Monday, February 18, 2008

A Very French Birthday: Day 2

The next day was my actual birthday and it was amazing to wake up and realize we had the whole day to explore Paris. As we hit the streets dawn's soft rose-colored light was reaching down and kissing the tops of the buildings and sneaking through side streets.

We decide our first stop would be the cathedral of Notre Dame, so we walked from our hotel to the Seine and down to the Ile de la Cite, which is the small island that it sits on. We fought our way through the most unscenic traffic and wondered if Paris was going to share her magic with us.

Here are Brian and Iain on one of the bridges crossing the Seine.

You can see Notre Dame in the distance!

On our way to the cathedral we passed a small park with a playground and let Iain explore a bit.

These birds built a nest right on the river bank next to the cathedral and paid no attention to all the tourists walking by.

The interior.

After exploring the cathedral we stopped at a lovely cafe for a tea and and an eclair before heading off to the Louvre. Iain's ready for his share!

On the Pont Neuf.
Me in my new birthday hat! It may not be what everyone else is wearing, but I just love it!

Outside the Louvre. The place is massive.

The view fom inside the pyramid.

We spent about 5 hours inside and saw just a fraction of the holdings. But I did see some pieces I'd dreamed of seeing, including this one, the Winged Victory of Samothrace.
And good old Napoleon here crowning Josephine after he'd crowned himself. Notice the Pope sitting behind him!

Iain decided to try on my hat for kicks.

Now for Papa's!

This is what we saw as we exited the Louvre.

We strolled through the Tuileries Garden and enjoyed the twilight.

We walked down to the Champs Elysees and admired the Arc de Triomphe.

Our final destination of the evening was the Tour Eiffel. It is far grander and more striking in person than in any photograph.

This is from the bottom. It is enormous!

Views from the top. I felt quite scared going up the last glass elevator to the very top. It was very windy and cold up there, so I quickly retreated to the indoor obeservation deck and Brian bravely soaked up the view outside.

It was a lovely birthday.

A Very French Birthday: Day 1

For my 27th birthday we planned a week long trip to France. We ended up coming home early because of car trouble, but we still had a marvelous time. We drove to Dover very early on Sunday morning and took the ferry to Dunkerque. Aside from the fact that it makes me queasy, I adore traveling by ferry. It is so romantic to watch the shore slip quietly away and you really feel as if you are embarking on a grand, glamourous adventure.

Here are Iain and I in the (very) small children's play area on board.

Iain and Papa on deck with the famous white cliffs receding into the distance.

After arriving in France we drove to Azincourt (Agincourt) which was the site of the great English victory of Henry V in 1415. Badly outnumbered, the English handily defeated the French and Charles VI of France named Henry his sucessor, as well as betrothing his daughter to him. William Shakespeare's play Henry V further increased the importance of this battle in English heritage, using it as the compelling backdrop for an epic tale that showcases the glory of an idealized king.

We strolled around the museum, which was mediocre and like many lesser museums had some slightly unnerving exhibits. We were trapped in a darkened room with this thing for about 5 minutes. It's supposed to be Henry V. In reality it is a dummy with a film of an actor's face talking projected onto the head. It had 3-D features and they didn't quite match up with where the actor's actual nose, mouth, and eyes were, so that added to the sense of disquiet. Let's get kids interested in history by scaring the pants off them!

The rest of it was better and didn't leave you feeling as if you'd ingested some kind of illegal substance.

Iain thought this one was cool!

Brian the angry medieval midget!

And here is the actual battlefield. It is so peaceful now that it is hard to believe that so much carnage and death took place on this spot.

We drove to Paris that night through some amazingly snarled traffic and gratefully dropped off to sleep to prepare for the next day's adventures!

Friday, February 15, 2008

And the winner is...


We're moving to Idaho this summer! Brian recently interviewed at two classical christian highschools in the US, and was offered both positions. After much prayer and deliberation he has accepted a position teaching 12th grade humanities courses at St. Ambrose Christian High School. We're so excited about this school and this move, and I'm so proud of my husband. I know he'll do a brilliant job. I'm so thankful to God for this position. I think the school looks really amazing. You can check our their ideology and curriculum at the school's website.

Now that we know where we're going, we've set a date and bought tickets to return to the States. We're leaving May 25 for Fort Lauderdale. This is both thrilling and sad. It will be great to see friends and family again (and the sun! They've misplaced it here in the UK) but it will be hard to say goodbye to all our dear friends and surrogate family here in England.

God is so good to us. I just can't get over it. I firmly believe that he has created an entire airline for the benefit of my family. Zoom is a new budget airline that has started a non-stop flight from Gatwick to Ft. Lauderdale. They are the only airline to fly this route. And unbeknowst to us, after we booked our flight we discovered it is the very first non-stop flight that the company is flying on that new route. New airline, new route, our two very specific locations? God's amazing providence. What a blessing and wonderful confirmation that we're headed in the right direction.

Our last bit of exciting news is that my sister-in-law is expecting! We're excited that Iain is going to have a cousin (or more than one!). We are thrilled to pieces about this news, as are Nana and Grandpapa, as you can imagine.

As we sing with Iain at bedtime:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him all creatures here below.
Praise him above ye heavenly host,
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost! Amen.