July 31st could be the longest day of my life. We woke up in Freiburg and went to bed in our house in Princeton.
We are in full farewell mode. Our church gave us a little send-off yesterday, and we made our last trip to Lorettobad today. Tomorrow we take the train to Paris and take a cab to the airport.
One of my favorite people I’ve met in Freiburg turned 60 a couple days ago. He had a big party at his beautiful country house last night. My pal Shawn and I rode our bikes out there which was an adventure in itself. It was about 10K from my house, and the ride was incredibly scenic. At one point, I yelled up at Shawn, “I am really fighting the urge to start singing Sound of Music!”
I had lots of fun at the party. Unsurprisingly, David knows lots of entertaining people. I am very happy our paths crossed this year.
Well, my sweet twins are done with kindergarten. Yesterday was their last day. Errol and I were pretty emotional, and Lee and Ned acted like it was a normal pick-up.
The day before, Vinnie and I printed 50 photos of them at DM. We met Thom at the library and wrote their names and our Princeton address on the back of the photos in case any of their little friends wanted to stay in touch.
Their school experience was a highlight for our time in Freiburg. It was a great place for our little boys to make friends, play soccer, and learn German. We will miss it a lot.
FRIAS, Errol’s work base this year, offers catered lunches three days a week. We try to have lunch together one of the off-days. Today we had two guests join us at Omas Küche. Then, we took those lucky dogs out for Eis.
The bigs spent their first day of summer vacation doing what they love. Thom stayed home by himself and read while Vinnie was my little sidekick in town.
I had my final appointment with my trainer at the gym, and Vin and I were running late. We didn’t have time to grab her bike that spent the night locked to a tree at Stadttheater. She was getting another ride in my basket.
We were a block away from my gym, stopped at a stoplight. A Polizei car pulled up right next to me, and the officer in the passenger seat began to speak.
I understood what he was trying to say and heard the phrase, “Kein Trasnport”
“Meine Deutsche ist sehr schlecht. Tut mir Leid.”
(My German is really bad. I'm sorry).
I took VInnie out of the basket, and we walked away.
At times it felt like this day was never going to arrive: Thom and Vinnie’s last day of school.
They went to school dressed in their costumes for Oberlin’s production of Cats. Thom was McCavity the street cat and Vinnie a dancing mouse. Errol and I rode our bikes later in the morning to watch the show. The kids did a great job.
Thom participated in the graduation ceremony. Every fourth grader received a little diploma, gift, and the teacher made a speech about each child. At the end of the ceremony, Vinnie’s teacher brought her on stage and did the same for her since she was also leaving the school. It was very thoughtful.
Thom’s friend came with him following the festivities for more birthday celebrations. It was fun to hear Thom and Vinnie speak German all afternoon.
Thom spent his birthday in a very unusual way for an American kid born at the end of July: in school.
I made RIce Krispie treats for the occasion, and Thom shared them with the whole school. Everyone was together rehearsing for their end of year show.
We searched several grocery stores but were unable to find plain Rice Krispies. We took a risk and bought the chocolate flavored ones. There were no complaints.
After school, I took Thom and Vinnie to the Holy Taco Shack for some delicious street food and a root beer float. A gift-opening session followed by a visit to the Schlossberg Biergarten with our Virginian pals wrapped up a very lovely 11th birthday. We're happy this guy was born.
After church yesterday we caravanned to our neighborhood firehouse for another Sommerfest. We just can’t get enough of these. Cheap drinks, live music, delicious food, atmosphere, and facepaint. This one took it a step further and had a bounce house and a merry-go-round.
Last night the bigs and I went on a date to see the Mamma Mia! sequel.
Thom was obsessed with the original Mamma Mia from ages 2-5 and had Mamma Mia cakes for his fourth and sixth birthdays. It was his first Broadway show, and I’ve found his love for this musical to be especially endearing.
Vinnie saw the movie for the first time this winter, and I’d hoped she'd get to see the show in London this spring. Sadly, that didn’t work out, but she was still aptly prepared for the new installment.
We all liked the new movie, but I cried numerous times. Thom commented on our bike ride home that he thought Coco (the other movie we saw in the theater this year) was much sadder and warranted tears more than this movie. Touché, Thom.