Bonjour, friends! It’s Friday! Woo Hoo! I know I said I was only doing France posts from now on, but I do have one more topic of interest to share with all of you today: history in Quito.
I would like to introduce all of you to Lorraine. I found her through one of my FB groups when I was asking for someone who knew a lot about the history of Quito, Ecuador, Incas and much more. And let me tell you, she did not disappoint. I only wish we would have found her earlier in our stay in Quito.
For around six or seven weeks, Avalon and I met with Lorraine in Old Town Quito to talk and do history in Quito walkabouts. We had so much fun with her and learned a ton. If you are going to be in Quito and you want to get a deep look into the history of the land, then I recommend contacting Lorraine and setting up a couple of times to meet. She can customize your time together to focus on what you want to learn. And she even knows yummy spots to grab local food. I cannot recommend her enough. She was always on time (we were not), she had a great attitude, a love for the work, tons of knowledge and a good sense of humor. We miss you, Lorraine.
ROUND UP time!
YOUTUBE CHANNEL: Will has a youtube channel where he shares all of his amazing videos from our family travel. Come visit us on youtube. Subscribe, watch the advertisement (this is how we make a penny) and hit thumbs up if you like it.
NEW BUSINESS ADVENTURE: I am in the developmental stages of a new business that will launch December 1st. It is a lot of work, but so fulfilling I just want to do a dance. Ok, I am going to stop typing for a minute and go do a little dance. That was fun. I can’t wait to share it with all of you. It will marry my love of family, travel and real estate. Stay tuned!
INTERNET: Here we go again. The one downside I see with renting Airbnb properties long-term is the internet. The upside is that we have rented from honest people who honor their promise to deliver fast internet. Every place we have stayed has said they have fast/reliable internet and every place has not. In the owner’s defense it is probably sufficient internet for someone coming on vacation for a week, but for a year and for digital nomads it is not. That is why we always make sure the owners know our situation before we agree to move it. High-speed internet (or the highest offered in the area) is always part of the deal because we need to WORK! If we can’t work, we can’t pay our rent. Luckily both CR and Ecuador were on it fast and immediately upgraded and switched companies, but even then we struggled through bad internet, dropped Skype calls, cancelled video conferences, working at McDonald’s, and much more for 2-3 weeks. Well, here we go again. Yep, internet issues. The manager is working actively to remedy the situation, but we have been told that we will need to go without service for over two weeks in order to switch companies. This is a first. In CR and Ecuador, when changes were made they were done immediately and we never lost the quality of the service we had at the time, even if it was snail’s pace. France is not a developing country and this actually shocks me that it will take this long. Also, the cafes here do not have as strong internet as in CR and Ecuador so working from them is not really an option during the lag time. I am guessing it is because the French don’t go to cafes to work, they go to socialize, so why have a strong connection?
A TEEN WITH HER HEART IN THE RIGHT SPOT: People are always complaining about teens and I just don’t get it. Yes, I still have a tween, but I can already see the transition and it is looking good. They have innovative minds, a magical fearlessness and a heart to make it all happen. Check this out!
DO YOU INTERACT WITH HOMELESS? It just might be time. One woman’s compassion let to this man finding family and sharing his poetry. The world needs more people like this.
FIRST DAY IN FRANCE
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
FIRST TRIP TO THE FARMERS MARKET
My plan is to share discoveries, observations and pretty much randomness from our week in France. Of course, there will be more lengthy posts on the information that deserves more air time, but so much is happening that it cannot all be a post.
LINENS: Our current accommodations come with some items we have never had before (yeah!) and some items that are a bit surprising to us. I will share more about this when I do my “Inside A Traveler’s Walls” for Hyères. However, today I just want to say that the French know how to do linens. Our place has more linens than I have ever seen in any rental we have lived in. Plus, they are great quality. When I crawl into our comfy bed each night I can’t help but think that the French may not pick up their dog poop (and I am already tired of stepping in it), but they sure do know how to do linens. And don’t even get me started on the wide array of cloth napkins. Can I tell you a secret? We actually travel with cloth napkins to save on paper towels and protect the environment. Unfortunately, we never travel with enough, so I was delighted to see the wide variety the apartment came with.
DISCOVERING THE FOREST: In gym class the other day, they took Avalon’s class to the forest, gave them maps and told them to go explore. I like this beginner “survival skills” class. I know it is a very watered down version, but I still like it. She loved it.
INTRODUCTION TO LARGO’S CLASS: For the first time in three years, Largo actually made it to the first day of class. Woo hoo! Yeah, this is a big accomplishment for us. Circumstances beyond our control have prevented us in previous years. In Costa Rica, it was not an issue, but in Ecuador, it was like we did not exist because we came late. I am happy to report that we attended the parent meeting with Largo’s teacher here in Hyères and I think we understood everything. Ok, just joking. We took the kids and they translated for us. I have had three lengthy encounters with Largo’s teacher: chaperoned the pool trip, went in to listen to Largo read out loud, and information night. He hit the jackpot with this man. I will do a whole post about the academics (well, more than one post probably), but for now, let’s just say that his teacher is a natural. He has 28 kids. I have not heard him raise his voice once, but he seems to have complete control and respect of the class. Avalon had a teacher like this in 1st grade (Hi Madame Brown) and I was always amazed by her. I don’t think I could do it. All the kids in Largo’s classroom seemed inspired and motivated to learn (I know it is still the beginning of the year), but it is off to a good start. Largo is growing leaps and bounds in only two short weeks and his motivation is off the charts. Plus, the other families were very welcoming at the information night. Win-win.
THE FRENCH ARE QUIET: And we are Americans. As much as I try to speak quietly it is an uphill battle. Again, a study in culture. I think it is so funny to be sitting on our patio or walking down the street and only hear the clanking of silverware. I guess occasionally I hear a mumble also, but I can never make out full on conversations. I am sure everyone in our building knows our entire life story at this point, but again, we are trying.
MEALS DELIVERED: Yes, I did it. Will and I have some lofty goals for this year. We are working pretty much around the clock and we need help. I have enlisted the help of QuiToque. Starting in two weeks I will receive four dinners a week. Well, I will try it out for one week and if I like it we will probably end up committing to two weeks a month. It’s affordable, simple ingredients and in French. Yes, an opportunity for me to work on my French and for the kids (they will be in charge of two of the meals) to learn to cook better. They deliver all the ingredients and a handy-dandy recipe card by noon on Wednesdays. Have you used a service like this before? How did it work out?
OBG: I had my first visit. There are always differences in the practices and procedures between countries, nothing major. However, I did notice one practice here that I have not seen anyplace else. When she asked me to get undressed for my exam (from the waist down) she did not give me anything to drape over my lower half, like a sheet or paper. Is that typical here? Someone weigh in, please. I will post more details on my first medical post because you all know there will be a medical post, there always is.
FRENCH CLASS: I have not forgotten about this, however, it seems hard to get a class or tutor for four days a week without paying a fortune. I have only found classes that are more than one day a week in Toulon which is an option. I would just have to be on the bus for 45 minutes which is not ideal. I can work on the bus. I just need to figure out the logistics and that all takes time.
THE SMOKE: The smoke is annoying. I have never been someone bothered by cigarette smoke, but maybe that is because I am not around it much. Ever time we go for coffee or dinner there is always someone smoking next to us, constantly and since the tables are so close together I often feel like I’m actually smoking the cigarette. I guess there is just no way around this one. Take the good with the bad and I sure do love the cheese.
Well, I’m exhausted. It’s been a long week. Over and out. Have a great weekend and go adventure.