Very lovely book about Paris, originally uploaded by rhea o'connor.
So last year I missed Matthew's 29th birthday. I was back in Minneapolis waiting for my marriage visa to come through. I had arranged for our flatmate and friend Wayland to take Matthew out for dinner, the plan was to celebrate with him when I got back. I wanted to Wayland to take Matthew to KFC and treat him to a big family bucket with all the trimmings and I would pay him back. I can't stand KFC and thought it would be a nice treat for Matthew.
Well, Wayland did end up taking him there. He didn't mention that I had asked him to and Matthew ended up paying! I also didn't manage to phone Matthew to wish him happy birthday until late in the day and I didn't get a birthday card in the mail in time.....
So, I thought that I would make it up to him. It was Matthew's 30th this past Friday and I knew I was going to take him away for a surprise trip. He took me away to Barcelona for my 30th, so I thought I would return the favor. I also like the idea of starting a going away for a birthday tradition. Matthew knew that we were going away, but he didn't know where. I really wanted to surprise him and do something special. I came up with the idea of maybe going away the week before, so he would think we were going the weekend of the 25th but he would be surprised that we went before that. That didn't really have the wow factor that I was looking for, all I was doing was shifting some dates around.
Then, I thought hang on a minute! Why don't I take him away for a weekend to make up for the fact that his 29th birthday involved him buying himself and Wayland dinner at KFC? I thought a nice weekend trip to Paris on the Eurostar would do the trick. I arranged with Matthew's very lovely boss to give him the day off. I was going to show up at around 2:30 p.m. at Matthew's office with our suitcase and we would head off for St.Pancras station, next stop Paris.
Planning this surprise was a bit nerve racking. Well, very nerve racking on the day we left. I get very nervous about trying to get somewhere on time if I am traveling. I like to get to the airport or station with lots of time to spare. I hate having to run for a train or plane. I was a bit worried about the timing, of getting to Matthew's office and then us getting to the station. Then the worry came when I started to work myself up thinking about what if I couldn't get in contact with Matthew when I got to his office. What if he was in a meeting or if he stepped out? Oh dear.....I started to panic when I got to his office and rang his mobile and he wouldn't answer. I am sure he looked at his phone and wondered why his wife had been calling him like 15 times in a row.
I finally got him to answer while I was down in the reception area. I told him he needed to hightail it downstairs. He told me he was in the middle of something and would be down in a bit. Well this through me in a tizzy and I demanded that he come down right now! I said I've cleared it with your boss down get down here. I am sure that by the way people were looking at me in the reception area that I sounded a bit mad.
Long story short, Matthew was very pleasantly surprised. We had a lovely departure from St. Pancras. It's so nice to travel by train and not have to deal with getting to the airport. The train journey was fantastic. We had some nice cake from Peyton and Byrne and we washed it down with some red wine.
Paris was beautiful. I had been there 10 years before, back when I was a travel agent and Matthew had been there about 12 years ago. We had a great time. We strolled around, ate beautiful macaroons, went to cafes, rented bikes and rode around... It was the perfect weekend. I think it pretty much lets me off the hook for when I was in Minnesota.
Unfortuantely I dropped my camera on Saturday, but here are a few photos!