F is for That First Trip

Our first trip as new expats was to Paris, France. We traveled there on Thanksgiving, literally. Thanksgiving dinner was eaten on the Chunnel train and it included foie gras, which was definitely not present at the pioneer's first feast. We had only been living abroad for 4 months and I was still kinda mad at my parents for taking me away from my home in the states. Maybe this will sound like I was spoiled or ungrateful,  but I was 15! And  foie gras on a train, instead of turkey and tradition and familiarity, was kind of heartbreaking for me.

But we were going to Paris! A place I'd always dreamed of going. I would get to (or be forced to) speak French, there would crêpes and the Louvre and cafes! So I held back my disappointment, and probably some tears, and prepared to embrace my new adventure. My first task was procuring a taxi for us and using my nervous French skills to give him our hotel address. I've found that when speaking French in France, people will either look at you like you are an American idiot, or they will be thrilled and want to chat for the entire taxi ride-  in which case you should learn the phrase: "Parlez plus lentement, s'il vous plait." (Speak a little slower please.)

Oh, that hotel, with its teeny tiny elevator that we had to ride two by two, and the weird bed in the closet, and the uncensored tv we were afraid to turn on. I remember the first cafe we visited where my dad wanted to order a glass of port, but got a blank stare, and then asked me to try to order it, but I didn't know what port was, and besides porte means door in French. Le sigh...

We climbed to the top of the Tour Eiffel and Notre Dame and stood in front of the surprisingly small Mona Lisa. We ate a lot of Crêpes Nutella Banane (my favorite). We walked the brick streets and had our portraits made in Montmatre and said merci. And we took it all in and felt very foreign and very far from home and sometimes frustrated. But mostly it was fun because we were there as a family (une famille). 

I love Paris and I am so thankful I got to go back a few more times after that first taste. I'm going to leave you with the scanned pages from my scrapbook, put together by my 10th grade self. The pictures are small and poorly cropped and the captions are cheesy. But my feelings towards that first trip outside my comfort zone-the one that stretched me and humbled me and opened my eyes-are still so fresh in my mind.

 I finished week one of the A-Z Blogging Challenge - yay! 


  1. This is awesome :) I love the scans of your scrapbook... scrapbooking was something I always thought was a great idea but I never managed to do! I didn't realize you could climb the towers at Notre Dame though, that looks like it would be fun for our mother/daughter trip this summer!

  2. In retrospect, you sound very thankful for that unconventional Thanksgiving celebration! Isn't travel a wonderful gift?

    I really love your scrapbook pages!

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    visiting from the #AtoZchallenge
    Twitter: @mentalmosaic
    Blog: http://www.mentalmosaic.com/blog

    1. You are right- I'm am so thankful for all these experiences and that I get to document them here. Thanks for your comment and for your tip about the comment form- I didn't even know I had that turned on.

  3. You need to make all these posts into a book for yourself after the challenge for sure! I may never get to these places so it is great to live vicariously through your memories!

  4. oh I am going here in May. Just talking about Paris today with your Mom.


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