Bonjour, friends! Happy Tuesday.
I found part of this post in one in my draft folder (oops, I forgot about it) and I just had to share it with all of you. Boy, do I miss our Loja, Ecuador friends. It is hard to leave friends, but at the same time, travel calls. The great thing about this traveling life is that we always meet up again. Yeah!
I have posted at great length about forming communities and making friends while living the travel life. Our family values complete immersion and learning about the area we live in intensely. As a result, we have been able to create lasting friendships all over the globe. Community enriches our experience tremendously and opens our eyes to how others live.
Today I would like to share some pics from our final days in Loja, Ecuador. Our good friend Jhoanna took us around her hometown for some serious immersion. Unfortunately, Will was unable to attend because he was in Hong Kong already, but we still made the best of it. We visited the town where many people live to be over 100 years old (Vilcabamba), attended a family function, soaked up alternative medicine, ate delicious food, watched a group of women make empanadas from scratch, saw a million rainbows, relaxed in hammocks, rode the night bus and flew back to Quito. We were just a bunch of moms, a lot of kids and two grandparents enjoying each other and sharing our different cultures. It was magical.
I have been thinking a lot about our future community here in Hyères, France. Usually we form communities through Largo’s school and Avalon’s activities/homeschool groups. Now that we have two kids in traditional schools, we have to rethink how we will form this community. In the past, we have invited the entire class over for dinner, cocktails, or a holiday celebration. I am not sure that is going to work in this situation, since Largo has 28 kids in his class and Avalon is now in middle school. The wheels are turning over here and I welcome any suggestions. My idea is to do something in the next couple of weeks.
- Send an invite to all the families in Largo’s class to join us for happy hour in our home. The big problem would be if they all showed up (unlikely), but if it did happen it would be over 100 people. Our place is not big enough for that many guests and our neighbors would freak out.
- Host two happy hour get-togethers on separate days in order to accommodate all the families. However, I am not sure how I would choose who got invited on which day.
- Host a separate happy hour for Avalon’s friends and their families from her school.
- Host a party at the beach (my least favorite option). The reason I am suggesting this is that several people familiar with the French culture have said that families might not feel comfortable coming to our home if they don’t know us. Of course, I would prefer to host it at our house, the beach would be very complicated as we are not fully equipment for beach parties.
Should I invite teachers? We usually do this. My thought is to invite them and if culturally it is not appropriate for them to come, they will make that decision.
Should we serve just wine, cheese, olives and maybe sparking water? Anything else? What is a good time for the French families to come over?
Should we be concerned about the language barrier?
My initial thoughts are always the same with something like this… send out invites and those who want to come will come and those who don’t won’t. However, I do think it is important to be relatively sensitive to cultural differences in order to make this an engagement people would like to attend without stepping completely out of their comfort zone.
I welcome your suggestions.