Hues of blue and gray

Be it the skies or the water, my eyes have been attracted to the different hues of blue lately.  La Bretagne really knows how to show off if you know to look!  A few sights that have caught my attention lately…

Daoulas at dusk…

IMG_7853

 

Mushroom hunting!

IMG_7808

 

The day Brittany had yellow skies…

IMG_7785

 

Sit and think a bit…?

IMG_7742

Advertisements

Bientôt Française…?

As wife to a Frenchman, mother to Franco-American children, the idea of becoming a bi-nationaux is something I’ve been considering for quite some time. As the world we live in sometimes feels stranger and stranger, filled with less certainty, an more confusion, I decided it was a step I was ready to take.  I have been in France for many years, soon enough, I’ll have lived in France longer then I lived in the US, so I really do consider myself half French, half American.  Or, maybe I should say 100% French and 100% American?  Whatever the percentages, my identity is split between the two now, and carrying both nationalities satisfies parts of my identity, being and soul.  I carry both in my heart, one is my roots, the other are my branches.

Once I had decided to move forward, I wrote to my préfecture to inquire about the exact requirements.  I knew I had the basic requirements to apply as the spouse of a French person, but each préfecture has a slightly different process, or requirements, and they all function a bit differently.  (Mine requires files to be sent in via AR with a chronopost envelope in case they must return your file to you, others prefer a rendez-vous to drop off your file in person, so if you are interested in requesting nationality, I recommend checking with your own, local, préfecture before starting anything).

They got back to me rather fast, and with the list of paperwork required in hand, I got to work locating everything.  Luckily, it was the start of the school year, when I finally found myself with free mornings!  I started compiling my dossier, which I finally completed end of October and send off to the préfecture early November.  In total it took about 2 months to get it together, with some help from my parents as I needed copies of their birth certificates, along with the “usual suspects” when dealing with French Administration- recent bills, impôts, acte de naissance, copies of IDs, self addressed pre-stamped envelopes…  But nothing all that daunting, in fact, I think the list is quite similar for a ten year carte de séjour.

A few months of running down to the mailbox as soon as the postman had come by, I was almost suprised one day to find an envelope in my mailbox written to me, in my own handwriting!  The préfecture wrote to let me know that my file is complét (whew!!) and next I’ll be called in for an entretien d’assimilation.

So, while not a fast process, it is one that is moving forward.  I’m busy now reviewing my knowledge of French history, but I’m not concerned.  I’ll update as the process evolves, watch this space!

Affaire à suivre…

Les vacances d’hiver

Ahhh, les vacances d’hiver.  Pure bliss.  6 weeks after Christmas/New Years break the French schools have a 2 week break.  A friend in the US with some French family roots that still run deep calls this “national ski week”, which is actually fairly apt and concise of an explanation.  A lot of families head over to les alps or the Pyrénées for a week of skiing during this winter break.  It is a lot of fun, but it can be pricey when you are a famille nombreuse!  We do like to go, and try to go now and then, but not this year for us!  Maybe next year?  Instead, we’ve spent the first week working on paperwork, making glorious messes, some local tourism, I’m hopeful that we will maybe get some lights hung and a few other odd jobs this weekend, Mama likes to dream!…

We took our three valentines out to lunch on Valentine’s day.  Inadvertently we ended up at a crêpe place that seemed to be hosting a valentines lunch for a 70+ year old crowd.  We were the youngest ones there by several decades, including the patrons, the chef and even the serveur.  After, we took the girls out to the Pointe du Raz.  The “end of the Earth” as they say here.  It was a beautiful, sunny, day, though a bit windy.  (I wish I could share some pictures but I’m struggling to get them to load- I’ll keep trying so check back!)

And, as quickly as it started our week as a group of 5 ended and Papa headed back to work.  Our week of just girls was a bit less productive, but we rested, snuggled, got some paperwork sorted (new passports, galore!) and all that that entails.

Monday is back to school for the girls, and time for me to clean the house, top to bottom, and work on some of my other obligations!  My parents are coming for a visit at the end of April so I have to get the house together!  This involves hopefully hanging what little art we have on the walls, putting in light fixtures in, well, pretty much every room in the house (still!), and mopping floors, clearing dust from corners and all the exciting chores that never seem to make it to the top of the list among all the regular chores!

One year later

One year in Brittany and the bilan is overwhelmingly positive.  I haven’t worked in the garden as much as I would have liked to.  I’m still a few boxes short of having sorted everything we have, mainly too small girls clothing but I am still holding out on actually getting ride of those (a hearts secret hope, maybe, or perhaps a bit of folie, it is what it is, I am not ready to get rid of anything, yet)…

Our village was very welcoming to us.  The girls love their school.  They have friends.  And so do I.  As many expats can attest to, making friends, your own friends, can sometimes be difficult.  I have been lucky to have made friends in France fairly easily from the start, but many were girlfriends of my husbands friends.  I am lucky to have them, even still many moves later, I count them as great friends, women I can count on, women who I witnessed becoming mothers, and vice versa.  But these friends, here, in our village, are my own. I have found them, and befriended them, on my own.  We have some things in common, children in the same school, but they are kind, they invite me to events, send me text messages, check in with me if we haven’t seen each other in a few days, they would pick up my children from school if needed, who would watch them if I had an appointment.  And it feels good.

I am invited to the girls classrooms to read or play games in English fairly regularly.  I was asked to read at the library (albeit for now in French; but I hope to start an English story time now and then).  I Zumba with the village ladies once a week, walk with the school on a hike weekly as well.  I go to the weekly market for the organic goat cheese, fruit and vegetables, the roast chickens, the cheese monger for the thick cream and eggs and beautiful cheese choices.  I know the local supermarket ladies, my neighbors, the postman.  This village has become our own.

I still let myself dream of a little chateau, or many acres with a farmhouse, animals, and extensive vegetable gardens, or even the field behind our house to add to our own 1.25 acres.  But I am content, happy, and in a place in my life I enjoy, and we are so lucky to be here, right now.

 

Summer solstice, sous la pluie

It is Brittany after all…  So, like clockwork the slight drizzle of rain and gray skies have filled the day of the summer solstice.  A sunny first day of summer would be just a bit too much to ask, it seems.

We couldn’t see the full moon last night, I wish we could have.  The rain finally cleared out  this afternoon, clear skies would be too much to ask for, but I was able to hang out my laundry.  At least my vegetable garden is got some water without me needing to haul it down…

I’ve been trying to savior each season for what it has, and brings.  It is a bit of an exercise in Brittany when seasons can resemble each other quite a bit- variation isn’t huge.  But it is most often doux, which is also appreciable.  I’ve been really practicing flipping everything on its head to see the good side.

Onwards through Summer and the approach of Fall, la roue tourne.  Time goes by so fast, a blink of an eye, and things are always changing, and some, always constant.

My garden is growing.  It is simple, since it is my first real, dedicated, potager.  Some squash, several tomato plants, salads, potimarron, bell peppers, courgettes, carrots…  The papi that lived here before had some gorgeous artichoke plants that are doing well, and some raspberry plants that also seem to do well.  I put in some verveine, mint, lavender, sage, basil, coriander, aloe vera..  I think of it as my miniature “medicinals” and first aid, along with basic herbals.  I really get a lot of pleasure walking down every day, see what everything looks like, pulling out weeds.  Another way to mark the seasons, and the wonder that is mother nature.