Written by Jenn
At nine o’clock this morning, Brian and I were awakened by the busy pitter patter of little feet and the delightful voices of our four children making us a surprise Easter Breakfast. Susan peeked into our room to ask if I wanted a cup of coffee in bed and to inform us that we should stay in bed while they prepared breakfast for us. From the sounds of it, they were working so well together as a team and having a lot of fun. We were speechless with their loving surprise!
We’ve been living in a really nice apartment in Cannes, France for nearly a week now. It’s a furnished apartment with a lot of extras like beach toys and board games, dishwasher, washing machine and a tumble dryer. Brian and I had to smile together at how our lives have drastically changed over the last year. We went from a gorgeous house with luxurious items and all the amenities, to carrying our belongings in our packs and making a home in an apartment or hotel where ever we are at the time. You should have seen me jumping for joy when I first laid my eyes on the tumble dryer, as it has been 6 months since I’ve used one. Last week in Italy, I was hand washing our laundry in the bathroom sink of our hotel. It is amazing how travel necessitates such simplicities, and as a result, really makes us appreciate the things we took for granted back home.
Nevertheless, I wouldn’t trade this time of adventure together for another big house filled with stuff. We’re having the time of our lives and experiencing a richness of learning and quality time together, that I’d be willing to go without a tumble dryer for at least a few years. What we’ve gained these past 6 months together is worth the little trifles of hang-to-dry laundry and the occasional hard bed if it means we’d get to experience more family adventures around the world.
These past 6 months of travel have given our family solitude from the hectic juggling of school and shuttling kids from one extracurricular activity to the next; of filling our time with television shows and the obsessive desire to shop for more stuff.
We’re relishing living in the present and all the time in the world to sit in our thoughts, MARINATE in them, and discover our dreams and passions. We’ve been talking a lot about life as we walk, see new sights, and experience things -from why people do the things they do, to politics, to education and entrepreneurship.
We listen to the kids talk about their dreams. Lucy wants to be a fashion designer, successful artist, and world traveller (I told her that she’s already a world traveller). Susan wants to be a published writer and dancer. Little Edmund wants to be a ninja spy and the King of Love (“I don’t know why mommy, but people just love me!”); And Peter wants to be an entrepreneur like his dad and buy himself a Lamborghini one day (he also says he wants to buy a yacht and travel the world…and I could live with him!). 🙂
Family world travel has opened our eyes to believe that with a clear vision, commitment and hard work, anything we set out to do is possible.
The kids made a fantastic meal for us. They worked together to cut the mushrooms, tomatoes and green onions for the scrambled eggs. The boys cut, buttered, and jellied the fresh baguette, while the girls set the table.
Being the eldest, Susan was the mastermind of the whole thing (she’s only 9!!). She woke up her siblings at 6am to prepare our lovely card and breakfast. She even went through all the trouble of making the place cards and additional hard-boiled eggs as a symbol of Easter and new life. Brian and I were so impressed with their loving gesture and gushed with compliments over their joyful teamwork.
We were even exempt from dishes and cleaning up and were encouraged by the kids to have some quiet time together in our room! Our children blessed us with an unexpected Easter gift, and our hearts swelled with gratitude and love for them.
In the afternoon, we headed outside to join the crowd and stroll along the promenade. It was a breezy, overcast 20 ° C today in Cannes. The crowd was thick with locals and tourists, and the harbour was filled with very expensive looking yachts. We saw expensive cars on the streets (you should have seen the boys gawk at a Ferrari). There were many well dressed people. The rich women were dolled up with heels and large jewelry to compliment their cosmetically enhanced faces.
We made our way up the hill towards Eglise Notre-Dame D’Esperance to get a better view of the Cannes Harbour.
We then leisurely made our way down the hill towards Notre Dame de Bon Voyage Church for the 6pm Easter Mass celebration. On our way, we walked through an outdoor Arts and Crafts market. There were many artisans showcasing their paintings and crafts for sale. The children enjoyed looking at the car and figurine models.
We arrived early at Notre Dame de Bon Voyage and discovered that mass was going to be held in Italian. We were looking forward to a French language mass. We quite enjoyed the Good Friday celebration in French, as we were able to read and follow along with our limited french knowledge. We didn’t understand the readings or the priest’s homily. Yet, we’ve gone to church long enough to know what the parts of the mass are and were able to follow along. The rituals comfort us and soothes our travel weary souls, and gives us a sense of home and community.
Our first Easter away from home and extended family turned out to be a really good one. We didn’t celebrate Easter in our traditional way of having the Easter Bunny visit overnight and leave Easter eggs filled with stickers and candy. This Easter, our children took the initiative to tangibly show us their love and appreciation. They made us breakfast with eggs symbolizing new life.
Today, we celebrated Christ’s rising from the dead to conquer life, blessing us with His mercy and promise of eternal life. God showed His face to us this morning through the tangible love of our children.