Friday, June 02, 2006

No place like home Part#1

It's official.

As of 2 weeks ago I am a legal, permanent resident of France. I went downtown to pick up my residency card on May 18th. And how did I celebrate? By leaving the country of course!

The day after I received my residency card, we packed up and jumped aboard a plane for Virginia Beach. My Brother Marcus and his son Tyson live there and my mother and youngest brother Antonio flew in for a visit as well.

My nephew Tyson is an adorable little guy, although he’s not so little anymore. I hadn’t seen him in years and somehow I had forgotten just how fast kids grow up. He’s tall and lanky and of course he looks so much like his father now that every time I looked at him it makes me giggle a little bit.

The first weekend we were in town, Tyson and his step-brother & sister Juwan & Aleisha drove up to the beach to stay with us. I’ll be the first to admit that normally I do not like other people’s children, but they were just a delightful bunch and we had a great time. Even when 3 year old Juwan was puking up his mac & cheese at the Golden Corral dinner buffet he managed to be adorable.

The first day we took them to the North beach near our condo. The water was ice cold, but they wanted to go in anyway. In spite of the fact that they had carefully rolled up their pant legs, all three were soaking wet not more than 4 minutes after these photos were taken.

After the water disaster we decided to walk further down the boardwalk to a carnival where we promptly bought them over-priced ride tickets so they could go spin themselves dry on all the little kiddy rides. Much fun was had by all.

Later in the week we picked Tyson up from school and took him out for a fun-filled afternoon. My mother, the coolest grandmother in the world, spoils Tyson rotten as most grandmothers do. Since we had an hour to kill before the movie started, we stopped at the Super-duper Wal-Mart for a bite to eat and toy shopping.

Tyson picked out this weird transformer thing that was mind-bogglingly difficult to assemble. French boy to the rescue! David was able to somehow make all the insane pieces snap into place and saved the day. Both boys were exceedingly amused at their accomplishment.

On the drive back to Virginia Beach I made David stop and pull over so I could take a photo of this little gas station & general store. In the absolute middle of nowhere there it was. Like something right out of a movie set.

After a bit of deliberation we decided that for sure this must be the location that Quentin Tarantino used for the opening scene of “From Dusk ‘till Dawn”.

I dare you to prove otherwise.

Later in the week the whole family (minus the kids) headed out for some grown-up style entertainment: GIANT Cocktails!

My mom’s friend Christopher who lives in D.C. drove down to get in on the fun. Vacation at the beach is always enjoyable, but many Margaritas and Pinacoladas make it even more-so.

The absolute best-est part of the trip for David and me, besides getting to see my family, was the ocean Kayaking trip I booked. On the 2nd to last day of our trip I convinced David to go ocean kayaking with me, which is something totally out of character for both of us. Neither one of us are "water" or "beach people", but the tour sounded really cool and it was fairly reasonably priced.

We arrived at the surf-shop at at 9AM where we met our ultra-cool and hip surfer guide. David and I did a tandem kayak. I was in front and he was in back. (I did a crappy job of paddling for the first few minutes until I got the hang of it.) Within 5 minutes of getting into the ocean I was the first one to spot the first group of dolphins. They were HUGE.....especially when they were flopping around and mating within a few feet of our tiny little kayak! In the two hour period we probably saw about 30 dolphins. It was too cool for words.

David kept trying to paddle closer to them and I kept trying to back paddle. I'll admit I was totally freaked by how close they were to us. They kept coming up to check us out & believe me, dolphins are much cuter and cuddlier looking on the discovery channel! The whole experience was for lack of a better term “totally awesome”. And NO I did not take this photo. I "borrowed" it. I don't actually have any photos because I was simply too busy trying not to roll out of the damn kayak & drown to death.

So there you have it. But as wonderful and as much needed as the trip was, we are more than happy to be back "home" in France.


buzzgirl said...

I'm glad you had a good trip. Great family photos.

You couldn't get my ass in a kayak, though!

Congrats on the TDS, too. Shoot, if I was there, I'd ask you to let me borrow it - 'cause you know les fran├žais think we all look alike! Just playing.

Thanks for the long entry.

Take care.

epiphany7 said...

omg, such awesome photos! i'm glad you had a great time. you and the french boy both deserve it. kayaking? even me, a beach person, would be loathe to get in one of those things.

congrats on your new "status." does that mean you can "employ" me as a researcher now, and i can get a visa to stay with you as long as i want?

speaking of, i'm finally getting a passport this summer. hopefully by this time next year, it'll have a french stamp on it. for now, i'll have to settle for the "quebequois" (is that how you spell it?) stamp i'll be getting in august. yay for vacations masquerading as academic conferences! :)

lara stein pardo said...

Great post. Love how you make looking at someone else's family photos interesting and amusing. BTW, I'm reading this backwards, and I liked the #2 SUPERSIZED post aswell.