The expat life

The expat life seems to have a lot of allure for many people.  Don’t get me wrong, this is a life that I have chosen.  And I almost don’t consider myself an expat.  I’ve been living here since 2002, so twelve years almost at this point.  I was seventeen, going on eighteen when I hopped on that plane, so I’ve almost now been here as long as I was there.  I will always be nostalgic about “home” though.  The air, the trees, family…  A small, one stop sign town that saw me grow up and still looks pretty much exactly as it did twelve years ago when I left, and still even the same as it did twenty-five some odd years ago when we moved there.

Having roots like that is special.  I am still friends with kids I went to school with in the first grade.  Adults now, as children we pitted ourselves aganist one another in a reading contest at school.  I can even remember who won, but I know it happened.  And we can still laugh about it.  People I know so well that I can read an email from them and hear it in their voice, in my mind.  People I can meet up with once every few years and it is like we just had coffee the other day.

I desire roots.  The kind of roots, that run deep, that are part of a persons blood, sweat and tears.  The kind that dig deep and hang tightly to the Earth in their grips.  This is something that I desire for my children.  A place that is part of their hearts, that is undeniably home.  A place that smells like home to them, a place they will bring their own children, someday, in many years, to remember.

A place where they’ll know the locals, be one of them.  Where their hearts will always feel at home, even if they haven’t been there in several years.  I dream of an old farmhouse, a certain amount of land, dogs, chickens, maybe even a pig.  Where the kids can play outside with little worry of streets or cars.  Where friends and family can visit.  A place that is cosy, and warm.  A place that oozes family.  The past few years we’ve been on the move a lot.  It is fun discovering new areas, but I am ready to find our ‘forever’ area, and find a long term home.

I want my children to have roots, so that they can grow wings.

Advertisements

Ski Week II

So, after a long, long, long 3 days in the hospital with my baby, we were finally released.  I have a lot of respect now for parents that spend long hours in the hospital waiting for the child(ren) to be healed.  It was boring, long (I know, already said that), and also rather stressful.  They weren’t sure what she was sick with to begin with so at first it was a bit of a shot in the dark.  But they got it sorted very quickly and with the right treatment (IV antibiotics) her improvement was very rapid.

We made it back up the mountain just in time for a cheese fondue, and then to see my Lily get her ‘piu-piu’ medal from her ski class.

Image

She loved it, and did great, from what I hear.  Her and her little sister are already talking about going back next year, and Evie is pretty excited to get on skis next year.  I am really proud of my big girls for handling Mama being gone so well, and proud of my Lily for sticking with skiing.  I think I’ll take a nice, long, knitting project next year, and will try to relax a bit, as this year was anything but relaxing!

Image

Ski Week

A good friend in the US with ties to France always jokes with me about “ski week”.  All French children have 2 weeks off in Feburay during which a portion of the French population descends upon the various ski stations.  Since he is childless, and not French, whenever he comes to snowboard in the alps he always checks with me when the famous “ski weeks” are as to not come then.

We pulled Lily out of preschool for a week in the alps (I know, bad parents!).

We spent a lot of time talking about ski school (we signed her up for morning lessons all week), and she was really looking forward to it.

Saturday morning we packed the car, loaded up the girls, the dog, and took off.  I knew something was a bit off with the littlest because she was really quiet and docile the whole ride.  We made it to the alps, met my brother-in-law and his girlfriend, grocery shopped at the bottom of the mountain, and drove up to the place we rented.  We unpacked, ate dinner, put everyone to bed.  Sunday, my youngest still wasn’t up to snuff, and by Sunday evening I knew first thing, I was taking her to the Doctor on Monday.

Long story short…  We ended up heading down the mountain on Monday evening, in an ambulance, and we spent a rather long 3 days in the hospital while she recovered from what ended up being… pneumonia!

New rituals

The girls have a play kitchen in their room.  Two ovens, a sink, a box full of cups, silverware, ‘food’, and plates.

Every night for the past few weeks after dinner, we all troop upstairs, sit around the picnic blanket and order something from our waitress (Lily).  Tea, coffee, hot chocolate, her cafe has it all.  There are grapes, donuts, french fries, all kinds of food to choose from.

My Wednesday activity with Lily this week was to make a menu for her cafe.  And old business card holder, some pens, pencils, and paper, and voila, a menu was made.  She *loves* it.  We all sit around, order, drink our tea, eat our food.  Evie plays along, the baby rolls around on the floor.  It is a beautiful, simple, way to end the day.  Together.  Having fun.  And listening to the giggles of my girls.

Bandit

My dog died yesterday and I am really devastated.  

He was my rock living here in France before I had kids.  He saw us get married, went on numerous vacations with us (skiing, Italy, road trips around France, I flew him back and forth to the US a few times…)  He saw us bring home 3 babies from the hospital, and transitionned from being the “only” baby, to the furbaby at the bottom of the totem pole.  He moved 3 times with us, and went to the “dentist” more often then I ever have in France.  He was my walking partner, my shadow, my friend…  He was a silent (well, non speaking) witness to our transition into a family and was a great part of it.  I’ll miss him forever.

Here’s to hoping wherever his spirit is now there is a nice, hot, sunny porch with lots of beds for him to lounge in and lots of mini tennis balls to play with. 

2014

A new year, a blog.

I hope to keep track of our year here.

I don’t know that I want to make resolutions, but I do have a few overall goals for the year.

Simplify.  Less stuff.  More activities with the girls.  I am challenging myself to work *only* the hours I am paid for at my work at home job.  More pictures.  Blogging.  I’d like to start and finish even one knitting project.  I need to print pictures and do albums for each of my girls.  I’d like to find (and buy) a new to me sewing machine to try my hand at it.

And, that is all.  Because that is already a pretty full plate, and some fairly important lifestyle changes!