For 13 months, from July 2010 through July 2011, my family lived in France. Our daughter Ella turned 14 while we were in Paris.

December 18, 2010 — Sabbatical Blog

I tried to explain to Ella this morning that as long as we are in France, December 18 isn’t really her birthday. You see, she was born at 3:30 in the afternoon in Seattle. Given that France is 9 hours ahead of Seattle, she was actually born at 12:30 am December 19, France time. 

So we’ve been putting all this energy into celebrating her birthday a day early!

Ella’s response was quite sensible and caught me off guard. She said that the reasonable thing to do is to celebrate both today AND tomorrow, thus honoring her Seattle roots AND her presence in France. 

Of course, this means my comment backfired. We now have to get her twice the gifts, twice the cakes, twice the everything related to her birthday.

 Smart girl. 

Ella was also quick to point out that since Chloe, her beloved sister, was born at 3am in Seattle and that would be noon in France, she is only entitled to celebrate on one day when her birthday arrives in February. 

Smart girl x 2.

Hot chocolate at Angelina’s

ANYWAY, we have been celebrating Ella’s birthday today. Her BIG request was that we go to Angelina’s near the Louvre for hot chocolate. 

We did that. 

We also had brunch not far from Angelina’s and visited a store in Paris called Merci that is quite the place. 

We stopped at a Swatch store and picked up a watch for one of Ella’s presents. 

Ella requested homemade steak for dinner, which was purchased at one of the street-side Parisian butchers in a raging snowstorm. 

It was fun watching him carve the meat and then give us precise instructions for the preparation of it. Far be it for us to mess up the fancy steak! Especially today! Thank goodness Uncle Greg is on chef patrol tonight.

One gift Ella did not want to receive is the bad cold that has slowed her considerably. She took a break this afternoon, coming back to the apartment early and getting into her pajamas. But she bounced back for dinner and cake, rising further to pose for photos.

Happy birthday, Ella. Can you believe it, your 14th birthday in Paris in the snow? 

Not bad. No, not bad at all.

Andy Smallman works to promote ordinary activities that awaken kindness, helping people connect to their true nature and increase peace in the world. Visit Andy at AndySmallman.com.
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Andy Smallman works to promote ordinary activities that awaken kindness, helping people connect to their true nature and increase peace in the world. Visit Andy at AndySmallman.com.

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