leaving on a jet plane


By 1 a.m. we were all a little loopy– so when I adorned Stefan and Erik with newly found Australian stickers they giggled much like the teenage girls we’d just spent three days on the river with.

I was just happy that we were punchy rather than throwing punches, because when you’ve been searching four hours for a lost passport it can get a bit stressful.

After turning the kitchen and the office and the garage and the mudroom and even the bathrooms upside down we’d nearly given up. Over and over again we looked through our neat little stack of six shiny passports– one for everyone in the family except Ben in Italy and Stefan who was getting on a plane for France in the morning.

I’m most definitely not a neat freak. ‘Creative’ best describes my organizational style. Rifling through my desk and drawers and cupboards would be enough to make anyone lose patience with me. But Erik and Stefan didn’t offer a word of criticism or blame as we searched through piles and drawers of miscellaneous junk. I knew if I could just stay calm and listen to the Spirit, we’d find it.

By 1:15 we’d run out of places to look; I Googled passport replacement services on the internet ($470 and not until Wednesday). But in a final search of Stefan’s room I hit paydirt– a folder from his last employer where the required ID of passport and birth certificate were neatly tucked into the training manual. That was at 1:27 a.m., I know the exact minute because my shriek of joy awoke Xander.

And so, today he is on a plane for Paris. As Gabe said, “Eleven days without Stefan will be pure torture.” But we are grateful to Kit and Kevin for arranging Stefan’s stay with their friends in Saint-Quentin. And the gracious Seube family (whom we’ve never met) have promised to speak French and only French to our little Francophile. I’m overwhelmed with their generosity by taking in a boy they don’t know.

A few years ago we noted that Stefan wasn’t simply going through the motions in his required language class, he was reading Harry Potter A L’Ecole Des Sorciers, Le Livre de Mormon, listening to General Conference talks in French and switching Disney movies to the French language option.

I’m far too selfish to send him off as an exchange student, but eleven days should be enough to dramatically improve his skills– even if his absence is torture for us at home.

Stefan still looks like a little kid next to Erik– that’s comforting.
July 6, 2011
July 11, 2011



  1. Lisa

    July 11, 2011

    Ah…just in the nick of time! I’m so happy to hear someone else organizes just like I do. What a fabulous time he will have on this little adventure.

  2. Selwyn

    July 11, 2011

    The passport excitement will just be the introduction to the retelling of his French adventure, c’est vrai, non?

    And I’m glad those stickers came in useful!


  3. Kim

    July 11, 2011

    How exciting for Stefan – I can’t imagine the stress of trying to find his passport though. I’m glad you did! Brooklyn is hosting a French student for a month in the fall and then going to that girl’s house for a month next spring – I’m so excited for her! I hope you will write about Stefan’s adventures when he is back. 🙂

  4. Tracy

    July 12, 2011

    So awesome!!! Also, I have the same organizational system.

  5. Kerri

    July 12, 2011

    So so fun! I was a Francophile in high school (and college, and a little now) but I didn’t go to those phenomenal lengths to work on my skills. I hope he has a wonderful wonderful time.

    And I’m afraid I’ve had way too many 1 am searches for way too many important missing documents.

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