Karl’s Blog 11-14-2016


It has been five weeks since I last posted something here. I will remedy
that now, posting this update on our life in Paris, then posting another
piece tomorrow from the book I am writing.

What’s happened here and in the world since my October 6th blog post? Well,
the Cubs played a lot of playoff games all during that time, which Jean and
I watched via the Internet here, getting up at 2:00 AM to do that in real
time. Happily, they eventually went on to win the World Series, pulling a
final win out in the tenth inning of the seventh game. Yowza, that was a
lot of nerve-wracking fun for two longtime Cubs fans!

Then there was, last week, the US elections. We went to bed on election
night at 10:00 PM or so, Paris time, long before the polls in the US
closed, and I was woken at about 5:00AM by Jean hollering from the other
room – “Trump looks like he’s going to win!” This was an unexpected result
for just about everyone we know, as well as nearly all the major media. In
the aftermath, we are all learning just how insulated we and many people
are who live in blue states and blue communities even – insulated from how
the portion of the country who voted for Mr. Trump feels they have been
treated by the mainstream political parties, Republican and Democrat, and
how truly divided we are as a country.

One path forward is to open lines of communication with people who voted
for Mr. Trump, despite his often inflammatory rhetoric. I can say that is
one route Jean and I are taking. So far, we are feeling successful half the
time – one contact was very open to a dialogue with us, while another told
us to never email them again. That second one was very disappointing, but
the learnings from the brief exchange were valuable. This won’t be easy,
for any of us, but it’s our country we are talking about here, so it’s
worth the effort.

As for Jean and me in France, it has been a productive time. I write in the
morning for four hours, five days per week. I call it my Hemingway
schedule, as I understand he kept similar hours for his writing. Then we do
errands or go see something interesting in the afternoon. We have seen
several movies while here, mostly in English with French subtitles. We also
got lucky and bought cheap seats for a dance company that we both have long
wanted to see, Pina Bausch’s company. They were amazing! So, it is possible
to carry on a fairly normal life here – except we walk out the door each
day and we are in Paris!

Actually, we went to the southwest of France for two weeks, thanks to an
invitation from a friend who told me last year “If you want to use our
house in the south of France, just let me know.” Turns out the house is
very charming, built in the 17th century and totally redone by our friends
over the past 15 years. The weather was still very nice, and they have
beautiful gardens on the property, too, which we enjoyed immensely. The
town of 1,200 inhabitants was very quiet, hardly any other people on the
narrow streets. The region outside the town reminded me a lot of where I
grew up in the Willamette Valley of rural Oregon state. Beautiful green
rolling hills, with striking mountains always in the background. I still
wrote four hours each morning, don’t worry, making great progress on the

Lest you can’t feel any sympathy for us here, it is now cold and rainy
fairly consistently in Paris. Perhaps this will be the weather for many
months now – we hope not. It’s not Chicago-cold, but the dampness really
gets into your bones and stays there. And it’s only November! We have
invited 6 people, expats mostly, over for Thanksgiving dinner on the
Saturday following the US observance, as that holiday is not observed here.

There is a good place to stop – Thanksgiving. We are thankful for this
opportunity to step back for a year and reflect on many things. We are
thankful for all we have been given in the United States, our home. We look
forward to the conversations and learnings to come in the near and more
distant future. Please take a moment to put a comment here, as Jean and I
will both be glad to hear from you!


Karl Androes
On sabbatical in Paris!{CAPTION}

Posted on November 14, 2016 in Karls Blog

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