Friday, March 14, 2008

In Lisieux

What a loooooong day! After a 9 hour flight to Dubai, a 3 hour layover, and a 6 hour to Paris, we finally landed at Charles De Gaulle Airport (yes, that's why when we travel to Paree the airport code is CDG! hehehe). We waited forever for Bishop's umbrella to come out of the conveyor belt only to find out that it had been shoved to the side by the other bags---the side of the belt that did NOT move!!! Sigh!

We go out to meet Sisters Monique and Blandine who, thank goodness, could speak English. Sr Monique had taken English for a year when she worked in Israel and Sr Blandine stayed in New York for 6 years.

{A Day That Could Have Been for Filipinos}

Sr Monique greeted us and told us that we were going straight to Lisieux....and that we were going to leave the Relics behind. The precious Relics. We were all WHAAAAAT?!?!?!? She said that the person who was supposed to do all the transporting and handling of St Therese's relics was very sick and could only do it tomorrow.

Man! I looked at Mom and told her that could have been an extra day that Sr Therese could have been at the Shrine, where people could be venerating her. Instead, we had to leave her somewhere in the cargo docks, waiting to be transported back to Lisieux.

{On to Lisieux}

The next problem we had was the $%^&* frame Bishop Arguelles had sent at the last minute. Damn, it was huge! It would NOT fit in the car that the Sisters had brought. On our way to the car, Sr Monique said "it's the blue one," and I looked ---in VAIN --- for at least an SUV or a van, hehehe. We had a 4-door little Ford car. I have NO idea what model it was, don't ask. All I know was that it was SMALL.

When the Sisters opened to back, they paused, unsure if all our bags were going to fit. Well of course I sprang into action. I MADE them fit---all 2 suitcases, 3 rollers, 1 small duffel. Then we were down to the %^&* frame.

After several attempts at trying to fit the frame SOMEWHERE in the car (I had said outright that it was impossible!), Sr Monique called the place where the relics were and asked if we could leave the frame with them. Thankfully they said yes.

So off we went. We had barely escaped the start of the weekend traffic that brought Parisians out of Paris into the countryside. We did hit a few traffic spots though, but overall, the trip that was supposed to take roughly 2 hours took about 30-45 minutes longer. Not bad.

I tried to stay awake so that I wouldn't have too much jet lag, but I dozed off a bit. It wasn't that exciting of a ride, so I didn't miss much. When I woke up, it was too see the green of Normandy. It was just.....GREEN. A beautiful, verdant green.

Then we were in Lisiuex. It is such a small town, it was barely on the road signs until we were almost there :)

{Maison St. Jean}

We are staying at the House of St John, where Msgr Bernard Lagoutte resides, along with several priests, including a Bishop Emeritus. The room Mom is staying in has pieces (primarily the desk) that belonged to the uncle of St Therese. The room I have has pieces that belonged to some bishop from long ago. Simple furnishings, and clean. And no, no TV.

Apparently, this house and the next (right next to the Carmelites) are pilgrimage houses....people on pilgrimage are welcome to stay here for a minimal fee I think. The only provision is that in return they participate in some of the activities of the houses.

We had 5 minutes to get settled as we were scheduled for an informal tea with Msgr Lagoutte. He is such a funny man. I love watching him as he speaks, especially when we start talking about the coming theologian discussion on a miracle attributed to the parents of St Therese, Louie and Zelie Martin. Actually, he reminds me of Bric :)

Dinner was a lovely affair, as we all settled together at the table: Msgr Lagoutte, Srs Monique and Blandine, Fr. Patrick, the Bishop Emeritus (forgot his name), the Msgr in charge of the house (I think, and I forgot his name, too!), Bishop, and Mom and moi. We had a nice, simply made soup that was surprisingly yummy! Just strips of vegetables and seasoned with pepper. That was it! Then there was vegetables, salmon and delish yellow rice :) They paid attention to the email of Boydee, apparently, hehehehe. For dessert we had cheese and yogurt (a staple here, from the looks of things) and CREPES!!!! Freshly made, too! And no fruits or chocolates, but they were slightly sweetened and we had the crepes with some light maple syrup. Yum! :)

Then it was basically time to retire for the night. I wanted to go out and walk around but it was already pitch dark. And it was barely 8 pm!!! Oh well. A full day ahead of us tomorrow.


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