Sunday, July 29, 2012

Writing Prompts Reveal Heartache

I was engaged. For two and a half years. I thought I was ready to spend my life with my first boyfriend. I didn't realize when everything changed right in front of my face. I lost my best friend. I lost time. I spent so much time on him. If I knew how many hours I wasted on planning our wedding, on trying to salvage a relationship I never should have begun... I wish I could have that time back. To give it to G-d, to my friends, to myself. How many fucking times did I choose him over me? Over experiences that were bound to change me for the better, memories and experiences that don't involve him?

I am unsure of my future. I have no idea what my career will be or where I will live. I don't know. BUT I am a woman who has the courage to leave for a year to be an au-pair in the country of my second language. I am full of love and I am so complicated. I am not a virgin but I am pure again.

I think far too much about someone. A perfect night for me would be on the couch or in bed with his arms around me with coffee or tea and a good book.

I wonder what the future holds. I wish I knew. I wish my heart would heal and that I could truly trust in G-d.

I save ticket stubs and stupid, dorky souvenirs to remember.

French sins and dating

Tuesday 4:30 pm
Yesterday was mostly a relax and recover day after my miles long walk through the city. I went swimming in the afternoon without the girls. I read Love in the Time of Cholera. I watched some Grey’s Anatomy. I wrote some postcards. We had well I had scrambled eggs and potatoes for dinner with a glass of champagne. Others had shrimp with avocado alongside it. And salad. And then I committed a French sin and mixed a little orange juice with the last of my champagne to see how it tasted. Mimosas are yummy. :) At the end of the night, it was hot enough that for once I opened my windows wide open even after dark. I read a bit like that (I had an essential oil on that wards off mosquitoes and had it sprinkled by the window along with the plug in thing). I only found a moth and a mosquito. The moth flew by me and the mosquito I killed.
This morning, hanging out with the girls, we brought a blanket outside to sit on and played pretend. I was the kid, Noemi the mama, and Yael the papa. And we used magic to get 80 of everything in the world. Especially sweets. I thought at first that Noemi said it was a “sauber” thing (clean). So I asked if it would work on my room at home. Then she said, “Oh your room from New York is over there now.” And I realized it was Zauber (magic). She also used magic to bring Eric here. Cute, right? At the end of my shift, when Kathrin had come in, Yael looked at me and (she’s three mind you) said “You’re a woman too. You have breasts.” I laughed my ass off. Such innocence. She quickly told me to stop laughing. :) So the discovery of the day is that I am a woman and have breasts courtesy of my favorite three year old. Now, I just finished a bowl of crunchy museli with coconut yogurt and I’m going to hitch a ride into the city with the family then head on my own. I think I’m going to climb the Eiffel Tower tonight. :)

Wednesday 12:11am
I just got back from Paris. I’ve changed, had a pudding, and crawled into bed. I’m not capable of much more. My calves are trembling and if I try to stand on them, they threaten to collapse. I climbed up 719 stairs and then climbed back down them. Why did I do this? Because those 719 stairs combined with an elevator ride got me 281 meters into the air on the third story of the Eiffel Tower. I headed into the city with Daniel and the girls. They played at a playground for an hour or so while I read on a bench in the shade before we drove closer to the Eiffel Tower and parted ways. I got in the first line I saw and hoped it was right. About 40 minutes later or so… a woman informs us that this is the line for the elevators. If you go over around the corner, you’ll only have to wait 15 minutes or so to take the stairs. Well, I wanted to climb up the stairs anyhow to say I had done it. Given the HUGE time difference, of course I did it regardless. By the time I got to the second floor, I was sweating and gross and full of endorphins from climbing so high. I offered to take a picture of a woman who was by herself while I had a mouth full of pretzel (bought at the “cafeteria” aka a snack bar). The girls next to me asked, in French, if I could take their picture. I told them of course but I’m an American. I speak English. They took my picture in return and then we wound up hanging out and heading to the top. They were all a little younger than me. Still in college. (Oh that’s so weird to say!) They’re on a 4 week program here in Paris, staying with host families. We watched the sun set from on top of the Eiffel Tower and then the lights in the city started to come up… it was amazing. And to speak English with people around my own age too was just what I needed. I lost track of them at some point and decided it was time to head back down anyhow. I got in line for the lift down to the second floor and got a call from Daniel asking where I was. I was surprised they were still in the city but we agreed to meet by the carousel I’d been on with the girls one of our first days. My calves started to give out somewhere between the first level and the ground. Now, I am sooo tired. My feet hurt and my eyes won’t stay open. Time for Doctor Who and sleep.

Friday night before bed
Well I just got back from my first real first date. The line between dating and hanging out for me was always blurred. But tonight, I got together with someone I met through couchsurfing for “dinner or drinks”. I wasn’t exactly sure of when the last RER train was but I thought it was around 11:30. We got together at St. Michel’s place and headed for a drink. We ended up at a piano bar that barely had any seats left. We ended up at a four-top and he sat on the same side as me instead of across from me. We talked for a while. Nikos was very affectionate and obviously found me attractive. He kept putting his arm around me and just being touchy. It wasn’t a bad thing and I know I’m making it sound like that. It was more than Americans normally do but he is Greek so as far as my knowledge of Greek culture goes, it was within their normal boundaries. At the bar, there was live music and she killed a few songs. Like Sway and Fever. Good popular jazzy songs. I could do better. Seriously. But then I am a singer. I’ve never done the dating thing but I probably committed several of those big no-no’s. Like mentioning G-d, my ex, and the big one refusing to kiss him despite him trying three times. Seriously the man couldn’t take a hint. Three times he grabbed my face or leaned in and three times I pulled away. At the end of the night when I headed towards the metro not knowing that the last train was at 12:30 not 11:30, he asked for a good night kiss which I refused. I told him it wasn’t personal and he looked incredibly confused. I don’t kiss unless I’m in a relationship. Well, there was one exception to that… repeatedly… but Nikos doesn’t need to know that! When I finally got on the right train, after all the chaos and wrong turns and crap, I realized that I smelled like his cologne. And I don’t like the way he smells. Another way I know he’s definitely not the one for me. If you don’t like how someone smells, your body knows intuitively that they’re not a healthy match for having children with. And I couldn’t be with someone that I don’t like the way they smell regardless of the biological reasons. It wasn’t bad (I mean it wasn’t BO or anything) but it wasn’t something I enjoyed. So I came straight home and showered.

