Saturday, January 14, 2012

Chapter Ten: Parents in Paris

I tried to come up with an alliteration for the title, but I couldn't think of one. Pretty Parents in Paris? Pale Parents in Paris?

My parents came to Paris for about a week for Christmas. It wasn't sure what to expect, since it was my parents' first time in Europe, plus our first vacation together in over five years, plus we would be trapped together in a studio apartment for a week together, but it was a lot more fun than I was expecting it to be.

Day One: Arc de Triomphe and Champs Elysses.

View from the top of the Arc. This was my third time (or fourth?) to the top, but my first time going up during the day.

My mom's very sad attempt to take a picture of me and my dad with my phone. The whole touch screen thing really threw her for a loop.

Day Two: the dreaded Louvre. However, the pain was dulled by the fact that my parents paid for my ticket.

Parents in front of the Louvre. I really hate my dad's fleece.

I can't remember who sculpted this or even what it is, but her hair fascinated me.

In front of two Michelangelo sculptures: the Rebellious Slave and the Dying Slave. Please note everything wrapped around my dad's neck: camera, camera bag and audio guide. He kept getting tangled up in all of the straps.

Freaking 28E salad at the Louvre cafe. As we were leaving, we saw a sandwich shop on the first floor, with sandwiches that cost about 1/4 of the price of this ridiculous salad. Why wasn't the sandwich shop marked on the Louvre map?!

Gorgeous chandelier in Napoleon's apartments.

Painted ceiling. I thought it was by Matisse, one of my favorite artists, but I was mistaken.

Mona Lisa. The Louvre was fairly empty on this day, but there were about 100 people milling around this enigmatic lady.

Inside the pyramid at dusk.

Day Three: Versailles

It's hard to see from this picture, but this lady is using her iPad to take pictures. I wouldn't have judged her, since I was forced to do the same thing the month before, but I saw her take out a regular camera after she took pictures with her iPad. C'mon!

Versailles was a bit disappointing this time around because the gardens, which is almost more pretty than the palace, was so bare and brown. We spent about 15 minutes outside, took some pictures and then left.

Day Three: Seine cruise, Trocadero, Christmas concert at Sainte Chapelle. The Eiffel Tower was also on the agenda, but the line was out of control, so we pushed it to another day.

Waiting for the boat to arrive.

Halfway through the trip, I realized that my parents were swapping scarves with each other.

Sainte Chapelle - such an amazing church and concert venue. My dad was fascinated with the quality of the acoustics, and couldn't stop muttering to himself about it.

Day Four: Luxembourg Garden, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower. These were the only things that I knew would be open on Christmas Day, so that's what we did. But as we were walking around the city, I was surprised to see so many cafes, restaurants and shops open.

My dad was fascinated by how uniformly these plants were planted.

Luxembourg Palace, which is France's equivalent of the U.S. Capitol Building in DC.

Every day, my dad would beg me to stop somewhere so that he could get a cup of coffee. But he didn't want to do it like the French do it, sitting at a cafe. He just wanted a cup to-go. So we stopped by the McDonald's by my metro stop every day for a "grand cafe." Since it was Christmas Day, we decided to splurge and each spent $6 (!!!) on a coffee drink at Starbucks.

The organs at Notre Dame. There was an organ concert that night for Christmas, which was lovely.

The bedazzled and sparkly Eiffel Tower on Christmas Day.

The really old gears that are used to operate the Eiffel Tower's elevator.

Day 6: Tuileries Garden, Musee de Orangerie, shopping

One of the many things I love about Paris: beautiful public spaces and parks scattered throughout the city, like the Tuileries Garden.

Some Rodin sculptures on the Orangerie's lawn.

My parents were as puzzled as I am about this ferris wheel that sticks out like a sore thumb.

Sunset at the Place de la Concorde.

And then, it was off to BHV for some shopping. My mom bought a purse, my dad bought a sweater, and as part of my Christmas present from my parents, I got a ceramic sugar/flour/coffee set that I have been coveting since I first saw it in March 2010, but didn't buy because I didn't want to cart 5 pounds worth of kitchenware home. Fortunately, my parents brought 1.5 extra bags with them, per my instruction, and they took it back with them, as well as 20 pounds of extra clothes and gifts of mine.

My mom brought masks from home, so we did them on their last night in town, while watching "The Help" on my iPad. She would kill me if she knew I had posted this picture, but since she doesn't know about this blog, it's fine. It was super goopy because it was an aloe vera mask, and when it dried, it felt like papier mache plastered on my face, and I couldn't move my lips.

All in all, it was a great time with my parents, and it was fun showing them the city that I love. I have known this subconsciously for years, but it was made crystal clear on this trip that both of my parents' love language towards me is acts of service. My dad was the de facto package/bag carrier of the trip, and would literally turn his body away from me any time I said that I could carry something. He asked about taking out the trash and recycling at least twice every day. He also believes that being cold = road to death. He asked me at least four times a day if I was cold, and he gave me stink eye any time I wore my flats or oxfords, since it exposed the skin on my feet to the cold. My mom was the de facto cook and seamstress of the trip. (Thank you baby cheeses for Korean markets in Paris. After two months of almost nonstop white food, it was glorious to have Korean food for dinner almost every night for a week.) My hole-y sweater is now patched up, and some buttons that were coming loose on a jacket have been reinforced.

Quote of the trip from my dad, towards the end of the week, after another long day of wandering the city on foot: "I didn't even walk this much during the Korean War." (My pregnant grandma, dad and his younger brother had to flee the North to the South during the war on foot, after my grandfather had been kidnapped and presumably killed by the Communists. Totally inappropriate comment, yet so hilarious.)

Runner-up quote of the trip, again from my dad: "We were too busy making sure we didn't get on a plane to Russia by mistake, we didn't have time to call you." (I went to the airport to pick up my parents when they arrived, but I figured that I could send my parents to the airport by a door-to-door shuttle van. I gave them coins and told them to find a pay phone and call me after they had checked in, but I didn't get a call. After an anxious 12 hours and tracking their flight all day long, I called my mom's cell phone the minute that they landed. No answer. I called every 5 minutes for 30 minutes and finally got through to my parents. When I asked my dad why they didn't call me from CDG like I asked them to, the runner-up quote was his response.)

Location:Rue de Constantinople,Paris,France


  1. LOL! I cannot stop cracking up right now, hahahah! This entire blog post made me so happy :) Your Mom and Dad are so cute and hilarious (and I say that with utmost respect)! Everything you described here sounds just like my parents...even down to your Abbah's need to get coffee to-go every day and the top 2 quotes of the trip...hahaha...sigh...I love being babied by our parents who love us through acts of service <3

    btw, McD's coffee to-go is such a brilliant idea...why did I not think of this to keep us warm while walking the freezing streets??

  2. I stopped to laugh and re-read stories. ahhhhh. you are so dead by posting up that picture of your mom. really love that they swapped scarves and your dads fleece is very NW Pendleton-esque. love the to-go coffee style too. I did that once in Spain and it was so awkward getting stared at by everyone that I vowed to try and stop and drink. btw, you are a professional tour guide now--second calling?