Karl’s Blog, July 21, 2016

Dear Friends and colleagues, We have been in Paris for a little more than two weeks now, so I’ll use this blog entry as a chance to catch you up on how things are going and what we have been doing here these past few weeks. For those of you who are reading this and hoping for the answer to all that ails American education (!), you’ll have to wait until later posts, it seems. Jean and I have established a fairly regular schedule, so that it begins to feel like we actually live here in Paris now. Mornings are for “work” from 8:00 -12:00 – with me writing a book or this blog, and Jean exploring what volunteer opportunities are available, at Little Brothers of the Poor, or the Curie Institute, so far. Afternoons are then for lunch (a big deal in Paris) and then for errands or exploring. Evenings have been mostly for the logistics – online stuff back home, setting up things, etc… (Hopefully that will lessen once we are here longer and have everything set up.) The daily writing is coming along nicely, I think. Sometimes, writing a book feels to me like watching the lawn grow – slow progress. Every day I write another 1,500-2,000 words. And every day there is another chapter to finish or begin! After two weeks, so far, I am happy with the writing and the progress I am making. We celebrated Bastille Day with the French – we attended the big parade down the Champs-Elysees, then went down to the Seine near the Louvre in the evening to see the fireworks that were going on across town at the Eiffel Tower. Quite fun. Throngs of happy people. Then, the next morning, we heard the tragic news from Nice – many people dead, mowed down by a crazy man in a giant rented truck. Add that to the recent shootings in Orlando and Dallas and Baton Rouge and what can we say about the sad world in which we are living now? What Nice reminded us of is the fact that this is a world-wide issue, not just an American one. We went to lunch several days ago with Ricardo, the Paris-based father of the young woman who was helping us learn the French language before we left Chicago. Like his daughter, he was a delight. Happily for me, he spoke wonderful English, in addition to French. I told him we were not sure we were truly engaging with the French culture that much here yet. He assured me we are, in everyday ways. Then yesterday we went to set up a bank account at a French bank. After two long hours of meeting with a very nice French banker, we were more-certain that Ricardo was right – that was two hours of engaging with the French culture! We have been to two museums, so far – both of them about Jewish history, by chance. We have a Velib card for the year (same as Divvy bikes, for you in Chicago), so we ride the city on bikes almost every day. Yes, we often eat croissants, and we daily eat the amazing fresh baguettes. Red wine is cheaper than soda pop at restaurants, so… And every night the street cafes are full until way past sunset (which is very late here, maybe 10:00 p.m.). Occasionally we go out to see what all the fuss is about! The book beckons now, so I will sign off for now. Perhaps next blog post I will get back to solving the world’s literacy issues. But, for now, you are caught up with my life here in Paris! C’est tout! Karl P.S. I am sorry for any formatting issues with my blog posts, so far. I put in paragraph breaks and such, but am not certain they are appearing in the posted version. Perhaps someone from our staff can tell me how to fix this, if anyone is reading!

Posted on July 21, 2016 in Karls Blog

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