Bonjour, friends! Happy Friday! Moving to Hyères. Wow, what a week. I am happy to report that we made progress in our meager nine days here. We feel settled in. I still need to sign up for French classes, but the school in town is closed for another three weeks, probably a blessing in disguise.
We have had so many amazing experiences this week, but I think my trip chaperoning Largo’s class to the pool hits the top of the list. I was not able to volunteer for the last two years in Spanish-speaking countries because the list was always full and I did not speak the language. It appears that the language barrier is not an issue here and I love that. My job was to supervise the girls at the pool. Got it! Well, these nine-year-old girls were adorable. They had a lot of questions about my age, our birth country, our journey, how Largo speaks French, and so much more. Luckily one of the girls spoke Spanish and we were able to communicate and translate back to her friends. Kids are amazing. They are curious, fearless and have no barriers. They accept a situation for what it is with open arms and hearts. I am sure these little girls will never know how much they made the day of this 43-year-old. I look forward to more moments like these as we continue to dip into other cultures.
ROUND UP time!
WE ARE IN FRANCE: I am sure most of you have noticed. It has only been nine days, but so far we are in love. The food, the people, the culture, the climate, it’s all great, really, great.
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.
MARATHONER: Someone in this house will be running the Paris marathon in April. Bah, no not me, never, it’s the hot latino. There is a bunch of us going to support our wild and crazy family members. If you are planning to run it let us know and I will invite you to our “carb night” dinner. We would love to meet up with blog followers in Paris.
HEALTH: Yep, I am going to sound like an old lady. I am better, not 100% still, can you believe it? But I am almost there. Apparently, I caught one heck of a virus in South America, according to my blood work. I was sick for close to three months with a variety of symptoms that have mostly run their course. It was brutal folks. I am thankful for my health now more than ever.
AVALAR: They are doing fantastic. Our first night here, AvaLar said they hated it and wanted to move (can we say jet lag and exhaustion?). Fast forward one week and we have two kids saying they LOVE it and they never want to leave. Many of you who have kids know that they can change at any moment, but overall they are just in a pure state of bliss here in the south of France. They are both attending a local public school, have aggressively made friends and adore school lunch. I am trying to figure out a way to get myself into one of those lunch rooms. I need to see and experience this first hand. I will continually post updates about the kids and if they are interested they can do some interviews for the youtube channel regarding their experience. We are off to an amazing start.
FRENCH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE: Apparently they offer FSL for tweens who move here and don’t speak the language, well, at least in Avalon’s school. I post this because I know many of you are asking about life in France, you want to move here, but you are concerned about your kids and the language. I will definitely provide an update on this further down the line.
BRACES: There will eventually be an entire post dedicated to this subject because I have many curious readers. My thoughts so far are that it is considerably less expensive to have braces put on outside the US. We paid approximately just under $600 USD in Ecuador to have them put on and €690 here in France to do the adjustments for the next 6-12 months.
LOVE THIS FAMILY: Could you sell it all?
DO YOU HAVE A DAUGHTER? What they really need from their mothers.
COUCHSURFING: Do you know what it is? Have you done it before? This article is full of information if you are curious.
DO YOU SPEND YOUR MONEY ON EXPERIENCES OR THINGS? This is a good read about the benefits of experiences over stuff.
OUR LAST DAYS IN THE US
LAUNCH TO FRANCE
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.
TATTOOS: I don’t think I have ever been in an area where so many people have tattoos. I am quite shocked actually and I love it at the same time. In comparison to my tattoos and the ones I am used to seeing, the French seem to only have one (maybe two, but no more), they are done with a dark ink and not very colorful, plus most appear to be on the shoulder or ankle. Once I make friends with some locals I will try to get more information on the tattoo situation here and I will report back to you.
DON’T SIT YET: Avalon is not allowed to sit in her seat in French class until the teacher says it is ok. This has been hard for her to remember and digest. Avalon has been worldschooled for two years so she is used to a lot of bodily control throughout the day. As much as we don’t subscribe to this type of behavior, it has been a great learning experience in cultural differences for Avalon.
LUNCH: Both kids have decided that they want to stay at school for lunch all week (Avalon does come home one day). Will and I eagerly look forward to their daily report on lunch during our dinner. Most days they enjoy it and then there are those days when the description has us in stitches. The lunch is three to four courses on most days and it always includes a dessert. When we went to town hall to sign Largo up for lunch, the attendant was quick to tell us that Largo would need to clean his plate each day or there would be problems. In our home we are very adamant that they try something once or twice, but we never force meals on them that they truly don’t like. Plus, we never practice the “clean your plate” method. We think it is important for them to learn portion control and control over what they eat. I was told that the point of the “clean plate” policy here is to enlighten the palate. Sounds beautiful. Largo returned from school on his first day claiming that he ate most of his food, but they did not make him clean his plate.
Avalon was telling us that her friends were complaining about the food and she told them to go eat school lunch in the US and then they would really know bad food. I love the study of cultural comparisons.
WELCOMING: Wow, has this place been welcoming. Quito was very welcoming as well, but the area where I notice the biggest difference is in the administration of the schools. Largo attended a private French school in Ecuador and although the families were super welcoming the registration folks and the Director were not. It makes all the difference when you move to a new land to have the school officials compassionate.
SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: On the list are swimming, sailing, wind surfing, rock climbing and that is just for the fall. Cool!
WEDNESDAY BREAK: Both of the kids are out of school by lunch time on Wednesday. On most days, they go to school until 3:30 or 4:30 so I think this half-day Wednesday is a nice little relief in the middle of the week. Last Wednesday they had a leisurely lunch, swam in our pool and then went into town to do errands with me.
LIBRARY: OnWednesday we found the library and what a glorious day it was. It is stocked full of books, periodicals, videos, music and so much more. The kids were so happy to have found this little (or big) morsel of goodness.
SCHOOL BELL: We can hear it from our patio. Both schools are under a ten-minute walk from our house. If we are hearing the bell and we are still at home then the chances are that we are going to be late.
LOVE LETTERS: Largo has already received a love letter and almost a kiss. This little girl came so close to Largo’s face that I think her intent was to kiss him until she saw Will and I standing there. This has happened to Largo in several countries, he is quite the charmer.
FOOD: We love it. There will be a post (well, many posts), but for now, I just wanted to share with all of you that we are enjoying the eats. The cheese, olives, fruit, fresh fish, wine, baguette, it’s all good, oh so good.
Have a fabulous weekend and go adventure.