Monday, January 18, 2016

Welcome to France!

We have successfully traveled to France!

Ever since the kids finished the school term on the 18th of December, we have been sorting, packing, donating, trashing, giving away, and boxing up for storage ALL of our stuff.  This occurred between the 19th and when we left on the 30th.  A few other things did occur during that time, including...

We had pancakes and went to see Star Wars afterwards (thanks Darren!)

Most delicious TIE Fighter in the galaxy

We went to the beach after Dan's birthday breakfast on the 24th.  Then we took Will to urgent care on Christmas Day for a rash probably resulting from the itchy beach sand.  Oddly enough, Will asked, with concern, while we were at the beach, if it had rained lately.  We told him it had rained two days prior.  He explained that because of runoff, we probably shouldn't be in the water until three days had passed.  He was nice enough not to say, "I told you so" after breaking out in the rash.

California Boys

We organized everything so that the awesome movers could pack things up.  This pallet is the one that is coming to France.  Everything else was donated, given away to friends, or sent to storage.  

All of the stuff we are moving to France
We posed for a picture in front of the house.

We have moved ourselves out of the house too!

Coincidentally, the moving truck that came to take our stuff to storage ended up hitting the magnolia tree in front of our house.  This also occurred 9 years ago when the moving truck helping us to relocate from Virginia also hit the same tree.

Poor Magnolia Tree may recover after about 9 years

Our overall strategy during the time between the 18th and 30th was to help the kids cope with this gigantic life change through distraction, excitement, activities, connecting with friends for last get-togethers, and a lot of video games.  I suppose mentioning video games is a bit redundant since I listed distraction already... 

As all of our stuff was either in the process of being packed or was packed, we spent three nights at a hotel near the LA airport.  We selected it as part of our distraction strategy.  It had an indoor pool.  

We swim in California

We finally pulled ourselves together enough to be nearly ready to leave.  All we had to do was finish organizing stuff in the morning at the hotel before heading over to the airport for an afternoon flight.  However, due to all of the craziness, I ended up getting a terrible cold that had migrated to my throat and ears.  The illness also included a touch of laryngitis.  So, rather than arriving in a foreign country with most doctors closed for New Year's or the weekend, I took myself to urgent care the morning of our departure.  The two and a half hours would have been better spent getting organized at the hotel instead of me texting Dan about how to organize stuff.  Better except for the fact that the doctor I saw was very helpful and prescribed antibiotics just in case my infection progressed.  I grabbed them from the pharmacy and made it back to the hotel as soon as I could.  We ultimately made it to the airport in a reasonable manner with all of our stuff.  We checked 7 suitcases, 2 rubbermaid bins, Alex's booster car seat, and Dan's road bike in a box.  We carried on 4 pieces of luggage and 4 personal items.  

Alex: Excited by the nifty seats, but somewhat tentative
Will: Do I seriously need to be here?

The flight from LA to Paris was 11 hours long.  Alex kind of slept for a bit of it.  Will was awake the whole time.  In protest, he hadn't taken the gummy melatonin.  He kind of dozed maybe for an hour.  By the time he got to Paris, he was oddly still holding it together.  We did all of the walking and taking of the train to get across the airport.  We made it through security and passport control without losing anything.  We even had time once we got to our Toulouse gate for a snack.

Croissants, of course

Will finally fell asleep on the Toulouse flight, but it was a short one.  At airport arrival, we had to split up to handle all of the luggage.  

Basically all of the luggage you see here is ours
And yes, that is Alex in a fleece and shorts

First, Dan went to get the rental car.  It was a silver Hyundai hatchback.  We manged to fit about 3/4 of the luggage, including the bike box, inside.  Alas, there was no room for passengers at that point.  So, the boys and I set off with the rest of our stuff to grab a taxi to the hotel.  Dan drove the rental car to our apartment and unloaded it by himself.  He had already stayed at the apartment for a couple of nights back during his early December trip, so had all of the keys and stuff to get in.  Then he joined us at the hotel.  Why hotel?  For sleeping arrangements, only a single folding cushion was available at the apartment, additional set-up was still required.  

While we left Los Angeles on the 30th, we arrived in Toulouse on the 31st.  We briefly considered staying awake until midnight for French New Year.  Then Will fell asleep at about 4pm.  We tried to wake him up to go to dinner, but he was completely nonfunctional.  Dan, Alex, and I went to one of the Lebanese places near the hotel, got some fries, pita bread pizza, rice, and kebabs.  We returned to the hotel where Will was still completely asleep.  We used the table in the boys' room and tried to eat loudly with engaging conversation, but he just wasn't conscious.  So we stuck his food in the fridge and went to sleep ourselves.  Will woke up at about midnight and hung out on his own, letting us sleep until we decided to wake up a bit later.  Then, when it was breakfast time, we finally got to feed him at the hotel breakfast.  

Hotel Breakfast a la Will
Lemon and Egg

Ultimately we made it to France without too much trouble.  The boys did great with the jet lag.  I, unfortunately, did not, and ended up nauseous.  The anti-nausea medication ended up being one of those things that just did not get organized into the right place on travel day morning.  There is much set-up and settling yet to be done, but we are here!   

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