After two weeks of traveling, we are home once more. We enjoyed a quiet and sleepy New Year's Eve. After a nice meal of pasta with salmon and shrimp...very typical to have seafood at New Year's here... a fresh salad and a beautiful Buche de Noel from the local bakery...the delicious French Christmas cake...with the requisite Veuve Clicquot, Nathan and Celia opened their presents left by Pere Noel. Celia was asleep on the couch by 7 pm. Nathan and I played backgammon until 9 when we could no longer keep our eyes open after 3 days of traveling. I woke up at midnight briefly to hear the Reveillon (New Year's eve) rung in by our little village.
We arrived a day later than expected due to a cancelled flight in Paris. Air France (AF) and the French in general really take pity on us mothers with children! After hearing the gentleman at the AF counter telling many others that the flight was cancelled due to weather and no they would not pay for lodging, he gave me vouchers for a hotel and meals without me even asking. He told his co-worker that I was traveling with two children alone. Chivalry is not dead here!!
We spent the night at a hotel near the airport. As French hotel rooms are generally small, we had two rooms assigned to us. Celia and Nathan slept in one and I in the adjoining room. After giving them explicit instructions on how to call my room next door if they needed me, I snuggled in for a long needed rest. At 2 am the phone rang...Mom, we are awake now...Obviously sleep was not on our agenda that night! So much for the wake up call at 5 am! So we showered and read and watched sports TV until 4 am when the breakfast opened up. By 6 am we were back at the airport. After a mixup with our tickets due to the spelling of my name and tears of exhaustion and frustration on Celia's part, we were off to Montpellier. We picked up the groceries for our New Year's dinner and Jazzy at the kennel and collapsed into the house for a nap. When I woke up Nathan after 2 hours, he said how wierd it was that it was morning already. I told him that it wasn't even 5 pm yet. Poor child! Jet lag is a newly understood term to him!
It felt like a very familiar ritual to be in the house up again...turning on the heat and gas for cooking, slicing vegetables for dinner, setting the table and lighting the candles...slowly but surely we were home again. In the midst of my jet lag on the plane here, thoughts of confusion washed over me...where was home? California or France? I had not felt like I was returning to home when I was in California, yet I didn't feel like I was on my way home on the plane ride back to France. But when I drove the route from the airport to the store and to the kennel and to our house, the flood of familiar sights were so welcome like a warm hug. I was home! When I was at the bakery up the street buying our Buche de Noel and talking to the gentleman who owns it with his wife, I remembered why I love it here so much...the warmth of the people, the sense of belonging to this village, the beauty of the countryside, and the time to really thoroughly appreciate all of those things!
Happy New Year's to all of our friends and loved ones! I wish you the time to thoroughly appreciate your life as well!