Paris, France

We left Santorini with a certain sadness in our bones. We adored that place. We said goodbye to Danny and felt blessed to experience one last sunrise over the cliffs as we escaped up the cobblestone steps to the main street one last time to wait for our taxi to the airport. The Santorini airport is absolutely tiny–nearly as small as the airports in Northern Norway. We shuffled into a bus with all the rest of the people who would be flying out with us and were driven onto the tarmac a ways until we reached a lone little plane somewhere in the distance. Everyone made their way on board and we had just a short forty minute flight to Athens. Our next flight wouldn’t be until 5pm, so I blogged as Robbie wandered the airport. We were excited to be in Paris shortly where we would meet up with Robbie’s sister, Natalie, and her husband David. Natalie is getting her Ph.D. and David teaches high school, so this week was their Fall break, so we aligned our travel schedule around them. Natalie studied abroad in France while in undergrad, and has visited Paris 5 or so times so not only does she know her way around this enormous city, but she’s conveniently fluent in French. We arrived in Paris, the biggest city we will likely visit our whole trip, around 8pm, grabbed our bags, and navigated the metros via Natalie’s directions through a few different subway changes (of course Robbie did a nice job of thoroughly stressing Natalie out by texting her various joking texts about us not finding our way). We walked up the steps of the Mairie de Montreuil metro stop and onto ground level, looked around for Natalie in the cold wet darkness and all of a sudden our sweet, smiling sister hugged us both from behind. Her giddyness over seeing us instantly brought out an excitement in us even after a whole day of travel.

Per Natalie’s decision, we stayed outside the city in Montreuil, a nice suburb of Paris, so that we could have more space for a cheaper price. As long as our place was near a metro line, which it was, you can get almost anywhere in Paris in under an hour (as long as you know what you’re doing). Sadly, David has an undiagnosed hip injury/issue. They believe it’s “just” a stress fracture, but are in the midst of a long process of doctor’s appointments to figure it all out. This injury makes it very hard to walk, and sometimes painful to walk. He was given the okay to come to Paris, as long as he walked with a cane to take the pressure off his right hip. It’s been nearly a year of slow, labored walking and Robbie and I have been praying for his healing all the time. Would you pray too? That David would be healed? Would you pray that this would not be an autoimmune disorder? Would you pray that Natalie and David would be a team through this, loving each other in the frustration of how this limits them, allowing them to come out stronger because of it? We appreciate that so much.

Night one we sat in the living room and caught up on life since Easter when we last saw them while drinking a Schweppes soda– Natalie’s favorite European drink that is now my favorite. (It’s amazing and I can’t believe I’ve been in Europe more than two months and just now discovered this! Such a bummer!). We made a shortlist of the sights we wanted to see in Paris for the five days we had and went to bed excited to be with family (or really, any familiar face, since you know, it’s been awhile. haha). Robbie would say I missed something if I didn’t talk about just how comfortable our bed was in this airbnb. It really was so soft and cozy, like the comforter was weighted, giving us some of the best sleep we’ve had in awhile. If you can think of your vacations and how you often say after one week, “Man, I can’t wait to sleep in my own bed again!”– Imagine more than 2 months! Traveling doesn’t always come with the best sleeps. So this was precious to us!

The Eiffel Tower was on a stop along the metro line near our stay (meaning no getting off at one stop and then wandering through a web of underground tunnels to change metro lines in order to get off at a stop that our metro didn’t hit), so that was an obvious choice to start with on our first day in the city, not to mention, it’s just a really good place to start off anyone’s Parisian adventure. ❤ We got off at Trocadero stop and walked out behind a museum. Natalie told us excitedly that the tower was just behind the museum and to just walk a few feet further to see past the building. Sure enough, the building ended, opening up to some marble steps and a large platform to view the Eiffel Tower in all its glory. WOW! It’s even bigger in real life than what I imagined. What a sight! Even knowing it was coming up, it takes you by surprise when you first lay eyes on it. I think you see something your whole life, in magazines, on billboards, in people’s photos, in movies, and then suddenly you’re right before it, and it just sort of brings tears to your eyes. I guess it’s these kind of magical moments I never actually thought I’d ever have the chance to experience. And sometimes it really hits you what a privilege it is to be there.

