Erin Virginia

Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota

Friday, October 25, 2013

My Parents in Paris & Normandy

Towards the very end of our stay, my parents flew to Paris for several days. We hit the big tourist spots, including Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower and the Louvre (just my mother and me), but the focal point of their visit was touring the Normandy area. We rented a car and drove the three hours Saturday morning to Normandy, toured Omaha Beach, the Omaha Beach museum and Pointe du Hoc. On Sunday morning, we spent some time in Bayeux, a quaint town not far from the beaches, and viewed the 70 meter long tapestry from 1050 on display that portrays the Battle of Hastings. After that we visited the American cemetery and made the long drive home in traffic.
I'm grateful to have made this trip. Traveling outside the U.S. always makes me thankful for my home country, and I especially felt that love and respect visiting a place that witnessed the deaths of so many Americans.
These first pictures are at Omaha Beach and the Omaha Beach Museum. The beautiful, tranquil beach bore almost no scars from the horrific battle. 
After walking along the beach, we drove to Pointe du Hoc, an arrowhead cliff the Rangers climbed via grappling hooks. The cliff has a couple German casements and severely pocked terrain from the Allied bombing raids. 
Inside a German casement
The craters are from Allied bombs.
A few pictures in Bayeux

After we toured the tapestry in Bayeux Sunday morning, we drove to the American cemetery. Fiona fell asleep just as we reached the cemetery so I stayed with her in the car for a little bit to let her sleep. She had her moments but was a really good traveler.

The cemetery is wrapped in a solemn hush. As you look past the crosses, the water disappears into the sky, and I felt a very real sense of peace. We walked through the extremely tasteful museum that briefly educates visitors on the events imminently leading up to the invasion and then wandered past the infinity pool and to the rows of crosses.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Since We've Been Back

We've settled back into a routine since returning to Minneapolis. The first week was rough for Fiona. It took her quite a while to adjust to the time change, she was teething, and she came down with an eye and ear infection. The first two days at daycare (only half days to ease the transition) saw lots of tears, and I ended up keeping her home Wednesday through Friday due to her ear infection. However, the second week at daycare was much, much better. A not-so-fun part of our return has been a slew of repairs needed for the house and other items. New water heater for the house, new alternator for one of the cars, our furnace is making loud noises, and our primary laptop is literally smoking. We've had very few repairs to the cars or the house over the last couple years so I guess we are due. On a lighter note, Chris ran the Twin Cities marathon about a week ago and did well. He didn't run as fast as he hoped (still his best time yet), but that is to be expected since he essentially took every other week off from training while we traveled so much over the summer.

Cheering Chris on at the Twin Cities marathon
Chris volunteers on the board of a pediatric clinic that offers affordable care to uninsured or under-insured children. We went to the clinic's open house on Saturday together. 
A couple recent pictures of our big girl who is running around the house, kicking leaves, stuffing goldfish crackers in her mouth and beelining it to the stairs to climb every chance she gets.

Friday, October 11, 2013


My last work trip from Paris was to Lyon, France, a two hour trip via high speed train from Paris. Early that morning, Chris walked his sister Allison to catch a train to the airport, and then a few hours later we headed to Lyon. We had a minor fiasco trying to print out the tickets we had previously reserved electronically from the kiosk at the train station. Chris wound up jumping ahead in line to have a service representative help us, or we would have missed the train.

I felt like I had trouble enjoying the trip, even though the city is beautiful with the Saone River dividing it. I couldn't wind myself up enough to do more than walk around a bit, maybe because life was just too hectic with Allison having visited and knowing my parents would arrive in Paris the day after we returned to Lyon. I worked Monday and Tuesday while Chris did some sightseeing with Fiona and even took her to the zoo.

One of the most incredible fountains I've seen
Fiona "helping" me with work