lundi 29 octobre 2012

week nine - the ups and downs AND two months in

The start of this week greeted with much anticipation - the arrival of Treva and Jordon - yayy!
Monday was all planned as cleaning and sorting as I awaited our guests. Sadly, British Airways had other plans. Without spending too much ink on the ups and downs, my awaited guests were forced to fly into fogged out and frenzied Heathrow - the eye of the storm - which ground them to a halt. They did however get to spend a night with Denise in advance of 5 hours in line on Tuesday to determine that..... they would, in fact, fly to Toulouse that day, one day late and only 1 and 1/2 days to spend here.
We did make the best of it and as Wednesday was 25 degrees and gorgeous, we soaked it in.
Along side this, we are all fighting bits of cold or something, mostly, pre-holiday ready for a break-ness.
The girls were in full on countdown mode and as Geneva had bits of classes cancelled during the week, she realized she really only had 2 full days of classes this week. No bother.
My English class was another round of head shaking as I received a call on Thursday morning from Elena's teaching letting me know that the kids were all tired and it was a bit cool anyway so best we not take our planned walk in the local park for class that afternoon. But not to worry, she had an idea (not that she actually shared it with me). As I was running catch up errands that morning, after I finished cursing under my breath - still in English but did throw in a Merde! just for flavour - I looked down at all the lovely big leaves on the ground and decided on a project.
So the kids were treated to me talking about all the things we would have seen in the park - with their inputs, of course - and then writing the English names on the board, along with reasonable facsimile drawings of their likenesses. Following that, I pulled out my bag of leaves and tracing paper so the kids could colour shade the leaves under the paper. Think they thought that part was fun too.
Mme's game came last as we played "Qui je suis? Who am I" with me taking turns describing someone in class in English - what they look like, what they were wearing, where they sat - and the kids guessed.
Had thought about discussing Halloween in Canada but it's not so encouraged at our Catholic school so we just agreed that when we returned from two weeks' vacation, we'd discussed what everyone did.
Our Friday evening dinner plans at Geneva's friends' house were resurrected this week so we trudged over in the rain to la maison d'Isabelle, Serge, Constance et Alexandra - about a 15 minute walk from our apartment.
And my friends, you'll be pleased to know that the "Mariotti 15" - as in, we seem to arrive 15 minutes after the appointed/agreed meeting time - is in full effect here in Toulouse. And in fact, it's more like 1/2 hour, as in if someone proposes a time to come over, you can arrive within 30 minutes post - which is why the SMS message invitation said "aperitifs vers 19h30" - near 7:30. These people are our kindred spirits :)
We had an absolutely knock out evening - their house is lovely, they are spirited and fun, and they also invited their very good friends over, Olivier the lawyer and his wife (who we're all still debating what her name is as we can't quite remember but she was lovely and spirited too).
Everyone was super complementary of our French, as we did speak French all evening, and I got a big shout out for bringing along Maureen's appies (baguette topped with jam, basil, brie and proscuitto) which featured some of my homemade fig or pear jam.
The girls had fun with Constance and her twin sister so we all fully enjoyed - and stayed too late as Elena was a bear to get home. Woke up yesterday morning and I think my abs hurt from laughing - both good and bad as also shows how sadly out of shape they are!
This week also brought new boots for the girls as we start to get into real fall weather. Most aptly put by Denise - "freaked out that the girls have boots now that I would like to wear." Exactly!
So now we're into holiday mode - have rented movies from the library to have a lazy weekend and as yesterday + today are very cool - starting at 3 degrees in the morning and only getting up to 9 - we've been laying low and enjoying the spoils. I pulled off roasted curried squash soup + cabbage rolls on Sat night and magret de canard + potatoes fried in some of the duck fat last night - rocked them! - along with creme catalan for dessert (a southern - and tastier in my opinion - version of creme brulee or creme caramel).
They don't have Halloween here, save the candy stores trying to sell more goods, but the girls have put together some Halloween costumes from their stocks - Elena will be an angel and Geneva a devil - not sure where they will be wearing as we'll be here in Toulouse on Wednesday. Likely will have to wait until after our morning meeting at the Immigration office.
Ok, need to go decide if we're going to drive to Bordeaux to the north today or Pyrenees to the south for a road trip - we need to get out of the apartment as the girls didn't leave yesterday and by evening, it was getting ugly.
Later this week, will get onto more planning for Christmas - did I mention we'll be 11 all together and 15 for dinner? Oh you know me - I love a good party! More later. Til then
A la prochaine semaine.

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