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England

I secretly love when we have visitors in town.  Theres something nice about being able to let everything else drop to the side for the moment and living in a way where a. you see tons of beautiful things and b. you come home drop dead tired at the end of every day and are totally and completely willing/able to zonk out by 10 PM and sleep till 8 the next morning.

Sometimes I wish I could be a tourist all the time, then I realize how much I enjoy the other things in life — school, studying, working, wandering aimlessly, and most of all, taking in my city how I want to see it, not how others think I need to see it to gain the best possible experience.

The week before Christmas one of The Husband’s friends hopped over the pond to spend a few days sleeping in our tiny studio with us (on the floor, of course) and taking in Paris for his first time.  Lucky for me, Nontendo was pretty chill and allowed me to show him Paris how I wanted to.  I love when that happens!  He also kept The Husband busy making music till the wee hours of the morning each day, something which they both sorely enjoyed!

Thanks for coming to visit, Nontendo!  Come back again soon!

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Isn’t it great when its still warm enough in December to have picnics?

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As all good things in life, London had to come to an end all too quickly (understandable, since we only had a day in the city itself).  After having a jam session with one of his British music buddies, The Husband met back up with us so we could visit Buckingham Palace and Picadilly Circus.  How i wish we could have seen a show while we were there (The Husband still has never seen a musical!), but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.  Instead, we finished off our night by heading to the Hard Rock London — first of all, because the Loggers go to a Hardrock in every city they visit, and second of all, because we like to support The Husbands older sister, Jayn, who works as an accountant for the Seminole tribe.  We like to think that our meals that night helped pay a fraction of her salary :).

Looking back on this trip I can’t help but think it was incredible that we didn’t end up in Wales or something.  With no GPS, a French car, and no idea of where we were driving, we did surprisingly well, with only a few wrong-side-of-the-road mishaps.  Whoops!  What are crazy Americans good for if not scaring the locals when we go on vacation?

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And for anyone wondering about the conclusion to the plumbing story from last post, we were right in being worried — the “plumbers” actually broke two more things in our bathroom, meaning that we are now the recipients of a new toilet that will be coming our way this Wednesday.  Needless to say, life with a broken toilet is ….interesting….

These photos are pretty self explanatory today, so this little talking section is going to have absolutely nothing to do with them.  So, if you don’t want to read about my every day life here in Paris, feel free to skip on and only look at the pictures.  I wouldn’t blame you — life in Paris is much more exciting when you don’t think about the mundane everyday things that we have to do here in addition to in the states.

Without a doubt, the scariest thing to hear someone who is doing work on your apartment say is “Qu’est-ce qu’on fait?” (What are we doing?).  No joke, there are plumbers in our bathroom right now and they’ve said that at least 15 times…

About two months ago our lovely upstairs neighbors (two floors up, mind you) left their shower on all day while they were at work (HOW DO YOU DO THAT?), causing their bathroom, the bathroom in the apartment above ours, and our bathroom to flood.  So we had two holes in our ceiling as well as some water damage, meaning the insurance had to come in and fix all of that.  Two months later we finally got the call saying that someone was coming to fix it.  Well, not someone exactly, but a plumber, then a wall repair man, then a painter, then the plumber again (since its France, our building is incredibly old, meaning that we have a HUGE water heater hanging above our toilet that needed to be taken down since both of the holes just happened to be underneath it).  They told us the whole process would take four days, meaning four days without hot water.  In October.

So, the plumber came yesterday, took down the heater (after we had showered, luckily), and then the painter came in, took one look, said he could patch and fix the holes that afternoon, meaning the plumber could come put up the heater again that night.  Bam, no showers without hot water.  I was soooo exited.

Only one problem: the plumber didn’t think the painter could be done that quickly, so he refused to come back before tonight.  Meaning that I took THE COLDEST SHOWER known to man kind this morning (well, lets be honest, it was more of a wash down the hair and really quickly wet my hands and rub them on my body as quickly as possible type thing.  Aka a sponge bath….) and felt disgustingly dirty all day because it was too cold to submerge my body and truly lather up with that sweet substance known as soap.

Que the men in our bathroom: the plumbers “friends” who help him out sometimes, since the plumber didn’t want to stop by our place at 8 at night.  They have no idea what they’re doing.  It took them 45 minutes to figure out how to pick up the water heater so they would have it in the correct position to mount it, haha.  And, without fail, every 5 minutes they swear really loud, rest the heater on the sink, and ask one another “what are we doing?”.  The Husband is so nervous about all of this that he expelled himself to the doorway, the only spot in our apartment where you can’t see the bathroom.

