Nous Sommes Arrivés!

We made it. Armed with PILES of Covid related required paperwork, we have landed in the City of Light. On a typical gloomy Parisian day (City of Light might be a misnomer), we arrived. Proud of the fact that we managed to do it with 7 checked bags, 4 rolling carry-ons, 3 backpacks and a chic French tote (mais bien sûr). I don’t think we forgot anything… except for the things we forgot. Oh well, its not like there isn’t anywhere to shop in Paris. Likely the subject of a blog or seven for another day.

Our flight arrived inexplicably hour early, it was still dark! We were so early we were ahead of our ground transport and apartment rental people, so there was some hurry up and wait moments. But we’re in Paris, so what!

Anticipating some hairy jetlag with the 9 hour time difference, we pulled out all the stops on the international traveller’s playbook on how to ward it off; get out in the sun (remember gloomy day), walk, eat at the mealtimes of where you are (not where you came from). We walked ourselves along Blvd des Italiens and in the glow of the gilded Opera and found a lovely table at the Café de la Paix. In my rusty French, I asked for a table for 4 in the bistrot, but then I fucked it up when I agreed to the restaurant where the menu was more foie gras than frites. However, DO NOT FRET, Parisian waiters are amazing and Hervé saved my ass by accommodating us with chicken nuggets and club sandwiches if we agreed to some bougie appetizers. The sacrifice! Norwegian smoked salmon with the cutest little loonie (if you know, you know) sized blinis and yummy French onion soup (here, we leave the French out of it because well, duh). The reason for our stop however is the house made pastries and Monsieur’s love of the millefeuille. Everyone was happy! Plied with carbs, caffeine and sugar, we headed out into Les Grands Boulevards. Fast forward just 15 minutes and the sugar crash started right in the middle of the Nespresso store line up.

By 4pm CET, we hit the inevitable wall and needed to be horizontal. First rule of Jet Lag Club is, of course, we never talk about Jet Lag Club. The second rule of Jet Lag Club is DO NOT NAP. A nap will fuck it all up. Trust. However, we’re running on about 2 hours sleep in the past 24 hours and everyone is a little frayed. So we nap. BUT only for 20 minutes max. It was hard. Not like really hard because we’re on sabbatical in Paris, but you know, hard. I like to think that I am a smart cookie, so I made dinner reservations for our first two evenings so we had an obligation to get up, get showered and get moving.

Now, because I’m not ALWAYS a smart cookie, I made us a dinner reservation in a tourist trap. Dumb. It was fine, but the steak was dry and the waiter was an ass. Whatever, we’re in Paris! If you’re wondering, it was Le Grand Colbert, famous for the final scene in that Diane Keaton/ Jack Nicholson movie Something’s Gotta Give. Yeah, Something’s Worth Skipping.

Post dinner, I promised the kids a surprise. I took them on a little walk. It was after 9pm, dark and I forgot that Parisian parks have gates because THEY LOCK THEM. Fortunately we were not inside at the time, but it did foil my plan of the first stop on our walk. The Palais Royale was locked but we made our way down the colonnade along the side by the shops. I promised the kids that just beyond the fence is a beautiful park with a fountain. They were suspicious. We kept walking down to the Rue de Rivoli and by now I was working very hard to convince them that where we were headed was worth it. They weren’t so sure.

We crossed the Rue de Rivoli and through the archway of the Place du Carrousel at the Louvre. We came through and there it was, Paris at its very best. The Pyramid by I.M. Pei on one side and the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel on the other and just beyond, The Eiffel Tower. And like I planned it, just a minute later the Eiffel Tower started its sparkly show. What a win! I was a hero! In that moment, I was the smartest mom EVER! I am aglow, sparkling from the inside out just like that gorgeous monument, until 10 minutes later and people’s feet are sore and we’re exhausted and we can’t seem to find a good spot for an Uber pick-up and its taking too long.

Les Enfants et La Tour Eiffel

Eventually, we make our way to our new home away from home and climb into our new/ someone else’s beds, plied with melatonin and ready to dream about our first day in the City of Light.

Back in The Room

Well… I’m back baby! Its been a minute. Life’s been a roller coaster and lots has happened since my last post. But suffice to say, its a whole new world for The R&R Mom. The kids are big – I officially have a teen and a pre-teen now so this blog is less about their antics and more about mine so if you’re looking for breastfeeding tips, keep on googling. This is not the Mom Blog you’re looking for.

The R&R Mom took a step away from the Music Business in February 2020. I thought I was taking a break so we could finally fulfill our lifelong dream to travel for a year. And then Covid happened. So like every single other person in the world there was a change in plan. Fast forward to February 2022 and we are now packing up the kids and and all our home schooling accoutrement and we’re leaving for 7 months. We had to settle for a little less than a year, as again like everyone else, we were forced to change plans on the fly (Covid you saucy minx). But here we are, just over 24 hours from departure and it is interesting. There’s a to do list that seems to be growing rather than shrinking and I’m kinda freaking out. We are post Covid recovery, we picked it up on leg 1 of our trip to Hawaii and were forced to stay for two extra weeks (sounds like a super awesome situation but it was a tad hairy and stressful), so we’re feeling more optimistic taking our boosted selves abroad at last. It doesn’t change the fact that I am of course analyzing and re-analyzing the whole thing over and over hoping we’re doing the right thing. My feet are pretty fucking cold right about now. But we shall persevere.

Why are we running away from home you ask? Well, we need a change of scenery. Honestly, who the fuck doesn’t right now. We are grateful for that opportunity. But we also have been planning it for a while. We’re desperate to immerse ourselves in other countries and cultures. For me, I’m trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I’m hoping travel will help me figure that out.

Where are we headed? Again, Lady Rona has been the boss of us so we decided to try and keep it relatively condensed to Europe and parts of Africa. The shorter timeline (we want the kids to be back for school in the fall) and ever changing travel restrictions made us decide to keep it relatively geographically compact. Paris will be our home for the next 4 months and then we’ll adopt a more vagabond approach travelling around Europe and Africa more after that.

How are we doing it? Well, that’s a blog for another day. But the Mr and I have been manifesting this dream for years and are grateful we can finally do it. Luckily my years routing concert tours proved helpful in routing our grand tour too. Years of being on the road has been an invaluable tool in helping us decide where to go. We are also homeschooling our kids. Covid helped us prepare for that a little bit. Feel free to share any tips or ideas for us. We’re also open to any travel recommendations – bring ’em on!

Now as we get closer to departure day, its time for me to start packing the bags. Our house is a hot mess with piles collecting everywhere of things to not forget. The anxiety is in high gear as I try to warm up these feet and get ready to start our adventure. Wish us luck and we’ll keep you posted as we make our progress.

Four People. Seven Months. Three Seasons. Seven Bags.