Opinion: Pardon my French


Bonjour, friends! I survived international travel during a global pandemic over Christmas and am sufficiently recovered to share a brief retrospective. You’re welcome.

The overarching narrative throughout our journey to visit our younger son who’s studying in France this year was COVID-19. Tests prior to departing the U.S. and then again upon our return; special vaccine QR codes to enter restaurants and public buildings; and worst of all, our oldest actually contracting the virus 10 days before we left. Even with a doctor’s clearance, the United Airlines agents (on both sides of the Atlantic) were reluctant to let him on the plane. Oh, mon dieu!

The other big takeaway from this holiday adventure was that navigating a foreign country with six adults is an exercise in patience and suppressed rage. Strong personalities and different expectations, sprinkled with less-than-ideal sleeping arrangements and too much red wine, made for a few incredibly irritating situations. Even the sobering sight of a fire-ravaged Notre Dame didn’t keep me from losing my merde on an heir for behaving like an obnoxious brat.

Is it any surprise that my favorite part was the two hours I spent wandering alone through a small Parisian art museum? No husband, no kids, no responsibilities whatsoever. Just me and Monet, and a magical moment of serenity. La perfection.

We did eat well, laugh a ton and enjoy the beauty, history and culture of some remarkable cities.  And having our family together under the same roof for the first time in almost five months was indeed heartwarming. But we will never do it again. Never. C’étais très stupide.

Peace out.