London, Paris, and Uh… Roaming Around Europe…

July 31st, 2009


We arrived safely in London almost six days ago. I have not been able to post due to the gruelling schedule that the Country Doctor has kept us on. In fact, I have decided to call him the Country Cyborg from now on. He is and always has been completely unaffected by major changes in his environment the way the rest of us mere mortals are.  The four boys and I were reduced to piles of clear gelatin due to jet lag and a complete lack of uninterrupted You Tube time, but the Country Cyborg responded to a new time zone with increased vigor and an unbreakable determination to drag the sagging carcasses of his pallid family from one end of London to the other.


As a result, I have no clear memories of anything about London.





I do have fuzzy visions swimming around in my head of a brief visit to Platform Nine and Three Quarters.






And a hazy dream-like memory of some time spent in the Kew Gardens…




Which was punctuated with the biggest slice of Victorian Sponge on the face of the earth… which did a great deal to heal my broken body, but I am still not strong enough to piece it all together.

At this point, the only unequivocally wonderful thing about London that I will always have fond memories of were our delightful hosts…





Pete and Ilona…




Pete and Ilona, their son Louis and daughter Zita, opened up their home to us for our four day stay in their city.  




My boys learned how to play cricket in their backyard while Pete cooked us a fabulous spaghetti dinner.  



They helped us get to the right trains, and tubes and buses.  They sent us off with coffee and breakfast every morning.  It was so nice to stay with them and gave us an inside experience of what life as a real Londoner must be like.  Pete and Ilona are the Brits who visited us last summer.  (Except that Ilona is not a Brit, she is a German who married a Brit.)  I bet they never thought that a simple overnight visit at a farmhouse in Kansas, would result in a family of six showing up on their doorstep for four days and nights!  




I told them they were welcome to come stay in Kansas as long as they liked for their next vacation, but for some reason, they chose to book a trip to Greece instead.  

Go figure. 

After saying goodbye to Pete and Ilona, we headed off to Paris via the ‘Chunnel’ or the Eurostar… the train that actually goes under the English Channel.  

And all I can really tell you is that ahem…






Paris is much better than London.







Waaaaaaaaaaaaay Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY BETTER!





Sorry London.






But Paris is better…






I never want to leave Paris…









The Country Cyborg can take our children back home…






I am staying right here.


  • Stephanie:

    What beautiful pictures!!! Seems like you had a wondeful visit..maybe you can remember more details when you can
    finally sit awhile….DH will have to drag me kicking and
    screaming home when we take our trip to Ireland..

  • Awesome! I’m so glad you all are having such a wonderful time, Rechelle. Thanks for sharing the great pictures! :)

  • Looks awesome!!!!!!!
    We are off to Ireland and Prague next week. Prague without kids as they will be being fought over in Ireland by both sets of grandparents.
    (I am so looking forward to going!!! Especially the kid free bit. Shhhhhhhh..don’t tell anyone)

  • SameDay:

    Wow, it looks fabulous. What great memories for the kids!

  • Florida Liz:

    LOLOL.! Funny as usual. I’ve never been to London but have spent a few weeks in Paris.. It IS a great place to see. Have a safe trip home :)

  • Jenny:

    Note to self – come hell or high water get thy self to Paris in this lifetime. I’ll look you up when I come. It looks breathtakingly beautiful!

    Is that Calder scratching his head in amazement at the spectacular artwork? Has anyone asked where the pool is yet?

    Best wishes for the rest of your trip!

  • So glad you could post. I have been waiting for the pictures. My favorite is of Jack with the noodles hanging out of his mouth.

  • Christie:

    How beautiful! Wish that I was there! Can’t wait for the wonderful stories that you’ll hopefully share with us when you come home! Have a safe and happy trip!

  • Patricia:

    Beautiful pics and great commentary ! BUT TELL ME, AS A BRITISH EX PAT LIVING IN CLEVELAND, OHIO, HOW CAN PARIS (!!) BE BETTER THAN LONDON ??? SAY IT ISN’T SO !!! What happened to “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life” !! In all fairness and total honesty, I’VE NEVER BEEN TO PARIS ! But still, how can it be !!!!!

