Getting to the Bon Voyage!

It’s a long one… and way over due… but really awesome pictures will be in the following posts all about our trip, so totally worth it 🙂

You know how the old saying goes, when it rains it pours? Well, for us everything that needed a decision and like more than what form of tacos should we have for dinner tonight, big time decisions all fell into our laps the Monday, two days before I was supposed to leave for Europe.  A little background on me, when I get totally overwhelmed, I completely shut down into a pile of uselessness that cannot operate a flat iron let alone my brain in order to make a decision….  So back up to Sunday.  I get a call from our landlords that they need an answer as to if we are going to re-sign our lease for another year.  Oh yeah, they need this decision like ASAP, like yesterday, but for sure by Tuesday. WHAT?! Are you kidding me!?Okay, issue one.  Issue number two, I had not even began packing because one day it is 75* in Paris and the next it is 40*, people?! How can I plan for a trip with these numbers? Issue three, I am preggo therefore I can physically only be awake until 8pm, which leaves like zero time to accomplish anything….

 These three things compiled into me being a giant lump of nothing Monday after we went to tour the hopeful new location.  Well, the house was let’s say perfect in every way except for white walls, after a few calm down conversations with the Mr, and a few more with the rents we let our landlords know we will not be signing up for another year, and the new landlords know that we will be moving in… oh yea, and the Mr. pretty much solved every problem when he said, “I’ll paint.” WHOO HOO!!! Then onto packing, well that was never solved, I basically just packed every dress I owned with the option to go with or without leggings and with or without sweaters! It worked!! Then onto the needing ridiculous amounts of sleep, well I solved that by watching the season premiere of Army Wives which was 2 hours of intense-ness long, so I didn’t have a problem staying up! PHEW.

 Packed & boarded heading to Minneapolis! 

The one thing I hit spot on was my decision to fly into Minneapolis the night before our flight to Europe.  This allowed me to get into the cities around 8:30, stop off for a quick visit with the MN Dedekers then off to bed, where I slept in, showered and had a delicious lunch date with Grandma D. before heading to the airport.  One tidbit of information about flying when preggo for the first time and being EXTREMELY careful  with everything, whoa is that brie?!  Get that soft cheese out of my sight!!! Any who, I couldn’t find anything online and had forgotten to call my ob about going through the scanners at security, is this safe?!  Am I causing birth defects?! Yes, I jump from safe to the worst case scenarios fast. So I step up to the scanner thing, and tell them I am pregnant and the lady ushers me to the side of the hall where she says, “ I have to pat you down, are you ok here, or do you want to go somewhere private?”  First, I thought pat me down meant a quick pat down on the OUTSIDE of my clothes, and it just weirded me out to think about going somewhere private with her… so, I chose hallway. NOTE to readers: ALWAYS CHOOSE TO GO SOMEWHERE PRIVATE!!!!

 Within seconds she had me take off my sweatshirt, so I was in just a tank top, then she proceeded to touch EVERYWHERE and then run her hands around the inside of my pants! At this point a) I am totally and completely covered in sweat, she has DESTROYED my space bubble, b)wishing I had worn something, anything different, because what I was wearing didn’t require certain ummmmm….. tmi…. Moving along, and c) I was thinking she should have at least bought me dinner or something because we shared a very intimate moment. 

 The worst was she kept talking to me about all the weight she gained while she was pregnant and how your body changes (still rubbing me down at this point) —- could not have been worse.  Thankfully, Justin’s Aunt who is an OB told me that absolutely I can go through the scanners!  And I did, and it was so much better.

 Checking in: WAY more difficult than I imagined

I got to the airport with plenty of time, and even had been warned by my SIL that I needed to make sure they checked my bags through to Paris (we were flying through Amsterdam). NBD! I have totally flown overseas before….blahblah, TOTALLY not prepared for this experience!!!  I waltzed up to the counter with my passport all ready and my bags were well under the limit (this is huge later) and she says, “okay, all set for Amsterdam….” I politely informed her that I need to check my bags all the way to Paris.  She told me no. HA! End of conversation… I was like… ummm, I really need them to go the full way, can you check. She said No, I don’t have a keyboard. … OK?! That doesn’t seem to helpful for the person checking me … so I ask, “ Is there someone who has a keyboard?, she replies, yes… ok, getting closer… Me: “ and could you tell me who that person is, and where to find them? – She pointsSo as I am frantically texting McKenzy to get the flight details for our Paris flight I make my way over to the first class (which I was not) line to get help by the ONLY person with a keyboard.  The funny thing about the first class line, is that no matter why you are in line, if you are not first class then every, single , solitary person who is first class gets to go ahead of you in line. So 55 (maybe 6) line cuts later I finally worked with a person who was not only helpful, but very nice! WHOO HOO!!!  Checked in and through security I made my way to meet up with the SIL and wait for the AK clan to arrive.

