June 30, 2016
We are over one major obstacle in our new life. Getting here. I know it sounds extreme, but I was seriously dreading the trip to France with our 2-year old and 4-year old. We added 2 hours to the jetlag scenario and flight time by heading to Utah and flying to Paris from Salt Lake. I have also had some past experience with transatlantic travel and toddler insubordination that left me feeling pretty weak.
Thankfully, not only did Colette kindly remember that I was her mother this round, but she also remembered she was Romy’s sister and acted protective and generous (!). Colette slept on the floor of the plane and Romy took up 2 seats, spread out - not an inch of her little body cramped. Neither Xavier nor I slept, but we were really just grateful that those two did - for most of the flight.
Running to customs after we landed (because Xavier feels a general compulsion to be at the front of any line, no matter how many bags or small people involved), Romy did have a temporary moment of obstruction - at the base of an escalator. She just stopped moving and would not be picked up. Xavier and Colette were already miles ahead. Thankfully, a sweet soul coming down the escalator just behind Romy was brilliant. She came up behind her, took Romy’s hand and said, “on y va.” Romy grabbed my hand on the other side and completely obliged. She went from being intransigent to dough in 3 seconds flat. We walked all the way to customs that way - hand in hand with a stranger. I loved this person. She was French and so helpful. I took it as a good omen of my new relationship with the French. I loved her discretion - I thanked her and she hardly responded, just kept holding Romy’s hand - no words of encouragement beyond the initial giddy-up, let’s go. Then a discrete cou-cou goodbye at the end when she had deposited us near the customs officer. What a gal! No chit chat about how hard it is to travel with toddlers. No condescending, understanding looks between two parents. A lot of respect for her approach.
I will admit that I’ve had my moments with the French. When deliberating on our move to France, Xavier and I agreed that I was going to have to open up - embrace loving my people (I am French too, after all!). So I've decided that I am all in. It has taken about ten years of being married to a Frenchman, but I think I am ready for it: francophilia. That woman in the glasses, holding Romy’s hand at the airport was a sign.
So now a few early shots from Baugé. Lovely Baugé.
"Uhh...I am pretty sure there is a ghost in here."