One Mom’s Pre-Olympic Adventure in London and Paris: Part One
Turning my boys into global citizens on our first trip abroad.
-Deborah Perry Piscione
In December of 2007, four months before the birth of our daughter, Dayne Alexandria, my husband and I took our twin boys, Dominick and Drake (above, left and right), to Hearst Castle in San Simeon, California. What struck me most was not the evident beauty of the castle itself, nor was it the amazing milieu of the California coastline. It was learning that William Randolph Hearst believed that two factors in his life made him the person he became: The California landscape and the trip he took to Europe with his mother when he was a teenager. At that moment, I made a promise to my boys and my unborn daughter that they would be global citizens of the world, and that I would never let anything -– not even school — come in between them and international travel.
This year, my husband and I decided it was time. Our twin boys turned 7 years old, and it was time to go –- to London and Paris, that is. It was perfect since our boys studied Europe and Andalusia Islands this year, and we are all looking forward to the Summer Olympics in London!
Preparing for the trip caused some fun in the household. Dominick has an insatiable curiosity for life. While he is mostly interested in science, he began making his own books for London and Paris and trying to teach himself French, as he was terrified he wouldn’t be able to communicate with anyone. He also had anxiety for months leading up to our trip over not having a British accent and whether he would be required to speak with a British accent for the people to understand him. He was so concerned about it, mentioning it to me continuously before bedtime, that when I ran into some British women while we were at the San Francisco Zoo, I asked for Dominick to speak to them so he could comprehend that the women would be able to understand him and that he would be able to communicate with the “London” people!
While we had hoped to attend the summer Olympics, we decided that I’d take them a few months earlier since I’d be traveling solo with the twins (my husband and daughter would stay back home). I had mixed emotions about traveling with young children by myself, being outnumbered by twin boys, and the pain and anxiety of being apart from my 4-year-old daughter. Still, her time will come, and it was time to introduce my boys to the world. This is, after all, part of the education my husband and I committed to.
The day came when we left from the San Francisco airport and boarded the 10:30 am flight to London, which in itself was a treat because I’m NOT a fan of red-eyes (I can’t sleep on planes!). Most of the flight was daylight this time of the year, and as we travelled over the Arctic Circle, we stared outside our window to see if we could spot any polar bears. We didn’t see any, but it was “cool” for the boys to look, since they had just been tasked with bringing something Arctic-related to “Sharing” the week before at school. To connect the dots for them was special.
We arrived in London, took the Heathrow Express (15 minutes to London, and the best way to travel into town), and arrived into the city. Since we were only staying a full four days in London, I wanted to be to where most of our activities were, and opted to stay in Westminster at a fantastic hotel, the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel. Not only did we have a very reasonably priced 1-bedroom, but we overlooked the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and the London Eye. For 7-year-old boys, I am not sure you could get any better view, and having my own room granted me the space we all three benefitted from after long days of site-seeing.
More details about Deborah’s family’s adventures abroad, up next!