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London and Paris, Part One

Westminster Abbey - ain

Westminster Abbey – ain’t she a beauty?

I thought I better blog about our trip to London and Paris before I don’t. Because it’s easy to procrastinate about the very thing that makes a good story. Because writing is hard.

So is blogging.

But son-of-a-gun, I’ve got thoughts, people, thoughts! And I’m gonna share them.

We were there visiting our daughter who is in France until the end of April working in the Teaching Assistant Program in France, otherwise known as TAPIF.


Every year, over 1000 “kids,” also known as young adults, generally recent college grads, go to France to assistant teach their native language. It helps applicants to have French-language skills and overseas study experience. Because seven months is a long time to be away from appliances that actually DRY YOUR CLOTHES. If you don’t have any experience with either of these, the assignment might feel long and hard.

Although, I imagine it can be long and hard anyway (on top of a pretty darned great experience). But don’t worry, Mummy’s coming!

And so I did over the Christmas 2015 break, along with my husband and son, a junior at Western Michigan University.

Originally, we were to meet in London, then go to Brussels and Paris – a real whirlwind of a trip. Then came the Paris attacks and a sudden inability to tear myself away from CNN and all those Breaking News alerts.

After Brussels went on lockdown for five days while it searched for terrorists, the only things roaming the city were heavily armed military men. Soon after, I asked the fam, “How about we skip Brussels?”

Their response: no pro-blay-mo.

So instead, we spent five nights in London, and since we were scheduled to fly out of Paris, two nights there.

I know, I know. This is a lot of detail before I get to the actual trip. Which means – I may break this into several blog posts. For your reading pleasure, of course!


I could chunk this whole trip into Day 1, Day 2, etc., but wouldn’t that be boring? Plus, my mind skips around a lot, so forgive me if I go back and forth.

So here goes. (It’s like stepping onto the roller coaster. Are ya’ sure you wanna do this?)

First of all (pardon the throat-clearing phrase), LET ME JUST SAY (and yet another) I had no idea what I was doing when I booked our apartments through AIRBNB. You can read about the “best locations to stay” before you visit a foreign city (thank-you Mr. and Ms. Internet) but there are so many opinions.

I toggled back and forth between Trip Advisor reports and AIRBNB reviews to the point of OCD-ness. I am a rather compulsive information-gatherer before I actually commit to anything. But it gets to a point where I have to say, “Just make a decision, Pam!”

So I finally settled on an apartment in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea because the AIRBNB host – who owns and leases the apartment – was very thorough with her “House Rules” without being a jack a$$.

I like thoroughness. It’s like we spoke the same language.

Oh, boy, WordPress tells me I’ve exceeded the recommended 300 words maximum! So if you want to know how this very intriguing tale turns out, continue on to Part Two. Or should I say, Part DEUX?

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January 1, 2016 - 3:55 pm

London and Paris, Part Two - Pam Houghton - […] And if you missed part one, here ’tis. […]

January 2, 2016 - 4:55 pm

London and Paris, Part Three - Pam Houghton - […] In case you missed part one, here it is. […]

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