December 1, 1999
Here it is, as promised, the full scoop and lowdown on Timmi's and my trip to Paris. I can write this for two reasons: (1) Timmi will be sleeping at home for the first few nights of her hospitalization, including tonight, and (2) I sprained my ankle so I can't run around doing anything else.
As I mentioned to some of you in synagogue, Timmi had a terrific time and the trip did for her what we had hoped - she was very active and so came back stronger physically and emotionally in good shape, with lots of good memories and plans for future trips. The weather was quite bad - very cold, and cloudy all the time (I think we saw a half hour total of sun during the whole trip) but there's so much to do indoors in Paris that it didn't matter. As a general rule, we took cabs to our first destination, but as cabs can practically not be hailed on the street in Paris, we got around the rest of the time by Metro. Timmi at first found the steps hard to negotiate, but eventually the effort strengthened her legs so that by the end she could take several trains a day.
The day we arrived we had to get organized, so the most we could do was go to a restaurant (meat). Nothing to write home about, but an outing, and afterwards we walked a bit around the neighborhood of the restaurant. By the way, we had been seated for all of five minutes when who walked in but Moshe K.! Pretty small world.
The next day, Thursday, we went to the Picasso Museum, which is located in one of the two Jewish areas of Paris. Timmi found it fascinating. By the way, as a general comment she is the best possible travel companion, being interested in absolutely everything and having interesting things to say about all of it. After the museum we went to lunch in a very nice dairy restaurant on the rue des Rosiers. Altogether Timmi's appetite improved in Paris, due probably both to her improved mood and to her increased physical activity. We then went all the way up the Eiffel Tower, which was fun but freezing! We then went back for a quiet evening at the apartment of my high school friend Laurette, with whom we stayed.
Friday we had to prepare for Shabbat so couldn't do much, so we went to see the outside of the Louvre, ate roasted chestnuts and walked through the Tuileries to the obelisk at Place de la Concorde. We then had a lovely Kabbalat Shabbat* with Laurette and her family. Timmi and I sang most of Kabbalat Shabbat and her kids were quite fascinated, never having heard anything like it before.
Shabbat was lazy - we tried walking outside but it was too cold so we just rested (that's what it's for, after all).
Sunday we drove with Laurette and her family to Versailles, and saw the palace inside and out. Despite the sub-freezing temperature we took a mini-train ride around the gardens as well. This was the only part of the trip during which Timmi used the wheelchair we brought, because the palace is simply so large. She loved it, of course. Afterwards she and I went to an experimental dance performance in a very small theater. The first dance was a bit too depressing for us, but the second was fun, being based on childhood games.
Mondays almost all of the museums in Paris are closed, and besides we were both quite tired, so all we did during the day was go to Notre Dame, and out for lunch (again the dairy place on the rue des Rosiers). It was the first time Timmi had ever been in a church, and she found it very beautiful. She was very disappointed that she couldn't climb up the three-hundred-and-some steps to the tower where one can see the gargoyles up close, but we put that on the list of things to do next time. That evening we went to another, somewhat more established experimental dance theater. What can I say? We've both decided we have had enough experimental dance now to last us at least a good year or two.
On Tuesday we went to the Museum of Music (Veronica, bless your heart for having told us about it), where one can see a fascinating collection of old and modern musical instruments, and hear them in great music on headphones. This was really great! After the museum we went to Kookai and got Timmi several items of very fashionable clothes, many of which were on sale, and went out to dinner (again a meat restaurant and nothing special, but pretty nice).
Wednesday morning we went to the Doll Museum, then to a different dairy restaurant in the 5th arrondissement (also very good), and then to the Musee d'Orsay which, like everything else, Timmi loved. We didn't get to see all of the museum so this also went onto our "next trip" list. That evening Laurette drove us around Paris by night - the bridges lit up on the Seine, various monuments lit up, the Champs d'Elysees with every other tree wrapped up in white like a Christmas package (I'm not joking) and altogether the Christmas lights, which of course were new to Timmi. We also drove all around Montmartre and to the Sacre Coeur.
Thursday we flew back home. I must add that both our flights were exceptionally smooth, and the El Al attendants very nice.
As I said, Timmi expects to spend her time during the transplant process planning the next trip, back to Paris and to London and to Italy and and and.....
If you've gotten this far, and even if you haven't, I wish all of you a very happy Chanukah.
* Kabbalat Shabbat – Friday night prayers welcoming the Sabbath.
December 1, 2004
What can I say about that trip to Paris? I’m extraordinarily grateful that I was able to do it with her. There are so many things to say about that trip, and so many themes connected with it – fun, food, clothing, art and beauty, Timmi’s plans for the future…
But the description of the trip is long enough so that I won’t wear out your patience by adding my reflections today. Maybe in the next few days. But for me, for the moment, the memories stand by themselves, and I want – just for now – to simply allow myself to remember, and flow with the many and mixed feelings with which that amazing week has left me.