Posted in Musings and Mutterings

The Pain Full Tour

Bakery in France

Or so I refer to my recent France excursion. The primary reason is that the French word for bread is pain, pronounced “pen” but without the N, however every time I look at that, all I can read is pain – as in- OUCH!

Having reduced (to nothing) my bread consumption prior to the tour, you would think I’d be ecstatic to do nothing but nosh on French croissants all the time! However, having an allergy to onions, meant that at some meals, the bread was all there was to eat. So, while I do love me some bread and butter, existing on bread and water and butter isn’t as much fun as you’d like to believe.

Still, it was food, and I was in France, so….

So, I should have been satisfied. And, I think for the main part I was satisfied. For most involved, the trip was a true success! The kids sang at La Madeleine and took part in a Mass at Notre Dame and did a very moving concert in the American Cemetery near Omaha Beach.

Forgive the wind noise!!

I went into this trip pretty darned stressed to get it all done before getting on the plane. The combination of a heavier than usual Spring Concert season and an increased work load, meant that I was scrambling to finish and make sure everything professionally, and personally, was in place before I left. Thus, I wasn’t very relaxed from the get-go. And, yes, I am in a foreign country seeing wonderful things, but I’m also working. With 13 chaperones and 78 children, there’s always something that needs a decision, direction or action. So, one pre-frazzled chorus manager ended up being a fairly frazzled chorus manager on tour.

Note le pain on my plate. Also note, double espresso was my friend...
Note le pain on my plate. Also note, double espresso was my friend…

Don’t get me wrong, there were some good times, and I saw some awesome things. Most of which were muted by whatever was going on, but still…

For example, we went to the Louvre, but had to wait for our turn to get in. Most groups wandered the shops that are underground near the entrance to the museum, but one group wanted to take the time to go over to the “lock” bridge.

Lock Bridge P1090212

(The “lock bridge” is a place where lovers place a lock, with their initials written on it, on the bridge rails and then toss the key into the river Seine.)

As the time to enter the museum drew closer and all groups began to arrive to the meeting point, this group found itself on the surface without a way to get back to where we were. I sent the other groups into the Louvre and ended up going topside with our tour guide to figure a way for this group to be admitted. Once they were in, we raced to see the Mona Lisa (she’s really kinda small, actually) and then we were free to enjoy the remaining hour or so in the museum.

Little Lisa

The Louvre. In an hour or so. Um, NOT happening.

So, Hubby and I decided we’d sort of do our usual cruising of the building, while keeping our eyes peeled for anyone who might be misplaced.

I think we looked at 3 paintings before my phone rang and I was told that two students were no longer with their group, and had last been seen on the floor we were on. Which means that all the art on the walls, much like my experience in the Sistine Chapel for similar reasons, ended up being a blur of color with an occasional glimpse of something that really caught my eye while I scanned the crowds for a familiar person in the “colour du jour” purple t-shirt.

On the job....

Truly, I’m not complaining, although it sounds like it. It’s just work! It’s my job! Sure, I get to do my job in some pretty awesome places, but the end all and be all is that I’m working it, dude! And it can be draining at times.

Now, that being said. The chaperones were outstanding this time and I was so impressed with how well everyone did. Overall, it was a resounding success, so this makes me happy!

Chaperones(See all the kids frolicking in the background?)

Another thing that makes me happy? The boss turned to me during the Farewell dinner and said, “How about we learn to waltz while in Austria?” To which I said, “I’m game if you are!”

So guess where we are going in 2015? Blood and Roses, here we come…