This has been a week filled with fun and friends.
It started on Monday with the girls and I joining Marco's Master's gang at his university for Chinese dinner night - each country represented has the students preparing a meal for the rest of the class.
The six Chinese students made yummy Chinese version of pho - broth in which they cooked fish dumplings, lamb meat slices, daikon, potatoes - very tasty. It was lovely getting to meet all of Marco's colleagues who we hear so much about each week.
En route to arriving at the party, we learned that Geneva has been selected as 1 of 4, and 1 of 2 kids, for her original painting which she submitted to a local contest. SO PROUD!!
If you've not yet voted for her on facebook, you do have until Dec 14 to do so and encourage all your friends. Think we've determined first prize for the kids' section is an Xbox - likely will see how we can convert this into Euros ;)
I had to rush off from the dinner (which didn't end up turning out to work) to meet my dear longtime friend Ken at the train station as he joined us for a visit on his French odyssey. Sadly, I was an hour late getting there as there really aren't any buses leaving from Marco's university in the south side of the city after 7 p.m., travelling to a Metro stop so I could get to the north/central trains station.
Thank goodness for Wi-Fi (please pronounce as Weee-Feee) connections and fb so Ken knew to hang out.
Tuesday we did some great visiting in the city and then Ken had the privilege (?) of keeping my girls occupied while I had Geneva's Professor meetings - parent/teacher interviews with the 8 Professors of her subject classes. Pleased to say that she is across the board seen as a hard working, well mannered, serious student and a pleasure to be in class. Along with doing well, in spite of her language disadvantage. Yayy Geneva, two big scores this week.
Wednesday the girls are half day but this week, Elena had a full day off for a teacher PA day - actually rescheduled from this coming week so a film crew could shoot a movie inside their school. Exciting and whistful for me.
Ken and I took the morning casually then had the girls join in a lovely afternoon cafe lunch plus wander of the city.
Thursday, Ken decided to get back on the walking trail, which he'd been doing in Normandy, so left us for a walkabout for two days.
I resumed my English teaching duties, both with Elena's class and with Thomas, my tutoring charge.
I realized how much I enjoy it and enjoy my time with the kids - I think the same can be said both ways.
Friday was a relaxing down day - needed it.
Saturday was a funny adventure - we met Ken in the town he'd walked to west of the city - L'Isle Jourdain - fantastic Saturday market - and then made our way south to the Pyrenees to share with Ken the beauty plus pleasure of thermal baths. Wouldn't you know this is the two week window when all the thermal baths in the Pyrenees close for break as it's after school vacation and before Noel?! And ALL of them close - we know as we drove to the next town over just to check. That said, we were introduced to Luchon and some lovely driving so made it worth a trip, even if we didn't get to take the waters.
I shared Sunday morning market at St Aubin today with Ken - so great - and we found the musical man from the day previous in L'Isle Jourdain at our Sunday market here along with the guy from whom I bought the two plates I treasure at home on my last trip here 5 years ago - very exciting for me. Resisted buying anything more - just barely.
We didn't resist buying some yummy market food and shared Aligot (this version of mashed potatoes and Tomme cheese also had other bits so was more like delicious hash browns) along with kicker sausage/pepper paella on yellow rice. Oohh soo good!!
I pushed the afternoon agenda to drive north one hour to the town of Albi - everyone thanked me after as it was gorgeous. Beautiful old bridges, a stunning castle, fantastic church with an entrance that almost looked Gaudi-like. Also the home and museum dedicated to Henri Toulouse-Latrec which we didn't even make it to - we just had lovely wanderings - so clearly we'll have to go back.
Ended our day with a tasty chicken dinner - a nod to American Thanksgiving - however no turkey as my local market vendor had sold out already to all the Americans here. Funny.
We also made ourselves mulled wine, which we'd sampled at the brasserie the day before in Luchon and it afforded me the chance to meet the local wine shop guy at Carmes market whom I not yet stopped at. We did actually buy a litre of local wine out of his huge cask, which he filled into a water bottle. 1 litre = 1 euro 50. Seriously. And it was tasty even before we corrupted it with carmelized brown sugar, cinammon, lemon and heat.
Tough life I'm leading here.
While dinner was on the go, our awesome neighbours in Toronto skyped us into the local Santa parade going on down our Toronto street. Definitely do miss these kinds of local activities and fun with friends.
Can't have it all.
Did I mention it was 18 degrees yesterday and today?
Enjoy what you've got when you've got it, yes?
Here we go - on to almost December. Wow!
Until next week - bisous et a la prochaine semaine,