I arrived in France last Tuesday.  I arrived in Paris and didn’t think that I was exhausted until I laid down for a nap and didn’t really wake up until about 16 hours later.  Nevertheless, a good sleep was exactly what I needed.  I met up with three istockphoto photographers in Paris.  One lives in the suburbs of Paris, one was visiting from the arctic of Canada and another was visiting from Portland, Oregon.  We spent one day wandering around in Montmarte, which happened to turn into le tour de Amélie Poulin by happenstance.  We had a coffee at le café de 2 moulins and also saw the vegetable stand of Monsieur Collignon.  Amélie has been my favorite movie so visiting these spots was definitely a highlight.

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I have not been to France for 17 years.  When I was in high school, we had a French girl stay with us for six weeks during one summer.  After I graduated high school, I came to France to stay with the same girl and her parents for six weeks.  I stayed in the northeast part of France for 3 weeks, one week in Paris and two weeks on the Riviera.  I had taken French in high school, but my visit to France really helped me learn a lot in a short period of time because her parents did not speak English.  However, since I have not spoken French for so long, I have forgotten a lot.  For being here in little under a week, I can often understand what people are saying, but there are many verbs that I do not remember.  In addition, my Spanish was much better than my French when I arrived last week.  So I would think in Spanish, but translate from English to Spanish to French.  And I’d often find myself mixing up sentences like, “Si, c’est bon!”.  And there have been situations where I am the translator between the Americans and the French and it is very difficult for me.  And being that English is the most difficult language, I can only imagine how difficult it is for non-English speakers to learn it.

Anyway, I came to France for the wedding of my “French sister” which was held in northeast France on Saturday.  I got to see my French family for the first time in 17 years and my own parents got to meet them for the first time.  It was very special because everyone knew each other through stories and photos, but never spoke or met before this weekend.  In addition, the other American family that my friend had lived with had also come to France for the wedding.  So we also got to spend time with them.  It was a special time for everyone.  Many tears of happiness were shed.  This is a photo of me with my French family and my American family…

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Since arriving in northeast France, we have eaten a lot!  I think that we drank all of the wine and champagne in the last few days.  But it is so good!!  There was a croquembouche for my friend’s wedding and it was the first time I have had it.  SO SO delicious!  It is now my favorite French dessert!Today is my last day in northeast France.  Tomorrow I will ride in the car to the south of France where I will spend some time with my French sister and her new husband.  Unfortunately, they will not be taking a honeymoon now and need to work.  But I will have some time to relax!  Afterwards, I will go to Catalunya in Spain to visit some other friends before heading back to the states.I haven’t had much time to look at my photos from the trip, but here are a few more from Montmarte.

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