Monday, November 12, 2007

Flying to Paris on the ground.

Belgium was quite good to us, and we had a excellent final night on the town. We went to one last good beer destination before dinner. I walked in the door ahead of the group to find a small, smoky room and I was greeted by less than friendly faces. Ugh. But quickly a staff person indicated there was another room in the back. There we found a much happier, less smoky crowd of what appeared to be mostly tourists, many of them carrying the same beer guide that CF had used to learn so much. We had to split up the group to sit down at first but we were soon reunited all at one table. I spoke to one group of guys sitting next to me, one of them was clearly American but said he was living in Oslo, they were here just for the weekend. They were on their way to Ghent today so I told them about our two favorite beer places there and told them they simply must make a pit stop at the gin bar. Ms. D commented on the almost-Hawaiian print shirt on one man at the table on the other side of us. All along on side of the room was a table of English speaking tourists that may or may not have ever known each other before coming to Belgium, or maybe even before coming to this room. Pretty cool. We paid our bill and moved on to dinner. I may or may not have mentioned that we made a reservation for dinner at the place we had an afternoon beer or two the day before. Dinner was very good, and so were the beverages. Our server was extremely funny. At one point he told CF, “Sir, there are no stupid answers...”

Later in the meal a group of men were seated next to us, and we recognized the same almost-Hawaiian shirt. They were on a path of good beer places as well! They were British and also just having a weekend away. What fun it must be to live in Europe and have so many cultures so near by to visit and enjoy so easily. No wonder Americans can be so closed minded and scared of change, it's not nearly as accessible.

Early this morning my cellphone's alarm clock, set on vibrate beneath my pillow woke me up for the first shower in our room of four travelers. We had breakfast at 8, left by 9 and now we are on the train to Paris. I currently am whizzing through the French country side. The speed at which the sights are flying by is almost humorous. At one point some rain was falling but it was only on one side of the train and it looked like it was raining sideways because we are going so fast. CF and I took advantage of our EuroRail passes and got first class tickets for a good price, the rest of our crew is riding second class, and while I miss them I have to say this quiet break is why I took the opportunity to type up a blog entry that I will post later.

At breakfast Billy Joel's New York State of Mind was playing, I thought it was funny to hear right before we go to Paris. I'm sure Ms. D is just beside herself with excitement right about now. I'm excited to see her favorite city. And I'm hoping I get to share my favorite city with my friends in the semi-near future as well. CF and I are scheming a bit... we might even decide to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary there this March and invite friends to come with us. It'll be 15 years of being together, out of the 30 we've been alive. Half a life time of driving each other crazy, as I like to say. I really am one lucky spoiled girl. How on earth did I get this life? I only wish I knew more what to do with it. For those of you wondering, this is sort of the life theme that I named my blog for, I have such fantastic things before me, and I'm too lost and messed up to enjoy it fully. But, baby steps, as they say. Of course the hang over at Tiffany's really did happen after one fateful night in Brooklyn. You'll have to ask one Mr. MP about that one.

Our level of energy on this trip has been a bit manic depressive. We go from yawns to belly laughs almost instantly, and then back again. CF and I came up with a way to handle anything on this trip and I'm happy to say the group has adopted the philosophy. If something isn't quite right, you have two options. Option #1: Shake it off. Option #2: Nut it up. (Thank you Mr. NW for that one.) It pretty much covers all situations and gets us through the rough spots. Other reoccurring themes include the fact that CF always wins (or at least he'll tell you so). I know all his tricks. Sometimes we wake up in the morning “quoting [P DP]” (which means you wake up smacking your lips with a dry mouth, this is a joke from our Chicago trip). Ms. D is teaching CF to count in French which had led to many good moments. CF has also been known to exclaim “No, sir, no! I am a lady!” in French (which I'm sure I would butchering the spelling of so badly that I won't attempt to type it out for you). We like to make lots of jokes about switching partners... CF's going to end up with PZ, I'm going to end up Ms. D... uh oh, KZ, I think you're out of luck. Oh well, she'll have her Pringles to keep her company.

We haven't had as much junk food as we did sitting in those cars in Ireland. We've been on the go most of the week though, it'll be nice to have the same lodging for a whole week now. I can't believe we've been in Europe for three weeks now. It feels like longer and yet it also feels like it's all just begun. My life back at work seems a world away. I'm trying not to think about it, but it's going to be so hard to go back! In the mean time I will enjoy the good food, the even better company and knowing that years from now I will be struck with a happy memory and most likely one these very people will be close by, or easily within reach for me to relive the moment with. That just gives me chills!

So onward we go to Paris. Can't wait to see the City of Lights!

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