Saturday Night Before Bed
Oh my goodness I had so much fun tonight. I went to Montmartre and met Jalil. He’s been living in Paris for the last two years but is from Morocco and Spain. I was late meeting him because I’d been having one of my passionate disagreements with my mom over cigarettes but he didn’t seem too upset by it. He called me as I was changing trains at one point and I told him I was on my way and apologized. We started walking and I was basically following his lead. (Reasons I was very happy to be with someone familiar with Paris!) We ended up at the bottom of the hill towards Sacre-Coeurand he asked if I wanted to take the lift up or walk up the stairs. I choose the stairs. :) But before we got there, we were stopped by those wonderful swindlers. They took our hands and made a bracelet while we held the end of it and, tourist that I am, it was on my wrist before I knew how to say no and I was guilted into giving a bit for it. On the one hand, it’s a cute bracelet (green crisscrossed with a strip of whitebluebluewhite). On the other, I didn’t ask for it. So I didn’t give the guy much. Sorry dude. Don’t try to con me into it next time.
So we took the stairs up to the top of the hill and looked out over the city. We went into Sacre-Coeur and walked around quickly. I’ll go back sometime when I can actually explore it and spend some time in worship. A man at the front door was scolding people about putting their cameras away and being quiet and not running. “This is a church not a salon!” He even told one woman that her skirt/dress was too short and she couldn’t come in. The sign there says “Silence. Decent clothing. No photos.” As soon as we stepped inside, I felt the familiar pull that is to me a reminder to cover my head as a sign of respect for my L-rd. So despite the temperature and despite the odds of looking crazy, I put my hoodie on and pulled up the hood. Answering to the call of my Creator trumps public opinion. When we left the church, we walked for a bit around. Eventually, we ended up at a little café/restaurant and ordered some wine. It was Gewurztrimner I think. From Alsace. After a while of talking and drinking, we headed back up toward the Basilica to watch the sunset and I realized that two glasses of wine on an empty stomach had left me a little tipsy. Thank Heavens that I was able to walk in a straight line for um most of the walk over the cobblestones. I only tripped once or twice and then uprighted myself quickly before Jalil insisted on helping me. I did not need that after Mr. Touchy last night. We missed the sunset but laughed and sat down on the steps to watch night fall and to see a bit of the performances going on. One man climbed a light post and then juggled a soccer ball with his feet, a couple played with firey batons. Well, he was impressive. She was basically just hot and scantily clad. When we headed back toward the metro, there was a crazy marching band type group playing music. It was so much fun. Laughing and clapping and half dancing. I couldn’t see anything because I’m pint-sized but I could hear it! Haha. At the Metro, we parted ways with a very European double check kiss and unlike Mr. Touchy, he didn’t even try to kiss me. I made it home around midnight, after his assistance with the STUPID ticket machine that I can’t get to work so that I can buy my stupid tickets to Chatou Croissy. All in all, I love Montmartre and I had a great time. :) I’ll definitely be going back there soon. I just need to decide what I’m doing tomorrow. I could go to the Louvre, I could go to a department store IN the city, I could go to the area Jalil recommended today which is in zone 5 on the OTHER side of the city (I’m in zone 4 on the West side and it’s on the east side), or I could go wander Montmartre again. OR I could explore Croissy. Too many choices. :)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Faux Pas and Notre Dame

Thursday 2pm
I’m finally healthy. Thankfully. 100% recovered from my night of puking and all.

Friday 3pm
So I managed to commit one of the few international faux pas. I discussed religion during a meal. And probably seemed like a judgmental bitch in the process. Daniel’s father was asking me about the election and said something about Romney being a Mormon. I’ve got no probably with that but then he said something about Mormons being Christian and I started shaking my head. My opinionated self couldn’t keep quiet. I’ve done my research. Christians believe that faith in Christ alone will save you and bring you to heaven. Mormons have a different take on things. If I convert to Mormonism two minutes before I die and truly believe, my faith means nothing because I haven’t had the chance to prove it with works. If I convert to Christianity and then die two minutes later, so long as I truly believed I am saved. That’s a big difference and cannot be chalked up as a difference of opinion. That along with many other things means that Mormons are not Christians. I have no problem with them as people but they are not Christians. Open mouth. Insert foot. Anybody know a good surgeon? I’m going to need help getting my foot back out. He changed the subject and THEN I realized my faux pas. Dear Brain, Why can’t you work faster than my mouth sometimes? A cycle of guilt could easily start now. :/ There’s nothing I can do about what happened but I can pray that G-d will give me tact in the future and that He will watch over the words of my tongue.
Last night I spent a few hours in bed reading before I fell asleep. First my “fun” book and then Confessions of a Prayer Slacker. It’s so easy to read and it’s easy to convict me. I’m planning to make a morning prayer time. To wake up, make some tea, and sit down with G-d before my day starts. If you had an appointment with the President, you’d be certain to meet it every morning as long as he wanted to meet with you. Well, the Ruler of all wants to meet with you every morning. He wants to hear everything that’s on your mind and He wants to help you through your day. Why should I miss a single moment that I could have with Him?
This morning we went out for breakfast for croissants and coffee at a café called Les Impressionistes. Simple but delicious. The croissants here really are better than in America or in Germany. I really have to do laundry but there’s something wrong with the machine. I’m not sure what or why but I hope it gets fixed soon or I’ll be wearing dirty clothes tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow, my week has changed while we’re here in France. I work 10-2 Monday through Saturday and have Sunday free. It’s 24 hours a week (instead of the 30 I should be working) and I still have all my evenings and a day off.
I think I’m going to go hop in the pool and swim some laps, wake myself up a bit. Then I’m going to do some research on Paris in the kitchen while drinking some tea and eating some Jaffa cakes I believe. Dinner here is always so late that if I don’t have a snack I’m totally starving.

