dimanche 18 novembre 2012

weeks eleven and twelve - fin de vacance de Toussaint and back to it

My blog has suffered a bit with vacation absence - desole - however, as all my students are back to it this week, I'm reinstating my Sunday blog date. Let's catch up...
On arriving back from our fab time in London, the girls realized the end of vacation neared and began to melt down anew with the prospect of going back to school. Didn't matter that we still had a great weekend get away ahead of us with our Irish/Spanish friends. The return to school loomed large - mostly the things they don't like - and the anxiety of going back was tough.
We got past it - mostly with the reassurance that vacance de Noel is a mere 6 weeks away with visitors arriving in less than a month (and now sooner). Was a minor salve to the bitter pill.
That said, we did have a fantastic weekend away. Thank goodness for our dear new friend, Eimer, also history teacher, who fashioned us a lovely gite to stay at near Boussac; an itinerary filled with the prettiest village in France (St Cirque Lapopie), one of the most famous pre-historic grottes (caves) in the world with knock your head off beauty and amazing prehistoric cave paintings - some massive in scope (Grotte Pech Merle), a museum dedicated to the local Frenchman who discovered the Rosetta Stone along with deciphering hieroglyphics (in Figeac), and one of the more famous pilgrimage stops in France (Rocamadour); along with hilarious company, loads of laughs and some amazing food.
We drove 1 1/2 hrs north of Toulouse to la vallee de Lot - beautiful views of fairly high hills (maybe low mountains) surrounded by lush green valleys with the Celee river running through. Gave us pause to feel a bit like we were in Ireland with the lush of the green and all the stone houses + fences around. Very different views from Toulouse - again, so interesting to be such a short distance from home and in what feels like very different country.
The joke for us about "the most beautiful village in France" was that our family never actually saw it in daylight. With all the timings, we ended up driving through it at dusk twice then stopping for dinner once. What we saw was lovely and I'm sure we'll need to go back to try again. And can I pause for a moment to note my very first black truffle omelete - we were in truffe country! - along with some pretty lovely foie gras?! Ahhh... (full on exercise mode must start soon!!).
Pictures on facebook - help yourself to them :)
We stayed up so late both nights that by the time we returned home, later than planned on Sunday night, the girls were so exhausted they had no time to fret or fuss and straight to bed/sleep.
Monday morning came with minor consternation from all 3 students in the house but life goes on.
And girls, on returning to school, realized it's not such a prison - much more worry built up in their heads.
I had a break from English class with Elena's CM1's this week as they had a pre-planned visit to the Musee des Augustins to see the gargoyles and replicate drawings of them. Geneva's class also had a museum visit - St Raymond - to study archeology. Guess the profs needed a slow build back into school as well.
Marco has received marks for his early exams and he's pacing up to where he needs to be. This past week was a tough one in terms of subject matter. However, the one bright point was that his exam was shifted to Thursday rather than Friday so less time to stress and a Friday that he could just do labs in and come home in a happier space.
I caught up on errands, laundry, domestic stuff - for those on fb, you'll have noted my title upgrade to Chef de Famille (a potentially less derogatory term than femme au foyer). I also caught up with mom friends, highly necessary as my French was beginning to slide after two weeks of parlez en Anglais. Friday, I took an hour to walk in a southerly direction after school drop off to see a neighbourhood I hadn't wandered in yet. I do really enjoy the beauty of the new city we are sharing for the year.
We kept our weekend plans to a minimum this week. We all needed some down time. I got to a new outdoor market today - St Aubin - and it's a big one.
The girls and I had another comedy routine (twice really) getting to a local pool by transit. Yesterday, we took some time to find our bus stop, coming out of the metro, only to realize that the bus only runs every hour and the next one wouldn't get us there in time. We considered walking but the driver assured us it was a long way up a steep hill. Today, we found the right schedule and bus, only to have the instructions drop us 2 stops later than necessary and we had a good hike to get back to the pool which was open today. Oh well, folly for our stories.
Christmas decorations are going up here and I'm in great anticipation of the Christmas market which will take over the Capitole square soon. Also now greatly anticipating the slate of visitors we have on tap, starting tomorrow and not ending until we get through vacance de Noel. Fantastique!
Hoping you're all well as we approach 3 months in Toulouse. Wow! Makes us realize both how quickly time flies, how we have to keep appreciating the time we have here, and truly how much we do miss our good friends and family at home. If we've not talked in recent times, know we continue to think of you.
Bisous et a la prochaine semaine,

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