Thursday, March 29, 2018

Munich March Part 2

As I posted yesterday, it was Three Kings Day. So we caught a few glimpses of costumes on the streets.

We needed some lunch. And when you are in Munich for just one day, you've got to eat local. L had once been to the Hofbrauhaus and assured us it would be perfect. We walked into the largest tavern I have ever seen in my life. There were massive wooden tables to be shared by multiple parties. People were in costume. It was clear that we were going to get the full experience.

Firstborn and I both ordered different items and shared them.

I had to have sauerkraut. I have absolutely no idea why, but I can't get enough of it. In fact, the Psychology class once did an experiment on emotions associated with foods. They asked me to be a tester and fed me sauerkraut (of course, assuming that the tartness would stir something negative in me). It stirred something in me, enough for the student to die laughing and give me the rest of the can!

We were likely the only party in the massive room that was not drinking Hofbrauhaus beer, but the atmosphere was enough to make us love the place. This guy was old school German. I asked if he would take a picture with Firstborn. Already a little tipsy by noon, he snagged the stein of beer from the patron nearest him and posed for the picture. I reminded her to thank him, but he had become so engaged with his borrowed beer, I'm not sure he ever heard it.

The music was loud and German. This 16th century, 3-floor tavern was the bomb. We loved it. I was so happy to get to walk by the mini orchestra on our way out and see the harps, played by my beloved cousins as well, as part of the ensemble.
We kept taking videos of the music and environment to send to CC. Again, such a fun gift. Just a few hours, but packed full of memories.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Munich March Part 1

We landed in Munich late Friday evening with a scheduled flight out, to Mississippi for her and Turkey for me, very early Sunday morning. That left a full day, Saturday, for us to walk around Munich. It was cold and beautiful that day. The sky could not have been more clear.

My good friend L flew in from Turkey to spend the day there with us. School had already started, but I stayed back to get Firstborn off on the prescheduled time.

We got to see the Rathaus-Glockenspiel, crafted in 1908 and representing Munich's history.

We had no real agenda, and many shops were closed due to January 6 being Three Kings' Day. But it was enough to see such beautiful buildings, drink a coffee together, and let Firstborn catch up with one of her dearest teachers.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Off to Paris, At Least For 7 Hours!

And so CC and the kids got off. Firstborn and I had about 5 days together still in Spain. We enjoyed every second of it. I feel like I cope fairly well in Turkey when CC is gone for several weeks, but when I am away from home, without him, I tend to feel the heaviness of responsibility. Let's just be honest makes me nervous. But all of those gaps seemed to be filled with the joy of having Firstborn with me for those few short days. We transitioned to another smaller house, on loan to us by a sweet family who was heading to Portugal for a vacation. We enjoyed long walks in the evening with the panorama of the mountains and sunsets.

We took a couple of short day trips and finally sat down together, now that we were apart from the family, for that coffee shop talk. "How are you REALLY doing without me?" (I asked her. She asked me. We both started sobbing. Right there in the coffee shop. Our table was strategic. We hid in a back corner. The gals behind the counter just let us cry.) For those few days, we would get up and make an awesome breakfast of eggs and potatoes and coffee. We would watch our tv show together. Then after awhile, after starting to feel like blobs, we would go for very long walks. Soon our few days were up, and we got up at 3AM to turn in our rental car and make our 6AM flight. I had to get her BACK to Germany, as that was the point of origination for her weird-changed-flight-because-of-no-Turkish-evisas.

But our economy middle of the night flight to Germany took us to Paris for 7 hours!!! Get out of the airport? You bet! I was, honestly, terrified, to try it. I feel SO responsible when CC isn't there. He's my crutch so much of the time. But Firstborn assured me she could figure it out and that we would not miss our connecting flight to Munich. First step: pay a small fee to have them hold our luggage. (Toting our big bags around Paris just did not fit the image of "Paris in 7 Hours") Next step: figuring out how to buy the train ticket. I. was. so. nervous. about. this. She kept saying, "Mama, I got it." and typing (and getting) info on her phone.