Sunday before bed
Oh my goodness. I am tired. I am sore. My stomach hurts a little (wine and ice cream don’t go well together). I am amazed by the majesty of my G-d. Today was my day off so I slept in a little and had some museli for breakfast (which by the way I love-one of my recent discoveries). When I went over to the house to get my laundry from yesterday, Helga pulled out the waffle maker and David cooked some more waffles so I could have fresh waffles (which are apparently a Sunday tradition). They were good and I had a cup of strong coffee but I wasn’t terribly hungry considering the museli. After hanging around for a bit and getting the directions to the RER station from Kathrin, I headed off towards the city with the plan to see Notre Dame and Saint-Chappelle. But being Vickey… I took the RER to Chatlet Les Halles and transferred to a different line to St Michel-Notre Dame. And when I left, I headed the wrong way. So I turned around and found Notre Dame. It was stunning. I honestly recognized the shape of it from a Hunchback of Notre Dame game I played with my little brother when we were small. A big square front with two rectangles for towers. And then the back view with the flying buttresses I recognized from London studies. I waited in the line (which was less than 5 minutes) and first went around the perimeter in the sanctuary to view the little chapels and the stained glass. I was quickly overwhelmed by G-d though. I had prayed before I went in that He might meet me there. I know it can be hard in a cathedral to feel G-d because it’s not intimate but it is beautiful and I knew He could do it if I asked. After I walked around the perimeter, I sat down in the aisles (they aren’t pews but rather chairs) and just gave in to the overwhelming feeling. I cried, I prayed, I wrote in the notebook I had with me. (The contents of that follow in Italics here.)

I’m sitting in Notre Dame right now completely overwhelmed by the majesty and glory of G-d. When they built cathedrals like this, they wanted to convey G-d’s power and how lofty He is. This is not an intimate place. It is enormous and vast and makes me feel so small. And that was the point. I prayed before I came in for 30 seconds asking G-d to meet me here. I know it’s more of a tourist location these days but it is still a church of G-d and He can still use it. And He has overwhelmed me with how big He is. How small I am. And yet, He loves me. My G-d is so big yet He loves me. He makes time for me every moment. He is always with me. So why can’t I always grasp that? My Saviour loves me. Speck of dust, ball of clay, me.  I pray that I might not forget this lesson or this feeling. The hole I feel in my heart is because I have let days go by, weeks and even months, without having a heart to heart with my Father, my Saviour. When I call Him my L-rd, I want to remember what that means. That I am bending to His will but that I trust Him to do the right thing for me that He has plans. My G-d has plans for me. He has great plans for me. I am going to impact people and I don’t know how but He does. He is going to use me for His good if only I will step out of the way and let Him. My G-d is so big, so strong, and so mighty. There’s nothing my G-d cannot do. My G-d has used a tourist day in Paris, a childish desire to see Notre Dame into a religious experience complete with crying and promises to wake up to meet Him every day for a week if He’ll promise to help my alertness level and sleep schedule. And I know my G-d will. He can do anything if only I have faith. And if He can organize the construction of this magnificent cathedral and use it to touch me, of course He can wake me up. Father G-d, I need to feel Your love. I need to feel Your reassurance and I need You to fill the void I’ve let grow over my romantic desires. Wonderful Saviour, fill me with You and let me remember that You have shown me a future with a husband and children. My desires for family and motherhood are not contrary to Yours. It’s my timing that is. Father, remind me to wait on You. Make me yearn for You and only You, L-rd. I dare not ask for patience. You know what I need, my Father. You have not only great plans for me but perfect ones. If I had followed my plans and my heart, I would be married to the wrong man, may have children, and may not have a degree. I don’t know if I would end up in the ministry You want for me. And since I believe it has to do with my heartbreak over the loss of my virginity, I doubt it. But L-rd, I realize now that just because I lost my virginity does not mean my purity is forever lost as well. Help me recover my purity, L-rd. Change my heart. Restore my conscience. Saviour, as I leave this place, come with me. Don’t let this experience stay here. 

My plan next was to head to Saint Chappelle but I wandered my way there and suddenly came across the bridge I see all over Pinterest with the locks on them. People attach a lock with their name and their lover’s then throw the key in the river to symbolize that their love will never end. Just as they can never get the lock off, they can never end their love. I didn’t think I’d actually find it but I stumbled upon it! (Future reference, it’s behind Notre Dame.) Eventually, I found Shakespeare and Company while I was wandering and trying to find food. My guidebook had mentioned it so I thought I might as well stop in. It’s a cramped little shop with lots of books. I wasn’t sure what to look for so I browsed and then bought Love in the time of Cholera. I think it’s the book that Kate Beckinsale’s character sells with her name and number in in the movie Serendipity. As I was about the pay, the woman in front of me stumbled forward behind the counter. I thought she was just completely out of it socially and was getting in the cashier’s personal space. Then he said, “Are you okay?” And I realized she was having some sort of an episode. I thought she was seizing but I’m not sure anymore what happened. An ambulance was called and I was of um no help at all. I wish there was something I could do but there really wasn’t. She was sitting at a table outside the shop when I left. During my wandering after that, I tried to find food. My anxiety combined with my complete lack of French made me skip over restaurant after restaurant. I also didn’t have much money because I bought too many tickets for the RER. (I assumed that they could be used both there AND back but no dice. They’re only from Croissy TO Paris. Oh well. I can use them later.) I ended up at Starbucks and used the wifi to text Eric. Amazingly, my stop in there coincided with his break during work. Because the wifi here is only in a small area of the main house, I haven’t been texting much. I’m hoping to Skype my gramma Wednesday at her request and to talk to Eric either via video chat or I’ll use my laptop to call his cell. After Starbucks, I headed to Sainte Chappelle which was of course closed (it was 6:15). I ended up wandering and found Avenue Victoria where I got someone to take a picture of me with the street sign. I walked towards the Champs des Elysses and ended up in the Concorde near the Louvre. I didn’t go INTO the Louvre but I did see lots of people lounging about on grass in the “Jardin”s. It’s a very French thing to lay about in the grass in any park area. I looked very French today in black pants, a black V-neck, and my flats with my favorite bracelet and a new blue scarf to match. I was even asked SEVERAL times if I spoke French or if I knew where something was. Once I actually managed to help. (He asked for McDonald’s. I had just passed it.) So by the time I got to the end of the Concorde, I was tired and VERY thirsty. I headed towards Champs des Elysses but was waylaid by the set up from the Tour de France which went through Paris today (no I didn’t see anyone). FINALLY, I got there and went to Haagen Dazs for ice cream and a glass of water. I drank the water as if I had never seen anything so precious and then stopped alongside the Metro station to eat my cone. I made small talk with a guy who I THOUGHT I had heard speaking English (he did speak some but not much). Then, my tired ass got on the Metro, rode two stops, changed to the RER, and came home. My feet still hurt but I’ve had a half a glass of wine, a piece of pizza, and a hot bath. I’ve washed my dishes and my hair and it’s 12:30am. That all combines to mean I am exhausted and going to sleep. Alarm goes off in 8 hours.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Traveling Through Europe and First Day in Paris