  • OH. MY. WORD.

    They let you take pictures in the Louvre? I thought the guard at the Prado in Madrid was going to chop my head off for even having a camera on my person! So jealous! I hope you got some great shots!

    Enjoy the rest of your trip Rechelle. I hope it’s delightful! :)

  • Awesome!

    Have the Cyborg take a photo of YOU so you can prove you were there. We’d love to see it.

  • I’m so jealous! Beautiful beautiful pictures! (Now aren’t you glad you finally gave in and got that DSLR?)

    I’m glad you’re enjoying your trip. Can’t wait to hear all the stories upon your return!

  • Great photos! Glad you’re having such a great trip! I was wondering about y’all…

    And I totally agree on the Paris v. London comparison.

    And Ilona is my mother-in-law’s name too! But, she’s Hungarian (not German) & I always thought it was a Hungarian (not German) name. Huh – I learn something new everyday :)

  • I agree with you!

    Paris is the nearest thing to heaven.

  • Kellye:

    Clayvessel is right, have CD (or CC now) take a picture of you and also some with you and the boys. Good to hear from you. Your stay with Pete and Ilona sounds fantastic. I spied Caprese Salad for dinner – my favorite!

  • Dee from Tennessee:

    Love these….but, please, pretty please….more details when you get back home and have time…esp for someone like me who will never get to go….thanks!

  • Leigh:

    Oh, I must disagree! Paris is spectacular, but I love, love, LOVE London! The food, maybe, not so much. But the architecture, the theater, the bad British teeth!

  • Oh, be still my beating heart. The pics of Kew Gardens and sponge cake make me want to watch every single BBC film I have followed by a proper tea with cake. I have discovered that 7 year old girls can not properly appreciate a proper tea. If you are ever in Idaho, come see me. I’m sure you would appreciate it much better.

  • Lovely. I loved it all when I was there 20+ years ago. Glad you liked Paris. I was not overly impressed with it as I thought it dirty and the people were rude, especially the older folks. Anyway, glad you’re home. I think it’s time for another girls night at your place so we can hear all about the trip and see some more photos.

  • ms martyr:

    Um, what happened to the posts about being abandoned at the Eiffel Tower and the one you wrote after you got home? Methinks something is up with your blog.

  • LOL @ Country Cyborg! My husband’s totally like that, too, pulling us lollygaggers bodily along through strange streets…still looks like a lot of fun!

  • Lisa:

    THANK YOU , ms martyr!! I thought I was the only one! There was the Eiffel Tower post, and then the one about something traumatic happening that couldn’t be discussed yet.

    I’m dying here!

  • Dee from Tennessee:

    Just checkin’ in on you and hope everything is okay!

  • Kathy Wolfe:

    Please let us know what is going on soon. I’ve been concerned since the posts were pulled. Saying a prayer for you every time I can. I know you don’t know me but I feel as if you are my neighbor. Just let us know how we can support you and hold you up. We are here girl and there is a lot of us who care. Kathy in Alabama

  • dorabee:

    I have to agree with Kathy and Dee. Rechelle, you may not know us, but we are your blog-family and we do care about you. Hope you will let us know somehow, sometime what has happened. There is a lot of us who care.

  • jean:

    I’m glad you took the posts down. At least for a little while, giving you some space to think things through. Blogs are not always the best place to put out the dirty laundry. But it would seem that there are many people out here who love and support you and will be waiting here for your return. So take a deep breath, keep busy, and cry as much as you can. Family vacations are not all they are cracked up to be. So hang in there and say a little prayer for guidance.

  • hope everything is okay!

    sending big ((((hugs))))

  • Wondering Woman:

    If it’s a good day you can start over at that point and no word need ever be said about the past. I hope today is a good day.

  • Robin in New Jersey:

    Hope all is well Rechelle.

  • Like everyone else, I’m sending you good thoughts and will be here when you feel like blogging again.

  • Sending hugs to one of my favorite bloggers. (And songwriters.)

  • Katherine:

    Hope you are doing okay. After pulling your posts I felt a sudden urge to let you know that even though we don’t personally know each other, I am thinking about you and your family hoping all is well.

