Arrival

I didn’t go to bed until around three o’clock in the morning last night, but I woke surprisingly refreshed at nine. It was surprising not only because I had only six hours of sleep at that time, but because it was morning. Feeling rather impressed with myself, I finished cleaning my apartment, which wasn’t too bad because I had done most of it yesterday.

I had planned on going to the Monoprix or the flower store down by the river to buy everybody flowers to surprise them when they got here, but, I was running out of time, so, I went down to the bakery to buy them baked goodies instead. For Jessica, I got a croissant, she always likes to make them at home, but I don’t think she’s ever had one that wasn’t homemade. For Mom and Granny, I bought strawberry tarts, which are really pretty, but I don’t see how they can possibly taste good. It’s probably because I just don’t like strawberries. There’s something about eating fruit which I just don’t care for whatsoever. I can eat pineapples without a problem, but that is it.

Dad had sent letters in the mail for all of them, which was really nice, so, I made a little display on my coffee table of pastries and letters. I sat around working on my blog for an hour. Around noon, I started to finish that because they should be arriving at any time.

Finally, about fifteen minutes after noon, I heard the silly doorbell go off and I dramatically undid the locks, hoping that this would draw out the suspense whilst I revealed myself. Nobody commented on it, but I feel as if it did. I threw open the door and was immediately shoved into the wall as something clamped onto me, intent on breaking at least three of my ribs. It was a second before I realized it was Jessica, sobbing her eyes out. I don’t know why she was crying, really. I understand that some people cry when they are happy, but that has always seemed silly to me after I cried when I was very little at Disney World. I was really happy that I was there, and even at a young age, I knew how to milk a scene to make it memorable with a signature line.

Once Jessica was forcibly extracted from me, she was sent to exile on the couch where she sat and sobbed, too utterly exhausted from her emotions to carry the luggage. I don’t know exactly what the three of them brought, but they brought enough luggage to pack for a three month trip instead of a week. Then, the bags kind of exploded, and my once pristine apartment looked like a pigsty with coats hanging from every imaginable surface and purses covering almost every square inch of the floor. The heating was immediately commandeered — it was too hot for them.

Once Jessica got over her spontaneous outburst of sobbing joy, I told them all to get ready to go to the Monoprix to get picnic food. They got dressed up again, Granny this time with four layers of clothing, a coat, earmuffs, and gloves. The rest of us just wore a sweater because it was nice out. Soon we were at the Monoprix and Jessica was thoroughly impressed with the selection of purses and makeup and shoes. We looked at pens and bought soap and that was fun. Then, we all went upstairs to get the food.

We bought some chicken for roasting, some potatoes, Jessica and I found raspberry syrup to make raspberry lemonade, we got cheese, ham, fresh raspberries, lots of different drinks, and the most amazing chip in the world. I don’t know if these things are in America, or if they ever will be, but if they aren’t there when I get home, Lays will be getting a strongly worded letter of complaint. They are potato chips that taste like a roasted chicken…I see you making a face, I was scared too, but after taking the first bite, I was in heaven. It tasted like roasted chicken and it was fabulous! I ate the whole bag with gusto. You would too if you tried it.

After popping the real chicken in the oven, we hopped down onto the Metro and rode to the Parc de Buttes-Chaumont. This is you’ll remember, if you’ve read before, my favorite park in Paris. I really don’t know why, probably because of all the hills, and because of the free wireless Internet. I showed everybody the waterfall and the grotto and then we picked a spot on the hill in front of the lake to have our picnic. Jessica had an ever-loving fit because she had to sit on the ground to eat food. I guess she despises picnics more than I thought she did. While we ignored her bad attitude, I enjoyed my ham and baguette and cheese and Sunny Delight and actual sun, too.

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When we had all shaken the moss and grass and rocks out of our jackets, we walked around the lake and watched the ducks. I took the remainders of the baguette and gave half to Jessica and we tossed little pieces to the birds, who promptly ignored them. When they continued to refuse to eat, we began to yell completely deserved vulgarities at the little bastards.

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We walked up to the temple, and after looking at the beautiful panorama of the city, left again for the Metro. We decided to go to the Champs-Elysées to withdraw some money from the ATM. Jessica acted like an escaped patient from the psychiatric ward while trying to get her money — she couldn’t figure anything out and started screaming — very embarrassing. We all got our money and then walked down the street. I bashed Kanye West for a while after I saw the Louis Vuitton store, and then Jessica decided she needed to have a hamburger at the McDonalds. At this iteration of the Golden Arches, there is something called a McCafe inside. Here, you can buy macarons! I love macarons, and they were really good, too.

There was some kind of musical protest around the Arc de Triomphe that we gawked at for some time before moving on. It was getting later and the sky was darkening, so I asked if everybody wanted to walk to Place de la Concorde to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkle in the near distance. They consented, so we walked all the way down there. Jessica caught on quite quickly to disregarding the crossing warnings and parading about in traffic, but Ma and Granny were squares and stood patiently on the edge of the street until their light changed to green. We had many jokes at their expense as we walked a half mile ahead.

They all caught up a few minutes before the top of the hour, and we all sat or stood and watched as the iron skeleton blinked and twinkled quite beautifully.

We took the Metro back, and had a lovely roasted chicken, quite late. Jessica and I stayed up watching American’s Next Top Model and The Lucy Show, the episode with Joan Crawford, before finally, falling asleep.

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