Hello Friends and Family,
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Whew! I’ve been up to a lot these past few weeks. My family came to visit me, and we have had so many amazing adventures together. We had so much fun celebrating the holidays together, and I feel so lucky that I had great friends who also joined us. There is so much to share with you all, but that could take forever. Each place we went deserves it’s own special blog. So I’ll just pick out the six best things about my holidays. Nonetheless, grab a cup of coffee or tea, or whatever it is that you do to get cozy, because we’re in for a long one filled with lots of pictures.
1. Getting to be with my family and friends for the holidays.
Today we are so spoiled with technology that allows us to easily keep in touch with our loved ones no matter how far apart we are. If I ever met the people who created Skype I think I’d kiss the ground they walked on. (Okay that’s an exaggeration because that would be very germy and gross, but you get the idea.) However, nothing can compare to getting to hug your family after months apart. It was incredible to be with them here in France and to share these amazing experiences with. I’m also lucky to have great friends who were able to join us for the holidays. One of my best friends, Lauren, was able to spend the whole week with us. In addition, our friend Nicole (Coley Davis) was also in Paris. I’m so thankful for these friendships and all the fun times we have had. It was really special to roam the streets of Paris together and have them get to know my family. After Christmas, my family was able to join me back in my town for a little while. My other teammate, Korrin, also has her family in town for the New Year. So that was really special that our families got to meet and get to know each other. It has been nothing but a blessing to be surrounded by all these fantastic people over the holidays.
2. The amazing museums in Paris.
How do I even begin to describe all of the incredible architecture, artwork, and beauty we saw in Paris? I could go on for days about it all. So I’ll just pick out some highlights. One of my favorite museums was the Musee de l’Orangerie. Inside, there are two rooms that are the shapes of big ovals. On the walls in these big rooms are Monet’s water lilies paintings. The mix of colors and shading of the trees next to the water was stunning. It is arguably the most beautiful artwork I have ever seen. What’s also amazing about this museum is that it was built just for Monet’s paintings. They commissioned Monet and built this oval design with only him and his artwork in mind. It took him twelve years to complete the paintings. I wish I had a picture of this to share. However, I failed miserably in my attempt to take pictures. I didn’t realize that photos weren’t allowed. So I, the tallest person in the room, just whipped out my phone and held it up high to take a pic. SOOOO stealth, huh? The museum worker was immediately on the case speaking at me in French to put my phone away. So, I’ll just have to say, google this one if you want to see a picture.
Another museum that I have to touch on is the Louvre. Wow! That place is an artist’s dream. It would literally take days to see everything in there. Yes, days. We spent about half a day there, and the artwork we saw was incredible! Of course, our first order of business was to go see our girl Mona Lisa. We had to check in with her, but she’s funny. The picture isn’t all that big and they keep her behind a glass case. Did I mention everyone and their brother was there to see our friend Mona too? Don’t worry though, this did not stop Lauren. That girl knows how to get her way to the front of a crowd. So, following her lead, we bulldozed our way to the front of the crowd. No one was going to mess with us! Now, we have a great picture to prove it. Thanks, Plummer! What we couldn’t understand, though, was why this painting was so famous. No disrespect, Mr. da Vinci, but we saw some jaw-dropping paintings in that museum that were massive and intricate and stunning. Yet, everyone was crowding around this small painting. We didn’t understand, but I guess that’s why I’m not an art expert.
3. Having a ‘girl’s day’ at the Palace of Versailles with my mom.
The Palace of Versailles has been on my bucket list of things to see while I’m in France. I have always been interested in World War history, and this is where the treaty to end World War I was signed. I’ve heard it’s grandiose and magnificent. Also, if it was a good enough location for Kim and Kanye’s wedding rehearsal dinner, it’s good enough for me and my mom on Christmas Eve! It seems that whenever my mom and I go on adventures it tends to be overcast and rainy. While that may stop others from going out and exploring, it has kind of become our thing. We embrace the day and make it great. That’s one thing I love about my mom. She doesn’t let the rain stop us! And I’m so glad it didn’t because this Palace is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen. I think what makes it so great is that they did not miss a single detail when decorating this place. I think I got a kink in my neck from just staring at the
jaw-dropping paintings and art work that covered the ceilings. I mean I’ve absolutely never seen anything like it. I loved the Queen Marie Antoinette’s room the best. She had beautiful floral and soft pink colors, but what got me was the intricate gold ceiling. It truly was a room fit for a Queen! It was such a cool feeling to be standing in a place where there was so much history and significance. What was really special is that since it was an overcast day, there weren’t many people there. So it almost felt like we had the Palace to ourselves, especially when out roaming the gardens. We got some really beautiful shots without anyone else in them. It was a day I’ll never forget.
4. Venturing around the Eiffel Tower on Christmas Day.
On Christmas Day we headed over to the Eiffel tower. It was magical. We took a boat tour down the Siene River in Paris. The boat departed from near the Eiffel Tower and took us by so many iconic sights including: Notre Dame, the Louvre, Musee de Orsay, etc. By the time we got back from the boat tour it was getting dark, and the tower had lit up with this beautiful gold color. It was striking! Completely like something right out of a story book. I can’t fully describe what a special day this was. I was with my family and best friend for Christmas, and on top of that we were at the Eiffel Tower in Paris. What? I could barely wrap my head around it. To top it off, Lauren and I got cotton candy! I mean, could the day have been any better? I don’t thinks so.
This one is pretty self explanatory. We didn’t meet a pastry we didn’t like. Especially these chocolate almond croissants from my local bakery that were almost like a cake more than a croissant. If I could package them and bring a life time’s supply of these exact pastries home with me, I’d be rich off pastry sales.
6. Adventuring around my town with my family.
I was so happy to have my family come back to my town, Vannes, with me after Christmas. My dad and brother were able to stay for several days and my mom a whole extra week. One day I took them to Carnac where I went on one of my very first adventures here with Korrin. It was awesome to bring my family there. Also, I was able to show them around my town’s market on Saturday. It was funny how I felt like the tour guide getting to show them all the little places I like to go. I loved introducing them to one of my favorite husband and wife pairs in town. They run this little card shop that I frequent, and they are so friendly and sweet. It was special that my family got to see what I’ve been telling them about all this time over Skype. Also, my mom and I ventured to some new lookouts over the water that isn’t too far from where I live. The views were gorgeous. My heart was so full having my family here, and I feel very loved. I’m so grateful my parents made the effort and grand gesture to take time off work to come visit me. It means so much, and I’m lucky to have them. It was sad saying goodbye, but I know I’ll be seeing them soon.