I haven't had many opportunities to write this week, so I'm just now having a chance to recount the events of last Sunday. Martine had to help her mother move apartments, so Ayumi and I offered to help.
Martine's mother is 75. She needed to move apartments because she lived on a busy street, Rue Marceau, and couldn't get any sleep. There may have been some other reasons as well that didn't make it through the translation section of my brain. Anyways, Ayumi and I walked over to the apartment at 9am, which was just around the corner from ours. We saw Martine there in front of the building with a big white truck she had rented and two men. The men were from her workplace who both do maintenace there. Martine said she begged them to help out. She normally would have asked her friends, but because it's August, they are all on vacation. The two men were Marc and Jeany (don't know the spelling, but it sort of sounds like Johnny with a French accent). Marc is in his 30s, I think, and had a huge beer belly (or a beautiful brioche as the French say). Jeany was an average sized Frenchman, i.e. petit, who looked as though he had just come from an afternoon picnic. He wore a striped shirt, jeans, and those boating shoes with the cords on the side.
Ayumi, Martine, and I carried all the small boxes down the stairs. Luckily, Martine's mom only lived on the 2nd floor. I added some new vocab words to my repertoire like, trop lourd, for too heavy and fait attention, for pay attention (with the fragile boxes). Marc and Jeany swiftly carried all the heavy things which included a fridge (frigo), a couch, and a beautiful gigantic old buffet. Martine's mom said the buffet was from the 18th century! Martine had painted still lifes on the front and cute statements on the top and sides about her children, Alice and Pierre, like the types of jam they prefer.
We finished loading up the truck around lunch time. I was starving and was hoping we would take a lunch break before driving over to the new apartment. Martine asked if I was hungry. I said un peu, although I was starving. She gave me a piece of gum called Hollywood Gum and said something about when we would eat, but I didn't really understand.
We drove over to the new apartment and began unloading the truck. Luckily, again, the new apartment was only on the 2nd floor. We carried everything up the stairs...up and down, up and down. So many stairs... The "new" apartment is gorgeous! It's on a quiet street, so Martine's mom can finally sleep, and it's in an ancient building. I don't know how old but the front door to the apartment is the coolest thing ever. It's probably twice as tall as I am and is arched at the top with beautiful carvings in the wood. The building has a really old narrow wooden spiral staircase. The first thing I thought when I saw it was, "How on Earth are we going to get that buffet up the stairs!?" The apartment is obviously old as well, but had been freshly painted. The living room and bedroom both have fireplaces. The kitchen is small, but average for the apartments I've seen. There is also a nice garden behind the building for the tenants, which is rare.
After we carried most of the easy stuff up, we took a break. We all had some beer and a cookie in the tiny kitchen. By this time I was beyond starving. Martine's mom passed on the beer and instead downed a healthy glass of single malt whiskey. She was dissapointed she couldn't find the proper snifter glass for the whiskey in the kitchen boxes and had to settle for an average juice glass.
After the break, Marc and Jeanny tackled the heavy stuff. When the buffet came up the stairs, we all crowded around the balcony to watch. I was impressed to say the least. The guys got it up the stairs with very little trouble.
Finally we were finished after maybe 6 hours of work. Marc had to head home, but the rest of us headed over to Martine's for lunch/dinner which consisted of salamis, rillets, bread, salad, and fruit. I could barely keep my eyes open afterward and took a 2 hour nap. I woke up around 8:30, took a bath, and went back to bed for almost 11 hours!
Martine's mom is still in the process of unpacking, but she is very happy in the new appartment. She is sleeping well at night and likes her neighbors. She wants to make Ayumi and I dinner one night for helping, which I'm really excited about. She is apparently a fabulous cook. I will try to take some photos when I return.