The International Mama: My so-called glamorous life
Is (expat) life in Paris all glamour all the time? Barbara Diggs uncovers the truth behind the myth.
Our friends and family back home fantasize about us spending our days strolling on the banks of the Seine as cherry blossoms rain down upon our heads. We head back to our exquisitely-appointed apartments, all of which come with a view of the Eiffel Tower, Louis XV furniture and a bottle of champagne chilling in a silver bucket.
No matter what bad things befall us - broken limbs, swine flu, car accidents - the mere fact that we live in Paris makes it all better. By virtue of living here, our lives of suffused with glamour.
It probably won't help matters, but I've decided to create a "glamour scale" to make an objective assessment of the glamour level of my days. With this scale, I will attempt the convey the truth of my life in Paris.
The scale goes from 0-10, with "10" being the equivalent of me having a strawberry-and-champagne brunch on top of the Eiffel Tower during Fashion Week with the world's top models, Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld and -- let's see -- Johnny Depp, who keeps lavishing me with an embarrassing amount of attention.
At the other end of the scale, a 0 on the glamour equals... well, let's take a look at Monday.
On Monday, after my son's violin lesson (glamour scale: 5)
I took the kids to the playground at the Place des Vosges (glamour scale: 7)
After a half-hour of pleasant play in this lovely 17th century square (glamour scale: 7)
My 20-month old ran away from the sandbox and I had to chase after him (glamour scale: 4)
While I caught up with him, I see my 3.5 year old standing in the sandbox, looking around for me (glamour scale: 4)
As I urge 20-month old back to the sandbox, I see 3.5 year old drop his pants (glamour scale: 2)
I scoop up baby and race back to the sandbox, screaming "Noo! Nooooo!" (glamour scale: 0)
I arrive as he's just finished peeing into the sandbox at Place des Vosges (glamour scale: 0)
All the other parents are staring at us in disbelief? disgust? as I pull up my confused little boy's pants and gently scold him (glamour scale: -10)
I grab the kids' shovel and bucket, scoop up the pee-soaked sand, and toss it into the grass (glamour scale: -15)
I defiantly let the kids continue to play, determined not to slink off in shame (glamour scale: 1)
After a respectable amount of time has passed (5 minutes), I throw the kids and their toys in the stroller and peel out of there -- heading to the anonymity of the rides at St. Paul. (glamour scale: 5)
Total Glamour Score: 0.8333333
So there you have it. This is my so-called glamorous life.
Barbara Diggs is an American freelance writer living in Paris with her German husband and two small sons. You can read more about her attempt to survive the clash of all these cultures at The International Mama.
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