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There is the sound of a fountain and the low murmur of daily life swirling in on the cool breeze through our open windows. Awhile ago, someone was practicing violin so beautifully that I'm the only one left awake this afternoon. So while C and Sweet Pea and G slept off a whole day's wakefulness (napping contrary to the "rules" about jetlag), I made myself at home.

I didn't make it to Monmarte, no, though I did the next day, as you can see. Instead, with my decades-rusty French, I walked myself to a market and bought bacon de fume, six brown eggs, half a loaf of dark German bread, butter, strawberry jam, milk, cheese cubes, apples and canteloupe for what I hoped would be a fortifying petit dejeuner when it became apparent that the kids were just too-too tired to make it to the patisserie 100 feet further on down our street. Here is is, all unpacked:

Nope.

"Thank-you-very-much-for-the-food-it-smells-great-but-all-I-can-think-about-is-sleep." 
(Or eyerolls and moans that meant as much, anyway.)

So, fine. I had myself a nice breakfast and then got to spend the whole day doing what I like to do anywhere we go.

I read each aisle of the local market like a book, learning anything on offer about the habits and tastes of the natives and then snapping up the things that most tugged at me.
Courgette with blossoms, Petite strawberries, Ligonberries (I think!),
and bread with bacon from our third "favorite" patisserie.
I got busy mastering whatever skills are required to make us comfortable. In this case, it meant figuring out a strange oven and a washer labeled with words no one thought to teach me in my eight years of French. Gas mark 3? Essorage?! Got it.
Our fresh fish dinner in Nice, panisse bought ready-to-fry,
oven-roasted vegetables, and "paupiette de dinde."

Vacation for me isn't so much about letting someone else feed me while I sip cool drinks on the beach 
as it is getting to step out into another world, 
being myself in someone else's world for a while. 

The monuments, the art, and the twinkle lights as soon at it gets dark (at 11 p.m.!)? Those are all just lagnaippe. (Cajun French for "something extra.")





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