Family Drama: European Style

I don’t consider myself superstitious but…when all the signs are pointing in one direction I normally don’t go the opposite way. Every time I don’t listen to my hunch…I live to regret it.

My friends invited me to pass a long weekend with them in the United Kingdom. I was planning to go down for three days. My friend wanted me to stay a day longer. I agreed but had reservations.

The train from Paris to London was uneventful. I then had to take another train from London to York. I pick up my ticket and within 20 minutes I promptly lose it. I go to the desk to ask for it to be replaced and am told that I have to buy a new full priced ticket! What to do? I thought about buying a ticket to go right back to Paris! Did I mention that I am not a big fan of the UK? But I knew that my friend would be disappointed.
So, I spent a two hour train ride adjusting my attitude and telling myself that I would not let losing my ticket ruin my weekend.

Day 1

I arrive at the train station. My friends Jeff and Bill are there to meet me. The first thing they tell me is that Jeff and his mom are in a big fight and BTW I will be staying with his sister Debbie whom I have never met! I try to stay positive.

I meet the sister at dinner. Within five minutes she tells me her life story. Her husband of 28 years divorced her for a younger woman. She has to move because the husband is moving his new girlfriend and his two sons in the house they built from the ground up! And to boot Debbie’s only child, an adult daughter, now refuses to speak to her. To say this woman is depressed is the understatement of the year.

You can imagine that spending the weekend with her will be a day in the amusement park! I don’t know what time I went to bed, but as I fell asleep as she was telling me yet another story about her husband!

Day 2

I wake up to the sound of a torrential down pour. Just as I was turning over to go back to sleep, Debbie comes in the room to bring me coffee. I think how sweet she is but then quickly realize that it’s just a cover so that she can talk about the divorce…again URG!.

Jeff and Bill come over. Their big idea is to go out Christmas shopping in the icy cold rain. Again, against my better judgment, I go in an effort to be a good guest. I return to Debbie’s house wet, sneezing and trembling. I wanted to go to bed but we had dinner reservations that night with Jeff’s mom. Seeing as though they still weren’t speaking I thought dinner should be interesting.

We arrive at the restaurant and the family drama breaks out immediately. It reminded me of the Christmas dinner scene in Soul Food…except this is a white family. Jeff’s mom had a knife and everything. It would have been funny if I wasn’t sick…of them!

Day 3

After the dinner fiasco, Jeff and Bill decide they have had enough of the family drama and cannot stay another night in the mother’s house. They make hotel reservations for us in London. I sleep the entire four hours from York to London. We check into a beautiful English Manor Hotel. I think that was all worth it. Finally I have a quiet night’s sleep.

Day 4

We drive two hours to go see Jeff’s brother in Oxford. I am looking forward to touring Oxford. We arrive at 1pm and meet Jeff’s brother for coffee. Mind you Jeff has not seen his brother in five years. By 2pm the brother makes an excuse to leave. I overhear Jeff and his brother discussing how to take a bus from Oxford to London. I realize in that moment that they are planning to put me on the bus from Oxford to London. Jeff tells me in his British accent how easy it is…the brother tells me that it’s a 50 minute bus ride. By 3pm I am on the bus and the only thing I have seen in Oxford is the inside of Starbucks! Three hours and a lot of hauling ass later I arrive in London barely making my train for Paris.

What did I learn?

1. Family drama is international

2. Just say no!

3. And most importantly…listen to my intuition!

-French Kissed

Want to feel like you’re traveling without moving? Read the rest of French Kissed’s experiences here.

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