Click here for the week of 07/17/16.

Sun, 07/10/16. Cala Osalla.

Ok this place is amazing. We're staying in a campground, where there are lots of tents but we have our own little private cabin with two tiny bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen, and it's surrounded by trees. It reminds me of Yosemite lodge, but a bit nicer accomodations, and instead of waterfalls there are amazing beaches. We drove to one called Cala Osalla, recommended in our guidebook, and it was incredible. The water was the perfect temperature, and it was like a cove so it was really shallow, only up to our waist for a long way out. It's sunny and like 88 degrees out, so the kids just immediately splashed right into the water and stayed there for hours. We got a little sun umbrella and had a nice picnic out there. We saw schools of little grey fish in the water, and buried each other in the sand. This place is kind of the opposite of Paris, or at least it seems to have super high amounts of almost everything we were missing in Paris, other than family and friends. It's all nature, and very casual, family friendly, everyone is smiling and happy to see kids, hot, sunny, and with beaches, sand, and swimming. We are loving it. Last night was the finals of the Euro Cup soccer tournament, and also the finals of Wimbledon. I went to the bar in the lobby of our campground to see if either was on tv, and it was showing the pope making a speech. However they did show the soccer game later and there were tons of people watching. During dinner, Jean got a beer called ichnusa, and the waiter said it's the old word for Sardinia before the Italians took over the island. I asked the waiter if he felt more Italian, Sardinian, or Ichnusan, and he kinda looked around to see no one was listening and said "I feel Sardinian". We then asked whom he wanted to win the Euro Cup and he looked around again and whispered "Portugal. I don't like French people."

Sat, 07/09/16. Luggage problems.

After packing long into the night, we woke up early and packed some more. Despite our best efforts, there was just so much stuff we couldn't seem to part with that we had a ridiculous number of bags to bring to the airport. We had 2 suitcases, 2 bags we thought we'd use as checkins, and then 4 backpacks full to the brims, Max and Gemma's two tiny suitcases, Jean's small bag, and then a huge overflowing ikea bag filled with stuff. We thought we might have trouble fitting into a taxi, and had trouble even calling a regular taxi let alone an oversized one, but luckily when I went out to the quai to look for a taxi I quickly found a big one and flagged it down. When we got to the airport, more than 2 hours before the flight, we decided to buy another suitcase at the airport and put everything from the ikea bag into it. Still, this left us with 8 carryons among 4 people, and I'm sure some of them were overweight. We had more trouble with our checked bags though. When we went to check in, where it was pretty slow, the guy said two of our pieces of luggage were overweight and we'd have to pay, even though the other two were way under the weight limit. So we were going to pay, but he said we had to go to the Alitalia office to pay there, and then come back, and it was obvious we were gonna miss our flight if we did that, so we pleaded with him and he helped us out a little, calling Alitalia and checking in our luggage but he said we still had to go to Alitalia to pay before boarding, so we did. Taking our hand baggage through the metal detector, though, some of our items got stopped and we had to open them up. We were kind of freaked out as it was 20 minutes before the plane was scheduled to leave, and on our tickets it said the gate closed 20 min before leaving time. It turned out they stopped us for a kindle in Gemma's bag and handcuffs in Max's bag. The security personel were up in arms about the handcuffs and I laughed it off showing them it was just a toy. Then we rushed to the gate and barely made it. We were the last ones on the plane. On the flight, Jean was sitting next to a guy who looked just like Van Gogh, and Gemma said "Maybe it's Van Gogh's son." We then got to Sardinia and went to our rental car place, but it was clear we had too much luggage for the car I'd reserved, so we upgraded to a bigger car and it still barely fit. So, with hundreds and hundreds of Euros thrown at a new piece of luggage, charges for overweight luggage, and upgrades on the car, this vacation is becoming really expensive. However, it's so incredibly nice here in Cala Gonone, Sardinia. It's hot and sunny, and the drive here was incredibly scenic, with winding roads, farm animals all the way, rolling hills with olive trees and desert in parts and then lush vegetation in others. Cala Gonone is really small and incredibly charming. We had a nice pizza and pasta dinner sitting outside with a view of the sea and right across from the church which was doing a Friday night mass as we ate. The book said everything in Sardinia is disgustingly crowded in July, but Cala Gonone seems quite empty, compared to Paris at least, and on the drive here we hardly saw a car. Here in town we haven't heard any English or French, and it seems to be mostly full of locals or Italian tourists. It seems like it's gonna be a fantastic week.

Fri, 07/08/16. Last day in Paris.

