Dear Friends and Family,
Today we said goodbye to Dan, it was great having a visitor from home and even more special when it was a close family member. Having an extra body around can be somewhat challenging, but with Dan everything was easy. He blended in with our routines and kept us laughing and giggling. I probably shouldn’t write when I’m feeling kind of blue. But… the reality is, being away from home and travelling for a year is bound to have its ups and downs. Today is a down day and I’m sure tomorrow will be another up day. The important thing is to have more up days than down, and we have done that by far. Grandma – don’t get any ideas, we are not heading home! (We had to promise before we left, that if we were struggling and not having fun, that we would head home.)
Having Dan here was wonderful for all of us. Mark and he enjoyed visiting a brewery run by Monks, and ‘monk luck’ came to be. If the boys wanted to change their luck, all they had to do was enjoy a Trappist beer and everything would be splendid! They made the rain stop, the sun shine, and the lineups move quickly! Perhaps it was the fact that some of that Trappist beer was 10% alcohol. The girls absolutely loved having their uncle here too, and Mark and I realized what a special opportunity it was for them, to enjoy some time with their uncle, all on their own.
So, Mark and I headed out for a romantic dinner in Paris, while Dan and the girls enjoyed an evening together, without us. They picked up pizza, potato chips, candy and orange Fanta – what could be better than that? They were in their glory eating dinner and watching Star Trek with their uncle, on his blackberry playbook. It must have been quite the scene with the three of them tucked into the motorhome, crowded around the tiny screen. When we arrived home, everyone was in bed. We had visited Versailles during the day, and everyone was tuckered out. Although Mark and I enjoyed our dinner out, we were quite torn wanting to spend more time with Dan before he headed home.
We had covered lots of ground in the past few weeks, and the last four days were spent in Paris. We visited the Louvre, which Dan teased the girls about – he visits the ‘loo’ everyday, what was so big about the ‘loo’ in Paris? We checked out the Arc de Triomphe and Dan explained to the girls that the Arc de Triomphe meant three arches. One was the big stone one and the other two, were the golden arches. The McDonalds restaurant was close to the stone arch so they called it the Arc de Triomphe – Triomphe meaning three in French – of course! We went to Notre-Dame and Dan couldn’t believe he was paying to go to church, he figured they should pay him for his ‘celebrity’ appearance! You can just imagine the silliness that went on. We forced Dan into our ‘selfie’ shots and pushed him up the steps of the Eiffel tower when he got winded. We had loads of fun, and will certainly cherish our memories with Dan.
"That is not a picture of moon-ing Lisa, it doesn't even look like your mom, Meg"
As we dropped Dan off at the airport the only one of us not in tears, was Mark. He was too busy trying to hold us Mitchell gals together. We cried and talked about how we were going to miss Dan and how we were missing home. We tried to put smiles on our faces as we changed the subject and counted the number of days before Grandma and Papa would arrive. Once we got back to the motorhome we all got settled into schoolwork and other jobs to keep ourselves occupied. It was very quiet. The girls were productive with their schoolwork. Thank goodness, as they hadn’t really done much since Dan's arrival. Mark headed out for a run and I was… less efficient.
I suppose I should have gone for a run too. Instead, I checked in with Facebook and read about what was going on at home and decided to write to you. Everyone was getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner at home and I thought about ours. They don’t celebrate Thanksgiving here in France, and we had been so busy I hadn’t given it much thought either. In an effort to cheer myself and the girls up, we started planning our dinner. Boy it sure would be different. Hmmm, no oven, so there won’t be turkey, maybe we could have ham. If we have ham that means no gravy for the mashed potatoes, I suppose we could buy gravy – ewwww yuck, gravy out of a jar. I could still make the stuffing - baguette would make good stuffing bread. I saw squash at the market, we could cook that in the microwave, I suppose. The girls started to cheer up and I did too. Other than not being with our extended family, we might just pull off a Thanksgiving dinner. After all, we had much to be thankful for.
Dan would make it home in time for Thanksgiving and we were missing him already, not to mention the rest of our family. But that is just one of those things you must accept when you choose to travel. Some days it is easier than others. I'm certainly not complaining and I wouldn't want to change a thing, because if we weren't travelling, we would not have experienced these last few weeks with Dan, and that was pretty special. So… we will make Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow and hopefully connect on Skype, with the festivities at home. And... we will be very thankful! We send our love to you all, and we hope you have a wonderful holiday with your families! And… in case you were wondering….we sure do miss you!
P.S. Thanks so much for reading and commenting on our posts. It makes us feel like you are not all that far away. Hmmm, there you go, I'm feeling better already after writing to you!