Sunday night
It’s amazing the difference in not having internet for one night. It’s been less than 10 hours since I was last online but the fact that I can’t unless I specifically ask for the internet passcode is so odd. And it’s one night so I’m not going to. I can survive one night without the internet. What exactly I’m going to do to pass the time until I go to bed I’m not sure but I’ll find something. Right now, that something is going to be listening to music through iTunes and writing this in a word document to be transferred to my blog later. I would be watching Grey’s Anatomy right now but that’s not possible without internet. I’m also going to be slightly restricted on my internet usage for the next five weeks. The first four while we’re in Croissy-sur-Seine the internet will be in the living room and I’ll have to be there to watch/write/etc. Which means I’ll be doing the same thing as I am now. Write in my room and post later.
So tonight we’re near Köln at Daniel’s aunt’s house. It took us about three hours from the time we actually got on the road to get here. The first hour or so wasn’t a problem and then when things got a little tough again, I pulled out a new surprise. (Bracelets where they could slide letters on them to write words.) Unfortunately these only included one of each letter plus some funky characters (a sun, a heart, etc.) thus limiting the possibilities severely. Luckily, both girls have names that don’t repeat letters so they could write their name but it’s hard to include a second word without more vowels which was when the second round of tough started. Noemi wanted to write another name but we’ve only got an A and a U left for vowels, we lost a few letters to the car floor, etc. Nuria woke up and started crying because she was sick of being in the car. Yael was the only one that wasn’t a problem at all. All three girls slept for a bit. I almost slept. I also started listening to Les Miserables on Minerva. When I had to look down to get it set up though, I got a little car sick so I chewed one of my motion sickness gum pieces. It worked but I didn’t know how long to chew it for and it made my tongue numb. Like as if I’d just been given Novocain. (And now, randomly, my heart decides to start hurting. Wonderful. I’m not doing anything. I’m not stressed. I haven’t been active recently. Liebe Herz, WTF? Deine, Vickey)
Tomorrow morning my alarm goes off at 8am. I *might* take a quick shower before breakfast and then after breakfast, we’ll get on the road to Paris. We’re planning to stop for lunch and for an afternoon snack. I’m sure we’ll also wind up making bathroom stops too. If we take an hour for lunch and “Kuchen”, and leave here by 11, we’ll be in Paris by sunset.
Speaking of bathroom breaks, today when we stopped the bathroom was so high-tech. First of all, you have to pay 70 cents per adult to use the bathroom. But that means that they’re completely clean. The doors are full length and they turn red when locked (not the whole thing but a button) so there’s no guessing if it’s occupied or not. They’re automatic flushers but only when you wave your hand in front of them so no surprise “Oh I thought you were done” flushes. And it cleans the toilet seat too! It rotates the seat and cleans it. How cool is that?
Okay, it’s only 10:20pm but I’m tired. So I’m going to find a video hidden away on Artemis and fall asleep. G’night!

Monday night
Monday has come to an end and if I hadn’t taken a shower I’d be ready for bed. But I can’t sleep directly after a shower so I’m awake enough to write down today’s events. Which is good because I want to capture some of the little things before I forget.
So I’ll try to go chronologically because that’s most logical but we’ll see if it actually happens. I knew there was going to be street construction and Kathrin said it might wake me up but I didn’t believe her. I didn’t realize they were using a backhoe 20 feet from my window. So I woke up at 7 and didn’t get properly back to sleep. We had breakfast around 9 or so (simple, typical German breakfast-toast, cheese, Wurst, nutella, honey, coffee) and the kids played a little before we headed out. Daniel took a shower and we loaded back up. Nuria slept for a bit until Daniel’s music woke her up. We decided that since the trip was 450 km we’d stop every 150 km for a break: lunch, snack, then we’d be here. Around 150 or so, we did stop for lunch. It was a rest stop but it was so much nicer than American rest stops. We were on a toll road in Belgium (oh yeah by the way I went through Belgium today!) and the restaurant in the stop had a café and then a place where you could pick desserts, salads, and drinks from a cooler or you could order stir-fry, burgers, schnitzel, steak, pasta with sauce, and fries. If there was anything else, I’m not sure since it was all in French! Thank goodness for Daniel though. I told him what I’d like and he ordered it for me (a cheeseburger with French fries and a coke-He offered me a beer but the only beer I’ve had here that I liked made my stomach turn over). After lunch, where Ellie by the way at almost nothing, we got back in the car and we all basically fell asleep. At some point we got more surprises for the girls (magnetic travel games then an animal memory game which Nuria destroyed the parts to by flinging them all over the car and an animal rubix cube). Nuria slept almost the entire afternoon. Around the 300 km mark we stopped so Daniel could take a short nap and I think I fell asleep too but I’m not sure. I listened to music a lot today. Daniel’s very strict with Noemi’s speech and making her pronounce things correctly. It resulted in several breakdowns and screaming fits today. Which was tough on all of us. I understand what his purpose is but I think there might be a better way to go about correcting her bad habits than making her repeat sentences over and over. Sometimes it feels like he’s so caught up in her pronunciation that he doesn’t hear her. I know when I speak I mix up the tenses (especially with conditional and past tense stories) so he gets a bit confused about what I mean and when things happened. Correcting that and not paying as much attention to the subject matter due to the grammar makes complete sense. But when a child is speaking, I think it’s the subject that’s more important. Correct it by repeating something the proper way and know that they’ll fix it eventually. (If a kid says “I goed”, then the adult says “You went to the store yesterday. Oh I bet that was fun.” It’s unobtrusive but fixes the problem.) Obviously it’s not my place to say anything so I simply turned my music on.
Finally, we got to France. When we got to Paris, I asked Kathrin if I’d be able to see the Eiffel Tower from the car. And I did! Several times! Only on the horizon but oh my freaking goodness I saw the Eiffel Tower!!!! I’m in France! Yeah I had a squee moment or twelve in the car. When we finally got here, we unloaded and settled in. We had dinner with the grandparents (Grossmama and Grosspapa). I tried a pink champagne, caviar, and crème fraiche (sp) during the appetizer. I tried caviar and champagne. In France. And by the way my anxiety has mostly been undercontrol. Yes, I hide behind the kids and my role as caretaker and entertainer a bit but since I’m already comfortable with Kathrin and Daniel, I know I’ll settle in quickly here too. The main course from dinner was a homemade soup with cous-cous, chicken, vegetables, and chickpeas. It was delicious. Thankfully, she didn’t prepare any pork products. Daniel didn’t tell her until tonight at dinner that I don’t eat any. She asked, naturally, if I’m Jewish or Islamic and I replied, as always, that I’m Protestant but I eat according to Leviticus and added “I’m just weird”.  She seemed to accept that pretty well which is always nice. For the main course, Daniel’s brother and two of his friends joined us. When the kids got tired, we broke up the party and parted ways. Kathrin, Daniel, and the girls have one of the guest houses, and I have the other entirely to myself. It’s kind of cool to have my own house for a month. I’ve got a kitchen, several bedrooms to choose from, a bathroom, etc. (I’ll update my Flickr this week and you’ll see pictures.) I choose the biggest bedroom. It’s the nearest so I don’t have to walk all over tarnation to go to the kitchen and such and it actually had storage for my clothes so I could unpack. I’ve already unpacked and rearranged a bit so it feels a bit more personal and it works better for me. For example, my room has two beds: a full and a twin. I want to sleep in the full but the twin was right next to it. I moved the twin so it was at the foot of the full so that I could get in and out of my bed easier. Also, my shower? It’s the weirdest thing ever. I don’t have a shower curtain or a door at all. I have a bathtub and a showerhead. So I had to sit down in the tub to shower. I’m exhausted now so I’m going to sleep. I have to remember to write about the Barbie incident. Tomorrow morning my work day starts by 10am so I’m planning to be at the house by 9:30 to eat breakfast before I watch the girls. Now, I’m going to sleep. G’night!

