It has been a few days now that everyone returned from the big three week trip. My ears are burning from all the stories and my brain is trying to keep track of the different versions and who said what. Here are 10 short highlights:
- No one died
- No one broke any body part or needed paramedics or late night pharmacy run
- They had a great exchange rate for their dollars
- British Airways didn't stop them at the gate or turn the plane around because of their drinking
- Everyone took photos - but my mom never took her date stamp off the front of her pictures
- My sister spent the most money on souvenirs and gifts
- Except for a little inclement weather in Paris, they had fabulous temperatures
- My mother stayed in her room to avoid everyone - only on the last day
- My sister and mother only got into one real fight, over laundry
- I've got loads of stories and photos to share with the world
[My sister makes the BEST tourist. She poses, she asks to take photos like this & she buys the tote!]
Funny Family Stories:
My mom got pulled aside at Heathrow during their connection to Paris, for secondary inspection. She clearly looks suspicious or maybe someone caught her giving her daughter-in-law the stink eye. Anyway she had to go downstairs and have all of her stuff gone through. Even with that, they still made their connecting flight without a problem. Yeah, taking only carry on for a three week trip, really made a difference.
My brother, the CFO and classically trained nerd, had my mom and sister keeping track of their purchases. He then had them convert them from Euro to GBP to US dollars and grouped into a dozen or more categories. When they returned to the US, he had them fill out - in detail - the Customs form with the extra section for overflow items! Seriously. Why, as my mother would say, "on God's green earth" would they need to give a detailed description of their stuff? It's not like my sister has a shop in Salinas and she is going to sell those "lousy" t-shirts, or those ten Windsor Castle cloth ornaments my mom bought are going to bring in a tidy "undeclared" profit in Tucson. Besides, anyone who brings back a few hundred US dollars in souvenirs, simply writes (in the four lines provided) Candy/Cookies $20 Misc Souvenirs $100 Burberry Scarf $175. Done. And you just keep the receipts in a Ziplock or something if the Customs officer asks. Which of course he didn't. Because my brother had her so worked up my mom told me three different times how surprised she was when they were just waved through to the exit. Since he paid for their trip, maybe my brother felt justified and got some strange pleasure from forcing them to do all of that math?
My sister, after eating strawberry tarts and loads of bread and butter, actually lost 11 pounds. Not the GBP kind of pounds but weight. She called me and was OVER THE MOON with disbelief and joy all mixed together. All those stairs up and down Notre Dame, Edinburgh Castle and Arc de Triomphe paid dividends! Getting up at the crack of dawn to take the train to Versailles before the crowds arrived paid off. The swollen ankles will soon be a distant memory. She burned off the daily bottles of Coca Cola and now she is pumped. I'm so happy for her to see that the classic "burn more calories than you consume" model still works. Especially since both she and my mom learned first hand that Large - XL on a label in Europe is usually a Small-Medium size for an average American. Fortunately my mom has a friend she can give that black t-shirt with the crown outlined in sparkles to. Bullet, dodged.
Stay tuned for more family stories....until they stop me.