After just staring at it for awhile, commenting about how it is built from different materials than we thought, and just in general oohing and awing, we decided we’d try to get down to the base of it. Upon closer inspection, we found there was an organized race happening in the city with the start and end point just below the tower. This proved to be incredibly unfortunate and inconvenient for us. We likely spent the next hour and a half to two hours trying to get to it due to fences blocking your entrance in seemingly every direction. You’d think you could just stand on a side of a fence and be fine viewing it from there, but it wasn’t that way. The fence and the crowd of on-lookers supporting their loved ones in the race truly created a maze of chaos that kept you from getting anywhere close to it. At one point we even thought that we might have gotten our in as a security guard let us through a barrier, just to find we were now in a small walkway trapped by fences on all sides that they were not allowing people past. But we were determined. Natalie asked a multitude of officers supervising the crowds how we could get around it all, in French. This was still not too helpful, as we kept getting false information. It honestly took until the race was completely over and workers were dismantling the fences that we were able to push through a crowd and eventually find ourselves in the greenspace in front of the Eiffel Tower. Such a relief. We were all ready to crash on a bench. It had taken way too long, but we had made it. You really do feel so small beneath it.

We found a pizza place along a nice side street to eat lunch. The four of us shared two big pizzas and we had earned it. I feel like I haven’t talked much about my intestinal disease in these posts. Mostly because they’re just a normal part of my existence by now. Even when my stomach reacts to everything I eat, I tend not to remember a place by this sickness (which is fantastic) because that would get depressing– “Oh and I was sick after every meal in Greece, both in Athens and Santorini, and I was so sick after a homemade meal of rice and salsa in Norway that I couldn’t sleep until 3am, and one night in Tuscany I had one of my uncommon intestinal spasm episodes that left me in such a state of pain and cramping that it was hard to breathe, and it can only be undone with my stomach soaking in the hottest bath water I can get it to and then sitting in it for as long as I can, or I was brutally sick after coffee in Stockholm that I nearly pooped my pants waiting for a bathroom in a line that had formed in the shop–red face, sweating body, full on panic and all.” All of these things are true. And they’re only a fragment of the whole story. Only a fraction of the amount of the painful, embarrassing, anxiety-ridden emergency situations I’ve been in on this trip so far. This is my life. It’s been my life for as many years as I can recall. My small intestine doesn’t function like normal people’s. Bad bacteria digests my food, instead of my intestine, and sometimes (certain weeks, all the time) it decides to screw everything up, strike me all of a sudden, and make life pretty exhausting. Who would I even be without the panic and paranoia of not having a bathroom available to me at all times? I often wonder what life is like for those who don’t always think about this. I am constantly reminding myself about how it could be worse, how the Lord is calling me closer to Him daily as I’m forced to lean into Him because these things are out of my control, how I need to change my attitude from: “I need to be healed” to “I need God, because He is my strength, my portion.” This is very difficult for me. This doesn’t come naturally. Because most people understand having to poop once (haha never thought I was going to have a full on blog about my pooping–but here it goes. This is me, so you can stop reading if you don’t want to know. You’ve been warned!), but can’t quite wrap their minds around how after every meal you could possibly need to go, then ten minutes later need to go again, and then ten minutes after that need to go again. And sometimes it doesn’t stop there. The timing is never consistent so I never know when I’m okay to leave a restaurant or leave my home where a bathroom is readily available to me. Because of years of people not understanding this situation, where I may not be ready to walk away from a meal for an hour or two hours, how I may need to stop talking, close my eyes and pray, how this issue may keep us from continuing our plans for the day, I’ve carefully planned out my life where I’m in complete control of my schedule. I purposefully plan my life, my social activities, my meal times in such a way that give me the best outlook for success so that I won’t have to share this side of me with others. Although sincerely everyone close to me knows about the disease I have, I would say a majority of them haven’t seen me in the midst of the episodes and panic, because I’ve carefully designed my life so that the least people are exposed to this. And it’s not for their sake, are you kidding me? I selfishly don’t want to embarrass myself. It has become all about me and wanting to go about life being as “normal” as possible. I didn’t mean for this to become this huge thing in the middle of the Paris blog, but it’s important to me to write about it. It’s important because it’s a part of this journey no less than seeing the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum. It’s all a part of the experience, and what God is teaching me. I’m learning to choose joy when I’m frustrated. I’m learning that to have something that requires my reliance on the Lord is something to celebrate, even though most days you won’t see me celebrating this. That God is refining in me characteristics and qualities that I wouldn’t otherwise have without this trial. —-Okay, where was I? So obviously the next thing I was going to say is that I had an upset after lunch this day. I’m blown away by Natalie and David’s kindness and understanding. Their absolute patience and lack of shaming truly impacted me this trip. Sweet David and I bonded over not having to be the only person with “issues.” haha They took my need seriously and never acted like it was any big deal to delay our activities for me. I cannot express how refreshing and nice this is. It was never a question for them. This is just how they’re built– accepting of others on all levels. Because this is so much more than just a stomach ache each month, and it’s something I’m living with constantly, their attitudes toward me went a really long way. I’ll never forget how they loved me through it. I guess it’s not surprising when I think about her being related to Robbie. He’s always been my safe place. The man who doesn’t see me as an inconvenience, who just gets it, who is protective of me, who prays over me constantly for this to be healed. I quickly fell in love with him for the sheer fact that I was always my whole self with him, never hiding the embarrassing parts. He made it easy for me to do so. God designed Robbie with me in mind, I just know it.

