How does one pack for 8 or 9 months abroad?? That is our current challenge. We started spreading our all our belongings upstairs today. We think we're going to get 2 checked bags a piece free of charge. So that is good... but the space goes quickly... towels, winter coats, clothes, shoes, sweaters, kitchen supplies, books, toiletries... and there is so much more! Any world travelers have any advice on packing for longer trips? Any must-take items?
Ric came to visit this weekend. Thursday evening we went to Baja Burrito for supper... Friday we went to Centerville to visit MamaJune and had a pizza party for supper. Saturday we went to the Franklin Farmers' Market, Martins BBQ Joint for lunch, shopping in Brentwood, a 2.5 mile hike at Edwin Warner Park, and made a southern supper at the house. This morning we went to Harpeth Hills and then Marche for brunch. Doug and I rested this afternoon and went to Ethos tonight. Ethos has been a huge blessing this summer. It is neat to see how God is at work in so many lives! We leave 2 weeks from tomorrow... it now seems really close. My to-do list is really long!
(at Martin's BBQ Joint in Nolensville... listed in Bon Appetit magazine as one of the top 10 new BBQ restaurants in the country!)
Our GACS insurance ends at the end of the month and we still had quite a bit of money left to spend in our flexible spending account... so, it was off to Target and CVS for a shopping spree on the over-the-counter medication and first-aid aisles... the person checking us out must have thought we were crazy! Probably thought we were serious hypochondriacs anticipating a serious injury in the near future.
Saturday was filled with social activities... went to the Franklin Farmers' Market with Anna Rose in the morning... met Caroline, Elizabeth, Jenny, and Anna Rose at Bread and Co. for lunch... went to see Julie and Julia with Caroline, Elizabeth and Jenny (we got to see the first hour or so, then we had to evacuate the movie theater b/c someone pulled the fire alarm... the theater gave us vouchers for later)... Saturday night James, Elizabeth, Kaleb, Caroline, Charlie, Doug and I ate at McDougal's in Cool Springs. Melaney Cost and family were there- good to see them!
In preparation for Julie and Julia, I just read Julia Child's My Life in France. I really liked a lot of the things she said... here are two quotes I really liked:
"Travel, we agreed, was a litmus test: if we could make the best of the chaos and serendipity that we'd inevitably meet in transit, then we'd surely be able to sail through the rest of lie together just fine. So far, we'd done pretty well."
"Remember, 'No one's more important than people!' In other words, friendship is the most important thing- not career or housework, or one's fatigue- and it needs to be tended and nurtured. So we packed up our bags and off we went. And thank heaven we did!"
Yesterday we headed down to Atlanta, caught up with Beth and Lily, then ate at Moe's before church with several small group friends. We slept at the Prewitt house and then this morning was our big day- our appointments at the French Consulate in Buckhead. Now, we both had some ideas about what we thought it would be like... they went something like this: big modern office with windows overlooking Buckhead, French receptionist wearing a scarf and high heels, complimentary coffee and pastries in the lobby, being called back to a desk where we would present our paperwork one item at a time to a French government official and make small talk about our upcoming year in Lyon. Well what it ended up being like was more like a visit to the DMV. We were "greeted" by a large man (not French), who directed us to a small, hot, waiting room (with no windows and not enough seating), where we waited for over an hour to be called up to a bank-teller style window with a 1/2 inch slot at the bottom to slide our documents through. The man who received our paperwork was impatient and disorganized. So, our expectations were a bit erroneous, but we are both SO HAPPY to have this behind us! Now we just have to wait for the visas and passports to be sent back to us (hopefully in a couple weeks).
(Doug's favorite new car snack... Chocolatey Cats from Trader Joes)
Saturday night Doug and I went to the Andrew Peterson concert in Hendersonville. The church where it was held was HUGE, but the concert was small in a coffee shop type atmosphere. It was good- a lot of older songs we hadn't heard in a while.
A little bit of one of our favorites..
Last night, we had some interesting cultural experiences at the PUTNAM COUNTY FAIR! I'm so grateful to have friends that take us on adventures... here are a few pictures from the evening... really just a tease- Doug has the good stuff (including random crowd shots) on his camera.
Doug in the crowd getting good pictures
Reigning Miss Teen Tennessee The "Fairest of the Fair" pageant attracts quite a crowd All dressed up and waiting Jenny's family watches for her cousin
Toddlers and Tiaras?
Putnam County Fair = cool place to be after the first day of school Serious photographer Jenny's cousin A little sweaty
Happy to be at the fair Josh was either on his phone or bumping into people he knew almost the entire time we were there The views from the stands Doug won a fish... he named him Gustave Putnam
Tomorrow we leave for Atlanta to go to the French Consulate for our visa appointments... it is seeming more and more real... we just booked tickets for France... on my birthday... what a birthday!