The first month we were here in France I did not worry about my children practicing the piano. In fact, it was our vacation time and we didn’t want to be bothered by “chores”. When my kids started school I thought we would use the church piano for practicing, because I knew we would be in Nîmes at least twice a week. This was not working out for us as the pressures of language and school settled in.
A musician friend, René, did some research for us and found a music store in Nîmes that rents pianos. Aaron and I decided to give it a try. We had previously looked in one store, Cultura, but they do not rent pianos and their pricing on a new piano was very high. So, when we heard about this privately owned music store we were hopeful. We arrived and the salesman immediately started speaking funny english to us to practice his english and to “show-off” his skills! Haha! He proceeded to tell us that to rent a piano would only be about 38 euros per month, an 141 euros fee and we would need to put a safety deposit down of 1000 euros. We thought it sounded great because the 1000 euros would never be touched, unless something happened to the piano, of course! So we told him we would go ahead and get that paper work going.
As we were up at the counter getting things arranged he proceeded to tell us that there would be a transportation/delivery fee. We asked him “how much?” and he said he did not know because they do not deliver the pianos. Aaron and I looked at each other and smiled. Always a catch and a hurdle in France. We asked him how would we go about finding out the delivery fee. He made a few phone calls and told us it would be 275 euros one-way, meaning when we where done with the piano we would have to pay this fee again. That equates to $349.25. That would be a grand total of roughly $1300 for a 10 month rental piano. We quickly started looking at other options.
This is the other option for 500 euros or $635. We, obviously, went with option #2. We figured we could sell it next year and put a few bucks back in our pockets. It is a nice Yamaha that has a few different instrument settings and a metronome setting. I am so happy we made this purchase because now the boys can practice when it is convenient and we don’t have to worry about getting into Nîmes.
The process of getting the piano home was comical! The day we purchased the piano, the famous Roman Arena, which is in Centre Ville, was preparing for the Bullfights. This caused closure for many of the roads in Centre Ville, which is where the piano store is. We had parked about 4 blocks away and in an underground parking garage. Our piano came in a nice packaged box and we decided to carry it to the car because we could not drive close to the store due to the road closures. It did not seem too heavy at the time of our departing the store, but by the time we got to the parking garage Aaron was tired. This was the scene in the parking garage:
Did I mention it had been raining and I was carrying the stand for the piano to sit on!? We went into the wrong entrance to the parking garage so poor Aaron had to meander between cars and tight spaces. Those of you who have driven in Europe know what I mean when I say “tight space”. People usually pull their car side mirrors in so the car next to them can fit. I have yet to park in a “tight space” because it terrifies me!! Also, the parking garages in France are not very tall. Our little van barely fits in most garages and I feel like we are going to hit the top of our van every time! Because of this, Aaron did not have a ton of space to lift the piano above his head! It was difficult to get that piano comfortably to our van!
Aaron got a great workout and I had a good laugh. In fact, we both had a good laugh especially when we were carrying the piano and stand through the public park area and the streets. But, I am so thankful we have music in our home again! The plus about this piano is we can plug in headphones! The piano is in the kitchen, near our clothes dryer. So, when dinner, homework and seminary have to take place the headphones get plugged in. Our space it little, so the headphone feature is FANTASTIC!
Also, Austin has started playing the piano for our Sacrament Service, so he will have the piano at his disposal for practicing! The current pianist, Lolita, will be leaving on an LDS mission in the next few months, so she asked him if he would be willing to start playing. Austin played on Sunday for the first time and he did great! The Bishop asked me to be the chorister to help him feel more comfortable. He played the opening and closing hymns and the postlude music. I felt like all the years of lessons and practicing were paying off in that moment of him playing and I leading the music. It was a special moment for me as a mother! Consistency and practice pays off!