Because some of us were willing to watch kids, some others of us got to go to Austria, where we ate, argued, walked around and generally had a great time. We would like to thank you, our amazingly generous family, for the following moments:
Claire, sitting in the front seat of the taxi and chatting with the driver. In German. The whole time.
At the Esperanto museum, (where surprisingly enough we were the only people), Gordon settling in to learn the language and making good progress until we finally pulled him away.
After a week of seeing and hearing German all of the time, Jerry actually saying 'Vait und second.' Which is not actually German, Spanish or English. But did make him sound kind of scary.
Also not German, Spanish or English is the word "zee," which is what Gordon said to the lady at the bakery after reminding himself over and over, "Don't say 'si', don't say 'si', don't say 'si'..."
Vivian went on a reign of terror, kicking Carrie out of the Big Bedroom and then insulting her ability to share, making for a couple of notable discussions.
Claire, checking in with Beth about Hal: "That was on the spreadsheet! Did you look at the spreadsheet?!"
The meal where no one could read anything on the menu, but everyone ended up with pretty good stuff anyway, except for Chris who had to eat liver and onions. "Leber! I've made a huge mistake!"
Claire, on vices: "Oh, I would drink!...well, not alcohol."
Carrie, on cheese: "I think this cheese would be good if you melted it, and poured it over some cheese."
The famous Sacher torte, two times. Which turned out to not be very good. Both times.
Schnitzel bigger than your head.
Food brackets- one real, cheese bracket (winner, comte alt), and one imaginary pastry bracket, just devised to torment Carrie
A gigantic chocolate pastry thing called "The Edgar." Which actually Gordon didn't get to eat, but not for lack of trying.
Going to the opera and having everyone switch seats at each intermission because one set of seats was better than the others.
Guilting Chris into buying a tie to wear to the opera.
Sneaking out of mass because Gordon was literally asleep on his feet.
a tour of a crypt under a church and the guide having to stop to catch
someone's pelvic bone that fell off a shelf during his talk.
the relics (mostly-decomposed remains) of St. Julius, purportedly the
patron saint of abandoned children. Funny, we thought Beth was the
patron saint of abandoned children
I really can't complain, since I have a pretty great life... but these last few months certainly have been draining. So I decided to follow some wise advice found on a sitcom:
"In times of stress or moments of transition, sometimes it can feel like the whole world is closing in on you. When that happens, you should close your eyes, take a deep breath, listen to the people who love you when they give you advice, and remember what really matters. Then, if you have the ability to go to Paris, by all means...go to Paris." - Leslie Knope, Parks & Recreation
Ahhh, Abidjan. A city whose most memorable feature is the infestation of giant (and possibly ebola-infected) bats. With a beautiful National Park right within its boundaries... that you shouldn't go to because that's where all the felons who escaped from the prisons during the coup hide out and sell drugs. Where odors from the tuna factory combine with sewage fumes that waft in from the lagoon. I don't really miss your traffic jams and crazy drivers, your exorbitantly priced food or the melting humidity. But I'm glad I got to meet you. I'm glad I had a chance to see the clinics that are helping HIV/AIDS patients and meet the people who are so dedicated to helping them. I'm glad there was someone nice enough to pick me up and take me to church, and that I got to hear cool stories about the church in Abidjan and bear my testimony and feed primary kids my trail mix. Also, I must admit that it was really fun to have a driver take me around in a white SUV and have clearance at the U.S. Embassy. So I am glad I got to visit you, Abidjan, but... you also made me super grateful that I live somewhere where I don't see men peeing on the sidewalk 4 times a day. Thanks for the experience, but if it's ok I'm going to leave before I get ebola from the bats.