Saturday, June 21, 2014

Park City- Day 4

The weather was quite a bit better on this day, but it was still chilly.  Sunny, but a little cold.  MUCH better than the day before! By the late morning, it was actually getting warm.  It was Wacky Wednesday so the kids were encouraged to do something funky with their appearance.  Our kids went to camp with spray painted hair (Devin's ended up just looking grey).  Paul and Ethan got KFC for lunch on this day.  Paul said all the other coaches were jealous because they got lousy homemade sandwiches and his American Mom brought crap food every day.  That's every teenage kid's dream come true!!


Garrett was obsessed with trying to get into this drink machine every day.  A few more days and he would have had it figured out!  The rest of the time he had fun running and wandering around the fields.















The view doesn't get better than that!

Look, it's my mountain!!




Coach Paul, it's not nice to smack the children.






 When I picked Ethan and Paul up that afternoon, Paul seemed to be in a much better mood than the day before.  Maybe because he wasn't soaked to the bone and freezing! He immediately asked me what the plans were for the evening because he wanted to go do something again.  I loved this guy's enthusiasm!  We had given him a rundown list of options of what to do in the area, and he wanted to go up to Park City to do the Apline Slides. (Funny thing- with all the stuff we said we could go do, he got the waterpark and the Apline Slides mixed up and thought it was a water slide down the mountain.  I thought that was so funny!  The first thing we had to do was go to the orthodontist so Ethan could have a check up and Hailey had her first pre-braces consultation.  Paul was a good sport about going in an meeting my friend Tammy who works there.  He was kind of a celebrity while he was here because so many people knew we would have this "exotic" European person staying with us!  Garrett was being a hellraiser in the ortho office, and it was awesome that Paul was there because he took him out to the van and stayed in there to watch a movie with him.  They watched "Pinnochio"...or "Pokieokie" as Garrett calls it.
Even though the weather was good down in the valley, we prepared for cold temps in the mountains.  We bundled up and got  ready to walk out the door as soon as Cody got home from work.  While we were getting everyone situated for the trip, Cody sneaked our American flag off the pole and replaced it with the Irish flag!  He had asked Paul earlier in the week which flag he preferred- the Irish or North Irish flag.  "Nah, we don't like that dirty Hun flag!!"  His talk about Catholics (dirty Tigs) and Protestants (dirty Huns) kept us laughing all week long!  


 Since we got there so late, we didn't have time to do more than a couple of attractions.  They closed at 8:00 and we got there right at 7:00.  We chose to do the Alpine Slide and the Alpine Coaster.  We had to ride the ski lift up to the slide and it took about 15 minutes to get up there.  I never get tired of the ski lift because you can't beat the view!!  Paul and I sat on the lift with Ethan, Hailey, Lauren, and Garrett between us.  Garrett and Lauren had us nervous the whole time because they are so tiny and squirmy and it doesn't take much to slip through the chair.  Paul was so good (all week long) about helping with the kids and making sure they stayed safe. 
This picture cracked us all up because it looks like Devin's legs are really Paul's legs!






Cody and Devin rode on the lift behind us.





 The Alpine Slide is a mix of bobsled and waterslide.  It is sooooo fun!!!!  The air was freezing cold and it made it easier to cut through and go faster.  I could do the slide again and again, and I know Paul would too!

Next we did the Alpine Coaster.  It's literally a roller coaster through the mountain side.  Devin rode with Paul and he said that on the way up the climb, Devin said "Paul, I'm so glad you're in our family now." 

 After we finished up the slide and coaster, we headed back into town because it was after 8:00 and we hadn't had dinner yet.  I had been trying to sell Paul on trying Mexican food and he finally caved.  We knew a great little place in Park City so we drove down, had to park a few blocks away, and had a good time strolling through the town.  The air was COLD, but it was beautiful.  Paul kept saying how much his mom would be in Heaven exploring a town like that.
We had to get a picture on the ski lift monument!



 At dinner, it was funny to see other patrons looking our way as they heard Paul talk.  That boy is NOT quiet and LOVES to talk, which is good because we are the same way!  I could sit and listen to his thick accent for hours and hours (which I did all week long). When Paul arrived on Sunday, I half-jokingly asked him to read Harry Potter to us.  We are huge HP fans and I have always wanted to be read to from someone from teh UK.  He said "No way, I don't read that stuff."  Jerk!  But he said his sister is an HP nut like me, and to ask her.  Well, while we were sitting at dinner, he got a message from his sister on her phone and it was a recording of her reading from the last HP book.  Oh my gosh, I was in Heaven!  He handed me the phone and said "My sister wants to give you something."  We passed the phone around the table, all taking turns listening to her read in the noisy restaurant.  It was one of the best parts of the night!

 We finally left the restaurant and walked out into the cold night air.  The fire pits were all lit and the heat felt good.  As we walked back to the parking lot a few blocks away, we talked and laughed and suddenly I had a strong feeling of dejavu.  It was as if we hadn't just met Paul on Sunday, but rather we had known him for life.  It was hard to think of a time when our family didn't feel like that.  It was an erie feeling, yet strangely normal and comfortable.

As we made the half hour drive back to our house, I sat in the front seat while Cody drove and Paul sat behind me.  We talked about the evening, we talked lots more about his family and he kept telling me that I just had to meet his Mum one day because the two of us would never shut up and talk for days.  "Yeah, we need to do that someday..." I thought.  And then, my heart started to ache when Paul told us what Devin had said on the coater about being in our family.  That morning while I got kids ready for camp, Devin said "Mom, it's so nice that we have eight people in our family now, not seven."  How could we feel so connected to someone who was stranger to us only a few short days before?  I had never experienced something like that before.

We asked Paul what he thought of the Mexican food and he said he actually liked it.  I said "Good, now when another host family asks if you want to go out for Mexican food (because that's what Americans do!) you'll know if you're in the mood for it or not."

And then he got quiet and said "Nah, I don't think I'll be eatin' it again."  That made no sense so we asked him why he said that.

"Because it won't be the same.  I don't want to eat it with any other family but this one.  Everything fun we have done this week won't be as good with anyone else."

I may or may not have gotten tears in my eyes right then.  And then he just didn't know when to quit and he went on "You guys don't have a choice, because I'm coming back to stay at some point."  And suddenly we were all talking about how normal it would be for him to take over Ethan's room any time he wanted to come and visit...or just move in completely.

When we got home and everyone went to bed, I kept thinking about how this kid had barged into our lives and disrupted everything, and how there was no chance that things would ever be the same again.  And that I would have kept him forever and put him in my pocket if I could have.  And I may or may not have shed a few tears as I brushed my teeth. 

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