Hey, everyone, I'm back from vacation! I/we had a wonderful time in London and Paris, but it feels good to be home. I arrived in London after an overnight flight from NYC in the wee hours of Thursday, April 28th. Drew had been there a week already doing pre-coverage of the royal wedding, which was on Friday the 29th. I had every intention of finding some place cool to watch the wedding — along the processional route, Hyde Park, even a pub somewhere with lots of locals — but jetlag and allergies got the best of me and I was too ravaged from sleep deprivation to drag myself out of my hotel room. Just as well, I guess, since I have to pee every five minutes these days.
A little bit after the wedding, I did get myself together enough to head down to the Piccadilly Circus area where there were still tons of revelers roaming about. I saw lots of fancy hats and fascinators, quite a few William and Kate impersonators, and countless Union Jack flags. There was a definite buzz in the air and it was fun to be part of the festivities in at least that small way.
Drew wrapped up with work the next afternoon and we spent another eight days in London, joined for half of them by my parents, who flew up from Germany to celebrate my mom's 60th birthday. My mom is really big into birthdays and I haven't celebrated hers with her since 1994, so one of my favorite memories of our time in London was the evening of her birthday as we were sitting in the theater in the West End watching "Million Dollar Quartet" (where Drew and I were the youngest audience members by 15 years, easy), and I looked over at my mom at one point and she had this great big smile on her face and was clapping her hands to the music and in that moment, it was like she didn't have a care in the world. It reminded me of Drew at his 40th birthday party last year and how happy he was to be surrounded by all these friends celebrating him. It's a good thing, seeing a loved one happy.
Anyway, we all had a nice time in London, but on Sunday the 8th, we said our good-byes and my parents headed back to Germany and Drew and I trained it to Paris.
I hadn't been to Paris since I was 16, and that was on a family trip, which, let's be honest, isn't the best way to see the city of lights. No, the best way to see Paris is with the person you're in love with, which is exactly how I got to do it this time, and let me tell you, Paris did not disappoint. If I could have stayed there another month, I would have. And I never feel that way about places I visit. I love traveling, but a few days in one place is usually enough for me, no matter how cool it is. But, Paris... I think I was meant for life in Paris.
We didn't even really do anything there except spend four fabulous days wandering around and around, eating tons of bread and chocolate, people-watching, practicing basic French phrases (Où sont les toilettes?). We did climb up (a little ways) of the Eiffel Tower (that's where we are in the picture on top), and we went to the d'Orsay museum, and we hit the famous Les Puces flea market. Our hotel was only a few blocks from the Seine, so we walked along the banks quite a bit, and had a picnic dinner on a bridge at sunset. One night, we splurged and had a really fancy dinner at this place it's tres difficult to get reservations (but we have connections, yo ;)). My favorite part was just sitting in the Luxembourg Garden, near our hotel, for hours on end, eating chocolate croissants and strawberries, reading books and watching all the passersby. I think, on hectic days in my near future, after the baby is born and I'm sleep deprived and crazy and can't think straight, those are the moments I'm going to remember — the calm before the storm, when it was just Drew and me and our hopes for the days to come.
Oh! I forgot one other highlight of the trip. Early on — my third night or so in London — I felt the baby move for the first time (I think)! I was lying in bed, resting a hand on my stomach and I felt a quick "tap-tap-tap" from inside. I was just about 16 weeks along, which all the pregnancy info says is the earliest a woman might feel her baby move. I grabbed Drew's hand and put it on my stomach and he felt it too! Another "tap-tap-tap." I haven't felt it again since, but I'm hoping in the next few weeks it becomes a more regular occurrence.
I have a midwife appointment later today and it's possible we might find out the baby's sex. We'll definitely know at our next visit, when they do the full anatomy scan, but if there's some reason they need to do an ultrasound at today's visit, there's a pretty good chance we'll learn the gender. And that might be even more exciting that Paris. Maybe.