They are racking up, are they not? This past Sunday was a wonderful dimanche, despite a little rain in the morning. I am really starting to warm up to my host couple/family, which I am excited to write about. On Sunday, a few significant events took place and so I'm going to try to quickly recap the important details of each happening so I can move on into the present!
1. Neuilly Flea Market
Well, sorry, there are no pictures to put here because it was raining BUT
there will be some posted SOON...
after I go back to the market when it's sunny...
which will be tomorrow...Mercredi!
2. Lunch with my host family's daughter:
(I am butchering the spelling of her name, I'm sure)
I haven't had the chance to take a photo of a photo of my host father, Bruno, yet but ^this^ is my host mother, Brigette. She has three children: two girls and a boy, like my family. The oldest and youngest are married but the middle child, Alexianne, is not.
I had the absolute joy of meeting Alexianne on Sunday and am really looking forward to spending more time with her, if the opportunity arises. Alexianne is one of the most special and amazing women I have ever met. She suffers from a severe degenerative disease which has made her severely handicapped. She is 29 years old and as she ages, her condition worsens. In 2004, she was still able to dance. Now, she is incapable of walking alone due to her disability, which has completely thrown off her sense of equilibrium. In addition, she has completely lost her vision from her malady.
She is all smiles.
Her laugh lights up the room.
She is intelligent, hopeful, caring and wise.
I had an awesome discussion with her after our Sunday lunch and learned that her condition commenced when she was 13 years old, when she began losing her vision. Yesterday, my host mother told me that although it would be better for her to be in a wheel chair, Alexianne is a fighter and insists on walking (with guidance and a cane), as well as living alone.
I am so proud of this woman. I am so proud of her mom (my host mom), too. They are both very courageous women. I am looking forward to sharing more of Alexianne's story with others once I get to know her better. She is working on a book about her life, now.
As I come to understand more about the dynamics of my host family's life, I am learning several new things about myself as well as universal familial truths. This is both challenging and exciting for me.
3. Nancy Thebaut
Happily, I was able to meet up with my sister's college best friend, Nancy, after my lunch with the Rendus (my host family.) Nancy is currently enrolled in the Ecole du Louvre! How exciting!!
(enter round of applause, here)
I am so fortunate to have Nancy in Paris at the same time that I am here because she knows everything about.. well.. everything! She is a great Paris tour guide because of her extensive knowledge of architecture, history and of course, art. After this year, Nancy will have a second Masters in Art History.
Here is Nancy outside of an important school ^^ (that I have clearly forgotten the name of
but isn't the wrought iron nice?)
We happened upon many different great landmarks in Paris as we walked around but this was one of my favorite:
(MY image of the locks will NOT load for some unknown reason... so here is one from the internet..):
On the bridge of Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor, people have placed locks on the fencing as a symbol of love. Locks of love on bridges, which was originally a Russian tradition, is spreading to cities all over the world.
Maybe you have to be a bit of a hopeless romantic to enjoy the idea... but I was, indeed, wishing I had had a lock to place there as a symbol of the relationship that I am. Ahh, I guess I will just have to wait until my partner and I come to Paris one day; then we can put a lock on the bridge together.