Tuesday afternoon
I’ll upload this tonight but I’ve got just a few minutes right now to write so I thought I’d take advantage. We’re going to Paris proper in just a few minutes. As in I’m going to see the Eiffel Tower. The Eiffel freaking tower. It’s Paris. I’m in Paris. I had a croissant for breakfast and had my private “Oh my gosh I’m eating a French croissant in a French living room in France.” I hear the girls so I think we’re almost ready. We went swimming this morning with all three little ones which was an adventure. The water was nice and warm though and I did a few laps. I think I’m going to try to go swimming several times a week. Get my exercise that way. I love the water so it’s perfect. I just have to remember to take a shower so I wash the chlorine off. At least I don’t reek of it though. Actually I don’t know if it had chlorine or something else. After we got out of the pool, Nuria was with Kathrin taking a nap and I took the older two to my house to play. They jumped on my bed and played on my iPod for a while until Kathrin called us so she could go make lunch. (Oh goodness. I hear Noemi shouting “Bad Ellie”. I wonder what happened…) I’ve already got a bit of color from swimming. And it was only two hours WITH sunscreen (SPF 30) on. It’s warm enough here that I really ought to buy a pair of shorts. Hopefully I can find a cute relatively cheap pair of denim shorts that are long enough for my modesty soon. I’ll look up cheap places in Paris to shop tonight and I’m probably going to spend Saturday in Paris. Oh, I French braided my hair. It’s not perfect and I need practice but I can do it. I’m so proud of myself. Braiding and French braiding is one of those things that I’ve always known how to do before I tried; I just needed to get my hands on something to practice on and try. I need to do it more often and I think I’ll be much better doing it on Noemi than on myself since I can actually see and make the divisions better, neater.
Oh, the Barbie incident from yesterday. Noemi kept throwing her Barbies. I told her that she couldn’t do that. So finally, I told her if she threw them one more time that Barbie was staying with me for the night. She threw it again. I confiscated Barbie and she threw a fit. I felt bad for causing a scene but I was not about to let that stop me from keeping my word. If I backed down she’d think causing a scene would get her out of her consequences. So I kept the Barbie and Kathrin and Daniel both supported me in it. Daniel said he wished I had come earlier if I’m going to follow through like that. Time to go to the Eiffel Tower.
Back from Paris. I’m suddenly completely sick. I’ve barfed twice and I can’t even hold down water.  I’m blaming the fermented cabbage that I tried. Seriously it was a bite but I feel like complete and total shit. I’ll write about the city later. Eiffel Tower, water playing, playground, traffic jam, Champ Elysses, McDonald’s, Haagen Daaz, drive home, Korean food, sick. That’s the outline and I’ll fill it in tomorrow.

