Donnie left for a nine day trip to Paris this afternoon. I've been looking forward to this trip as a opportunity to devote my evenings to learning French, but despite my high hopes, I still felt a disoriented and sad after dropping him off. I usually get this feeling when he leaves on a trip, and it usually drives me to watch TV late into the night or take on some half-baked craft project. Anyway, Maria seemed disappointed to be back in the apartment after our hour-long car trip and I didn't want to face leftovers, so we ventured out into our neighborhood to find some dinner.
I'm glad we did. It wasn't until we were seated at Sababa (simple and scrumptuous Israeli food--one of my favorite local places) that I realized I've never gone out for dinner with just Maria before. I think I might need to make a girls night out tradition for whenever Donnie goes on a conference trip. It was a joy to no worry about getting food on the table and to be able to focus on Maria. Maria, for her part, was very well behaved. Yes, she did try to stand up in the high chair--but most of the time, she sat right back down when I asked. I was very proud of how she cleared her plate of rice and lentils (using a grown-up spoon at that) and how she was brave enough to try my stuffed grape leaves. She was very patient, even thought we had to wait pretty long for our food. Sababa has an open kitchen, and she enjoyed watching the kitchen staff at work. The electric knife they use to shave the kabab meat was particularly interesting to her, and she grinned and pointed whenever they used it. The food was delicious and Maria and I even split a piece of apple cake.
I wanted to give little update on Maria's verbal progress. She has begun using a three word phrases like "baby high chair" (pointing out a stack of high chairs in the corner) and "Mama all done" (when I've cleared my plate). There's a conversational aspect to talking with her now, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. You can tell she wants to tell a story about what she's seeing, and sometimes I'm able to piece together what she wants to say. She's always so happy when we figure it out.
So it turned into a lovely evening. I wish I had my camera. One of the nice things about Sababa is that it has a lot of light and a fresh and airy feeling to it. Maria was also freshly bathed and well turned out, so it would have been nice to get a few photos. So it goes. :)
Another wonderful thing that happened today was that we discovered two very good apartment prospects in France. The timing is very fortunate---Donnie may be able to visit them while he's there. Both of the apartments have land lords who speak English and we've requested and received pictures from both of them. Both of the apartments have some wonderful positives and are in our price range.
One of the apartments was previously occupied by an American family. It turns out that the woman kept a great blog detailing their travels and cultural encounters. The landlord sent a link to the blog. After reading a few entries, I feel as though I've learned quite a lot! They seem to be wonderful travelers (and very socially able people), and it's one of those unexpected boons of living in the information age, that we can benefit from their experience.
Well, my time is up and French is calling!