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turning the page.


So that's it, Tuesday was my last day with the little French tots...forever. Can you believe it? A job that was supposed to be temporary stretched out to two years. And as unglamorous as it was, I learned just as much at this job as I did at my fancy shmancy fashion job in New York and at my temp tax office job here in Paris.

Before closing this chapter of my life, I had an appointment to zip to that I had made three months ago. Christening my sparkling new carte vitale, I went to my first ever gynecologist appointment in Paris before heading to final day of school. Unlike these appointments I have experienced in the States, I did not wait an hour in the waiting room listening to Fresh 102.7 and another 15 minutes half-naked and alone in a cold room (Wait, don't the lyrics to that Natalie Imbuglia song kinda go something like this?). 

No, this appointment was speedy, which for Paris, was pretty shocking. I read about a page in my book before being welcomed in personally by the doctor (not a wound-up receptionist barking at patients in the waiting room asking if they have insurance or not.) The check up itself was routine, and when it was done, I proudly handed over my carte vitale and paid 34 in which 23 will be reimbursed. Parfait! Here's however, the part I was not expecting: she handed me a little sealed paper bag and wished me a bonne journée. Merci? 

So, I expect a goody bag at the dentist but at the gynecologist? What could I have possibly needed to-go? I shook the bag, holding it close to my ear in hopes for a clue. Shake, shake. No clues there.

"That is simply your (enter unidentified word in French here) to send to the laboratoire, Madame." She informed me after witnessing the shake. Because I had done so well during the entire appointment, taking about the history of my lady parts all in French (a round of applause!) I didn't want to ruin the fun by asking her to clarify. I nodded and feigned total comprehension with an exaggerated d'accord before shuffling out of her office.

Out on the sidewalk, naturally I called Aurélien who is usually on stand-by for translation purposes when I have these first time appointments. 

"Hey," he picked up on the second ring, "Did everything go okay?"

"Yeah, it was perfect," I said looking down at the bag, "But I think she gave me a bag of my stuff."

"Okay," he lingered, searching for something, anything to say as the French translation 'un sac de mes choses' was not terribly clear.

What also struck me as odd was that this paper envelope containing particles of my cervix that I was instructed to send through the mail did not require a light proof black bag, a biohazard sticker, or anything to officially notify the handlers that it was a medical delivery. Does this seem strange to anyone else?

"Anyway, I have to send it off to "the lab" now (I've kinda of always wanted to say that)," I said looking up at the clock at Daumesnil noticing the minute hand inching closer to the time I needed to be at school. "Merde. I actually really don't know if I can make it. I wasn't expecting to have to send this off myself."

"You probably should do it before you see the kids, I think," he suggested, "Because they are always curious about what's in your bag."

Gross, gross, gross.

"You're right and also, it is hot today. Do you think the heat from the sun will deactivate my cells if I don't send it asap? Is that even possible?" I asked. 

"Just go send it," he said with a nervous chuckle. "Courage."

I went to the closest post office and as usual the line was long and the place was scorching hot. The usually dismal scene of the post office was animated by a man angrily shouting and cursing at the piece of paper he was filling out, another man walking in with a dog the size of a sofa, and the anxiety that came from holding a bag containing my important specimen. I anxiously looked down at my phone and saw that I was cutting it very close. If the métro ran smoothly with no delays and I caught all three transfers without waiting on the platform then I would be there right on time, I calculated. But as I always say: Paris is a city that is not your friend when you're in a rush. Having been burned many times by trying to push her to move faster, where her wrath comes in the form of a stray dog found wandering on the tracks resulting in a 30 minute delay (yes, this did happen once), I had no choice but to forgo the post office.

Why not just be late? What's the big deal? Good question. The last time I was late I got scolded by the director (Il faut pas, Il faut pas!), they wouldn't direct me to the children, I got yelled at by the maids because I didn't say bonjour to them (I was looking for the children, at that moment it really wasn't about them) and I set off an alarm of a side door that I apparently was not supposed to open. So being late was not at all appealing.

I made it to school on time and following the directions I had received earlier from the parents via text, I took the kids home early. What I was expecting to be a house scattered with suitcases and vacation paraphernalia because they were heading off to Italy the following day, was instead a party...in my honor.

A table was set with wine (they know me so well), Champagne (okay, they know me really well), and an assortment of little gifts to thank me. Around the table were the parents, the kids who each handed me a present and thanked me for being the best Lisa ever and Franck who told me that he was relieved that he never has to speak English again, and Aurélien.

Of course I started to cry. I didn't realize how much they all appreciated me and how much they were a part of my life.