Wednesday morning
Because of last night I’m taking the day off. I think in a few hours I’ll be okay and can head over to the main house but I’m just going to take it slowly. Last night after I barfed the first time, I took a sip of water and it started off the second round of yuck. Then I went back to bed and woke up an hour or two later with another round. I actually did the lay down on the bathroom floor thing. I’m going to try brushing my teeth, drinking some water, etc. In the meantime, I’m going to watch some Doctor Who and write about yesterday’s adventure.
We all piled into the car and headed to Paris proper. We’re staying in a suburb just across the Seine. It didn’t take too long to get there and Yael fell asleep within maybe two minutes. Nuria was just falling asleep when we got there. We found a parking place but there was some chaos with needing a parking permit. Daniel and Yael went off in search of a TABAC shop while the other four of us bought coffees for all three adults in order to let Noemi use the bathroom. What was a coffee was actually a shot of espresso and I found it way too strong. I took a sip and couldn’t drink any more. The café was a rinky dink little place that had floorboards coming up, steep stairs, and no fresh air. I’m surprised it didn’t reek of cigarette smoke. As soon as Noemi had gone to the bathroom, we left, bringing the third espresso for Daniel. He caught up with us and we all headed towards the Eiffel Tower. There are two little carousels, one under one side of the tower and one a little bit away but still within the line of sight to the tower. We went to the little one and Daniel and I rode with the girls. I sat in a gondola with the squirmy-wormy-timey-wimey-baby Nuria. Noemi was upset that her horse didn’t go up and down like Yael’s. We took some pictures of me in front of the tower and me with the girls. Then we went up to this reflecting pool across from the tower. I’ve honestly forgotten the name of it. I’ll have to look it up. We stuck our feet in one of the little pools until suddenly the fountains in front of us went off. Then the big water guns went off creating a beautiful rainbow. Noemi’s shoe fell into the pool right away so she had a wet foot the rest of the day. We climbed up the steps to the top of the pools and I started a trend of trying to look like we had the Eiffel Tower in our hands. Yes, it was dorky. But I had to do it.
After that we headed to a little playground and the girls played for a bit until Daniel went to get the van and we headed out toward the Ile-St.-Louis near Notre Dame for some ice cream. Naturally though we found a traffic jam on the way so we pulled a U-turn and found a parking spot just off the Avenue des Champs-Elysees in search of ice cream. Instead we found a McDonald’s and the girls got chicken nuggets and fries. It was a ridiculous McDonald’s. Their McCafe had macrons and other desserts and I didn’t see the types of drinks but I’m guessing they were impressive too. The whole thing was huge and I couldn’t believe it was a McDonald’s. Very chic, very high class. As we were walking around, at times Nuria decided she’d rather walk so she took hands and walked along between either me and Kathrin or me and Daniel. She’s fastest with two hands but can do it with one or alone. Alone though only goes up to 10 steps at a time. She averages about 6 though. Once it was 12. After McDonald’s, we tried to find ice cream and wound up at Häagen Daaz or however you spell it. Yael got chocolate and vanilla, Noemi got raspberry and vanilla, Nuria got one scoop of raspberry, and I got cookie dough and Belgian chocolate. It was delicious. Rich and more than two scoops but delicious. I ate every bite of it.  We headed back to the car and got a little lost. Well, not lost but we had to make a detour and Daniel wasn’t 100% sure which turns to take. In the end, we made it home though without too much detour. It took 45 minutes when it should have taken 25. When we got here, David and his friends had made Korean food. (David is Daniel’s brother.) Half of it was uncooked and half of it was fermented so basically I had rice with tofu and soy sauce. I did try kim chi which is fermented cabbage. I think that might have been what set off this bout of illness. Or maybe it was too much dairy without a lactaid pill. Or the orange juice reacted with something in my stomach to cause a violent reaction. Either way, nothing stayed in my stomach last night. It’s 12:30 now and I’m managing to eat pretzels and water but I can’t let my laptop on my stomach too long without feeling a bit off. My head’s also a bit icky feeling-kind of full and foggy. Probably from low blood sugar due to having practically nothing in my system. Well, I don’t have anything else to write really and my episode of Doctor Who is over so I’m going to save this and determine my next step.

I forgot to write earlier that we saw the Arc de Triomphe from the car as well as walking down the Champs-Elysees we saw a plaque commemorating where the house in which Thomas Jefferson lived as an ambassador to France once stood. Now, it’s a typical shop. I also saw a Barclay’s and a Mark’s and Spencer (making me reminisce about London). Oh and of course a Louis Vuttion (which I might just get a knock off bag just for kicks since I am in Paris).

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Last week in Germany before vacation

Because Sunday night was a rather late night, til around midnight, I slept in a little Monday morning. The girls and I went to the playground and of course I was sniffling all morning and was exhausted. When Nuria's nose started running, I realized that I had forgotten tissues so the three of us ran to Netto for tissues and I picked up TP while I was there. 75 cents for two rolls. That afternoon, Noemi had her dentist appointment and since Kathrin thought Nuria might have cavities, she went too. Thankfully, Nuria just has funny looking teeth that look like cavities apparently. I watched Yael during that time. I honestly don't remember much except that I was tired for most of the day. But I took so much Vitamin C that I got better quicker than Daniel did. I also got to Skype EEK for about half an hour before I watched Yael. Honestly, the day was mostly about trying to get healthy.

Another day in which I was sick. Almost healthy but not quite. I cleaned my room, including vaccumming it. We took pictures for my visa as well as the girls' travel passes. It was chaos. Nuria and Yael weren't too bad but the girl was a PITA regarding Noemi. Because she's older, the girl took the requirement more seriously. Noemi's mouth wouldn't relax (kinda like me when I was little) so we must have taken a million photos. And the girl was all "Chin up. Not so high. Head to the left. Not so far." I at least understood her but those pictures do not ever turn out pretty. Ever. It's like a blank stare basically. Caught on camera. And I bought double point needles from the EuroShop to work on my coffee cozy instead of using loooong ass circular needles. The excess length just kept getting in my way. Now I just have to worry about poking myself with the sharp ends lol

There is nothing on my calendar regarding Wednesday. I don't remember anything special either.

This was the mother of long busy days. I watched the girls in the morning and stayed inside due to stupid rain. It was a long morning. Then afterwards I went to the Auslanderburo (foreigner's office) to get my residence permit. Of course I had to get the computer that crashed halfway through which made it take even longer. Then at the end, the woman tells me that I've got to wait for two letters-one from their office and one from Berlin. They'll get here around 3-6 weeks from now. Well we go to Paris on Sunday so I told her that and asked if that's a problem. Can I wait to come back after I get the letters? So she gave me a German travel pass for foreigners to speed my travels up. I have to go back after I get back to Osnabrueck to get my visa but my travels are cleared. Afterwards, I went to meet Denna for bagels by one of the parks I take the girls to all the time. It was great to hang out and I found out that she's maybe a few MONTHS older than me, not years as I thought. It's nice to hang out with someone around my age. We talked, we ate bagels (which were too thin and the cream cheese tasted like diet), and we bitched about the weather. The woman behind the counter was so confused when we ordered bagels with just cream cheese. She said, "Bagel, cream cheese, and lettuce?" No. Bagel and cream cheese. No lettuce. She found it so odd. A few hours later I headed home, Denna caught the bus, and I made trail mix (here literally it translates to "student food") with the girls. On the way home, I stopped in a few little stores that I pass by every day but never go in. At one, I bought Gramma's birthday present. At the other, I bought some rainbow striped yarn to make my first pair of socks out of. Then I stopped in a bookstore where I didn't buy anything. At the end of the night, I babysat while Kathrin and Daniel went to a meet the teacher night at Noemi's school. The girls had waffles for dinner, watched a little bit of a film, and then brushed teeth and went to bed. Nuria didn't sleep at all. I was more exhausted than she was. (Thank you to being sick. totally healthy except my energy levels.) I went to sleep when Kathrin and Daniel got home.

