. . . and then some more . . . More life. More Jesus.


We expected cluelessness and tired, confusion and faux-pas. We knew we would set foot in the land of Deutsch, stay there for two days and then drive to the land of Paris and wine, where the people live as flowy and beautifully as the language they speak. We expected small hotel rooms and little cars, long, expensive meals and pains chocolats. Lots and lots of pains chocolats. We expected Eiffel Tower crowds and lovely flowered parkways, people-packed streets and sidewalks stained with dog pee. But I am learning that what I think I know to expect is not always what will be. For certain, the clueless and tired, the confusion and the faux-pas, will always be part of European living for this expatriate Midwestern family of four. And so, here are some of the unexpecteds from our week in Paris.

1. I did not expect to stay in such lovely hotels. We moved on Thursday from the center of the city, at the Hotel Elysa-Luxembourg, to the Novotel Roissy en France, in the village called Roissy en France. The one inside Paris was absolutely charming. Perfectly located. And it smelled so nice. But here in the outskirts, we have found some room to let our luggage explode. And there is a pool! A spa! Xboxes in the lobby and a lovely restaurant that stays open all day! My husband is working today, so the girls and I had planned to return to the city for one last hurrah with a visit to the Musee d’Orsay. But when we heard there was a pool here, our plans changed. And so, I am lounging in the lobby after lunch and a swim while the girls play Xbox, writing on my blog and processing the week. And loving it.

2.I can’t believe I’m already homesick. Not terribly, mind you. But after having lived in Paris for those few months seven years ago, I really thought this whole being so far from so many people whom I love wouldn’t hit me for quite a while. I kind of thought I was tougher than this. But, alas, I miss knowing that at the end of this part of the adventure (the Paris part), awaits the comfort of home. It’s hard to think about returning to what will be home for a year even though I know basically nothing of it. Knowing the climb is about to get considerably more difficult after this sometimes makes me just want to go home to Ohio. Because I speak more French than I do German, and communicating here in Paris is still struggle.

3. I expected to struggle more with French than I have this week. Despite, number 2 (see above), I must say how pleasantly surprised and encouraged I have been to find myself understanding more French than I ever did when we lived here. This makes me feel greatly encouraged. Greatly. Encouraged. Perhaps the German will come more quickly than I expect?

4. As scared as I feel about driving on the Autobahn and going to the grocery store when we get back to Germany, I am surprised to find myself anxious to get back for the simple fact that we will have a place to settle. A place to do laundry. A place to keep my hairbrush and my deodorant and my glasses. And this, I think, will make our new flat feel like home. This makes me feel optimistically excited.

5. I did not expect European bathtubs to be so awesome! I am so not joking. I am finding that the Europeans leave a lot more responsibility in the hands of consumers than Americans do. For example, I am currently on the fifth floor of a very large hotel with the windows wide open. And there are no screens! This would never happen in the States due to liability issues were someone to fall out said window. In line with this goes the depth of a bath one chooses to draw. Our bathtub at home has this thingy that decides when the water gets too deep. When the decision has been made, that thingy starts draining the water so that I don’t overflow my bathtub, and hence can’t enjoy as deep a bath as I choose. But here in Europe, the bathtub and the depth of the water and the floor on which that bathtub sits lay completely at the mercy of the bath-taker. I like this. Because I can take really hot, really deep baths. Seriously, I think I’ve taken more baths in the last nine days than I have all year so far.

5. Disneyland Paris knocked my socks off. Not literally, of course, which is good because after11 days of no washing machine and only Woolite and bathroom sinks, clean socks are becoming quite the commodity! I seriously did not expect the Disney park in Paris to even come close to the one in California (where I spent so many childhood days when I lived in Southern California). But the magic of Main Street and the thrill of Thunder Mountain amazed me all day yesterday. We had such a great time! And the food was way better than I remember at the one in California.

Some other random unexpecteds this week:

  • I did not expect the girls to get along so well with each other and with me all week, especially in such tight living quarters.
  • I did not anticipate cold, rainy weather everyday of the week. Thus, I did not expect to wear the same two pairs of jeans every other day this week. Nor the same sweatshirts everyday. You get the picture.
  • I did not see nearly as many dogs as I remembered seeing when we were here 7 years ago.
  • I did not expect to be so looking forward to washing machine access.

So many surprises still await us, I am sure. Only God knows what they are. So for now, I’ll just hold on and keep trying to expect the unexpected.

2 Thoughts on “Unexpected

  1. Angie on June 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm said:

    Yeah! I loved reading this and hearing about your adventures. i think God is going to bless you with a lot more unexpected gifts this year. I can’t wait to hear what they are!!

  2. So blessed to hear you processing the trip. I thank God that you are able to express what’s going on and to experience life in the present. May you be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power (Ephesians 6:10). Laundry is good! 🙂

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