Today is—or rather yesterday (the 9th) was, since I’m writing this after midnight Paris time—my 41st birthday. This evening Morgen and I went out for dinner with some friends at a fantastic Indonesian restaurant near Les Halles, Djakarta Bali. I thought that was appropriate given that this time last year we were in Indonesia. (On my 40th birthday, we hiked to the rim of Mt. Bromo, an active volcano. Now that was a memorable day!) It brought back some great memories. The food was delicious, the background music was right on, and I got to impress our friends and the wait staff by using most of my meager Indonesian vocabulary (though it was weird to be switching among English, French, and Indonesian so frequently).
Interestingly, tonight was our second consecutive evening of trilingual entertainment. Last night we attended the “avant-premiere” of the film The Oxford Murders, featuring a question-and-answer session with star Elijah Wood and director Álex de la Iglesia. Elijah speaks only English, while Álex is Spanish and speaks just a bit of English (and no French). So there was a French translator, but sometimes the director couldn’t figure out how to say something in English and slipped automatically into Spanish. After asking for linguistic help from the audience, a young woman came down to translate from Spanish into French, but the result was a hilarious mixture of three languages (often in the same sentence) and lots of staggered laughter as various segments of the audience got the gist of some joke. The movie itself, I’m sorry to say, was merely so-so, but it was great to see Elijah Wood in person, and the overall event was tremendous fun.
But back to my birthday…what truly made today magical was returning home to find that one of the two elevators in our building was suddenly back in service! Both of the elevators have been en panne for about three and a half weeks, and that has been a major drag since we live on the 10th floor (meaning, because of the way floors are numbered here, that we have to walk up/down 11 flights of stairs). When we saw a handwritten sign saying the one elevator was working, we were in shock. Our neighbor from across the hall happened to be arriving home at the same time and was equally surprised. I mentioned that today was my birthday, and he agreed that it was a fantastic birthday gift.