  • Hoping you’re ok…

    I once heard someone refer to the transition between vacation to reality as “re-entry”. I think it’s very appropriate and just as intricate of a procedure.

    I’ll be here when you land.

    Kari B

  • Debra:

    Hi Rachelle,
    We haven’t met, except through your blog, but I miss you and hope you’ll feel up to posting again soon. I ‘m praying that your life will again be filled with peace and power!!
    I’m a faithful reader, but don’t comment often…. there are LOTS of us out here!! :-)

  • Thirkellgirl:

    Just wanted you to know I’m concerned about you and praying for you. You don’t have any idea of how many people who check in with you each day, I’ll bet!

  • Julie:

    Hi, hope all is well, missing your posts. Best wishes to you and your family. Julie

  • joann in TX:

    another who has you in my prayers for a speedy return back to blog land! lots of us miss you and are praying that you will return to us.

    i’m sure you are also busy right now, getting those great boys of your’s ready for the new school season!

    take care and know we all have you in our thoughts and prayers!\

    joann in TX

  • suzetta:

    Hi there! Just another note to let you know that you are missed. Blessings on you and your family!

  • whirled_peas:

    Count me in as someone who misses you and your posts – we’re there for you! We all miss you! And I’d be willing to be that for each one of us that posts our well-wishes, about a hundred or more are out there wishing you the same!

  • Mary:

    Me too…I enjoy your writing. I hope when you’ve settled back in we can hear more about your garden, the show cats and your kitchen hutch. What color is it again?

  • Charlene:

    Just another concerned reader. Praying for you and hope all will be well soon. You get to decide what you write about so don’t feel like you have to offer explanations. You can just jump in and tell us about your garden or anything you want. Best wishes and take care of yourself, Rechelle.

  • Leslie:

    Are you ok? Please come back…we miss you!

  • Fran:


    Sending hugs! Miss you. gal. Hope you have chocolates and a good book to read. You didn’t eat any of those pickles, did you?

  • Karen:

    Get a good lawyer.

  • MisterGee:

    Just thinking of you and wondering and worrying. Time heals.
    Just remember, “this, too, shall pass”.

  • It breaks my heart that your heart is broken. We haven’t met or even exchanged email, but I love to read your blog and think you are a fascinating, worthwhile person.

    It is clear to all of us who read your blog that you are worth leaving the porch light on for.

  • Christy Miller:

    I am guessing that you are having a bad time right now but I want you to know that it will get better. Whatever happens, you are a real trooper and whatever this is….it will not ruin you.
    Hugs from KC, MO!

  • Sara:

    I will pray for you and it is very, very true that whatever happens you will make it through this!!!!

  • Spinoff:

    Oh, honey, please see Jean’s comment above and take down today’s post. The internet is forever and you don’t want your kids reading it. You are being loved and prayed for by so many.

  • Dee from Tennessee:

    Just sendin’ a big ol’ hug….a big ol’ hug….

  • Clarissa:

    Concerned about you-could you be depressed? Everything always seems really bad when one is depressed and it is often “everyone else’s fault,” when it is your depression that is causing much of the problems. I know, because it runs in our family Big Time. Anyway, lots of hugs and hope you can get the help you need to know that you are a good person and you deserve to be happy…

  • Amber:

    You are not alone… many of us could have written today’s post.

  • Ditto what Amber just said! Just hang in there and know you are not alone!

  • Another thought…stand your ground girl, you are worth it!

  • Lisa:

    Rechelle, I’ve always loved your site (even though I rarely comment), but today’s posts just blew me away. Very raw, very real, very honest. Thank you for trusting us with your struggle and pain, and for letting us help in any way we can.

  • Dee from Tennessee:

    “island of fury”….(what a way you have with words)….yep, I bet a lot of us have been to that island and got the tee shirt….it’s all life lessons for us all….still workin’ on mine and still learnin’ and I’m like old enough to be your granny. It’s a process , often hard, but worth it …like I said, I’m still learnin’ at my age….

    Glad that I checked in again tonite after I got off fb….it’ll be okay. Love ya! (Such a powerful post!)

