Wednesday, January 7, 2009

They're Here!

Finally! When we started planning the Christmas visit from Alex and my mom, it felt like it would never arrive. Then, when Julie joined the party in November, it still felt far away. Next thing we knew, the holidays were here, and voila! Alex and Julie . . . and eventually my mom . . . were here!

Let me start with introductions, for those of you who haven't met:

  • Alex is my 14-year old daughter who lives in Spokane, Washington.
  • Lori is my mom. I often refer to her as Grom, which is what Max called her when he was tiny!
  • Julie is my aunt, my mom’s sister – you will definitely notice the resemblance.

They were all scheduled to depart from the US on Friday, December 26 and arrive at the Gare St. Roch in Montpellier on Saturday, December 27th at 6:40pm.

I breathlessly followed their exciting plane trips in the US. Alex’s plane from Spokane to Salt Lake City (where Julie & my mom met her) was late! Thus, mom waited at Alex’s arrival gate, and they sprinted (Iiterally) for the next gate – the plane departing for France. Julie was waiting for them there, making sure that the plane didn’t leave. They made it. Whew!

They had about 3 hours in Paris to get from the Charles de Gaul airport to the Gare de Lyon, since they took the train from Paris to Montpellier.

Well, here’s where things got really interesting! About 45 minutes before the train was scheduled to depart, I received a text from my mom saying that she had left a suitcase at the airport and was going back for it. In a quick flurry of text messages, she assured me that she would get back in time for the train.

Next, I got a phone call from Alex. She and Julie were on the train, but mom was not!! I was seriously hoping that this was a bad joke. Nope. Mom really missed the train. Fortunately, Alex had the presence of mind to overcome the language barrier and call me with a status! Apparently, she spoke slowly and used lots of teenage hand-signals to get the point across that she needed to call her mom. The nice French woman even dialed for her.

Now there was a serious flurry of phone calls, text messages, etc. My dad even called from the US. After about an hour of checking available train and plane options, she had a new train ticket to Sete for a scheduled 9:05pm arrival. Her train was a little late, but she arrived safe and sound! The picture is awful, but it actually portrays the mood perfectly. You know the feeling of stressful travel, right? That huge bag in her left hand is the culprit!

When we asked mom her favorite part of vacation a few days later, she said, “Seeing Gayle at the train station in Sete!”

Here is a picture of Julie & Alex arriving in Montpellier! Alex is being a typical 14-year old.

We got her safely to Bouzigues, where Max and Alex were lounging together watching movies.

After a little food and wine, we were all opening gifts! These were the gifts in the bag that was left in the airport, so they were especially precious.

This was just the beginning of a terrific vacation. Stay tuned for more.

Love to all!

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