We finished our day by traveling by metro up North of the city to a huge flea market that happens every weekend in Paris. This was something Natalie has wanted to go to for years, and it really was like a hidden gem in the city. It spanned many blocks, but the best part was tucked into a couple of blocks on the south side– an enormous array of mid-century modern furniture displays and an assortment of antiques, including individual old spiral staircases for sale in one booth! So cool! I think we wanted to take everything home with us. Robbie and I love mid-century modern furniture. We have a couple of stores in Omaha we frequent just to window shop, but nothing to this degree. Room after room after room of furniture items, everything you can think of in so many gorgeous colors. What a dream to decorate your home and have this many options! We spent a long time wandering the streets before they started shutting down for the night. We found a corner cafe nearby and enjoyed fun conversation and the best hot chocolates I’ve ever had. So frothy and milky. Natalie and I were dreaming about these hot chocolates the rest of the week. It started to get dark and even rained a bit as we made our way back to the metro to get home. We made a spontaneous pit stop at a little market to grab candy, as we are all lovers of sour candies. So fun! The boys kept giving Natalie and hard time for telling David, “I think the metro is only about two blocks away” and then it was more like 3/4 of a mile. This joke was made repeatedly throughout our trip and it was pretty funny. After a long day of walking, we were all happy to sit down and enjoy some pasta Natalie cooked for us at home (linguini with red sauce and ravioli with pesto… a meal we ended up cooking for ourselves three times this week. haha).

Day two we went to the Louvre. We joked how David’s injury gave us certain perks, like skipping the ridiculous line to get into the largest art museum in the world. Natalie said some things in French to a guard who immediately unlatched a rope to allow access straight past the line and into the building. Pretty nice! We couldn’t believe how easy it was. We got him a wheelchair to more easily navigate through the museum, and right away ate lunch at a cafe inside that also continued to be joked about during our trip. Natalie ordered a “famous burger” from this burger counter (they seriously had a lack of options in the museum, don’t judge us for eating beef and chicken burgers in Paris) and it ended up shockingly being this weird stringy beef on a bun. So unappetizing. The pictures the restaurant displayed showed real burgers, it didn’t make sense. But it was hilarious, nonetheless. “Uh, yes! I’d like to order your stringy beef, please!” hahaha So the Louvre’s pyramid is iconic and beautiful but the museum is kickass! This place is an old royal palace converted into a museum–652,000 square feet of rooms of art from centuries past in confusing wings and departments of the palace that are all too easy to get lost in (I don’t think in 5 hours time Robbie and I were ever not lost). But it is absolutely the coolest museum I have EVER been in. You could spend days upon days here and you would never see everything. A highlight for me was seeing a real life mummy completely preserved! I couldn’t believe I was looking at a real person’s body that had been dead for centuries wrapped perfectly in linens so that even his fingers were in perfect shape still. It gave me shivers to imagine how lifelike he must still look beneath it all. Not to mention, I was just in awe of the idea that this man had zero clue his dead body would be on display for millions to see each year. It’s just crazy to me. Maybe that’s not cool to other people, but it’s fascinating to me. Robbie and I also enjoyed seeing the Winged Victory statue, the famous and mysterious Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and the painting of the Coronation of Napoleon and so much more. Our audio guides gave us great insight into a multitude of other interesting objects and paintings and I loved walking through rooms still ornately decorated from royal times so intricately that just looking at the walls and ceilings of most rooms was enough to capture your attention.

