One of those was a fellow plonkee in similar circumstances having followed her husband to the same hospital with their two daughters while he did an international fellowship. My marriage was under severe strain (it was in fact the beginning of the end) and while I found American women (wives of residents) nice enough, they maintained a wall of 'everything's fine' about them that sent me reeling screaming. Everything was far from fine with me but I couldn't wail to anyone because the fine front was all they ever wanted to see.
Until six months in, when my fellow plonkee arrived, an Australian woman for whom things were not always fine either. We gravitated joyfully at full wail, and it was those second six months in her company that enabled me to stay sane enough to maintain the fine front for everyone else (to their certain relief, no one wants to see a foreign woman disintegrate hysterically before their eyes!).
We would take the kids to activity parks, sit with them by the pool, meet up for lunch at each other's flats and hang out discussing life, husbands, and kids.
I came back to France, and she and her family went back to Australia with the promise of a return to Europe some time. It was just before Christmas when I got an email to tell me they were coming over and would be spending some time in Paris. Could she and I meet up to catch up on the gossip of the last 11 years? YES!
My eldest asked if he could bunk off school and come too. NO! This is a ladies meet and we want to do activities which do not include hands-on exhibitions of military hardware, live science or Disney.
What to do though? I had a browse around the internet and came up with some suggestions - two Monet exhibitions: one at the Musée d'Orsay and one at the Musée Marmotan; a Louis Vuitton exhibition at the Musée Carnavalet; a retrospective of Henry Moore's sculptures at the Musée Rodin; and finally an Adam McEwen contemporary art exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo "Fresh Hell". Something for everyone there, I think!
I saw on the news yesterday that there are huge queues to get into the Musée d'Orsay exhibition so I'm not sure we want to do that. She expressed interest in the one on Louis Vuitton. The Musée Carnavalet is in the 3rd arrondissement, the Marais area, and there are some pretty nifty bistros around there too, according to CityVox. I found one called Les Philosophes which tickles my fancy and has had good reviews.
If any of you Paris types have any better ideas, I'd love to hear them. I'm not often up that way, and rely totally on internet recommendations.
Anyway, I'm sure we'll find plenty of things to see and do, and especially talk about, and it'll be the first time I have a day to spend with a girlfriend and no kids in Paris. Luxury!
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