  • You and Country Doc are so worth any effort to get this resolved. I have grown to know you through your blogs and I am in total awe of your honesty. Show that honesty to your husband.

    Keeping you in my thoughts and in my prayers, Nella

  • I agree that you are not alone….and many of us could have written this post….tonight even. After 15 years of marriage my husband STILL puts 1/2 and 1/2 in my tea…I can’t stand 1/2 and 1/2 I like milk…..and I tell him every stinkin time…. In the end…..I don’t want to be old and divorced…I want my kids to know that it’s okay to struggle at times…because if we project a perfect marriage then what’s going to happen when they are struggling? Marriage IS HARD…and sometimes we dwell a little too long on all the little crappy stuff our spouses do or how they make us feel sometimes…..I know I’m guilty of that. I don’t know…I also think that when your (my) husband has a job and he has lot’s of people answering to him….he’s just kinda used to bossing people around….you have to remind him….your his wife…not an employee….anywho….I hope it gets better….the grass is not greener…we may think it is at times but it’s not. Keep blogging…cause you crack me up….tell us about your tomato stepchildren….

  • You made me cry and laugh all in one sitting.
    Thank you for sharing. I’ll be praying for you.
    Big Hugs,
    PS I had a major melt down at Disney in February that kinda did the same thing to our marriage…

  • You’re strong and you’re brave – even when you don’t feel as though you are. We’ve missed you and feel such a fondness for someone we think we know even if we’ve not yet met. The stream of genuine thought and expression that flows through your blog sets you apart from so many of the others. Glad you’re back. Did you ever get the chocolate cake?

  • Wondering Woman:

    I wish I had a blogger I could read who was funny and smart and pretty and had a great family and a nice house and an interesting life like I wish I had. I wish I had a blogger I could read who sometimes had days as bad as mine, maybe even worse, so I could see that we all have big ups and downs, but in the end we all mostly live in the in-betweens………….. I wish I had a blogger I could read that I could connect with, that I could feel happy for and sad for and that felt like a real friend………….. Oh wow, I have her.

  • I woke up thinkin’ about you this morning still, Rechelle. It’s all gonna be good, girl; I KNOW it is!! Big hugs!!!!

  • joann in tx:

    i’d say its time for a vacation from the vacation!
    you and your husband are only human. we all make
    mistakes…we all err …. often on the side of hurting the
    ones we love.

    take time to heal.

    take time for yourself.

    hugs to you.

    hugs for the family.


    joann in tx

  • kate from cincinnati:

    You went to Europe? Wow- how was your trip?
    No really, I’m glad you’re putting it together. I used to hold on to all the junky things my husband ever did which put me at a great advantage because he couldn’t remember anything and I could revel in how awful he had been. One day he finally told me he just remembers the good stuff and why would anyone want to hold on to something that made them feel bad so I began a concerted effort to forget. And I did eventually. I mean I can remember what happened but I don’t automatically go to it when I’m upset with him. We communicate better now because he doesn’t feel like he has to go into major defense mode when I’m upset. It takes a long time to really learn to communicate but it’s worth it. It’s why I love seeing people celebrate 50 and 60 years of marriage- testaments to love.

  • DirtyKSmama - Nikki:

    Rechelle, so glad you’re back. You’ve been missed.
    Like the others, I can also identify with a big part of your list. And we’ve had a “defining event” this summer too (house-building trigger, not vacation) where we had to air it all out- with me sobbing, of course- and reset to neutral, make a plan, and reconnect. I think it would have been easier with a night or 2 without the kids on neutral ground, something simple like dinner and a motel in Topeka where we could talk openly with no distractions of home, and have time ALONE together to be really honest, get back on track/ focus on being good partners again, and move forward.
    Hang in there.

  • becky up the hill:

    Simply, I’m praying for you. I’m so sorry it’s been so rough. God bless and keep you sweetie.

  • Robin in New Jersey:


    I have been where you are, I won’t go into the details. The best thing I ever did for myself was get counseling. I go to a lovely christian lady who is a licensed couselor and she has helped me immensely.

    I also recommend the book, Lies Women Believe and the Truth that Sets Them Free.

