I'm sitting in an office in Paris. It has high ceilings with decorative molding, an ornate, out of commission marble fireplace with a tall mirror framed in gilded leaves and clamshells. The wood floor has a 45 degree chevron pattern which would be a nightmare to sand. And on the wall across from me is a gigantic black and white print of the Eiffel Tower. This small room, about 150 ft², is the Agapé France office which is rented from the French Protestant Federation in Paris' 9th district. The amazing thing is that it is an 8 minute walk to the conservatory or the high school that Efrem will be attending. Everything is concentrated in this one neighborhood, conveniently narrowing our focus in apartment searching. I squeezed in ten apartment visits in one week. Many of them were at least 130 years old like this office. The decision has been really hard, but Friday we'll sign papers to rent an unfurnished apartment a stone's throw away from here. The best thing about the apartment is that it's on a dead end street on an interior courtyard, so it's very calm. This is a high priority for us. We will not be taking our car to Paris because it would cost far to much to park and old diesels are being banned in a couple years anyway. We will be figuring out how to live in a city of over two million people (7 million if you count the suburbs) with no vehicle. Life will certainly be different. Next comes cleaning and moving and crafting what this new chapter will look like. We need to be settled in by the time school starts, which will make for a busy August. But we have carved out a 10 day vacation together as a family. There is a time for everything.
We've been anxiously following Silas' college choice saga for the past several months. Now it's decision time. He came remarkably close to seizing the offer from Imperial College in London, his average was high enough, but his score in math was just shy of the limit. But there still were a number of excellent possibilities in France. And the winner is, drumroll please… Paris Dauphine! This is a remarkable opportunity. He is invited into their "talent" section which has reduced and concentrated class times to allow him to continue studying violin. He will get a bachelor's degree in math, computer science, and economics in four years. Best of all, he's not closing the door on violin. Speaking of violin, after receiving his professional music diploma from the conservatory in Rennes, Silas played an audition to study at the conservatory of Versailles - and he was accepted! So that is where he will study in addition to Dauphine. Math and music, the saga continues.