Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nicholas has purchased his ticket

After many discussions back and forth as to when would be the best time to come and Nicholas' anxiety over leaving his beloved Russia and starting a new phase in his life with us...he finally bought his ticket!! He is due to land on April 29th and we could not be more thrilled!
I have been so happy for him to get this wonderful opportunity to live in his country, the country he has spent the most of his life studying....the history he wants to teach displayed before his very eyes. He has experienced Russia in a way most people will never get the opportunity to experience.
Having said all that, it has been hard being away from him during this time. He is such a joy in my life and that of Abigail's that a part of "us" has been missing. As Nicholas likes to remind me often, this time apart has not been a total waste for me as it has allowed me to experience my life long dream of being in France, my family's country. I also have been blessed to really get to know the family that stayed here...though they used to come every summer when my grandparents were alive, it was hard to really get to know them on a personal basis. Now I've been given that wonderful gift. I love them all dearly.
As I grow to love this land more and more each day, it boggles my mind as to why my parents decided to move to the United States...whatever made them decide to leave? This will be a question for my mother if she can make it here this summer.
I'm excited that we've decided (and was given permission) to stay another year here. It will advance Abigail's rapidly growing French skills, giving her many advantages in her later life, as well as helping mine (less rapid). And now to be able to share the Payee d'amour with my Nicholas will only deepen our love of life and each other.
So count the days down with of this post....31.
Love you Nicholas

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another American/French Family in Frejus!

A few weeks ago, while Rick and I were waiting to pick up the girls from school, we heard a fimiliar sound...English and with an American accent. It was Kurt, this really nice guy from the Midwest who's little boy Charlie had been going to the same school! What are the chances, three American-ish families in one school?
Kurt has been in France for 20 years and is married to a lovely French woman named Stephanie, thier little boy is a dual citizen (thank you ever so for your correction Lisa and Rick)and he now refuses to speak English (funny).
They invited us over for dinner last night and we had a really good time getting to know this family. They were very generous, kind and very open, we had a wonderful evening and they invited us again to join them on Sunday to play baseball at the Base...that should be fun. Hopefully I will remember this time to bring my camera.
Kurt lives here in Frejus but actually works in Paris if you can believe it. He travels via the TGV to Paris on Mondays (4 hours) and then comes home on Fridays (another 4 hours). He is a very energetic and enthusiastic man and his wife Stephanie is quite and very funny.
It's funny that it took us almost the entire year to learn that there was another American. The girls had such fun playing with Charlie, all we could hear was giggle and squeals and then a "thunk" as Irie did a nose-dive off the top bunk onto the worries though she's up and running!
Hopefully we've met some new friends...can never have too many...will keep you posted.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

La Bambouseraie

As I stated earlier, we were able to visit La Bambouseraie near Anduze during Abigail's winter break. Jacqueline was gracious enough to invite us to her lovely house in Saint-Christol for a few days. She had Sonia's kids Julia (6 yrs old) and Rudy (4 years old) staying with her the week and she thought it'd be great for everyone if they had a chance to play together. Turns out it was great, they had a blast...were a bit of a challenge but a good time was had.

At the end of the weekend, after a weird and wicked windstorm which is quite unusual for the area had been beating down on us during our entire stay, Sunday the day of our departure was gorgeous. So we decided it was the moment to go see some bamboo. As you all know bamboo is my all time favorite tree (although it's really a grass). The bamboo forest on our hike in Hana is my favorite spot on Maui (my favorite spot on earth). It has been years since my eyes have seen real bamboo and it was so nice to get to see it again here in France of all places!

The sounds that these "trees" make is unforgettable when the breeze blows through them and the clank together...its musical and oh so peaceful. On top of this the leaves that also rustle and the sunlight that flickers in and out when you walk through a bamboo forest....really shows that nature does sing...we need only to listen.

This forest was planted by a guy back in the 1860s who though it'd be a good idea (I agree)...he also planted some sycamore trees, the biggest trees in the world (i.e. redwood trees) and they had some huge ones...this one here must have fallen in a storm and they just cut it into giant wedges and left it there. So I thought it could show the size of this tree by putting my model in the center of the trunk.

As we were getting ready to head back to Frejus on our way to the parking lot we spotted a laybrinth maze of bamboo and we couldn't resist giving it a try. We figured it was small and it wouldn't take much time to walk through it...but it was a bit more challenging than we had anticipated. It always amazes me that you can be so close and yet so far...we felt a lot like mice searching for the proverbial cheese.
Fun day!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring has sprung in the south of France

If you were to look at a calander it would not be officially Spring yet, but here by the sea it surely has arrived! Frankly it's not a moment too soon for me. As you know I hate the cold and wet weather and we had the coldest and wettest weather for this part of France that anyone from here can ever luck. So to see the flowers in bloom, and to see the sunshine daily, feel it's warmth and the gentle ocean breezes is just the medicine I needed!

It's a wonderful time and everyone is emerging from their homes like bears who come out of hybernation. There are people everywhere, on the beach lounging, strolling the sidewalks, at the local parks, walking their name it they are outside.

And to find the gorgeous flowers doesn't take much effort on your part. The flowers here I found right next to Abigail's school, where she goes to Sports on Mondays and Fridays, the yellow Mimosa tree is a house nearby, though those are everywhere...they are starting to end their season now but they were magnificant to behold. And the tulip tree above is a neighbor of Jacquline at Saint-Christol.

Even the tourists seem to be trickling in bit by bit, stores are opening up that have been closed all winter long...Frejus seems to be awakening from it's deep slumber as well. We are all chomping at the bit to get into the ocean but as for now it's a TAD cold for that, though Abigail's friend Irie already took a dip....granted she came out blue (just kidding) As for me, I think I'll wait it out a bit, what with the cold winter I'm sure that water is frigid!

With spring comes the hopes and promises of visits, hopefully Maman, Jean-Pierre, Ariel and Karisa will all come this summer, also we're supposed to get a visit from Nicholas' brother top that all off we've got to say good bye to our dear friends the Bailey Brownes as they head back to Oregon on the 3rd of July. Then we must also think about trying to plan a trip late this summer to visit America and the rest of the families there.

So life is budding and there should be more posts than there have been of late. We visited a bamboo forest near Anduze the other weekend and I've some beautiful pictures to share of that visit too. Till then!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Am I seeing things?

Well I have been hit with THE worst flu bug I think I've ever had in my life! It has lasted for what seems like an eternity and it was so bad my skin actually hurt to the touch! But Praise God I'm starting to feel better!
In fact yesterday, I woke up with energy and decided to finally go buy that much needed printer and hard drive. So Abigail and I got dressed and headed out the door...I needed to check the mailbox so we went out the front door and headed to the car. As we were rounding the corner towards my car a large truck was rounding the other corner at my car heading towards us. I said in a puzzled voice..."I saw a lion."
Abigail wisely said "What?" and then we stood there while the truck neared and there in the back in 3 huge cages was a lioness, a huge lion and a chilled out tiger!! Not even a foot from my face was this huge lion and he was staring at me! Probably thinking...LUNCH!
Seconds pass as our eyes just followed this site down and around the corner and then it dawned on me..."ahhhh, the circus is in town" and so it is. But still you don't see that everyday now do you? Abigail is over it already and doesn't understand why I think it's such a big deal. But heck she's 9 and she saw it and I'm ....well .... I'm older than she is, and I'm just NOW seeing it. I mean it is one thing at a zoo or a circus when you're going expecting it, it's another thing all together when you're just walking to your car!

Anyways, only in Europe! Got to love it!