Alright friends, how are we? Are we holding up? Not really but we’re still here? That’s ok here. We’re all in this hot mess together and here it’s ok to not be ok but all that matters is that we are still here, we’re not running, ok maybe we can’t run from this literally but let’s just keep showing up ok? Just a quick GO TEAM from me 💪
Ok. Here’s how WE are. We had a solid 12 days of total quarantine when we got home from Spain. We landed in the softest way we could have landed, given the circumstances. Evan’s parents were away for a couple weeks so we were able to quarantine at their house. I need you to just appreciate what a gift that was with me for a minute. We had just been through a wicked whirlwind of panic and lockdown and cars breaking, 2 last minute international flights, and we knew the next right thing was to quarantine. And the grief and the stress and the wildness of those weeks and those transitions and those sudden, scary changes was just waiting for us to slow down enough to see it. It hit Evan’s back/neck hard enough to land him at the Chiropractor. But there we were in his childhood home. Our kids’ grandparents home. A home filled with sweet memories with cousins, familiar toys and music and familiar, familiar, happy, comfort. That was a gift. Thank you Grammy and Papa (who had to actually extend their time away when the country began shutting down right in front of them and couldn’t just come home earlier than planned, out of respect for our quarantine needs). We came out happy and healthy on the other side of our quarantine just in time for Atlanta to start shutting down. We were able to soak up Evan’s parents for a few days, and then we moved into a month to month Airbnb rental in Augusta, which is where MY parents live. We enjoyed one week of visiting with our parents and my brother and his amazing, beautiful family with a new baby cousin for us to love on before all of Georgia was put under a shelter in place order. So now we’re busy doing just that. Lots of egg hunts, music, walks, crafts, cooking, cleaning, yard work, school and work, self care, movies, MP3 players, hammock time and playing in our Airbnb’s great backyard. Stay SAFE
Sorry Insta-friends, I’ve been posting on Facebook for the bigger character allowance but here’s our update!
We landed in Miami Sat night straight from Spain. Europe’s “next Italy.” Our flight came directly from Madrid, the epicenter of Coronavirus in Spain, accounting for over half of the cases there.
The screening as we arrived back in the US was lacking at best. It was almost non existent. They took passengers off the plane in groups of 20. Lined us up against a wall and walked us into a room where a handful of CDC workers were collecting families’ contact info in case someone sitting near you on the plane reports symptoms (why they wouldn’t just alert everyone on whole plane is another concern… Pretty sure we all used the same 4 bathrooms). We stood with a CDC worker in a mask and he asked us a few questions and scribbled our responses on a form. We gave a verbal “no we’re not sick” and went on our merry way. They didn’t even check our temperatures. For all they know we could have put on a happy face to get through screening. (We didn’t, we’re completely heathy at the moment!) There was no mention of taking precautions, there was no recommending we self isolate, only a couple signs around the airport that said pay attention to your health over the next 14 days and stay home if you develop a cough or fever.
Honestly, a big part of me was so relieved. I had lost serious sleep with my anxiety for what this advanced screening would look like, with 4 tired kids whose bodies are still on Spain time (read 2 a.m.), especially coming straight from Madrid (we weren’t staying there, but our flight from Malaga connected through there). They were far more concerned that Evan had an apple and orange in his backpack. We went through a whole work up to clear rigorous agricultural screenings… But Coronavirus screenings on the other hand? 🤷
It felt like I’m more concerned about the potential that we’re carriers than anyone at the airport was. We’ve taken it on ourselves to self quarantine at Evan’s parents house in the Atlanta area while they’re out of town right now and will figure out a longer term plan ASAP!
In the meantime Happy St Patrick’s Day!
It’s been a week 😅 Our house-sit in France ended this past Sunday so we had been soaking up our lovely friends and the sweet “provincial life” until then. Sunday we woke up at 5 to get an early start on our 13 hour drive to our rental home on the southern coast of Spain. There’s a community/hub of Worldschoolers not far from Málaga and we were so excited to be a part of this diverse, like minded community for a month before returning to the States in April! We had plans to visit Morocco from here as well.
Well a few minutes into our drive it was clear Stephen Chancey (our English minivan) was not going to make it. He had started acting up the day before and it was bad. So, we turned around, called upon our AMAZING neighbor friends and they came over with their Dad, took a look at our car, drove around with us, and confirmed… Chancey would have to retire in a junkyard overlooking the countryside in Southern France. We felt SO LUCKY to have friends to help us navigate that and then buying last minute flights to Spain. We were so well cared for all the way to the bitter end. We stayed the night, repacked everything for a flight rather than a road trip, got rid of tons of extra weight, and caught our flight the next morning to Spain.
Crisis averted?! Spain is beyond anything we could have imagined! We were absolutely gobsmacked by the beauty here and also by the incredible community of Worldschoolers here. We get right down to enjoying the beach, the sunsets, the instant friends, and eating every meal overlooking the Marina del Este. And then we woke up the other morning with like 7 text messages altering us to the US border closure. And then 4 cases of Coronavirus are officially reported in the next town over. The hysteria starts to pick up and all day I couldn’t shake the feeling it was time to go home.
Today we bought our tickets and tomorrow we plan to go home. We fly into Miami first then we’re supposed to continue to Orlando, assuming our screenings go smoothly in Miami!
Fingers crossed for us, friends! See you on the other side 🤞😷🤞
This guy. He’s the one. Not the perfect one, not the flawless one, not the best looking or the most romantic, thoughtful one. But the one I choose to make it work with. Every day. Over and over. The one I choose to chase my dreams with. The one I choose to build a family with. And you know what? None of that is easy.
