29 August 2005

The movie was not enough! Celia is searching high and low for books to fill her hunger for reading! Posted by Picasa

Nathan perfected his archway technique with this construction. Posted by Picasa

The ball is bigger than she is! Posted by Picasa

Body english in action! Posted by Picasa

Ange-Alexandre, Nathan and Celia at the bowling alley Posted by Picasa

Nathan and Jazzy tie Celia up during our walk. Posted by Picasa

Incredible how trees can grow in such straight lines naturally! This is the buffer between the autoroute and La Grande Motte. Posted by Picasa

28 August 2005

School Daze

Celia and Nathan finished their two weeks of French lessons on Friday! They not only excelled in the class learning to count to infinity and beyond, but also how to say (or understand!) "sit down" "be quiet" and the all important "I don't understand"

They met a real international group of kids...two British boys - Tim and Sam - a girl from Slovakia - Alexandra - and a local French boy - Ange-Alexandre (and you always call him by both!)

Since the kids were in French lessons during the day at the school, I decided to volunteer (I know that is such a stretch for me!) to help distribute the books and supplies that the Parent's group sold for a fund raiser. I thought it would be just like the WUEF fundraiser with an international twist...I forgot that when I looked at the supplies list mailed to me, I was only able to identify solidly the scissors, pencils and pens. It is truly an understatement to say the French enjoy their paper products and school supplies. A child in CM1 which is third grade had a carton bigger and heavier than I could lift containing all of the supplies necessary for this school year. And all of them were to be brought to school the first day! They are specific down to the size of the grid on the paper and the weight of the paper for each class. Needless to say, Celia is in seventh heaven. She LOVES school supplies...yet even she cannot fathom what she will be doing with 500 plastic sleeves for her notebook (not a hyperbole!)

I had a wonderful time meeting about one half of the parents in the school and some of the students in Celia and Nathan's class. We met a family from New York that has been here for two years, a British family who lives just a few streets from us in Sussargues, a boy named Benjamin who looks like a freckle-faced American who just happens to be French and is in Celia's class and many others who warmly welcomed us and we look forward to getting to know better.

I worked with Noele (who immediately exclaimed that our names together were Merry Christmas!) and Helene Lini (whose name is always pronounced as "elanini") They were such a delightful pair of French women to sit and talk to for two days of this project. Noele looks as if she is from the Swiss or German side of France...Taller than I, strong and honey blond...she looks like she could handle any task thrown at her from chopping wood to whipping up an omelet. She is a powerhouse of a fun personality. She had the kids all playing a fun word game within the first ten minutes of talking to them.

Helene Lini is the exact opposite in appearance from Noele...she is the classic chic impossibly petite French woman that would take the world by the tails. She is over the top dramatic with the three kisses doled out liberally and the cell phone calls on her incessantly ringing mobile. When she is on stage with her cell phone, it is with an incredibly loud voice and in a pose that you cannot help but admire. She stands straight as a board with her feet firmly planted, one hand on a hip and the other holding the cell phone to her ear with elbow perfectly pointed straight out...her chin pointed straight to the ceiling she belts out melodic peals of chirpy French to whoever the deaf person is on the other end...usually her husband. She is a hoot! Her emails and her conversations are gushing and - female or male - the recipient feels so terribly special to have been honored with her attention.

Needless to say, my favorite activity of people watching is satisfied daily!! I love watching the full of life greetings as if every person is the long lost friend you have been waiting for, the kisses being thrown about to everyone in the crowd and the hands that wave wildly in the air to punctuate every point. The women are fun and charming and delightful conversationalists.

19 August 2005

18 August 2005

Wonderful Walks

It is so nice and social to walk here. No matter what time of day, there is always a lot of people walking...young, old and in between. But THE time of day to really walk is after dinner. For the French, that is around 8:30 or 9:00 pm. The heat of the day has passed and the colors have been intensified by the sun low in the sky. The sea turns an incredible blue and the sand a soft blond. Everyone strolls full of a good meal and probably more than a little wine. The following pictures are of our early evening walk (7:30 - 8:15) tonight. I hope it gives you a picture of what we experience every time we take our evening stroll!

This is the path we take to get to the beach. Posted by Picasa

This is the path that runs along the beach for quite a long ways..it is THE place to walk in the evenings Posted by Picasa

Do we have to keep walking? Posted by Picasa

Now that's a fun picture! Posted by Picasa

Jazzy trying to out Alpha Male the ultimate Alpha male wanna be! Posted by Picasa

The esplanade on an incredibly beautiful summer night...it was probably in the high 70s. It is still very early for the French...most still have not eaten dinner. We ate early tonight. Posted by Picasa

Nathan valiantly trying to get Jazzy to do his evening constitutional...it was a success! Posted by Picasa

Boy that ice cream tastes so good on a warm evening! (Twix flavored!) Posted by Picasa

The first park we walked through tonight Posted by Picasa

The walkway from the commercial area into a park Posted by Picasa

This is the path to the park...It is so green and beautiful here! Posted by Picasa

Petanque players..notice the wonderful graffiti on the beautiful stone wall...ignorance is worldwide. Posted by Picasa

This is the way home Posted by Picasa

Our street corner Posted by Picasa

This is home for now! Posted by Picasa

Our favorite Boulangerie right across the street from our apartment...Is your mouth watering, Mike? Posted by Picasa