We met back up with Natalie and David somewhere along our journey by running into them in one of the halls of French paintings, spent another hour admiring art, and then had ridiculously expensive hot chocolates (there’s a theme here) at an outdoor cafe connected to the Louvre that gives you a nice view of the pyramid. So much fun. The Louvre is worth the hype. I’d go again to see more in a heartbeat. We walked a long way through the beautiful Tuileries Garden in front of the Louvre as the sun began descending, and exited out to the Luxor Obelisk, the Arc de Triomphe and the lit up Eiffel Tower in the distance. The sky had turned dark on a long and full and beautiful day. As we walked along the sidewalk to the metro, I had this excited feeling in my chest– the last two days I had gotten to see and experience two things I’d always wanted to see and experience: both the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. What a blessing! Then at once, this scene came into view: a Syrian husband and wife (really not much older than Robbie and me) with their three young children in a bed made from old blankets sitting on the sidewalk, not begging, not bothering anyone– just there, looking up at us with eager and hopeful eyes. The kids, despite knowing they would be sleeping on that concrete for the foreseeable future, were still smiling and laughing in their parents’ laps. I held the tears in until we turned the corner and then I wept in Robbie’s chest. I just couldn’t contain it all. My giddy heart moments before had just been shattered and humbled. While I’m in Paris eating delicious pastries and hot chocolates and seeing amazing sights with more than enough money for tomorrow and the next day and the next month and the rest of the year, here this sweet family sits on the sidewalk, uprooted (more like ripped away) from their homes because of absolute devastation and war, loving their kids the best way they know how, which for that night it meant giving them a warm body to lay against as they slept on the concrete. There’s a great multitude of verses telling the believer that the foreigner, the refugee, matters. I don’t have to give you those. But after I saw this and Robbie, Natalie and I were motivated to give all the cash we had in our pockets, God brought 2 chronicles 6:32-33 to my attention the following morning. Solomon is dedicating this new temple to God and he cries out to God with this plea– that God would answer the prayers of refugees when they call out to Him because when the poor and the needy (the people who God cares so deeply for) cry out to the Lord for mercy and help and they actually get it?! THAT makes a statement to the world, to unbelievers. Solomon says to God: “Likewise, when a foreigner, who is not of your people Israel, comes from a far country for the sake of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm, when he comes and prays toward this house, hear from heaven your dwelling place and do according to all for which the foreigner calls to you, in order that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your people Israel, and that they may know that this house that I have built is called by your name.” (this is also written about in 2 Samuel. One must think that maybe it’s mentioned twice in our Bibles because the Lord wanted to remind us again and again that we need to be asking for justice and answered prayers for our refugee brother and sisters). I think we have a lot to learn from Solomon here– a man who prayed that God would answer the prayers of refugees before he was asking for God to answer his own prayers. I know this request pleases God because He answered Solomon’s prayer by consuming his offerings with fire and filling the temple with His glory. Robbie and I have been praying this, and we’d love for you to also.

On the third day, we thought it best to give David a rest day after walking more on his hip than he had in six months or more. We slept in and then around noon Natalie, Robbie and I grabbed lunch at “Paul”. It’s a bakery in France since like 1889 or something crazy. There’s several of them around town, and even though it’s a French chain now, it tastes as small and local as ever. Overwhelmed by the long line extending out the door behind us and having to order at the counter in a rush, Natalie ordered in French for all three of us. This really is a relief, even if the whole line is staring at Natalie going back and forth between English and French to sort out everything we wanted. This meal was my favorite– a “combo meal” at Paul means a chicken sandwich on a long, crispy baguette with fresh dijon, a choice of drink, and best of all: a choice of any of their pastry items. I just sort of pointed at something that looked good, and I’m so glad I pointed at the one I did. I’m really truly not exaggerating when I say it was easily the best pastry I’ve ever eaten in my life. It was a long, rectangular pastry with many doughy yet crispy layers (how do they make it both in one??) with a French pastry cream and chocolate chips scattered throughout the center. It was technically called a gourmandise, but due to that being hard to say or remember, we kept referring to it hilariously as “the chocolate rectangle;” and you better believe we had two or three more chocolate rectangles in the next couple of days. 🙂 This meal was memorable and beautiful. We sat with Natalie for more than an hour, chatting about life, and I mean real life– so much more than surface stuff. We girls had tears in our eyes a time or two just getting to speak in-depth about our feelings on what’s going on in the world, the things we advocate for, the way we are perceived as people, and more. Robbie chimed in too, lovingly. I’m so thankful for in-laws that feel like friends– people you want to surround yourself with.

