xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#' World Toddler: July 2016



Saturday, July 30, 2016

World Toddler Returns Home

After 131 incredible days, this traveling family has finally returned home. Since I last posted, from Jerusalem, we visited Vienna, Budapest, Bologna, Florence, Lucca, Rome, and Paris. After an outdoor operatic concert in Vienna, a schvitz in a Budapest bath, and a wheel of 30-month parmesan in Italy, we arrived in Paris. (I promise to fill you in on these European adventures over the next few weeks, so please keep following the blog!).

We had planned to stay in Paris for 6 days and then take the Chunnel to London for the last week of our trip. In the wake of Brexit, we thought we should take advantage of the rare “sale” going on in England and visit while we could comfortably afford it.

Our first three days in Paris were rocky: we were bounced from the Eiffel Tower, yelled at in the Louvre, and occasionally embarrassed when we brought our child to restaurants. Classic French icons, we learned, are better enjoyed on romantic honeymoons than family vacations.

Giddy on Croissants
Alas, by day four, we figured out how to feel more comfortable in Paris: we ate meals at home or in parks so as to avoid the glares of other diners; we avoided prime tourist areas to avoid the frighteningly heavy military presence; and we visited more patisseries to keep our blood-sugar levels sky-high.
Overwhelming military presence in Paris

On day five, after a lovely park-bench lunch of smoked-salmon sandwiches, we collected our rubbish before heading to the nearby playground. By this point, we had been traveling around the world for  almost 5 months with 35-pound packs, climbed a volcano in Bali, scaled Mount Masada and hiked to the top of steep shrines in Kyoto. But this innocuous Parisian bench is what did us in.

Nolan stood up as normal. And then his face contorted in twenty different pain-induced directions. Sydney giggled at Daddy’s funny-faces and stuck her tongue out at him in reply. I, slightly more in tune with other people’s emotions than my two-year-old, reached out to give Nolan my hand just as he collapsed back onto the bench, in a bout of severe back pain.

Nolan's Last Parisian Day Out

Nolan limped home, using Sydney’s stroller as a crutch, hobbled up the two flights of stairs to our rental apartment, and laid down in bed. The ceiling above this bed ended up being Nolan’s best view of Paris for the remainder of our trip. He had tweaked his lower back—most likely from carrying our 33-pound child on his shoulders—and was immobilized. 

We called Allianz, our travel insurance carrier, who directed us to call a local doctor (more on getting the most out of your travel insurance to come). Since Nolan couldn’t move, we looked for a doctor who would come to us, which apparently is a thing in other countries.

Within an hour, a handsome young man, who spoke perfect English with a perfect French-accent, showed up at our door. With a big bag on his back, he looked more like a delivery boy than a certified doctor. Assuming he was the latter, we let him examine Nolan, shoot a pain killer into his derrière  and prescribe an addict’s dreamboat of prescription pain killers. The total cost for the medical exam and medicine? $106.60.
Once we overcame our shock at our affordable and prompt medical treatment, we discussed the rest of our trip. The doctor had suggested we return home—continued world-schlepping probably wouldn’t help Nolan’s back.  

Centre Pompidou
And so we rebooked our tickets to return to the United States from Paris, instead of London, sooner than planned, but permitting Nolan's back enough time to recover. In the interim, Nolan rested in bed while Syd and I “did” Paris. At the end of each day, we swiped through our photos for Nolan to get a taste of the city: the amazing playground at the Luxembourg Gardens, the view of the Eiffel Tower from the Touilleri's Ferris Wheel, and our favorite modern art at the Centre Pompidou.

Paris Ferris Wheel

After five “girls’ days” in Paris, Nolan and I packed our bags for the final time, popped a bottle of champagne and headed to the airport. 

We are now back in the U.S., where Sydney is adjusting surprisingly well to a magical new world filled with more than five toys. While I wouldn't trade anything for the last five incredible months, I will admit to enjoying our return home, and the familiarity of our native country: sitting down with a pot of coffee, eavesdropping on conversations in English, and being able to catch up with family and friends (and, yes, letting them babysit!).

World travel is great...but so is celebrating your birthday with your cousins.