Waiting for my window visit…
Upstate NY, 10 days in. It’s taken this long to get my bearings, start to unwind and feel like I might be on vacation. The dark circles under my eyes are fading a little and I’m getting some perspective. In my mono-maniac haste to get myself here and tell the story, I left out important stuff.
Last week a tropical storm moved up the coast causing power outages and closings. Long distance driving was complicated. I’ve now been able to see my mom twice, the first time we were almost too emotional to talk, but now we’re having real conversations, catching up, planning more visits. I took my computer and through the screen, showed her a new music video I’ve been working on, based on family history, very close to our hearts. More about that in a future post, but meanwhile:
The rate of infection continues to decrease here. Mask wearing is the new normal, social distancing and hand sanitizing a way of life. Parents are waiting anxiously to know Gov. Cuomo’s decision about school openings. Many businesses are shuttered, others are cautiously open. My son’s outdoor camp is operating at 50% capacity for added safety and implementing strict health precautions. So far, there have been no COVID cases and he’s enjoying camaraderie with staff, new responsibilities, worship from younger campers, and even being tired when he comes home. Can’t think of a better way for him to spend these weeks. My daughter is coming to stay with us soon, not sure how. Masks? 3-6 feet at all times? Hmmm….
The big news is that COVID testing is mandatory 72 hrs before boarding flights back to France (and elsewhere). The NYC French consulate has concluded an agreement with a lab in New Jersey and several doctors in the area:
Additional information on Air France website:
This is pretty challenging for people like us who aren’t in the Manhattan area. The Friday or Saturday before our Tuesday departure later this month, we’ll have to drive to the NJ lab to be tested if we want to be sure of a fast turn around before our flight. The results are valid for 72 hours after we receive them by email, $100 a pop. We could make an appointment with an approved doctor in the city or White Plains, but that adds a step, plus traffic, and is just as far to drive. You’d think AF would send an email? But no. Thank you Betsy M for informing us!
Recent transatlantic travelers have confirmed that airports and flights are almost empty. Surgical masks are mandatory, marriage certificates a must for bi-national couples, testing being done at CDG on arrival… Good news, airlines upgraded their air filtration systems after the SARS epidemic so the in-cabin environment is safer, as long as no one spits in your face.
I want to thank everyone who helped me make this happen:
First and foremost, my stoic French husband, who overcame justified misgivings and threw the full power of his physical presence, financial acumen, and sharp mind into the journey. Not only did he make and pay for all the travel arrangements and accommodations, including extra health insurance, but when I was still very jet lagged, he volunteered to drive the three of us from JFK to our small town NY base up the thruway, and later that first week to visit my mom, a 160-mile round trip. Meanwhile, he moved furniture and made repairs in our AirBnB for our comfort, since the managerial staff have their kids with them 24/7 due to the virus and are not on the ball.
He fills the car with gas and checks the oil, co-organizes grocery jaunts and other shopping, drives our son to the bus stop for camp, helps fill water jugs at the spring, does laundry, makes margaritas on special occasions and provides quality beverages for happy hour, among other attentions. Reading my other posts, you might get the idea that I’m a lone warrior facing the world. The truth is that when I first met my husband, I was so bowled over that I more or less lost the use of the pronoun “I” in favor of “we” or more often “he”. Regaining the use of first person narratives is a major event for me, has come about through writing, and is to be celebrated. Sometimes, though, credit must be given where credit is due. And… although he’s not the type to gush compliments or descriptions of his feelings, he’s actually relaxing, listening to music, enjoying fresh Hudson Valley produce, spring water, my cooking, naps, and drives on gorgeous green country roads.
My US/French info network: AAWE (Association of American Women in Europe) a gold mine!
USAGSO Paris (American Girl Scouts Paris, wall of moms, wall of generous friends)
BSA Troop 112 (American Boy Scouts in Paris, wall of caring dads and moms)
The American Cathedral Friday Mission Lunch teams
My writing community, especially dear friend Sylvia Sabes, travel writer
Paris peeps, US family and all who keep us in their thoughts, you who are reading this post and giving feedback….
My heart goes out to everyone struggling, especially the people of Lebanon.
To be continued.