A few final words

So we’ve been back for a week now and I think everybody is over the jet lag (mostly) although some people are still nursing colds. Must have been the flight from Paris to Montreal where we were jammed at the back of the airplane with at least three other groups of teens. In any case, I promised I’d write one more blog post to wrap everything up so here goes…

Obviously, we survived our flights from Montreal to Vancouver and from Vancouver to Victoria. That statement seems a lot less frivolous when you consider the 150 people who didn’t make it home from a routine flight not long after we left Europe. It’s a strange thing putting your loved ones on a plane and knowing in your head that it’s safer than driving but still harbouring those nagging “what if…” thoughts. I know a number of the parents (including mine) were tracking our flights as we headed home. I can’t imagine what the families of those lost on Germanwings flight 9525 are going through.

Okay, enough of the seriousness and onto a few final comments:

First, a comment about the group. I’ve taught all the kids who travelled with us at least once so I knew mostly what to expect going in and figured they’d be pretty cool people to travel with… I was wrong… They were amazing people to travel with! Punctual, polite, engaged, funny, helpful… the list goes on. Lambrick Park was very well represented by these kids… Of course, there were a few standout moments:

* Ross’ bright red sweatshirt. When you’re trying to stay together as a group wandering through the crowded streets of Paris or the Vatican museum, it’s helpful to have someone you can see easily. With his height and his bright red sweatshirt, Ross was the goto guy for our group.

* Jamie’s Pringles habit. I lost count of how many tubes of Pringles he ate while we were traveling but it was epic. I noticed that the euro lost quite a bit of ground against the Canadian dollar as soon as we left… I don’t think that was a coincidence.

* Buying watches at Pisa. It was like watching sharks feeding… As soon as our kids stepped off the bus they were surrounded by guys trying to sell them Rolexes. In the end a couple did buy the knockoffs only to discover that there are crappy knockoffs and really crappy knockoffs. At least they keep time… I think…

* We only encountered a few squat toilets on our trip (you see them once in a while in Europe still but they’re mostly gone now) and there were always other options so there wasn’t much outrage about them. But the toilets without seats… that was another story entirely. It’s really common in Europe to see public toilets without toilet seats… something that utterly horrified our group. Of course, the bidets in the hotel rooms were cause for all kinds of hilarity as well…

* Caitlin and Kristen going swimming in Nice. Apparently the guy working the front desk at the hotel just couldn’t wrap his head around why the kids were heading to the beach at 6:30 in the morning. Caitlin said he was super helpful and gave them directions but just couldn’t figure it all out.

* Max’s sock getting lit on fire. I don’t know the details. I don’t want to know the details. Apparently it was hysterical. You’ll have to trust me on this one.

* Sharing food. It’s probably not a coincidence that half the group is down with colds as everybody was sharing food at meal times in a big way. The food was pretty good and the portion sizes were pretty decent… unless you wear size 14 shoes… then you’re always on the lookout for something tasty that would otherwise go to waste. It was like having our portable composters with us the whole time.

* Jet lag. No one made it to school on Monday – although Marie did drag herself into work by noon (she’s either a real trooper or crazy… we’re not sure which). I think everybody had experienced jet lag before but this trip really knocked people down – I’m guessing it was the long days and full schedule. It was pretty easy this past week to tell who went to Europe – they were the ones in sweatpants falling asleep in class.

I think that’s about it. I’m sure there are lots more funny stories and hopefully you’ve heard all about them from the kids themselves so I’ll wrap this up.

If you’ve enjoyed reading about our travels and would like to hear about some other trips I’ve done, I’ve added a link to my other trip blogs on the main page. If nothing else, they might help you sleep and there are pictures!

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