Well, we are finally in Paris. It was certainly adventurous. We took off on Wednesday night around 5:30, to start heading to DC. We hit traffic several times and were delayed for several hours. We finally made it to Abdias' house at 7:30 am and he already had the coffee ready (thanks for the Cafe Bustelo and the song that you sang with it, Abdias!). Abdias, just so you know- Ryan and I wanted to say THANKS and send a shout out to you. We are so grateful and hope that your talk goes well on Sunday! And we also hope that your trip goes well also. (Abdias is leaving on Monday for South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Dubai.) DC was a fantastic start to our trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Abdias and his family treated us like we were part of their family. He took us to the airport and checked us in and made sure that we got off okay. Who said that chivalry is dead?
Well, once Abdias checked me in, I was sweating about the plane ride once I saw that my seat was not an aisle seat. As we were getting closer to the gate, I was getting pretty antsy (you all know- the whole claustophobia thing and the symptoms that I get that go along with it). It's so funny how EVERYTHING disappeared once I saw the badges that had those four special words- "Keep on the Watch!". I felt so relieved to meet our travel group. There 35 brothers and sisters from all over the US in our group that were there- from Oregon, Mississippi, Philladelphia, Georgia, Louisiana, New York, etc. It felt like we were automatically with family and that started off so well. The brothers and sisters were immediately offering to change seats with me, if they had an aisle seat. It was so sweet and reminded me immediately of our worldwide brotherhood.
Next- the plane adventure- we get on the flight and Ryan and I are in different rows. My seat is of course smack in the middle of the aisle, beside a brother who had also been seperated from his traveling companion. Well, me and his traveling companion, Tim, who is friends and workmates with David Patterson (sound familiar?) swapped seats (Tim has great "David" stories, too that everyone would love). Then, some men I didn't know, said, "We have a proposition for you..." which led me to an aisle seat beside Rufus, a brother from New York. He and his wife Carrie are really nice (and Shayne, you would get a kick out of this- she has braces and is over 50, which I immediately loved!). Well, Rufus and I became two best friends because we basically shared our seats. It made for an interesting six and half hour plane ride, to say the least! It was funny, too, that Ryan, once she sat down, immediately stained her white shirt and burned herself by spilling hot tea all over her. It wasn't funny at the time, but is quite funny now (now that we are trying to get the stains out of the shirt).
We get to Paris at 5:20am. I don't know if I mentioned that we left DC at 5:20pm the day before. We meet our tour person and representatives from our travel agency and off we go on our Paris tours. Little did we know that this would last until 5:30pm- ALL DAY. Remember- no shower since the day before and no sleep for the past two days. We drove to Normandy, France- two hours away and go to a city called Louviers and Notre Dame. We eat at this great Restaraunt- Marche' (I'll get to my funny story about that in just a minute) and then tour the French Bethel. We drive back the two hours to Paris and check in at our hotel at 5:30pm. After that, Ryan and I decide to get dinner at this place called 38 Eiffel and had a fabulous and HUGE meal. The best part was the dessert- Creme Brulee (Tommy and the girls at work would've loved the creme brulee- reminded me of Mr. Jobe's house and the creme brulee he made us for staff development).
The funny part- at Marche', I was having a bit of trouble talking to the waitress and for some reason was using SpangFrenchEnglish. I was telling the waitress that I wanted my coffee to come with sugar. I had looked up "sucre" for sugar, so I said, "Cafe con sucre." Con is Spanish for "with" and for some reason I said that... I knew something was wrong by the look on her face when I said this. Basically, what I had said (once I looked this up--- lesson#1- look up the words BEFORE you attempt to use them) was, "Coffee- sugar, you idiot!" I later rubbed her back and said, "Merci beaucoup" for her service, a bad attempt to try to make up for what I had said earlier.
All in all, this is the most tired I have been in years but it has been wonderfully worth it. If this is how the trip will be, I know this will be the best trip I have EVER taken!