Two and a half weeks flew by, and suddenly it was time to move on. Excited as I was to see Paris at last, I was not ready to say goodbye to the place that had become a second home. Many of our days here were spent exploring the area, while others passed in relative boredom, cooped up in the house playing cards or watching French television programs (Spongebob Squarepants, or Bob l’éponge, was especially entertaining in another language).
Naturally, we got on each others’ nerves a lot, and spent plenty of time apart reading books or completing Sudoku puzzles. Still, it was precious family time, a rarity now that I live on the other side of the country, and something that I miss dearly.
In addition to our own immediate family, we had an assortment of friends and cousins over to visit. I very rarely see any family members aside from my parents and siblings, so it was nice to see these relations from across the pond – many of whom I had not seen since I was still in elementary school.
I knew I would miss the neighborhood, with its tidy little houses, wrought iron fences, and overflowing gardens. My sisters and I had taken to strolling around when we became bored, and it didn’t take much to make me fall in love with the place.
But of course, I would miss my grandparents most of all. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw them. My ability to speak and understand the French language has nosedived ever since high school ended, so the bulk of our communication was in the form of small smiles, nods, and hand gestures. It was wonderful just to be around them again and feel their love for us in their hugs and papery kisses, in the generous meals they shared with us, in the fact that they covered our hotel stay for the near three weeks we were in the country. We bonded over Triominos, of all things, the rules of the game clear now that the language barrier was nonexistent.
On our final day, we ate an early breakfast and headed over to say goodbye to our grandparents. They smothered us with hugs and kisses, then we loaded up the car and made our way down to the train station. We were a bit early, so we ate a quick lunch at the closest restaurant, which happened to be a Subway. Go figure. Finally, the train pulled into the station. I took one last look at the sunlit square, then climbed aboard, eager for what lay ahead.