At the end of a long week, Friday was long too. Another rainy day so we stayed inside again with the girls. Kathrin picked up McDonald's for lunch but they forgot to include my burger. I was planning to go out shopping for the trip anyhow so Kathrin told me to get something to eat and add it to the bill which was so nice. I mean they messed up, not her. So I ran out to shop in the rain of course. After Eric decided to be a pain in the rear from an ocean away. I got a pocket sized travel guide to Paris from Thalia-which is my preferred bookstore. Just like in the US there's the borders/barnes and noble thing (okay, there was), in Osnabrueck there's Thalia/Bucher Wenner. I prefer Thalia. Then I stopped by Starbucks for a drink and went shopping for travel. When I was little, my mom would put a new toy in a brown paper bag and give me one every half hour or so during a long car ride. I suggested it to Kathrin and she told me it was a good idea. I told her I'd be willing to do the shopping if she wanted. She has lots of things to do to get ready and I just have me. So that was my task Friday. We agreed on approximately 10 items. I came home with about 20 plus a few things for myself. I walked all over town in my rainboots so I had very sore feet when I got back. I walked from here to Johannisstrasse to do my shopping then over to near the train station to a particular store, bought what I wanted, then came back home. After I relaxed a little bit, I wrapped all of the trinkets and labeled them with symbols so I knew what was in each one. Then I watched Grey's Anatomy for a while while I packed for Paris before going to bed around 1 am. I'm almost packed. It's in my backpack, laptop bag, purse, the big bag I got from the campus store, plus my travel pillow which won't bother going into anything. I feel like it's a lot but the trip is for a month and I honestly have it as condensed as I can. Plus I've got a bag of gifts for the girls during the trip and a bag with the trail mix ingredients. It would all fit into half of my suitcase but I don't have a single bag big enough for it all. :/ And Vickey's rambling slight paranoia ends here. Come visit us next time for another batch of crazy.

So in reality the crazy never ends. The crazy is just beginning. I'm dying to color my hair but I've never done it myself. I think I'll wait til I get back and then ask one of the girls I know if they'd like to help me out. Or maybe I'll do it myself in Paris. Who knows. I've also got to figure out which color. Do I go darker or do I go red? Or should I just suck up the cost and go to a hair salon? But that still requires me picking out a color. Kinda want to go darker again. I'm hanging out for the afternoon, updating this, and relaxing until bedtime. Tomorrow we drive to Daniel's aunt's house and then on to Croissy-sur-Seine on Monday. I'm sick of writing now so I'm going to work on Desiree's cross-stitch for a bit. Next post will be from Paris.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Rambling Late Night Post

It's official. I have my first cold in Europe. Between the sniffles and the fever as well as the exhaustion, I'm ready for bed. Naturally my head feels like it's full of fuzz too. I'm babysitting tonight so that Kathrin can attend something at the theater. The girls had a cream of wheat type thing for dinner and I haven't eaten yet. (My focus was on getting the girls to sleep first plus I had a banana late afternoon.) Then Yael and Noemi watched an episode of Strawberry Shortcake (which is Emily Erdbeer here). We did the teeth brushing, pajamas thing and then I started searching for Fiddler On the Roof so Noemi could listen to it while she fell asleep. We took a break to read a story but Nuria cried throughout it when I wouldn't let her stand on the rocking horse. (The book Yael chose was Der Gruffelo.) Yael claimed she wasn't ready for bed yet but she was the first one asleep. Then Nuria screamed some more before finally getting comfortable on my chest (probably around the time my fever went down so she wasn't so hot) and falling asleep too. Noemi however is still awake. She's gone to the bathroom three times in the last ten minutes and is doing something with paper right now? For some reason though she's the oldest she has the most difficulty when her parents leave. She cries for Mama and asks how long until Mama comes back. Now she's listening to Fiddler in bed while I'm writing this and the little two sleep.

In a week, we leave for Paris. On the one hand, I can't wait to go there, see the Eiffel Tower, etc. But on the other hand, it's 4 weeks in a country where I don't speak the language getting used to another new culture and another new way of life as well as new people. We're staying with Daniel's parents and the internet isn't great there so that's going to cramp my communications with people back home. Not speaking more French than "Hello. My name is Victoria. Do you speak English? Do you speak German?" is going to be an experience. I'm not sure how my anxiety will do in that situation but I know that Kathrin and Daniel will help me out since, as I've said before, they're super helpful and awesome. (Okay, eating Oatmeal with the baby on my chest isn't exactly easy... I'm so afraid I'm going to spill on her head! I'm sure getting it out of her fine, curly hair would be a nightmare.)

Just got off the phone with Eric after a few minutes. It's been a while. My head is fuzzy but everything else is okay. I can breathe through my nose, I don't have a fever anymore, etc. I'm intentionally breathing in rhythm, deeply, so Nuria will stay asleep. Somehow she slept through a five minute conversation. I was trying to be quiet but still impressive, huh? My throat's killing me and I can't hardly talk let alone sing-which the baby wants. I'm hoping to eat ice cream all morning tomorrow to soothe it.

The baby's now starting to stir for no reason so I've changed my chair for the exercise ball and I'm bouncing. It makes it a little difficult to read or to type this but at least she's sleeping. I'm also planning to grow my hair back out. I want long beautiful hair. Not sure yet what color I'll dye it next but I ought to both decide that soon and to figure out how to dye it myself.

Oh, I know I'm completely rambling but blame illness okay? Put up with me for a bit. I cannot wait to have a child of my own to rock to sleep. Some day the baby sleeping on my chest will be my son or my daughter and by this point I'll have laid him or her down to sleep so that Mommy can have just a few minutes alone before she goes to bed. I don't mind that Nuria is still on me or that she's going to be until Kathrin gets home. That's not the point. I've had all afternoon to myself and spent all morning with adults. The point is that if she was mine, my day would have gone very differently. The morning would have been spent with my family, my kids, my husband. The afternoon maybe I would have taken the baby out while I went grocery shopping (assuming we were somewhere that stores are actually open on Sundays). But my day would have been spent with family rather than alone. It would have been a day ON instead of a day to recharge in this particular way.

Alright now my back is hurting from bouncing but the baby's sleeping so whatever. My butt is going to transfer to the sofa and relax watching Grey's til Kathrin gets home. G'night people. :)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Post that took 3 days to write...

I've realized that by the time I get around to writing once or twice a week, I forget the little things that happened. I just remember "Well we went to the playground... We had lunch... Schedule changed then because of this". So in order to get the little things, I'm going to try to write more often. As in nightly when possible. When something comes up, I'm not going to concern myself with it overtly. But if you're getting e-mail reminders, sorry that they're about to increase in number. Hopefully though it'll mean shorter posts.

