Lessons learned in Paris

We just got home from 4 days in Paris. We decided to go there because we thought it would be easy. We thought it wouldn’t be crowded. We dared to even think it would be relaxing. I don’t know that it was any of those things.

Let’s just say it was a learning experience.

We learned you cannot turn your back on Kaitlyn for a second anymore. She thinks she’s so grown up and doesn’t wait for you. She got lost in a museum. Thankfully not the Louvre. And thankfully just long enough to scare us all. A lot. Unfortunately, not long enough for us to learn the lesson well because she got lost again a few days later in a store.

We learned you have to be pretty careful getting on and off the metro. Kaitlyn got smacked in the face by some guy getting off the metro. It was an accident and it took her till the next stop to realize she needed to cry about it. He did apologize, but he also did hit her hard enough to knock around an already loose tooth enough for some blood.

We learned that Cobblestones, huge drainage ruts and golf carts are a very bad combination. There was no blood but a huge scare at Versailles when Kaitlyn fell off the back of a golf cart. I’m guessing Marie Antoinette did not have the same problem. She wasn’t hurt but we were all very shaken. Kaitlyn already wasn’t especially enjoying her tour of the palace (we thought she would have) and the fall didn’t do anything to improve her outlook on it.

We learned that one really should read the information on a train platform before getting on the train. Going to Versailles, we hopped on a train as it was about to pull away only to realize once we were on it and it was moving that it was the wrong train. At least we made this realization before it got even to the next stop. Leaving Versailles, we sat on a train for 45 minutes while every other train in the station left because we “thought” we’d gotten on the one slated to leave first. Apparently, we didn’t.

We learned that it doesn’t grow old telling people you meet waiting for a train to finally leave that we live in France.

We learned that sometimes an American meal isn’t everything you imagine it will be. The Hard Rock Cafe wasn’t as good as some we’ve been to, but I should have just ordered what I really wanted even if it was really bad for me. (nachos… yum) Kaitlyn got a shirt from there, so for her it was a successful evening. We later learned that reading about a restaurant in a tour book doesn’t mean you can eat there. Hoping for another chance at an American meal, we headed to the Planet Hollywood only to find out it no longer exists in Paris. Sadly, we found it out when we were rather hungry and pressed for time before having to catch our train home. Well, we were only pressed for time because we had to include a stop at the Disney Store in our day. Kaitlyn got to pick today’s activities: the Eiffel Tower and the Disney Store.

I think I finally learned how to really blend in on the metro. If I go back to Paris, I’m going to buy a paperback book in French to take with me. I’ll sit and pretend to read it on the metro. While listening to my iPod. That seems to be what all the French people do. Or maybe it’s just what people pretending they belong do. Either way, I’m in.

The most important lesson didn’t come until our last breakfast at the hotel. (Which I’m starting to learn is often really a waste, even if it does mean you can easily return to your room for a bathroom break before heading out) We met the family staying in the room above us. I resisted the urge to look at their feet and say “hey… your feet aren’t as big as elephants’!” because they turned out to be nice people. An American mom traveling alone with her two boys while her husband is “away.” They’re stationed at a military base in Germany. I didn’t ask where “away” is. I realized that some people’s problems are bigger than mine, when my problem is someone clomping around loudly over my head in a hotel room with a view of the Eiffel Tower where I’m enjoying a long weekend with my family… and no one is “away.”

One Response to “Lessons learned in Paris”

  1. D.A.D. says:

    What a shame the Paris trip wasn’t a bundle of bliss. It sounds like a few jolts with Kaitlyn were real downers, indeed. The observation about the lady with her feet above you probably sums up a lot of the attitudes we should all adopt more often, that things for us just aren’t as horrid as they seem.

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