    Give yourself time. There will be days when everything seems better, and days when you wonder what the heck you are doing. It took a long time to get to the place you are in, it will take time to get to a better place.

    YOU are a special person Rechelle. YOU are worth the cost of counseling.

    Thank you for sharing with us. Please continue to let all of us know how we can help you in return.

  • Hazel:

    Every day as I checked in and found no new updates, I thought you were just recovering from jet lag and doing mountains of laundry and grocery shopping after being gone for almost two weeks. Because your life is perfect (says the thoughts in my head) and that’s why I come to read you every day so I can live vicariously through you. Then, as I closed out of your blog, there was always a nagging little feeling that something was wrong and I would say a little prayer for you. I won’t go into the sordid details of what my thoughts were about (train derailments, plane crashes, etc.), but thank God you and your family are physically okay. I pray that you can all work through this hard time and come out the other side more loving and closer than ever. Take care of yourself, and thank you for trusting us with your thoughts.

  • Carol:

    Others have said it, and I’ll repeat it, been there, done that. Why oh why have so many of our vacations been some our our hardest times? Because we finally had a chance to catch our breaths, look at each other a lot and spend so much time together? All of us relating to you doesn’t make you feel any better, but at least you don’t feel alone? I celebrated 20 years, and around 7 and 14 we had counseling that helped. I’ve contemplated it again here and there, and it can work. Don’t give up sweetie, keep talking, keep working, keep compromising, keep blogging (or not, it’s cool), and we’ll all be here praying and rooting for you and your family. (my two boys are so awesome and a blast to be around and have sooo many of my interests…I have to constantly remind myself someday they are moving on…and it’s me and the big guy, so keep it interesting!) Sorry I said so much.

  • Denise:

    I guess I’m not the only one who snuck down here to where the comments were open so I could tell you THANK YOU for your honesty and for sharing what you’ve been going through. Your I Wish I Had a Wife post really hit home with me. I could relate to almost every one of your points. I am also like you in that I withdraw and close up when I’m hurting. I just wanted you to know that I am glad you didn’t just pretend everything was/is okay. I am praying for you that it WILL BE okay.

  • marewood:

    I do not understand the mystery of grace… only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. -Ann Lamott.

    I wish you grace.

  • Lisa:

    Rechelle, you REALLY need to turn the comments on for your most recent post. I know I couldn’t have been alone when I HOWLED at your account of how you punished the Country Doctor. I have punished my husband in the EXACT same manner – passive aggressive, perhaps, but extremely effective, and satisfying!

  • Nancy in AK:

    I have been worried about you and now just caught up on your newest blog posts. I can’t wait to see the Julie and Julia movie! You are so honest and truly a brilliant, funny, interesting writer! I’m hoping you are feeling better and happier soon. I have to say – don’t blame yourself or the country doctor about the expensive European disaster – I think a touring vacation with six people is a recipe for disaster. honestly. Because it’s not a relaxing vacation – it’s a tour and there is a huge difference. and it’s hard for six folks to all agree what to see and do. maybe you and the CD should tour Europe without the kids in 20 years! It would probably be more fun. Although i do admire you for showing your kids London and Paris. You are such a great blogger! the target penance story made me laugh out loud! My husband also seems like he pays no attention at all to ME and who I am. When he got me nada for Mother’s Day – not even a card – or a greeting – for the second year running (this year) – I did not celebrate Father’s Day – not a card, a present, not a Happy Father’s Day. He got the message! I thought, why do I go out of my way to make a big deal out of Father’s day and he acts as if Mother’s Day is just another sunday. After this, he was more thoughtful!

  • Rechelle,

    I’ve been there. I’ve wished I had a wife to take care of things. I’ve had vacations where the husband wasn’t listening to anyone but himself. I’ve also thrown tantrums to get him to listen, and I did it in front of the kids! What I’ve found the past 8 months, is that counseling does work. It’s not an instant solution, but it has gotten my husband to stop and listen, and the counsellor always steps in and makes him stop the bullying and just listen. And points out to him when he is discounting what I say (which is a big problem for us).

    Take care, you’ll find your way. And if he really cares he’ll be there with you and things will be much better.