Even though we got a late start to the day, not leaving lunch til almost 2pm, we were still able to do a lot. We meandered through a lush flower market near the Seine River. Natalie and I wanted to take every beautiful hanging plant home with us. After, we went over to Notre Dame and were blown away by its grandeur. Robbie and I were fascinated by the gargoyles and read later about how technically gargoyles were just used as drains for rain water, but they’re also supposed to symbolize that life outside the “church” or outside the body of believers is destined for doom. They really are intimidating, but maybe that’s all gothic architecture. It’s strangely stunning though. We spent some time there, walking around the inside of the Notre Dame, learning more about it and admiring it. We left and took a couple metros up to a neighborhood shopping street that Natalie really wanted to go to since it was off the regular tourist path and is more a place that locals would frequent, giving a more realistic Parisian experience. This was wonderful. The most amazing little clothing shops with the cutest dresses or fleece trench coats (I actually can’t believe that the stereotype is true– seemingly every woman in Paris truly does dress fashionably at all times. Natalie and I continually pointed out a million different women and how we would gladly wear any item of clothing they had on. Ugh! I kept telling myself, “My worth is not in what I own” or something to that effect to remind myself how unimportant this stuff is.), local butchers, bakeries, fisheries, spiceries (yes, spice stores!), cheese shops, etc. And they all had apartments above them. What a dream to live there, with everything you could ever want just right at your door step, as fresh as it gets. We wandered in and out of shops and bakeries, smelling crepes and pastries along the sidewalks, Autumn leaves blowing around at our feet. Robbie grabbed a salmon sandwich at one of them and we sat on a bench and watched some of the cutest French kiddos play and dance on a little merry-go-round next to us. And just because I’m a freak about photos, we finished our day’s outing by returning to the Eiffel Tower, to get another glimpse and a few more shots. We grabbed dinner with David at a corner cafe right next to our airbnb, that ended up being more like a nice bar or something. But the food was good, and Natalie apparently had some of the best duck of her life there, so that’s awesome.

On the fourth day we had another lunch at Paul, this time with David (and a couple more chocolate rectangles. Seriously, I wish you could understand just how delicious they were!). We traveled over to the Pompidou Centre. This is the biggest modern art museum in Europe housed in a very interesting and complex building–would you expect anything less for modern art? You can’t even justly compare this museum with the Louvre because it’s so vastly different. I loved them both. The Louvre, in my opinion, is closer to a history museum when compared to the Pompidou. We went through a large temporary exhibit of a guy named David Hockney, who over the course of his lifetime, dabbled in about every genre of media (painting, photography, video, etc.) and categories of paintings (abstract, realism, portraits, landscapes, etc.) one artist can. It was pretty interesting, but more just amazing to see his work evolve over time. This is the biggest collection of his work to date and so we really got to see his talent improve as he aged. And then we spent multiple hours slowly taking in all the contemporary art from a permanent gallery on one of the floors. I honestly didn’t know how much I could love contemporary art. There were life size installations you could walk into or just be mesmerized by, talking statues, huge hanging chandeliers on what looked like a clothing rack, artistic films, and colorfully lit optical illusions. This kind of art is probably my favorite– art that appeals to most of the senses– art you can touch, see, hear and experience all around you, as in life size installations that leave you curious and fascinated. All four of us loved this art and enjoyed talking about which things were our favorites. We left and had sodas and chips outside the museum in a busy square, laughing and acting ridiculous together. Remember Robbie accurately using the word “confabulate” in a sentence which led to all of our joking, “Wow, Robbie! Amazing vocabulary! Very impressive!” So Robbie continued to force whatever huge words he could come up with quickly into his next few sentences, until he eventually took a 180 and started beating his chest and speaking “cave man mumbles.” hahaha Maybe you had to be there, but it was great.

We ended the night across town at the top of the hill where Sacré-Cœur sits, a sacred heart church. It’s one of the best views of Paris, and we cherished it at sunset, on the last night of Robbie and my third year of marriage. ❤ We came back home and cooked yet more pasta and had a wonderful wine night together, talking for hours and soaking up one of our last nights together.

