Prelude to Departure :)
Hello everyone! I know it's been terribly long since I've last posted, but I didn't find much exciting to write about over the summer, and did not feel like boring you with my mundane mix of work, housework, a boring-ness. However, life is not boring right now (at least not in my regard) and so I have lots to report!
I have to admit that leaving California was much more difficult than I expected. I was actually really emotional about leaving, which I hadn't thought I'd be, because I thought the excitement would outweigh the sadness of leaving. Wrong! I admit that for a little bit at the beginning, I cried like a baby. Once the plane got going though, I was fine. For an 11 hour flight, it went by pretty quickly. I didn't sleep much, though I tried at about 9:00 p.m. California time.
If you ever want to fly to France, I heartily recommend Air France. The food was great, the hosts and hostesses were bilingual and very charming, and the ride was smooth. Yes, it was a fairly expensive flight, but for direct out of SFO to CDG, I can't complain!
Sitting next to me was a French couple who had been in a very large French tour group. They checked in at about the same time as I did, but that meant there were many French people walking around the plane at about midnight and stopping to talk, so it was fun to listen to them. As Ben, my ever worldly traveler-not-tourist friend says, it's "best to have a seat mate who is friendly, but not too friendly, so they don't chat your ears off." I didn't really talk to my seat mates, probably because they saw me quietly crying before take-off, but they were quite nice toward the end.
Towards the end of the flight, we ate breakfast as we flew over Normandy, which was beautiful! It was odd to see them from the plane, knowing a) that D-Day went down there and
b) I personally happen to know that there are AWESOME fireworks there! I know, I'm weird...
When the plane touched down at CDG, it was overcast, but I was still excited! I went through the border authority and had my passport stamped and then went to get my bags, which took forever. Then I left and immediately saw Jean-Luc and started speaking French, and the first words out of his mouth were "Vous parlez tres bien francais!" (You speak French very well!) Apparently their last fille au pair was une americaine from Kentucky named Hannah, and she had a very strong southern accent, so they couldn't understand her very well at first! I guess I'm quite the opposite.
We hopped in JL's Renault and drove the freeways around Paris, which were a far cry from American freeways! French freeways are small (about 2-3 lanes) and all the cars are TINY! There was some traffic due to a big accident in Paris, but we made it to Saint-Germaine-en-laye in about 45 minutes. I was big eyed and bushy tailed the entire time, though disgusting and gross from having been on a plane for 11 hours and not able to really speak well because I was so exhausted.
When we arrived in SGL (which is what I'll be calling it for the remainder of my blog posts, since it's easier to write) we drove along the Seine and then wound into the center of town, past many shops and uphill a bit. SGL sits on a little bit of raised hill across the Seine from Paris. At the top of the hill there is the Museum of National Antiquities, and there you can look straight over into Paris. It's next to the regional forest of SGL, which looks like a lovely place to run. Speaking of running, I've yet to do so, but saw a runner today coming down the street with a camelback strapped to his shoulders, and it made me smile :) Otherwise, SGL is like a small French fairytale, and it's wonderful. When I take pics, I'll be sure to post!
The Children :D
I took a shower and a nap after I unpacked yesterday afternoon, and when I woke up, the children were home from school. There are three of them: Charlotte (11 years old), Martin (9 years old) and Emma (5 years old). They were soooo happy I brought them gifts! I gave Charlotte a blinged-out San Francisco tee, Martin got a photo book on California with a bunch of Costco bagels (he LOVES bagels!) and I gave Emma and old set of my (real) pom poms. She hasn't put them down since, and they all immediately ripped open the bagels and ate them for their afternoon gouter with loads of butter and nutella.
After that, Emma made me teach her how to do some cheerleading, so I taught her arm positions (t, half t, k, daggers, buckets...etc), at least until Martin kidnapped me and made me play Wii with him--Super Mario Smash Brothers Brawl, that is. We played for a bit and then he showed me his room, and then proceeded to play "Paint it Black" on his guitar for me. Charlotte was busy playing with her copine downstairs. All in all, it was a very long, very child filled evening, but much fun. As Becca says, I have acquired a little French five year old, since Emma keeps me insanely busy and loves to play all the time.
Nothing else to say right now...I'll be sure to update again soon, and with photos once I'm out on the town!