Sunday, September 2, 2012

Our Journey to France

The journey started yesterday as we said goodbye to our 3 kids. All morning I cried. I tried so hard not let the kids see me upset, but it was impossible. The night before, I showed Aunt Jeana where all their clothes and things were, told her about Eliza's breathing medicines and reminded her about some of the kids special things. That night, all three kids fell asleep in bed with me as I held them as tightly as I could. The girls asked lots of questions and I tried my best to be upfront and honest with them. Livi said, "You have to go to France to learn more French so we can tell more people about Jesus." She about broke my heart!

We decided not to have them take us to the airport. I just felt like that would make it worse for them. And something in my mind didn't want them to see us leaving. So instead, we said our goodbyes at the grandparent's house and their Aunt Jeana took them to the zoo. It was worse than I could have imagined. The girls cried. I cried.....and I mean the ugly-shoulders shaking-couldn't catch my breath cry. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. Aiden was a big boy. He was just happy he was going to the zoo. And John was my rock, reassuring me that we were doing the right thing for the kids. After they left, I had a few more minutes to ugly cry and then we had to head to the airport. Tears were abundant and my heart truly felt like I couldn't take it. I really think the prayers of so many people got me through.

We boarded the plane in Des Moines and taxied out to the run way only to be stopped due to weather in Chicago.  We sat for about 30 minutes, got clearance and then were stopped again because Air Force One was taking from the same airport and no one else can be in the same airspace as the president.  Finally, after about an hour sitting in the plane we took off.  And I cried again.

When we got to Chicago, we stopped and exchanged some money so we would have some Euro's when we arrived in France.  Then we got something to eat.  I was still very tearful.  John disappeared for a few minutes and then showed back up with this.  A caramel apple!!  One of my favorite things.  He was so sweet and patient with me through all the crying.  He laughed when I took a picture of it.  I said, "I can't take pictures of the kids so I'll just take pictures of everything else".
When I saw our plane pull up in Chicago....the tears started again and my heart just raced as I realized what we were about to do.  I whispered a prayer begging the Lord to give us the strength to do this impossible task.  When we boarded the plane, we were pleasantly surprised at our seats.  The Lord knew I needed some encouragement!!  We had the best seats (other than 1st class) that we could have gotten.  It was something little, but I know it was the Lord!
We flew about 8 hours through the night.  So they served us dinner and breakfast.
When we landed in Paris....the adventure began!  We had some instructions from the school on how to get to the campus, but it was a challenge trying to figure it all out.  I commented to John that this would have been really hard for the kids if they were with us.
John insisted on carrying all the bags which were all close to 150 pounds. 
We had to walk a good bit, but finally found our train.  We had over an hour trip on long that we were the very last ones on it!  Kind of makes you you missed your stop!
After the train,  it took about another hour walking around trying to find the bus we were supposed to be taking.  All this time John, sweet John carried those heavy bags.  We should have thought better and packed something with wheels, but we had no idea we would have to walk so much.  We rode the bus for a little while.....and missed our stop!!!  A sweet older lady must have noticed our confusion and tried to tell us where to get off.  So we got off at the next stop and walked some more.....poor John!!  The weather is cool, but he was just drenched after carrying the bags so long.  And finally, after stopping several people, and using our broken French.....we found it!!!
Needless to say, John was happy!  They left a little note on the door for us.
Sabrina, one of the French teachers, gave us a tour of the grounds and showed us our rooms.  I was fighting back tears the entire time.  It really hit me that we are here.....for 8 weeks.....without the kids.  It didn't help that there are other families here (that will be here a full year) with their small kids, playing in the garden.  John keeps telling me, we did the best thing for our kids.  My heart is so heavy.
We have 2 little rooms.  One with a bed and sink.  It is about 10 feet by 8 feet.
And a separate room that has a couple chairs, a desk and a little kitchen with untensil.  It is very small, but will be nice for just the 2 of us.

After our little tour, we were wore out from all the traveling.  So I cooked a fancy French meal,  Ramen Noodles, that we brought with us and then we took a nap.  We were both just drained from the emotions and the days events.
After a short nap, we realized that we needed to find some more food.  Most everything is closed here on Sunday, but we went for a walk into the town and found a little grocer with fruits and veggies.  We bought some strawberries and peaches.  And we found a little bakery and picked up a couple croissants and a little loaf of bread.  We brought some peanut butter from home, so we might be living off Ramen and PB sandwiches!
Now that we had some food, we walked back to the campus. It was nice getting to see the town we will be staying in.  So much to learn, but we know the Lord will help us through each step.
When we got back to our room, we were able to video Skype the kids.  It was choppy, but it was simply amazing being able to see them.  They were giggling and playing with their auntie and Papaw. They seemed happy.  It was just what I needed after the last 2 days.

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My family

My family