I'm writing this 30'000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean sometime between Wednesday and Thursday. Liliane and Gerard landed in San Francisco about three hours ago, and I hope they are oohing and ahhing about what a lovely place they found at 18 Clipper Street. I still will not believe we will make it to France until we take that first step onto French soil! We have gone through an emotional roller coaster ride over the past few days to the point where I totally believe in the power of The Gremlins!
As you know, we had planned the perfect vacation, leaving last Thursday, 4/15, for our house swap in Paris, followed by three days in Amsterdam and two weeks in Berlin. Then the volcano...then the cancellation of our flight...then rebooking on Air Canada through Toronto...early morning trip to the airport...cancellation of the second flight...holding for three and a half hours on the phone with Air France...rebooked on AF flight leaving at at 3;30 Tuesday 4/19...cancellation of third flight...call Paris to tell Liliane and Gerard we are not coming, but we decide to leave our house for 10 days so they can still come to our house...talk about a trip to Big Sur, Hearst Castle, Hemet, Venice Beach, Palm Springs, ...AF flight reschedled to leave 5/20 at 2:40 am...call Liliane and Gerard to tell them we are coming...flight rescheduled to leave 5/20 at 9:18...and Voila! Here we are, up in the air on AF flight 83 headed to Paris, France. Meanwhile, our friends, Glorita; Geroncio, Val and Larry have been waiting to play with us in Paris since last Friday. I can't imagine what our reunion is going to be like. I feel as if we are the stars of an on-going soap opera: "Tune in tomorrow for the next episode of 'Merde!'"
So what have we learned from all of this? I,m proud of the way we have handled it all: First of all, we constantly reminded ourselves of how lucky we were. We had our own home and great friends in San Francisco cheering us on. We did not have three children under the age of seven sleeping on cots in an airport in Frankfort for four days; we did not miss our son's wedding like some distraught mother explained to a news reporter.
One of the very first things Loren said was, "Let's see if we can discover a reason we are here in San Francisco instead of in Paris, France. I'm not sure we actually discovered the reason, but we did have a fun time: We went to the French Cafe Passion for dinner one night; had Sunday brunch with friends Carolyn and Liz at Cafe de la Presse, and we drank French wine at home. When we thought that our second plane had been canceled and that it just wasn't going to be worth going to Paris at this time, both of us immediately said that we hoped Liliane and Gerard would be able to get to SF, and, if they did, our house would be there for them. We had fun planning where we would go for ten days. We are resilient people, and although I hope never to go through such a topsy turvy ride again, I think we learned that life is worth living and loving regardless of where one is. Angeles Arrien, a very wise woman, encourages us all to "not be wedded to the outcome." We made Plan A, switched to Plan B, and are now operating on Plan C. The big question now facing us when we get to Paris is, "Why are we here?"