Belgium / England / France

London, Paris, Bruges… Oh my!

A KEY arrived in the mail today!  I just held it and grinned like an idiot, because this key is to an apartment in PARIS!  That’s right, Paris!  Ah, Paris in the springtime… We are finally close enough to this trip to get a KEY in the MAIL!  I’m considering having it surgically attached to my arm to prevent me from losing it before we actually make it to the apartment.

The key to our apartment in Paris!  Isn't it beautiful?

The key to our apartment in Paris! Isn’t it beautiful?

First we will board a plane to London.  Scott and Me, and our two teen(-ish) daughters: KatieRose and Lydia.  Off to London.  Not quite a week there, and we are off to Paris.  After Paris we are off to Bruges for an overnight, and where we will then be met by friends of ours.  Then we are off to stay with our friends for a few days in Bilzen, Belgium (with maybe a day trip into the Netherlands) before heading home.  The people will definitely be the coolest in Bilzen.  🙂

We have been talking about this trip for nearly a year now, and most of me didn’t really think it would happen for much of that.  Even when we put our deposits down on the London and Paris apartments, I had in the back of my mind that something was going to happen to derail this.  Then a few months ago we bought our tickets for our flights.  That made it more real, but I still had my doubts.  Most of the past 3 years of our lives have been derailed repeatedly by Katie’s TN, so I guess that reflex expectation is still pretty ingrained in me.  It will be a long time shaking that off, I think.  Then there are just a lot of little details to getting a trip like this put together for a whole family:  airfare, lodging, scheduling around everyone’s schedules, passports.

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Ugh, the passports!  Scott and mine needed to be renewed, and our girls needed passports – and turns out that’s not nearly the little paperwork thing I was hoping.  A little tip from me to you… if you live in a major metropolitan area and have to actually go to the passport office in person for some part of your passport process, call for the appointment MONTHS EARLIER than you think you need to!  It was a 2 month wait for us to get an appointment for all 4 of us to be there – and then you still have to mail everything in and wait for the return.

If you are getting a passport for a minor, you need to have both parents there in person (unless there is a deceased parent, or you have further notarized paperwork from the absent parent).  This is to be certain one parent doesn’t apply for the child’s passport without the other parent’s knowledge, and then skip the country with the kids, I assume.  Which in our case, I admit, is probably a concern for Scott.  I mean, I’d tell him where we were going and all, and we’d love to have him join us.  But the possibility of me not waiting for him to catch up is maybe a bit too real.

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In the end, the girls passports returned within 2 weeks of that appointment.  All good to go.  My renewal, however, which should have been the quick & easy one and didn’t even require that in-person appointment, kept me watching the mailbox for another 3 weeks!  But it did finally arrive, and that was the first time I felt like this is really going to happen.  We really are going to make it.

Then the key arrived, and I’m just excited beyond words.  We will meet the owner of the London apartment upon our arrival in London, but the Paris apartment key is in my hand!

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