Before we left for Nice, I read somewhere (on the Internet so you know it’s true), that after your first 2-3 weeks living abroad, you wake up in a sweat and wonder what did I/we do? For me, it was the first couple of days here, thinking we’ve done it now (in both a good and bad way) but now that we’ve been here a month, I can’t imagine where else I’d rather be.
It’s been a long journey, both literally but more figuratively. I don’t think either of us realized what moving overseas would entail. I mean we kind of knew, but we didn’t know. I’m trying to let the day of departure vanish from my mind, as stressful memories are supposed to do–fade into the background. But the important thing is that we made it (and managed to schlepp/get 6 big suitcases, 2 carry ons and a few other things up a flight of stairs without bodily harm).
It turned out to be an interesting weekend when we arrived. First, the clocks got set back an hour. Then, the Nice marathon brought thousands of runners and supporters to town. Two days later, Toussaint (All Saints Day) fell on a Tuesday so everyone “made the bridge” and took a 4-day weekend, or in some cases the whole week. Our early hopes for bread, butchers, shopping and restaurants, quickly had to pivot. Luckily some of our favorite restaurants were open so we did manage a couple of long-awaited meals, including pizza at le Safari and steak tartare with perfect fried potato cubes at Victor Hugo.
We also discovered good Lebanese food right outside our door and while I’ve been stuck on their Habibi bowl with kofta, eggplant caviar (baba ghanoush) and rice, Frank has been more adventurous, making his own combo plates. Once again, we’re on the prowl for the best poulet rôti, with a takeout stand in the old town being the current favorite (having my favorite pommes gratin gives it bonus points), but yesterday we were told about another contender, so our search will continue.
This week we finally started to settle in. Got my French cell phone number in less time than it took to buy stamps. And, more importantly got to pick my own number. I looked carefully for something that was a good combination of low numbers. Why? Because when you give your phone number in French it’s in 2 digit combinations. My US number starts 917-825. We would say “nine one seven, eight two five”, but in French it would be 91 78 25 or “quatre vight onze, soixante dix huit, vingt cinq” which translates to 4×20+11, 60+18, 25. I wanted a number that you could just say and not have to do math to figure out what it was. This photo which came up on my Facebook feed kind of makes the point.
And we’ve both been cooking a little bit, learning to use an induction cooktop, but that’s an adventure for another day.