So, we figured out the right train to get us into town. We knew we didn't have long, so we decided to see Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower. Eat a crepe. And GET BACK TO THAT FLIGHT. The subway train was exciting. I don't think we ever stopped smiling. Except of course, when the random stop in the middle of nowhere turned out to be 5 minutes. 10 minutes. 15 minutes. We had no idea what was going on except that other passengers seemed annoyed. I was worried. How could we even make it back? There were no taxis! I had no idea where we were. FRENCH! Everywhere! I had heard one couple briefly speak in English, so I asked them what was happening. They told me the train had broken down, but that they had promised it would be repaired soon. The couple became our new best friends. I nearly asked, "If not, could you just take us to your house?!"

After about a 30 minute stop, sure enough, the train started rolling again. Then we got off our train and had absolutely no idea how to get to the Eiffel Tower. There were no signs. We did not have data on our phones. Firstborn kept giggling and saying, "We will figure it out." KIDS! I needed her stress level to match mine! We noticed a young couple with another gal. They looked completely confused too. So, we asked them if they were going to the Eiffel Tower. They said they were but there were no signs. Then the guy said, "I think I have it figured out." So we became a group of five. I mean we followed him blindly! We first passed Notre Dame, but kept moving since our time was shorter than we anticipated.

We walked passed the River Seine (from which we get the word "insane"). It was swirling and angry. I mentioned to Firstborn as we passed it, "I sure wouldn't want to fall in that river today...."

And at last, we made it to the beautiful Eiffel Tower! I am not sure what I expected, but it was breathtaking. And in the middle of a city. It looked old and just drew me in.

No time to go up! We just reveled in the fact that we made it there. We took pictures and congratulated ourselves. And by that point, we were starving. The economy flight served no food, and we left too early for breakfast!

We had just enough time to stop in a cafe. A cafe in Paris. You can imagine how much we were smiling. Only God would give me this gift of a chance to see my daughter, after she was unable to get a visa to come home. And not only did I get to see her (She told me she would meet us anywhere....even a slum....she said she just needed to see us....) but I got to spend 7 hours with her in Paris. I never imagined I would ever see it.

The cafe was wonderful and we sat right by the window to see the street.

I had some wonderful Parisian menu item which involved cheese and a crepe. And a coffee. We kept saying, "I can't believe we are here. I am so glad we got up at 3AM so we could do this!"

An enormously sad thing happened. I felt like my first cross over the River Seine was portentous. When we returned, police rescue boats were out combing the river with nets and divers. We wondered if someone had jumped or fallen.

Later the news informed us that a routine practice dive had swept away a young female Parisian police officer, and she was not recovered. I kept thinking that day how we cross paths with people in the world. For some it might be the most wonderful day of their lives. For others it might be the most tragic. We prayed for whatever was going on.

We took one last quick stop in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral. We had no time to go it, and the lines were long. We were happy to get to see it. The 12th century Gothic structure was beautiful!

And so we made it back to the airport, just as she promised we would! She somehow connected that one of her college friends was also in the Paris airport. While she went to give her a quick hug and catch up, I bought her a Paris mug to take back with her to Mississippi.

We had just another day in Munich together, then she would be off to start her spring semester at college.

Friday, March 23, 2018

España Experience: Finals

It seemed that on every one of these little excursions we made as a family, we would end up driving back into town when the sun was setting. And every sunset was so beautiful. I just soaked them in.

On this particular day, I remember being very pensive, as the sunset felt to me like the sunset on our adventure together. Spain had provided for me a place to see my daughter after a semester of being 6000 miles and 8 time zones away from her for the first time ever. It provided for me a place to be able to have all my chicks back together, even for a short time. It provided a place to wake up and read my Bible in front of the fire. It provided a place to be a tourist. It provided for me a place to experience a little culture shock again after living here for so long, things rarely shock me. It provided an adventure to wonder what things were in the grocery store and to hear a foreign languages spoken. It was such a gift to me. I knew another hard goodbye was ahead, but it was worth it.

I took this picture as we drove back into the neighbourhood that night. CC must have sensed what was going on in my head, because he said, "Here's your last chance to get that silhouette."

How would the kids spend their last evening and morning together? They all curled up in our bed to watch something together.

And then the four girls headed out to do a photo shoot together. No shortage of beautiful fences and mosaic tile backdrops to choose from!

And then I found these on my camera. And I knew they were holding on to the last bits of time together too.

Spain had been wonderful in every way. More than we ever imagined it would be. The next morning we would load the four kids and CC into the car, return the rental car, and get them off on their flight. I would stay on with Firstborn until her flight back to America.

Site Meter