Sometimes there's nothing you can do but blame yourself.
Before Christmas TM brought up that they were going to her hometown of Reims, France for a weekend in January and that I was welcome to go. Of course both TM and TF kept saying, "You should really see Reims," (they have a Cathedral that is supposedly more beautiful than the Notre Dame, and it is where they make the best champagne in the world, plus a free trip to France). So there were definite reasons to go. After I accepted I began to see all the downsides to the trip. The first being that we were leaving at noon on Friday and returning around midnight on Sunday. Super. So I miss out on my Friday with TB (so the trip is no longer free because Fridays I make the most money). Then I "Google Map-ed" the route and it will take six hours. Six hours. In a car. With your boss. And your two charges. This is like my own personal hell (fortunately I just saw that they set up the DVD player in the car so they can just watch movies). When I'm there I don't need to work or anything which is nice, but since her whole family will be there I'll just be an afterthought hanging out alone. (And if you know me, I hate to be alone.) Plus Sunday TF will be with us for the return journey, so not only will I spend six hours in a car with both employers and charges but I would be stuck in the middle seat. Not okay. (Before you accuse me, non-au pairs, how many of you go, or want to go, on road trips with your employers? I thought so.)
Luckily I had my trusty map of Europe (thanks dad) with me last Sunday. I went to show my friends how far away Reims was when I noticed something; though Reims might be far from Zürich, it's awfully close to Paris. Ding ding! I would go to Paris. When I got home that evening I mentioned to the mom that maybe Saturday, after I toured Reims, I could take the train to Paris and stay there until Sunday. She had the brilliant, sanity-saving suggestion (albeit more expensive idea) to take the train home directly from Paris on Sunday. Avoiding six hours of middle seat? Yes, please! So though my "free weekend" is no longer I am excited to see Reims but even more excited to see friends of my parents, Mr. P & M. Mr. P & M live and have lived in Paris for 19 years (and are now French citizens, those lucky ducks!) and are just about the coolest people I know. (They are very cool, and I mean, they live in Paris, I think that might make them win automatically.) They are so gracious as to let me impose on them and their couch for Saturday night, and it's always nice to see people who knew you before you had "au pair" behind your name.
So now my dreaded trip has turned into a great weekend! I'm excited to see Reims and be back in Paris again, if only for 1.5 days. I guess that's the beauty of Europe though, in four hours you can be in a whole other country whereas in Minnesota, in four hours you can be in... Minnesota.
I promise to take pictures and to put them up on Sunday or Monday. Happy Weekend!