Terri Hanson Mead
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Terri Hanson Mead

Ooh La La! PYL In-Flight: Jul 27, 2022

Welcome Back My Tres Charmante Passengers:

Cheers. Santé

Me and my cheesy grin are actually hiding behind a mask at the SFO United lounge as Finn (my 17 year old) and I wait to board our 1:55 flight to Nice via Frankfurt. It’s bittersweet to be here again after four long years since my last trip to France. This will be my last mother/child trip with Finn before they turn 18 and head off to college a few days after we get back on August 15th.

We packed light to avoid checking bags because we’ve heard about the nightmares in Europe right now with lost luggage. Fingers crossed we have no issues getting overhead space on both flights.

This is a very different trip from the one we took as a family in 2015 when we did two home exchanges: one in Paris for 10 days and another in Provence (near Avignon) for 3 weeks. Actually, this picture is from our first home exchange in 2013 when we were in Paris for a month. I think I brought at least six cookbooks with me on this trip.

In 2015, we pared it down to 4 of the little rollers and 2 big duffel bags. I’m sure one of them was filled with shoes but only 3 cookbooks (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, a David Lebovitz cookbook, and My LIttle Paris Kitchen by Rachel Khoo).

We have built this trip around meeting up with friends which is quite fun. Paris is a must for me and while I would typically see my friend Terry (pictured above) in Paris, we will be staying at her new place in Paris while she’s in the French Alps on vacances.

But then we will meet up with her, her daughter Kris (pictured here with Adam, Zeke and Finn in 2015), and Terry’s boyfrtiend Michel in Les Arcs 1800.

In 2013, we met Terry when we exchanged houses with her family.

In 2015, when we were in Paris, we spent time with them and got to know each other better. We took Kris with us on adventures and Adam hung out with her son Joseph who is a year older than Adam. I think they went to an American movie and the only Chopotle in Paris.

Later that summer, they came back to Redwood City through an exchange with another family and we spent even more time together. When I went back to Paris in December 2015 and July 2018, they graciously hosted me.

As part of our 2015 exchange in Provence, we got to know the folks we exchanged with, Sophie and Sandy. Sophie would come over occasionally when she was in Californai for work and we communicated via Facebook. They’ve since moved to Dieulefit in the Drome area of France and we will be staying with them on Sunday night before heading to Paris on the 1st.

While in Paris, we will be meeting up with my friend (through Clubhouse) Lara who is stopping in Paris on her way to Lebanon for a wedding. We will be joined by my friend Imene who lives in Paris and also knows Lara through Clubhouse. We are planning to have wine and snacks in Parc Monceau in the 17th arr. not far from where we are staying. We spent a lot of time in this park with the kids in 2013.

Finn’s friend Somerset is finishing up 6 weeks of French school in Paris and will be joining us when she can while we are there. She heads back to Redwood City on the 6th so the timing is perfect.

Our first stop is Nice where we will be taking Kathryn out for dinner. Kathryn is not just the daughter of one of my dearest friends, but one of Adam’s friends. We have pics of them taking baths together when they were 1, camping pics, pics from their senior trip to Europe after high school and more. She’s been doing an internship or semester abroad in Nice over the summer and heads back to Redwood City on 7/31. Once again the timing is perfect.

I’ll be chronicilng our trip via pics (IG/FB), blog posts (Medium) and hopefully TikToks. Links to all are below if you want to follow along.

I love that this trip is a combination of new explorations with Finn and visiting with friends that I’ve made over the years. I suppose it’s one of the benefits of being a connector.

May you find peace, acceptance, and love today as you navigate being human.

With much love and gratitude,

Terri

P.S. Take the controls and be the pilot in your own life. It’s a beautiful day to fly, and you are cleared for takeoff.

Song: La Vie en Rose by Edith Piaf

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Terri Mead

IT consultant, expert witness, YouTuber, helicopter pilot. Making the world a better place, especially for women. Award winning author of Piloting Your Life.