Today we got up early and did what Max and Gemma most wanted to do on their last day here, go to Disneyland. It was a beautiful day and we did it just right. We got there at 8:14am, did a whole bunch of rides, and then at 10am when it started getting crowded, we just did Pirates, Small World, Alice's Labyrnth, and the chairs by Alice's Labyrnth, and then a little shopping and left. We were at the RER station by noon. There was an empty boat behind us on Small World so the guy let us go twice in a row, which was great. We also got to stay in and go twice in a row on Pinnochio and Dumbo. In the afternoon we packed and did some last min errands, and then Reille came over to do a final walkthrough. Later, Jackie and Sebastian came over to take all of our leftover crap, including all our food and drinks and stuff we would otherwise have thrown out. Jackie's patisserie is just about to open, and is called A La Croix. However the last few weeks before opening day are proving stressful to her and her patissier boyfriend. Later, Eva came over to say one last goodbye and drink some champagne with us. We'll really miss them and hope to see them again soon. We talked a lot about what we will miss in Paris and what we won't miss, and how we feel about moving back. I thought after a year we'd feel a little French, but honestly we don't feel French at all. French culture and society still seems very mysterious to us in fact. However, it has definitely been a great year and we will miss it a lot. It will be weird going back to LA and not seeing any old buildings or anything, only speaking English, eating American food, and not having millions of amazing sights and really unique international people at every turn.

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Thu, 07/07/16. Packing.
We mostly stayed in and packed today. We have so much stuff after a whole year here. I did a little sortie with Max and took him on his trotinette to the Jardin des Plantes where he raced down the hill at full speed. We passed Sebastian and Jackie on the way and didn't see them til Sebastian yelled "Max! Max!" So we saw their patisserie which is about to open. Max noticed French mistakes Jackie made in talking to her French boyfriend. At night Jean and I watched some of the France and Germany soccer game, which has everyone seemingly out in the streets celebrating right now.

Wed, 07/06/16. Football match.

We're clearly spoiled. Instead of focusing on the fact that we have 2 more days in Paris, then 6 in Sardinia, then 5 days in Dublin before coming home, which would be a dream vacation normally, we seem to focus too much on the sad fact that we may never see some of the people and sights we've come to know and love here, or at least won't see them for a long time. Today while Jean took care of Gems, I went out to Luxembourg Park with Max and met Zadig and Aurelie there, and afterwards said a sad goodbye. Max was doing very cool flips on the spiderweb ropes. Aurelie is going through a tough time which made things doubly sad. Max and Gems took afternoon naps so in the evening we went to Marguerita and watched a bit of the Euro cup semifinals with Wales against Portugal, and we tried to find Fadi in the stands. We also did a lot of packing and errands today, and the contrast between the U.S. and France was so evident. For instance, I made appointments to see Dr. Woo and Dr. Morshed when we get back to the U.S., and it was so easy, and meanwhile I took Gemma to see a doctor here for her pinkeye she has, and it wasn't bad or anything but just not like the U.S.

Tue, 07/05/16. Last class.
Today Max and Gems had their last day of school here, and we said our sad goodbyes to the teachers and directrice. We really lucked out with the school. It was great. We're very proud of how Max and Gems made it through the whole year. Max, on the way home, felt sad to leave and said he's gonna miss Wassila, the lunchlady. Last night I met up with Fadi at his hotel and he and I went out for a drink. He's such a nice guy and so funny, and we had a great time wandering down the Champs Elysees and talking about all kinds of things from traveling to family life to politics. He mentioned how he thinks it's great that we did a year here and that he wants his kids to have a good life education, which I thought was a great phrase. It's true that, although life here has been hard and lonely for the kids sometimes, it has also been an incredible life education for them. Jean and I went out to Fish La Boissonerie today for lunch and had our last adult meal here. We let the kids choose one activity and one food they want to have in our last few days here. Gemma picked Disneyland and couldn't decide on the food, and Max picked a crepe and Luxembourg park, where we're going tomorrow to meet up with Zadig one last time. It seems so strange saying goodbye to people here. I've never really felt anything like what we're feeling now, other than maybe when graduating college. Graduating high school, it felt like I would see my friends there again, and I have, but here and in college, it really feels unclear if and when I'd ever see some of these people. Now with email and facebook it's easy to keep in touch though, and most of the people we've met here seem to travel a lot, so maybe we will see some of them again soon.

Mon, 07/04/16. Jackie and Sebastian.

Today for the 4th of July we had Jackie and Sebastian over for burgers and fries, and made a red white and blue cake. Max and Gemma loved hanging out with Sebastian and had a great time playing hide and seek, bows and arrows, drawing, and sharing ipads. Jackie is still lamenting how long it is taking to open her patisserie here in Paris, because they can't put in the floors because of all the rain. They've been waiting 6 weeks for the cement floor to dry.

Click here for the week of 07/03/16.

Click here for the Paris journal from 2015.