 Meeting my group:

As most of you know, I was able to go on this trip as a chaperone for my Mom’s French students.  There was forty of us in the group so each chaperone had approximately 6 people.  The funny thing about traveling with French students, especially all juniors and seniors, is that they pretty much are only referred to as their French names (totally random and assigned by mom when they are 1st years) – I had a card with their English names on it and as I called around the kids were like who?!  Oh you mean… insert French name here… I told them in Minneapolis that I would do my best to learn both their French and English (real) names… that never happened.  I had a great group of kids, they all would group up together and let me know they were there, they were hardly late, except for the one who fell asleep in the 5 minute break between touring and dinner (we were exhausted) and the other one who panicked and decided she would need to blow dry her hair!!! Traveling with all girls and two boys (one adult) meant there was a lot of hair and clothing malfunctions & decisions.  It also meant the entire bus squealed each time we passed a H & M!  I mean really it’s the small things.  And who doesn’t remember (from AK) getting so excited on our vacations/trips when we could shop at Abercrombie and Fitch!!!

 Flight & Amsterdam:

Our flight was about 8 hours long, luckily I had just enough time to catch up on several movies, walk the plane and catch up with the other chaperones aka, mom, sil and basically two other family members!  When we arrived to Amsterdam we headed to security to get cleared and to get our passports stamped.  This would normally not be something worth noting, however, the security line proved to be an issue for this mother and daughter, especially mother…  We got all the other adults (we had several parents traveling with us) and all the kids, and finally the chaperones were going through, three with no issues… and then me and mom.  I answered all the questions and put my stuff up on the scanner thing, and everything went through successfully… so I thought.  Turns out when you say no you don’t have a computer, and you have a kindle… you get flagged.  They went through my entire carryon and my bag and then resent it through the scanner. NBD, it took like five minutes.  However, when you say you don’t have a computer and you DO have a computer not only do you get flagged but I am pretty sure you are instantaneously put on the top of the no fly list until it’s proven that you simply forgot you were carrying a computer, not trying to get away with a huge attack.  Well, mom was bringing over her small laptop for me to transfer pictures to each night in order to preserve room on my memory card for the day. She normally does not have a computer with her when she traveled, so she said no.  Then she proceeded to pass her bag holding both her kindle and computer through the scanner… almost immediately, a man wearing gloves grabber her stuff and took it over to the examining table where he said, did you hear us ask you if you had a computer?  She said, well, yes… but I forgot!! It’s my daughter’s fault! – thanks mom!  He pulled out EVERYTHING, I mean everything. It took her a good 15 minutes before they let her proceed.  

From there we had about an hour to explore, (go to Starbucks and get breakfast) then look around before meeting up to board our flight to Paris.  By the time we boarded our next flight I could barely keep my eyes open, so I slept the entire Air France flight, which turns out, makes me kind of sad.  They had excellent espresso and chocolate croissants all of which I slept through! SO SAD.  Also, side note, the uniforms the stewardess’s were wearing were designed by Christian Dior.  As are all of the public service uniforms in France, designed by a noted fashion designer, and apparently it is a huge deal to win the bid to get to design the clothing! COOL!!!

 Bonjour Paris & ohhhh Champs Elysees!

We arrived to Paris collected our bags and hopped on our Mercedes Coach Bus, ohlala!!  Our tour guide Robert met us at the airport and he welcomed us into the city with basic information, our trip itinerary etc… as we made the quick trip into the city from the airport.  The kids, who were dead to the world when we got on the bus could be heard saying things like, “I just love the buildings here (industrial park), or “Oh look at all the graffiti, in French! So cool” – pretty much everything Parisian was AH-Mazing, and they were hilarious talking about what they saw… especially the French boys?!  They are so cute, distinguished, they wear pea-coats?! Why won’t our boys wear pea-coats! etc… too funny.

When we arrived, we quickly checked into the hotel and then headed out for our first lunch of crepes! YUMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!

Then we met up and headed down to the Champs Elysees for a little shopping!  We spent a couple hours on our own shopping and just enjoying the sites, walking around, some went to the top of the Arc De Triumph (not me) and others booked it to the closest H&M! Priorities people!!!

 After shopping we headed back to the hotel where we had a little over an hour to freshen up (nap) and then head out to a cute little French bistro for a lovely dinner… where we watched the kids heads drop one by one as they were falling asleep!!!  We took the kids back to the hotel after dinner then the chaperones headed out in search of the perfect espresso!!! We did not find any.. but we found an incredibly cute Parisian pug.  Which I immediately named Fifi and wanted to bring home!!!  Too bad this pup was well loved and her mom was not letting go! I tried…no really, I have a weakness for pug puppies… or pugs… or Buddha bellies.. you get the point!!!

 Back and asleep for the night… then up to explore Paris the next day! Stay tuned!

 Today, I am grateful for the leftover Sprinkle’s Red Velvet cupcake sitting on my counter waiting for me this afternoon when I get home. 🙂

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