Thursday, July 9 was a day off for the girls. Having spent all day on Tuesday indoors due to rain, I had made a pact with myself that we would leave the house rain or shine this day. So I looked up a zoo that was not too far from Caen, just 30 km, and after a few episodes of Hello Kitty from Apple TV, we got the girls ready and left the house. With a cooler full of picnic food, a backpack full of the road trip essentials, and the DVD player, off we went to the car. But this is only where the adventure begins...
Earlier that morning, much earlier actually (5 am), Andrew had left to drive to Paris and then catch a train to somewhere else, etc... for a business trip. It wasn't until I tried to find the GPS to program our zoo destination that I discovered the GPS was actually gone. Now I confess that I can get my way around Caen pretty well without a GPS, but if you take me out of Caen you take away my comfort of how to get anywhere and GPS is essential. And maybe for a normal, directionally unchallenged person unlike myself you could use a printed off Mapquest directions to find your way, but I tried that and it didn't work. This doesn't work mostly because the road names around Caen are hard to see and they twist and turn so often that you just can't read and drive at the same time. I know, because I tried. After 10 minutes of driving and being completely lost, I had to find a different solution. So I did what any other woman would do. I called Andrew to find out (complain) why he took my lifeline while everyone was sitting impatiently in the car to get this party started.
It turns out he took the GPS because the company car, which he was driving, had a GPS that did not have The Netherlands (which was one of his stops on his business trip) and ours did. So he informed me that our car DID in fact have a GPS in it, just not our own. Shew, I thought. So I let him go, consoled with the thought of a GPS.
I found the other GPS and already had visions of monkeys and penguins in my head. But those zoo animals vanished quickly when I realized that this GPS was only going to communicate to me in French. It didn't look like my GPS, it didn't sound like my GPS and it was not cooperating with finding my destination. So I did the only thing I could do. I called Andrew and asked (complained) how you got the darn thing to speak English. He confessed that he had never used it before and had no idea - and please stop bothering him as he was sitting in man's worst traffic jam, missed his train, and needed to make his client meeting. Reluctantly, I let him go. And the peanut gallery was now saying to forget this whole thing, lets just go to a local park and eat lunch as they were already getting hungry for lunch and feigning thirst. But that meant giving up and I was NOT giving up.
I am proud to say that I finally got that French GPS programmed and followed her directions quite nicely all they way to Zoo Jurques. Now you might be wondering why I didn't think I could follow a person speaking French on the GPS - after all I do speak broken French myself on occasion. The only reason I thought I couldn't was because sometimes I can't even follow the English GPS. And often, when speaking French with others, I have to ask them to repeat themselves 2 or 3 times to fully understand what is being said. So why would I understand a French GPS that does not understand when I need it to repeat, more slowly, the next set of directions? I can't believe it, but I actually DID understand! No problems following her to and from the zoo and back home. A proud moment for me and a point in my life when I knew I had grown. Back in Colorado, prior to moving, I had changed the settings on the GPS in our car to speak in French just for the practice. And I had no idea what the GPS was saying and was able to cheat because I knew my way around. But this day, I did understand and it was awesome!
(our picnic at the zoo)
A short drive later we got to the zoo and at once had our picnic. After all - it was past lunch now! Next, we paid and entered the zoo. Now unfortunately the first thing you see when you enter is a huge play area full of blown up bouncy houses and a big playground. So of course that is what the girls wanted to do. But we had just paid good money to see this zoo, so the adults wanted to see the zoo first and then play at the end. Kids and adults were not in agreement. We spent the next hour touring the zoo while the twins kept asking when we would be at the park again and having fits every few minutes that all they wanted was the park and didn't want to see any animals. Well, me made it through and the girls were finally in heaven at the park. We let them play there for about an hour and then decided to head for home as the rain was looming in the sky.
(a brief moment of Grace and Mia walking in harmony)
(funny penguins that we named Grace, Mia and Ella)