Written by Jenn
We arrived in Paris a little over 16 hours ago. As I write this, everyone is sleeping soundly in our hotel room in Al’Hotel. I’m supposed to be repacking for a week of travel right now but thought I’d write a quick post instead.
It’s hard to believe that we were just in Calgary less than 24 hours ago, boarding our 9 hr Air Transat flight to Paris. Renee and Al (my sis and brother-in-law) and Linda (our Property Manager) drove us and our stuff 3 hours to the Calgary airport. Linda was kind enough to drive Brian, 3 of our kids, and all our bike boxes in her truck. Susan and I drove with Ren and Al and their 2 kids in our van along with the rest of our luggage.
I wish I was keen enough to take a picture of the 5 cart procession of all our stuff. We checked in 6 luggages (containing our books, clothes, footwear and helmets) and Brian’s computer monitor at exactly 15o kg - right on the weight limit of 25 kg/plane ticket alloted to us. We paid $30 each for our 7 bike boxes.
It was a little harder this time around saying good-bye. We’re grateful to have Linda in our lives as our incredibly reliable Property Manager (she’s the best!). She’s more than a PM, she’s our friend. We really wouldn’t be able to leave for so long or travel so far away without her watching over our properties. She and Brian have a sympatico going on, and we can’t imagine leaving our babies (as B calls our real estate) with anyone but her.
We treated everyone for a quick lunch before we had to say our tearful good-byes. I can’t express adequately enough how much I love my sister and her family. Our summer with them has been filled with so much fun and laughter. Ren and Al are one of the most important and beloved Balcony People in my life. They have been incredibly supportive with our dreams and always there to cheer us on. It’s been so good to be around them to witness their love for eachother and their kids. They continually inspire me to be a better person. And their babies are delicious! There are so many important lessons to learn from caring and loving babies, and we’re grateful to have our kids be around their little cousins this summer.
Can you tell I’m missing them already?
The flight to Paris was a pretty easy going one. We mostly read and watched movies on the plane. Brian read a Forex trading book on the Kindle and I started reading Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Kid Smart Kid: Give your Child a Financial Head Start. I’m halfway through now and loving the book. There’s so many good concepts (like helping your child discover their 3 winning formulas) I got excited about. It’s definitely something I want to chew on for a bit to figure out how we can actively educate our kids in the financial arena.
At the airport in Paris we picked up our 5 cartfuls of stuff. It was definitely a sight to see our family train with Brian leading the pack, then 3 kids following him, our youngest sitting on our luggage, and me closing in at the end. I was a little nervous with the kids pushing the heavy luggage piled higher than their line of vision. I was worried that they’d run over someone that I cautioned them to push slowly. Ironically, it was I who almost hurt a lady who walked past me. I stopped to slow down before going down a tiny ramp and one of the tall bike boxes fell over right in front of her. She wasn’t hurt but the crash of the box was enough to startle her and me. I yelled out, “Lo siento!” then realized I was in France and quickly said, “Je m’excuse, I’m so sorry!” She was pretty good about it and just smiled as she walked away. Oh, but did we get some interesting stares from people when they saw our parade of stuff and little kids! All we needed was a marching band and some flags to make it more entertaining.
The kids and I parked ourselves in the corner of the arrivals terminal at the airport for a couple of hours while Brian took a taxi into Paris to pick up our rental moving van. At noon, I sent my two oldest to check out the prices of sandwiches and drinks while I watched over the carts and the two younger ones. Once they returned to report back to me, I gave them a 50 Euro bill and asked them to calculate how much change they’d expect back if they were to purchase 3 sandwiches, then sent them off to buy them. They returned with the sandwiches and water, which they asked for in French, and received for free. You should have seen how proud they were of themselves, buying something in French without supervision.
So this is our plan for the next week: We’re driving 9 hours south to our little village, dropping our stuff in the garage there, sleeping the night in Toulouse, then driving back to Paris the next day to return our rented van. From Paris we’re renting a compact mini-van (really, it’s the size of our old small Ford Focus wagon with 2 extra seats in the trunk) and driving 5 hours to Karlsruhe, Germany to visit our good friend Lisa who’s been living and working there for almost a year. Brian is looking forward to driving on the Autobahn. I’m looking forward to driving past the Black Forest and being reunited with a wonderful friend. We’ll spend about 5 nights in Germany before we head south to our “home”.
It’s so good to be back in France! The language is really enchanting to me. I especially love listening to my husband (who went to French immersion school till grade 9) converse in French. I think it is très sexy! ;)