So Saturday night I skyped with Mary Beth for a full three hours. :) It was amazing to catch up with her. We got to fill each other in on jobs and living arrangements and such and then just chat. It's been too long since I've been able to just talk to someone who knows me so well. I didn't have to go through background, we have inside jokes, we have shared history. It was so nice. I'm really missing having friends here. I think it would be similar if I was in Rochester but it's amplified because I'm 4000 miles away. Even if I was home, I never see anyone there. And normally I spend most of my free time during the summers after a semester at college either working, with my parental units, or with Ron. There isn't a Ron in my life anymore so I think this actually gives me more to do. I'm working more than I would be at Denny's, I'm getting together with English speakers at least every other week, and I have adorable girls to spend time with. So I don't have anyone less than five years older than me and no one that I have a past with that extends more than three months. I'm working on the friend thing. I've got the English speaking group and in the fall I'll start my language course which will really give me people to talk to.

I started writing that on Thursday and it's now Saturday. So like I said, I think most of my struggles have to do with things I'd be dealing with anyhow. It's the typical post-college situation plus 4000 miles. Monday I got paid for July and I went out shopping. I got a few new shirts, a little bit of food for my room, and other things. I also mailed out five different letters/packages. One to Mom and Sami with several postcards for Mom and a Hello Kitty card for Samantha, a letter and small surprise for Mary Beth and Emily King (can't say what since I don't know if they're reading), a package with a German magazine plus a surprise and a letter for Jess and the same (but different surprise and different magazine) for Eric. I thought it would be more expensive given the size/weight of Jess and Eric's with the magazines but it wasn't bad at all.

Tuesday afternoon I watched Yael and Nuria while Noemi had a music lesson and we baked an American pound cake. Since vanilla extract doesn't exist here, I used maple syrup instead. Seriously. And it worked. Then I poured raspberry jello over the pound cake (which I had poked tons of holes in). Wednesday (the 4th of July), I decorated the cake with Noemi. We whipped cold coconut milk then used blueberries for the corner and strawberries for the red stripes. I made Mama's famous burgers for dinner. Luckily we had all the ingredients on hand except burgers and buns. Kathrin picked them up and we made fries too. The burger buns weren't pre-cut like Amercian ones and they had a bit of a funny consistency but the burgers tasted great. I also did yoga while they were out at Noemi's dance lesson and man could I tell that the next day. My back was sore and I was aware of subtle muscles in my arms/back. Nuria practiced walking after dinner between Daniel, Kathrin, and I. She made it ten steps between Daniel and Kathrin! I was in between the two so there was no point at which she could have fallen without getting caught but I was off to the side so I wasn't an obstacle. She's officially a walker. She can even stand up and walk a few steps on her own.

Thursday, Noemi woke up with a fat lip so she went to the doctor in the morning instead of preschool. Just as I was leaving the house with the little two for a playground, Noemi and Kathrin were there. Kathrin told me Noemi had a dentist appointment that afternoon so could I watch the little two then? Because of that, I only went out with them for an hour or so then came back and was "off" for a bit. Nuria slept on me again that afternoon for a few hours and while she slept, after Kathrin came back, I made a list of road trip ideas, a weekly and daily schedule, and began crafting workout options. No, I'm not quite done and no I haven't followed them perfectly so far.

Because of Noemi's doctor's appointment, she's taking penicillin and stayed home from school Friday. We played with baking soda and vinegar (which neither the girls or Kathrin had seen react before!). We also added a little bit of dish soap to one which lead to it foaming instead of fizzing. It was awesome. :) After lunch, I decided I needed out of the house for a bit so I went to get ingredients for the trail mix and ended up getting other things as well. Like the new headphones I got at Saturn. The third pair I've bought in about six months? I stopped a guy outside to ask him where I could buy a pair because mine were too big. He said it was actually in the building right behind us. Which was both cool because I didn't have to go search and made me feel slightly stupid. Saturn in America is a car dealership so I never went in there to check it out but I found Osnabrueck's electronics store. I feel like every week at least I find a new favorite part of a store or a new store. :) I also asked about a clip on light but they didn't have one so I went to Thalia for one. It's bright blue. Like the TARDIS. Hehe ^_^ I also bought more white nailpolish as well as top coat and supplies to knit a coffee cozy with a handle so I don't spill coffee all over.

Today has been devoted to crafting, blogging, and generally keeping a low profile. I'm sick so I'm just hanging out. I covered the cords of my headphones with embroidery floss to both make them prettier and protect them. So now I have white, purple, and blue headphone cords. They're sweet. :) (Picture will be on flickr once I remember to update it this week.) I also started knitting said coffee cozy. I played memory with Noemi and I'm downloading Les Miserables, the unabridged version, for the car rides around Europe. It's a 57 hour book and I'll be in the car for about 30 hours total (Osnabrueck to Paris, Paris to Salzburg, Salzburg to Osnabrueck, each about 10 hours). I'm planning to get another book or two as well since I'll probably listen to some of it during my stay in Paris as well. The internet there won't be the best so odds are I'll be posting sporadically, writing up in a word doc then posting later.

Tomorrow morning I'm going out with a few people to an "American style" breakfast and to speak English. Alarm goes off in 9 hours and I have to leave here around 10am to meet Denna and her husband for a ride. It's not too far away but the central meeting point is on the other side of the inner city so I have to walk over there.

I'm consistently amazed by Yael's spatial reasoning skills. Whenever we play with Legos, she likes to cover the large base with blocks and can manipulate them and turn them to fit together. Maybe I haven't spent time with young 3-year olds much but it seems to me that she's advanced in this area. She can also put all the dominoes in the box and knows that when you turn them sideways they'll still fit but that it takes two widths to make a length. She would never use those words to explain it and probably can't articulate how it works but she knows it. And Nuria's vocal skills are also impressive. She doesn't speak persay but she mimics all the time. If you say something, especially names, she'll copy the number of syllables, the emphasis, and the tone. I have never seen that in a child. And she does it both English and German. It's often just to "bababa" or so but still impressive. Her first word though was at 2 months old. And often times we'll ask her questions (both me in English and her parents in German) and she'll reply "Ja". Whether or not she understands, I'm unsure but it's adorable. I was changing her diaper this week and as she wiggled around I told her, "Nuria, I need you to stay still and just be good for five minutes, okay?" And she said "Ja". Mind you, she kept wiggling until I gave her something to entertain her (my keys).

Being that it's now midnight, I'm off to bed. Til next entry.