Bonne Année de Paris ...
Hello from Paris! We hope you are well and looking forward to many exciting things in 2014. When I look back at where we were last January I can see that we have made great progress in 2013. This year is looking like it will be a very good year for us. It’s in my nature to get nervous when too many good things start to happen, but nevertheless I’m going to go with the flow and try to enjoy whatever comes our way. In reality I believe that many of the things we did last year to develop professional relationships here in France are starting to bear fruit. So here goes, I’ll list a few of the new developments we are happy about. In November of 2012 we began the process of submitting documents to get our French social security numbers. I received mine in the spring of 2013. Leslie still has not received hers! I have lost track but I believe we have made around twenty trips to the social security office. Around last November I decided I couldn’t take it any longer and would do everything with them by mail. Around that time Ron Meza, our friend and fellow musician, called to say he was at the social security office and he was being helped by a woman in the office who was very good at her job! So we rushed over and Ron, Leslie and I gave her all the information she requested and asked her to handle the process of getting Leslie a number. She seemed to be very competent and she said she would help with the situation. Over the next few months we kept on receiving more and more requests for documents that we had already given them, in some cases three or four times! I would always respond by mail and tried to do breathing exercises to keep my blood pressure down. Finally, last week Ron called to say he received a phone call from the woman in that social security office saying that Leslie has finally qualified for her number! On top of that, we have worked enough in France that we will receive a refund of health insurance premiums that we payed last summer! We still have not received the number but we have been told it is coming! I’m expecting that once Leslie has her number they will send her an invoice for the premiums they are refunding to me! I wasn’t kidding when I said I get nervous when too many good things happen.
Last fall Leslie found a website that listed apartments for rent in Paris. After some research we realized that we could lower our rent and possibly get a larger apartment. So Leslie began an apartment search that began in September and ended last week when we signed a lease on a new apartment. I am very grateful to her for the many, many hours she spent researching apartments, making phone calls, and visiting neighborhoods to look for our new apartment. I am very excited to say that our new apartment is in Saint Germain des Prés, which is a great area of Paris, and we were able to lower our rent and get a little more space. We will be able to walk to a few of the jazz clubs where we work and we are very close to some favorite restaurants as well as the river Seine.
Work wise we are being offered more and more concerts as well as some additional work in some hotels outside of Paris. Last week we did a concert at Cercle Suedois (Swedish Circle). It is an association for Swedes in Paris. They have a beautiful building that has a very interesting history. The room where we ate dinner has the desk where Alfred Nobel sat when he signed the testament that created the Nobel Foundation which, as we all know, awards yearly prizes in economics, etc. The concert was held in a room with a beautiful 9‘ grand piano. We will get to perform there again in June.
This is from a previous performance where we "sat in" with some friends at Cercle Suedois.
Last week was Interior Design Week in Paris. On Saturday as we walked to work we heard a brass band playing down the street. We went down to check it out and saw where the street had been decorated with very large lamp shades that were hanging above the band. It was a very festive atmosphere!
You can see the lamp shades and the tuba player from the band in this photo.
Here is another photo from the other side of the street. Leslie is standing in the street!
We hope all is well for you and you are excited for 2014 and everything it may bring. Please let us know if you have plans to visit Paris. We always enjoy a good hang with our friends.
Here’s to a wonderful New Year,
Leslie and Gerard
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