As much as these little guys drove me insane by opening the bathroom door when I was on the toilet, sliding destroyed art projects under the door and screaming voilà, flipping out on Boulevard Magenta because I didn't declare that one of them was cozy, and flipping out as we walked through dark hallways during power outage, I'm really going to miss them. How could I not? But now it's off to the next chapter of my Parisian life, whatever that will be. Aurel and I sat in the cab ride home that night, watching the city pass by, just me, him and my bag of cervix. Who knows, maybe my next experience with children will be with my own. Now that's a thought. Let's see what the lab has to say...

18 comments:

  1. Happy Fourth of July! This was one of my favorite of your posts - yes, I know, one that mentioned "your stuff" ;) - but it was just funny and lovely in the way that you do best!

    I am in the States and will have some potato salad in your honor today.

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    1. Thank you, Heather! Hahaha I know, it's kind of gross, and I'm sure I turned some people off, but hey, that's what goes on here. Just trying to keep it real. Oh no, now I'm in J.Lo mode...

      Ooooh happy potato salad!!! I hope you had a lovely 4th!

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  2. That was really sweet of the parents and children. Funny that Franck said he never wanted to speak english again :). Great end to this chapter of your life.

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    1. Thank you, Mlle! It was a great final chapter. It's always good to leave on a high note, I say. On to the next chapter...whatever that will be! (Let's hope it's something good!)

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  3. Congrats on conquering the first appt and on making it through your job! I know it's been tough at times - but I'm sure seeing how much they mean to you was really nice. I miss you btw.

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    1. Thank you! It was quite a colorful day. A contrast to what my quiet past few months I've been having. Remind me to tell you the story about Daisy's husband dropping off something for me at the park, which was wildly misread by the parents and nannies in the park. I miss you too! I'll see you in a few weeks!

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  4. Aww, I'm going to miss the little dudes! Especially Franck. The specimen test thing was just... weird lol But very Frenchly weird!

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    1. Don't you love Franck's summation of my departure: Oh good, now I don't have to speak English anymore! As if I'm the ONLY speaker he'll ever meet. He's got a rude awakening coming to him in a few years. I'm totally chuckling now...does that make me evil?

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  5. Argh! My visits to the gynéco are always really rather boring, and I have never had to post my "stuff" to the lab before...although each of the two gynecologists I have had since being in Paris have retired, so I'm currently on the hunt for my third one. That's so cute that your kiddies threw you a little party. I'm now going to read the various posts where they flipped out on you : ) xx

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    1. Well, I'm learning that no one has had to send their stuff through the post and am wondering if my Dr. just wasn't up for it that day. Wow, you've had two docs retire?! Good luck on the hunt, I know it's not always easy.

      The party was so sweet. They were so mini with their little presents and their cute little faces. I ended up seeing gone of them the day after and he was depressed about me leaving! I had no idea...I thought these kids hated me!

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  6. That's really weird. I find it strange enough that they send you the results (cue endless stressing about what all the numbers and scientific terms mean), I can't believe they made you take care of the sample too!

    That's really sweet, dare I ask what's next?

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    1. What I'm gathering is that this isn't common practice here in France?! Was my Dr. just lazy?! What the...

      What's next? Not really sure, which is both exciting and scary! (biting my nails now...)

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  7. HI Lisa.....great to see a new post....so glad about the party...after all you've been through it is well deserved.

    ...sometimes we have to mail in tests here too...colon tests!! perhaps even grosser...

    fingers crossed here for good news....do I hear the patter of petite pieds?

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    1. Hi Deb! I admit I have been MIA but I'll be back to updating the blog more regularly now that I have more free time to have stuff to actually write about. I've been a bit of a hermit!

      No petit pieds yet, just wanted to go to the doc to for a check up for when we do eventually plan a family. It's true that the next time I will be in such close proximity to children will be with my own but who knows when that will be!

      Grosssss colon tests in the mail! I hope the package is more secure than what I had to send my samples in. Not even a biohazard sticker! I mean...

      I hope you are having a lovely summer. : )

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  8. This is brilliant. You are always so entertaining!

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  9. Just starting to follow your blog. This was a very well written and very funny entry. Handled just perfectly. Good luck on your next gig whatever that will be. And even though it's apparently not the next step, I too can hear a faint pitter-patter of little feet in the not too distant future.

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    1. Hi Todd,

      Thank you very much for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. We have a little time before we go the baby route, I have a few things to tick off my bucket list before! Apparently, kids are time-consuming, who knew? ; )

      Thank you again for your kind comment!

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