Happy New Year! I hope all of you had wonderful holidays and got to spend plenty of quality time with family and friends.
We were blessed to be able to celebrate Christmas in Paris.
Christmas Eve, Matt and I attended Midnight Mass at a heavily guarded Notre Dame. Temporary fences provided a wide perimeter around the church and we had to go through multiple coat and bag checks, but the feeling at the cathedral was nothing but peaceful.
We went early for the carols and it was standing room only. Luckily there was a small exodus of people right before mass started, so we were able to get a seat for the rest of the service.
Christmas Day, our good friend, Ray (who lives in Poland), joined us for dinner. Being in France, our meal was a little different than we’re used to. As much sliced ham as there is in France, we weren’t able to find a big chunk to roast. We ended up with a delicious pork roast cooked with dried prunes, dried apricots and fresh apples. We also had little breaded balls of cheesy, mashed potatoes, as well as haricots verts, sliced ham (courtesy of Ray) and the obligatory baguette.
Dessert was this delicious, chocolatey cake.
After dinner, we went out to stare at the Eiffel Tower sparkling. We stared at is thinking how much has changed for us in a year and how lucky we were to be getting this experience. As much as we missed spending Christmas with family and many of the traditions that go along with it, we felt lucky to be together in Paris on a beautiful Christmas night.
The day after Christmas, we met Matt’s mom at the airport. She flew out from the States Christmas Day to spend the next week and a half with us. We had a lovely time touring around Paris for a couple of days.
The Christmas markets were still up. We visited a small one near the Eiffel Tower, but sadly only had time to ride by the massive market along the Champs-Élysées.
We even took a dinner cruise on the Seine.
Back in Toulouse, we took Matt’s mom around the city and visited many of the markets and major shopping area. We even managed to squeeze in trips to Albi and Carcassone (which I begged out of due to a nasty cold I was fighting all week). It was a nice visit and we enjoyed having family in town. She was actually our first visitor from home since we’ve arrived here!
2016 is shaping up to be another wild year. In addition to our travels, I’ll be adding a new skill to my repertoire: mommy blogger! Yes, Matt and I are expecting our first child in July. Funnily enough, the baby’s due date is the 4th of July!
Yes, the ride is about to get a bit bumpier and we couldn’t be more thrilled. To any of you expat parents out there, we’d love any advice or words of wisdom you have. Feel free to share them in the comments below.
Here’s to a wonderful 2016 for us all!