A Fairytale Ending

(Other than the parts where my second wallet of the year was snatched and our car died on the way home from the airport. Thank goodness for heroes like Marc Lombardi and Margot Murphy!)

I really couldn’t have scripted a more enchanting ending to my Watson Fellowship. One year after I left them and thirty since they last visited Europe, my mom and dad met me in France for the final nine days of my trip. In addition to catching up like our life depended on it, we shared a little bit of my vagabond existence, sight-saw until our legs went numb, and most specially, celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary. Before my trip becomes even more of a muddled dream, here are some highlights from our reunion and my very last week abroad:

Mass at Notre Dame on our first night in Paris:

Sightseeing like it was nobody’s business:

Daily bakery runs, a few fancy meals, and equally scrumptious dirt-cheap picnics:

A day marveling at the Versailles palaces and gardens (and appreciating never having to sleep in such a pattern-overloaded bedroom or eating dinner in front of a dozen empty-plated guests every night):

Two nights in Lyon, France, the true City of Lights:

A surprise (to my mom) return to my parents’ honeymoon spot in Lucerne, Switzerland:

Two nights and a neat boat tour in Strasbourg, France:

A few hilarious, bizarre, unexpected encounters like this summer parade in Strasbourg…

…as well as a senior citizen folk-dancing performance and an outdoors Weather Girls concert:20130716-154712.jpg(remember “It’s Raining Men”? That’s them!)

Finally, a day trip to beautiful Baden-Baden, Germany:

It’s only been a week since I hit home, but I already feel like I could have snatched that final excursion straight out of a Disney classic. Having my parents to myself for a full week, I got to describe my journey slowly, thoroughly and spontaneously, get the full scoop on what’s been brewing around Dallas and the Wade home since I left, and give them a little taste of what life has been like for me these past 12 months. Every day had some incredible moments, but the highlight for me was visiting my parents’ honeymoon spot and celebrating their thirty years of mostly blissful, always model marriage to each other.

I’m now back in the real world of Dallas, Texas, and have replaced the thrills of traveling with the excitement of seeing everyone and everything that I’ve missed. I don’t expect my wanderlust to stay dormant for too long, but for now I’m savoring every second of being home.


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