Our last day in Paris was Robbie and my 3rd wedding anniversary. If you’ve been reading my blogs, you would know my love for my husband is true, real, and strong. And anyone who knows me personally would probably say I’m obsessed with my husband, which probably isn’t too far from the truth. Because these blogs and this whole adventure is a complete reflection of the incredibly beautiful love Robbie and I share with each other and our Lord, I won’t drown the rest of the Paris post in how much I adore my man. I will just say this though– three years have gone by so fast because you’re my best friend, Robbie. I’ve spent 65 days of non-stop time with you on this grand adventure and I only want more time. I love your obsession with cuddles, your passionate and consistent optimism, how exciting you are — how you bring life and flavor to every second of every day, your sweetness that flows through every part of your being, your ridiculous humor, your protection of me, how you pray over me each day, how you tell me you miss me if I’ve been gone five minutes and remind me you’re in love with me every day, how you hold my hand everywhere we go, how you push for face to face time every day (time away from technology to be together, laugh, and talk), how you still pursue me daily. You’re a rock for me, the person I’m most exposed and vulnerable to, who knows more about me than anyone in this world and yet you have been the safest person and place for me to be just that– me. And more than ever in year three we learned to be the best team. I’ve never felt more blessed and more grateful to be yours than right now. Waking up next to you each morning is even more beautiful and amazing three years later. (…okay okay, I could literally speak of my love for Robbie all day, every day and I said I would keep it short, so I’ll end that here and just tell it all to Robbie’s face instead).

David rested at home the last day while we spent our anniversary taking a train from Paris out to the French countryside with Natalie. It was about an hour and a half train ride out to Provins, France and so worth the journey! This little medieval town is still encircled in enormous ramparts from ages past– it’s a UNESCO world heritage sight now. The romance of this town famous for their rose gardens was multiplied significantly by the full trees showing off their brightest oranges and yellows covering the entire area coupled with the perfect amount of warmth from the sun that day. The streets were so empty, quiet, and quaint, teeming with roses in window boxes, and light streams trickling past homes. We felt like we had been transported through time, walking the streets of a medieval city, getting to tour this magnificent defense tower built in the middle ages with a view of the surrounding rural countryside and climbing up onto the ramparts and imagining what life was like centuries ago. We ended up walking around the city on the outside of the ramparts at their base, and felt so small against the giant stone wall. Everything was perfect and lovely and I think all three of us were in wonder over the beauty of the place. We truly were some of the only people in the town that day and it was a refreshing change from the hustle and bustle of Paris. We ate crepes for lunch and then literally ran to catch our train and made it back it back to Paris around 5pm. 

We got back into Paris, picked up David, grabbed a bunch of meats and cheeses and crackers from the grocery store and took a very sketchy metro ride (several abnormal things happened like a drunk man falling into the metro doors and then delaying everyone’s rides from continuing until they could get security, etc.) to the Eiffel Tower to see it lit at night one last time. It felt like the most appropriate way to end an unbelievably special anniversary and a fantastic trip, in general, to Paris. We hadn’t seen the tower at night yet, and Robbie and I had been told that every hour on the hour the whole thing glitters and sparkles for only five minutes, so we were hopeful to see that happen at least once. While we ate our homemade charcuterie from a bench at the Palais de Chaillot at 9:30pm, we counted down to 10pm like it was New Years (okay, more like just I did that, but I was so excited!). When the hour hit, the tower sparkled so unexpectedly even though we knew it was coming. It was just more gorgeous than we could have imagined. It really is something special to see and marvel at the glittering Eiffel Tower. Robbie and I walked up to a space all our own to view it, held each other, wished each other the happiest three years and a future of new and amazing adventures chasing after the Lord’s plan for our lives together. It’s so cliche, but boy, was this a wondrous moment.

We were all exhausted and had a forty minute metro ride back and then packing to do and it was nearly 11pm by the time we got on. Somehow we managed four seats facing each other for our last metro ride the four of us, and it was seriously so great. I don’t remember what we were talking about, but I remember laughing hysterically, all four of us, most of the journey back. You know, those delirious laughing moments that you know in the moment you look ridiculous to everyone around you, and you even know these same things wouldn’t be funny if you had more sleep, but you can’t stop and that’s just the beauty of it? Yeah, that was this trip, and it was a perfect way to end it all.

We said goodnight to our sweet sister and brother and goodbye to a week in Paris, a week so different from the rest of our trip. What a delight to see faces we knew after so long away, faces we love. We left feeling grateful, as always, for everything, but extra grateful for family and people who will always be in our lives no matter where we find ourselves in this wild world.