Friday, February 27, 2009

Feb 26, 2009: Assimilation in a New Nation

Yesterday's school drop-off of the girls at school was no problem - all were happy to be attending. After that, Suzie and I went to the prefecture to get a misspelling of my name on my Visa fixed.  What could have been a nighmare similar to a trip to your local drivers license bureau during your lunch break actually turned out to be quick and simple. From there, Suzie and I spent the day together, just kicking around and shopping.  Our first priority was breakfast.  We ordered one of the only three options available on this restaurant's menu and you would not believe the amount of food we were served.  Let me just tell you - this is for EACH of us: One glass of orange juice, two coffees, two eggs, a huge piece of ham, a salad, a huge croissant and half of a baguette.  Now that I write that down it doesn't seem like much food, but the spread took up two tables. All other patrons were eating a croissant and  espresso so we looked like hungry freaks and their stares indicated so.  

After breakfast, our next stop was new outfits for the girls.  We have noticed that Ella, Grace and Mia do not look at all similar to the other children in regards to clothing.  The popular colors for French children from ages 1 - 99 is black, brown and any variation of those colors.  Grace, Mia and Ella have wardrobes that come 80% from Old Navy.  When I see a sale come up on the internet, I usually buy a big box of clothes 2-3 times per year.  The clothes are cute (for North America), inexpensive and when they get ruined there is no reason to stress.  I am sure that many of you are Old Navy shoppers, also, so you know that the clothing is bright and colorful.  When we arrive at school, it is not hard to pick our girls out of the crowd of kids because they wear big, puffy ski coats, hats and gloves that are bright pinks, purples and reds.  So, Suzie and I have decided that over time, we should probably help them blend in.  Andrew would kill me if I tried to buy them all new wardrobes today, so this will have to be a gradual process.  Suzie graciously bought all three girls a new spring coat and outfit.  One small step toward assimilation in French dressing.  We also managed to buy ourselves a few things.

Following our shopping, I had to get home to meet the couch delivery guys.  Andrew and I measured to the centimeter to ensure it would fit up our skinny three flights of stairs.  The delivery guys had to remove the legs to fit the couch up (which we had expected) but it did fit.  Looking at this monster couch, it is really quite unbelievable that it fit.  It is huge. And as ugly as I had remembered. Oh well.  The kids LOVE the couch.  They were in heaven last night watching French cartoons while lounging on this red oasis.  

In the evening, I had my first appointment with an Osteopath.  I had read a bit about the differences with chiropractors but still didn't really understand what I was getting myself into. I also had no idea if this doctor spoke English and thought this might impact my ability to convey the point of my visit.  When I finally found her office, I feel like she finally appeared out of a trick door.  She shook my hand and she smelled of cigarettes.  Like she had just finished a nice, tasty Camel Light before my appointment.  Now, I admit that I didn't know very much about Osteopaths, but I did know that they believed in and focus on the body's natural abilities to heal itself.  This natural approach to well-being didn't jive with cigarette smoking - even if you are French.  I think back to my chiropractor from Illinois and if you walked in with a soda it immediately became an example of "poison" on her wall of shame.  Needless to say, this cigarette habit had me a little hesitant.  Next we attempted a conversation about why I was there but I think I failed so she asked me if I knew what Osteopathy was?  I said not really.  So she asked me to lye down on her table and began her work.  Within 2 minutes and some light palpitations on my skull, she asked if I had braces as a child and I confirmed that I did - for 2 years.  A ha!  She proclaimed that these braces were the sources of all my head, neck, shoulder and back problems.  Now I was even  more skeptical. My past chiropractors had never once adjusted my teeth - obviously we had been going about this all wrong! It had been a harmless appoitment so far, so I decided to stick with the program for now.  For the next five minutes she had me lay on my back with a mouth guard and chomp my jaw up and down while she held my head.  Then I turned over and she moved her fingers around on various places on my spine.  This went on for about 20 minutes, in a completely quiet environment, and we were then finished.  She told me that this was a very simple ailment to fix with just one appointment but that if I still felt "unfixed", that I could come back for one more appointment in 3 weeks.  Now, I am not passing any judgement yet on this Osteopathy approach yet, as I have only met one doctor and had only one appointment.  But at the present moment....a little wary of getting backache relief.

Andrew had woken up around 4am to drive to The Netherlands or some place around there to meet with a new potential client so he was gone for the day and night.  After my appointment, I got back to the apartment and enjoyed dinner with Peter and Suzie after getting the girls to bed.  The next day was Friday. Peter and I had planned to do some sightseeing here in Caen while Suzie prepared for a birthday celebration for Andrew.

Photo's above: Suzie walked Grace and Mia to school and our big, huge couch.


  1. i commend you on being able to not burst out in giggles at the osteopath. tooth braces are the cause of your back pain? riiiight. :) tu es une 'trooper'!

  2. This reminds me of the 5/1/1997 Friends episode named "The One with Ross's Thing aired":

    Guru Saj: You must be Ross.

    Ross: Hi.

    Guru Saj: I am Guru Saj. (takes the drawer back and replaces)

    Ross: Listen, I got to tell you I’ve-I’ve never been to a guru before, so...

    Guru Saj: Well, relax. If it makes you feel better, I’ve attended some of the finest medical schools in Central America. Well then, let’s take a look at this skin abnormality of yours. (motions to the table) Come on, have a seat. (looks at it) Eeh, huh. As I suspected, it’s a koondis!

    Ross: What’s a koondis?

    Guru Saj: I don’t know, what’s a koondis with you? (starts laughing as if that joke was funny, Ross only looks at him, and he stops) Please, lie down! I’ve got a sav that oughta shrink that right up.

    Ross: I guess it’s worth a try.

    Guru Saj: Oh sure, we should see results—Whoa!! Clearly not the way to go!! (quickly wipes it off)

    Ross: What?! What?!

    Guru Saj: We appear to have angered it.

    Ross: We?! We angered it?!

    Guru Saj: Oh, I think I see the problem. And I’m afraid we’re gonna have to use a much stronger tool. (Ross gives him a ‘What?’ look) Love.

    Ross: Oh God!

    Guru Saj: (He starts moving his hands around in circles above the thing.) Ross, there is absolutely no way this is going to come off unless you start to…

    Ross: Ow!!

    Guru Saj: Oops.

    Ross: What was, what was that?

    Guru Saj: Well it’s gone.

    Ross: What?! How’s that?

    Guru Saj: It got caught on my watch.

    Ross: Hey! (congratulates him)