So, what have we learned from this experience?  First of all, the painter is always right, trust him when he says he’ll be done by a certain time,  Secondly, never trust a plumbers “friends”.  Theres a reason why he refers to them as friends, not colleagues.  All in the name of hot water for my shower tomorrow morning….

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London was…. magical.  This was The Husband’s first time in England, so I wish we had had more time to spend in London than just one day — we were lucky to have the time that we did have, though.

After waking up early, frantically trying to drive our car on the wrong side of the road (for us), going around what felt like a million roundabouts, and finally making it into the city, we felt like we deserved a treat.  So, of course, we bought ourselves a vegetable pastie and went and took photos at Platform 9 3/4.  I have to say, I’m pretty sure that was the best way to reward ourselves!  We even got suckered in to buying the professional photo that they took of us… What can I say, slap Harry Potter on anything and I’ll buy it!

We started off the day in London by trying to fit as much sightseeing in as possible.  We were at Kings Cross and decided (read: I decided because I love walking and am convinced that we should all walk cities whenever possible) to take the tube to London Bridge and then walk over to Hyde Park from there.  The Husband had a meeting set up at 1 in the park, so we had to book it, impressively making it that far in an hour (though not everyone enjoyed the walk as much as I did….).  The Husband and I had been kind of dumb when we were packing and had forgotten my camera battery charger in Paris (we accidentally grabbed the charger for our other Nikon), and of course as soon as we hit the road my camera was magically on its last bar of battery.  So, while picture taking was severely limited, I guess it was kind of a good thing — had I had full reign of the camera, we definitely wouldn’t have made it to The Husband’s meeting in time!

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The Husband and I discovered something horrible while we were in England.  Taco Bell exists outside of America.  It exists, and it is magnificent.  And we may or may not have drove an hour from our hotel to get Taco Bell and stuff ourselves with American goodness.  I’m not going to lie to you, this was probably the greatest decision we made all summer — The Husband was basically crying because it tasted so much like home.

So, without further explanation, heres some photos that are in no way creative or beautiful, but definitely chronicle one of the best parts about England.  Oh yeah, and theres like three other photos in there, just for funsies!  Tune in later for LONDON!!!!

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Sometimes, even when you’re a student (I guess I should say especially when you’re a student) all that you really need is a vacation.  In light of that need that had been quickly pressing down upon me all semester, The Husband and I, along with our friends the Loggers, rented a car here in Paris and headed over for the shortest of jaunts in England.  How I wish we had had more time!  This was The Husband’s first time in England, and my first time back since my prior trip in 2009, and all we had this time around was a measly 4 days, including travel time.

Although we love France to death, theres just something comforting about being in a country where everyone has the same native language as we do — none of those “whoops, I totally blanked on the word for this” moments (although we did have to ask someone what the word squidgy meant….).  England was lovely, I can definitely see it making the short list for places we could easily live one day (you know, as long as they want to grant us a visa…).

Our first day was mostly travel — we started out by picking up our car at 7 in the morning at Gare Montparnasse.  What a mess!  If you ever have the option, don’t pick up a car at the Hertz there!  We had to pay for the car in one area, and then walk about 10 minutes to get to the actual garage.  When we got there, we spent 45 minutes walking around (keep in mind, this is in a CAR GARAGE.  It wasn’t that big!) before we finally exited the garage and walked in through the Hertz car rental exit.  Turns out theres a secret floor in between floors two and three that you can only get to from a secret stairway.  Who knew, right?  After the less-than-stellar start off we got, we shouldn’t have been surprised that we ran into another MAJOR problem.

The Husband was already nervous about driving a French car on British roads, as well as the fact that he had never driven on the other side of the road, so we all had to stay really really quiet for about the first 15 minutes after we got off the ferry.  After that though, British boy band were fair game for me to blare over the sound system.  Well, in addition to starting the music up, I also punched in the coordinates to our hotel in the car’s GPS.  One problem — the Hertz people had never loaded the maps for the UK into the car, meaning that we had no GPS!!!!  Honestly, its amazing that we A. didn’t get any tickets in England for driving like crazy Americans. and B. found our way everywhere successfully without a GPS.  If you know either of us very well, you’ll know that we’re lucky we live in the age of GPS since we have no directional abilities at all, and get easily stressed when having to figure things out when driving.

Lucky for us, though, we got to spend a few hours at the end of the day exploring tiny British towns and grocery stores.  Let me just say, British grocery stores are MAGICAL!  After so long in France, it was amazing to see a place that was more similar to an American store — it made my greasy American heart sing!

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