We’ve been living here in Rueil-Malmaison, in the village of Buzenval, in the southwest suburbs of Paris for about two weeks now. If you were to ask me now, what’s new, the answer would be almost everything. Some of the newness are just French replacements for our American equivalents: new house, new car, new keys, new phone numbers, new insurance, new office, new school, and in some respects even new friends. Then there’s the things we took for granted that we need to now learn how to do here – where’s the post office? can you turn right on a red light? where do I get a transit pass? how do I get photos for my government IDs? what hours are the stores open? where do I buy furniture? what are all those labels in the supermarket? what’s a good price for xxxx? why does the internet take a nap every once in a while? Those questions only scratch the surface.
One thing that’s been new for me is becoming a Paris commuter. Everyday I make my way towards Issy-les-Moulineaux, chez Microsoft, on a bike, or a bus and tram. When I ride my bike, it’s long roll down the hill from our town, then I cross the curving Seine two times – at Pont de St. Cloud with a view of houseboats, the busy Peripherique and a glimpse of the sprawling Bois de Boulogne. Then crossing from Boulogne to Issy with Paris and the Eiffel tower to my left and the parc d’Ile-St-Germaine on my right. The ride across Boulogne-Billancourt, while not as busy as central Paris, provides an opportunity for people watching at both ends of the day. I pass through three major rond-points, each surrounded by corner cafes and shops as well as the people on their way to somewhere. I could go on for paragraphs the newness I am discovering just being at ground level every day.
The highlight of the ride is the gentle lift of the wind I feel each time I make the river crossing, four times a day. The breeze moving up or down the Seine, and me making my way to my new adventure with Microsoft or back home to our little village of Buzenval.
More Goldroot news, and some photos soon.