The past few years have been full of transitions for us. New houses, new countries, new routines, new languages, new friends, new beliefs, new faith, new job, new bosses, new school, new lifestyle, new parenting challenges… We’ve become new people. And changes in a marriage don’t come without challenges. Marriage at all doesn’t come without its challenges! I just can’t even believe how naive I once was about marriage. It’s hard. It’s incredible too but before it’s incredible it’s an incredible amount of work.
But we’re up for the task! And one of the best (and honestly our favourite) ways we show up for our marriage is therapy! We had therapists we loved back at home and felt like we would try going without one while we traveled (ha!) but it turns out all these transitions are actually pretty hard on a person, which then makes it hard on a marriage! We’ve found a therapist who can see us online in video conferences and that has done a great job of keeping us on track. We’ve decided it’s going to be a non negotiable for us. We LOVE therapy because we love each other and therapy helps us keep that love in focus, even when things get stressful.
We had to swing by Notre Dame and the Louvre on our way out of town; mostly for Thatcher’s sake! I had no idea Paris was such a big deal for him! He was so sad to leave so much left undone, which is rare, so I guess we’ll just have to come back one day!
Now we’re back in Dordogne wrapping up our last week in France and preparing for Spain next week! 💃
The Arc de Triomphe.
A beautiful sight!
Napoleon’s big win!
Also an epic civil engineering disaster which should invoke fear and panic in the hearts of every visitor driving through Paris for the first time.
WHERE. ARE. THE. LANES. PEOPLE??! It’s a 4-8 lane (somewhere in that vicinity, I couldn’t tell) traffic circle free for all where buses have NO FEAR because they WIN. THEY WILL WIN EVERY TIME. I literally had a bus cross all 12 lanes of mayhem and threaten to T-bone us if I didn’t just yeild. And you just forge your way through that mess however you can without dying and pray for the best. Good heavens you guys, that was an adventure. I did get us through, alive, on only our second time around so 🏆.
I’ll catch you up on our Grandpa Low tour after I’ve been able to share it with my family first, but even after a full weekend in Normandy we decided we couldn’t pass up a 3 hour detour on our way back to our house sit in Southern France to show our kids the Eiffel Tower for the first time!
It was dark and chilly but a beautiful, clear night when we got to our Airbnb literally right around the corner from the Eiffel Tower, so we got to see it all lit up. We weren’t even close to prepared for how excited our kids were to be there! They were actually ecstatic! They see cool, bucket list worthy stuff all the time but for some reason this one blew their little minds! They all commented on how it exceeded their expectations in its grandeur and impressiveness. They didn’t know that it sparkles every hour either, which started within a few minutes of arriving and it was so fun to watch their faces light up with that!
Their energy and excitement was so rewarding that when they all immediately asked if we could go to the top we didn’t even think. We jumped right in and bought tickets even though we hadn’t even considered it before. It was spontaneous and thrilling! We were some of the very last people to go up that night and we weren’t sure going up at night was ideal but it definitely was!! Not that I can compare it with a nice clear day up there, but it was so easy to spot the big icons in Paris as they were all lit up and stood out above the rest of the town at night. It. was. GORGEOUS.
We’ve just had an unforgettable day retracing my Grandfather’s footsteps in the Battle of Normandy during WWII! Johann, the same guide Evan and the boys used last month, gathered all the information he could find about my grandfather in the French National Archives and put together a personalized tour of the sites specific to my Grandfather’s experiences. I’m still shaking guys, it was unbelievably special. I’m not going to be able to go in depth here for some time but I can’t resist sharing my excitement right now! Such a special day for our family 🥰
For the best tour guide ever: https://abnb.me/Z27vz3G0t4
We got to take part in the Carnival festivities in the next town over the other day. We felt lost and confused and yet completely amused the entire time; everyone just seemed to know what to do! There was no announcements or directions being given but it was some of the best people watching fun we’ve had in a long time! Everyone gathered in the front yard of this gorgeous old hotel dressed up in costume. Nothing happened at first but the kids wasted no time running around and making up games. Levi and Finn figured out how to say “Can I play?” and “I don’t speak French!” and played soccer with a group of boys. Then Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Elsa walked out of the hotel and handed bags of homemade confetti to all the kids. Spontaneous confetti wars broke out all over the yard! Then a group of majorettes walked up the street and everyone made their way over to watch, but suddenly they turned and marched away and everyone just… followed them. We were like… cool! So we just followed along, having no clue where we were going or what was happening. It turns out we were a parade! I think I saw maybe 8 people watching. They waved and we threw some confetti at them. The parade took a break at some sort of town square for the majorettes to do a dance, and then they just carried on winding through town until we got to a deserted parking lot with a barricade surrounding what I could only assume was a giant piñata shaped like a woman. The majorettes did a few dances, their teacher smoking like a chimney and dancing along off to the side; the Disney characters did a big countdown and then popped a few confetti canons, they caught the piñata on fire and everyone watched her burn. The burning of “Petassou” I later read, is a Carnival tradition in Durdogne. There were a few more dance numbers from the majorettes, their teacher spontaneously leading them on random marches around the parking lot and then just as suddenly as they appeared they turned and walked off down the street! Like, next to cars driving! We stood there, took it in for a moment, and then just laughed our way to the car, happy to have been privy to such a hilarious, precious small town celebration.