This Saturday, we will hand keys to our apartment over to two French strangers, Sara and Elliot. We'll take their keys, and head off to JFK International, where we'll hop on an Aer Lingus flight to Dublin, then to Paris, then make our way to Monmartre, which we'll call home for six weeks. I haven't ever been out of New York for six weeks in the seventeen years I've lived here, and while I love Paris, I think it's a bit odd that I've gone and picked another major city to prop myself up against for my big New York City breakaway.
That said, there are side trips planned. We've booked our TGV high speed tickets to Marseilles, and rented a car (an automatic) to head to Normandy where we'll explore the D-Day beaches and check out the Halley's comet embroidered on the Bayeux tapestries. We've bought our Ryanair tickets to Rome, where we'll stay with my parents for two nights in Anzio before gathering them up to head to Rome's Trastevere neighborhood for another couple of nights. After that, I'm not sure what we'll do. Catch trains up the coast, stop off in Genoa, and snake our way through some Alps and head back to Paris again? Or buy some airplane tickets back to Paris from some northern Italian point, and chill out for the last 10 days or so?
Six weeks sounds like forever, but I know it will fly. I'm proud that this started as a little seed of a wild idea and has grown to fruition-- now I need to disperse this energy into other things I'd like to see happen in our lives.
This trip feels like a celebration of sorts for me; Jamie's just turned seven, and is moving from a fairly restrictive 12-person special ed classroom setting to full-inclusion with his own Assistant Teacher next year. I'm feeling inspired by his progress, enough so to embark on this kind of trip. He's always traveled well. He loves looking out the window of trains and cars, and in a way, perhaps having an only child has made this scope of a trip easier for us, and him, to handle. Wherever we land, we're a little threesome, and this brings a sense of home anywhere. I'll bring a few fidget toys, plenty of art supplies, and sugar free gum to prepare for his hard times so he has something to ground him if he gets overstimulated. I'll keep museum trips to a minimum. I've been reading up on Parisian playgrounds, and this time around I'll let that take center stage. A pony ride here; a French puppet show there; a trip or two up the Eiffel Tower for good measure, with plenty of Nutella crepes along the way. What more does any kid need?
I look forward to our downtime there, and hope to blog a bit along the way. Bon soir!