I have to say the family meeting on Sunday was a pleasant surprise. Due to scheduling, we nixed the French lesson and went straight into the presentations. I think what really blew me away was how the presentations reflected each person’s individual style.
This is JJ. He’s 7, and he’s the thinker in the family. Well, that is when he’s not off daydreaming…or chasing ladybugs…or looking at the word upside down. We actually usually find him in one of these poses:
So, just the fact that he did his presentation in a vertical upright position was reason to celebrate. He prepared a poster on Shakespeare at school, told us about Stratford-upon-Avon, and then threw in Stonehenge as a bonus feature.
For the record…he is one of our extroverts. An extreme extrovert. As in…cannot stop talking…ever. About anything. And everything. All the time. But he’s also a huge charmer and gets people wrapped around his finger pretty quickly. That, combined with the fact that he has picked up French with an amazing accent, makes us pretty certain that he’ll be able to talk us out of any situation we get ourselves into during the trip.
This is Missa B. She’s 9, turning 10 during the trip. Her one request for the trip was to be able to go to Legoland in Denmark on her birthday. Being the lousy parents that we are, we said no. So, instead, she’ll wake up on her birthday inside the city walls of Carcassonne, an amazingly gorgeous fortified city in southern France (where Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood was filmed). She warmed up to that idea quickly, and so her report was on Carcassonne. Her general philosophy on life is to do everything with passion and fun, so her report was, as she put it, “Facts, then Fun.” She told us about Carcassonne and showed us a map, followed by a puppet show made of pencil puppets who acted out the conquering of the peoples of the area.
Missa B. is our athlete. Find a tree, she’ll climb it. Find a ditch, she’ll jump it. Find a rock wall, she’ll scale it like a mountain goat. She’s our castle and knight fanatic (princesses? not so much). She’s also our pre-adolescent introvert who is quick to say, “I have been around people too much today; I need some ‘me’ time.” Figuring out how to get her the “me” time she needs when we’re crammed into one room will be a challenge. But, we’ll make sure it happens because she’s an amazing person, and we adore her. And because we want to actually enjoy our trip.
This is Hubs. Well, it might as well be. His presentation on the Imperial War Museum fit his personality perfectly. Ever the meticulous engineer, he had a full blown PowerPoint presentation, complete with a map showing the Tube stops we would need to take to see the different museums he was proposing. And it was all done in a very persuasive tone, as he talked about ALL the parts of the Imperial War Museum that we just COULDN’T miss.
But, he knows me. So, at one point during his presentation he said, “Well…from the look I’m seeing on Mom’s face…we might not see ALL of this.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about history and museums, but I also like my high tea.
One of the greatest things about Hubs and this trip is that, other than a trip the two of us took to Italy a few years ago, he has not been to Europe. This is all a new adventure to him, and he is just as excited as the kids. He’s open to seeing new things and wanting to meet new people. Well, in moderation…he’s our other introvert…but that may have been obvious when I mentioned the engineer piece.
Then, there’s me. No photos because if I don’t take them, they’re not happening. I did a very simple presentation with no visual aids on Anne Frank. I can’t believe they all used visual aids! I felt like a complete slacker. But then I remembered who is REALLY planning this trip and decided I just don’t have time for visual aids. My presentation went well, and we agreed as a family that we are going to read The Diary of Anne Frank together before our trip (in all of our spare time).
I’m calling myself Navigator of 4, which is really a bit of a joke since I can’t navigate my way out of a paper bag. I once got a GPS as a Valentine’s Day gift. Seriously. Probably the most romantic gift I ever received because it saved our marriage. One can only take so many wrong turns before the engineer spouse flips out.
I, of course, am the other extrovert. And, I’m the one who gets “hangry.” Extrovert + Hangry = Disaster. And the one who once took 8 blazers and 5 pairs of shoes on a 4 day trip to New York. This is going to be interesting.