What a month already! I was getting ready to tell you all about my daughter’s imminent school trip to France and how I did the same trip when I was her age and how it was a transformative experience and then find some humorous way to tie the two events together but the Vancouver School Board, in their wisdom and probably liability concern has cancelled all school trips abroad until further notice due, of course, to the Covid-19 virus.
Needless to say there is thoroughly warranted disappointment and in this case, compounded by teen angst so one hundred-fold more devastating – alas! We are hopeful the trip can be re-scheduled.
Because for my part, I have been re-living my France experience since the moment we paid her deposit. I was thinking (again) how so much has changed since the ‘old days’. Two of our group actually went missing for a whole afternoon and into the evening and I think our poor teacher chain-smoked a carton of cigarettes and dropped 10 lbs before they showed up back at the hotel (no cel phones). Another girl from a sister school travelling with us apparently took off with some local french lads and sent her chaperones into Def Con 1 mode and no one was allowed out alone again for the rest of the trip. There were tales of being groped on the Metro, random serenades by creepy old men (ick) and champagne was enjoyed by the under-aged at the Moulin Rouge but we had soooo much fun. There was the early morning in Nice when we got up to do some laundry. Half of the party was sent out to find breakfast at the nearest Patisserie and pretty soon we had half a dozen, still warm and luscious, pain au chocolat to enjoy while we folded our drawers. The Chateau Versailles was insanely huge, we took pictures of four of us standing inside one of the fireplaces, the Mona Lisa was smaller than expected (side note; back then these tourist spots were also virtually empty of people!) the Eiffel tower was uglier than expected (no disrespect) and there was this gendarme that kept yelling at us while we were laying in the park soaking up the sun and it took a while for one of the more fluent of the Francophiles in the bunch to finally translate the sign that asked us to, ‘Stay off the Grass!’ I ate a banana with my hands, as you do, in a restaurant to the shock and horror of the other Parisian diners. Mon Dieu, quel sauvage! We tried cafe au lait before it was a ‘thing’ in pre-Starbucks North America. We sat for hours on the beach in Monaco just staring out at the sea, we took pictures of the viaducts and coliseums in Avignon and every night we stayed up giggling and arguing over the quality and appropriateness of each other’s souvenirs.
I would do it again in a heart beat and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Enjoy your Spring Break everyone and don’t forget to wash your hands!