Following our fun ski weekend in Andorra, we settled back in for a lovely weather week of double digits and some sunshine, which was a welcome change from the clouds and rain. That said, I am ok to not have to contend with snow - it makes a difference, for sure. Working not to sound like I'm complaining. Felt a bit like an early week of spring.
The girls had an early in the week surprise of their new ipad minis arriving early - unfortunately for them, some earlier unwelcomed behaviour meant they had to wait until Friday to open them. There was drama however, better behaviour has held so hopefully the message has been received.
My treat of the week was booking a weekend trip to Paris in early April to cheer on Denise in her marathon - we decided a weekend didn't afford the whole family much time to see the city, especially as Marco will be just starting his internship that week - so we'll do more family time in Paris before our year is up.
Easyjet flight booked - that's easy - next on to finding a hotel close to the others who'd already booked and not too expensive - not so easy. Very luckily for me, Scout (Treva) is always up for the challenge and the best service I've found yet to find great deals meeting exactly the search criteria with all personal considerations covered. A compliment for sure to find out later that others might be switching to my hotel too. Now looking forward to a bit of time in Paris in April.
Wednesday morning I agreed to try a spin class in a pool with my French girlfriend - Aquagym - and it's just as it sounds. Glad I tried and will look to make it a more regular occurance.
Thursday I was back to class with Elena's room - we spent 1/2 hour talking again abouth phrases you need to know when going on vacation and the kids had most fun pretending to order meals at a restaurant - and a conversation tutoring walk in the park with El's classmate Thomas and the girls.
Friday heralded the arrival of a new month with a new opportunity.
I'd spent research time through the week trying to find a more formal French class I could attend without breaking the bank as though I get to the market to chat as well as the occassional visit with a friend, my serious work on French conversation has been lagging a bit at the start of the year with less time interacting. Funny how the world provides what you need - I found a newcomers to Toulouse association, set up in an office right at my local Marche des Carmes - which does just this... helps those new to Toulouse to find opportunities to connect. They have a French conversation class on Friday mornings and even intro Italian classes on Monday mornings. Along with lots of regular meeting times, outings and social activities.
I walked on with purpose on Friday morning and found a welcoming spot - two Americans, a Brit and a German, all who've come to Toulouse for their own reasons and are looking to profit from their opportunity. Barbara, the elderly Parisian woman who led was sweet if not a bit school marm-ish but very warm hearted. Patrick, the joking gang leader who regularly runs the class popped in to puckishly cause some disturbance and mostly find out who would join lunch after. A lovely time and what I was looking for - another social outlet which will still afford me time to work on my French. Yayy!! Now, if only a bit of work would be as easy to sort! Still need to get on that bit.
The weekend weather was less agreeable so we kept local and wandered the Fete des Violettes (always a festival in Toulouse) which celebrates the chosen flower of the city. As you'd expect, flower displays and lots of goods - food and otherwise - made with violets and/or their essence/scent.
The girls and I also took advantage of the once per monthly Sunday free entrance to the Musee des Augustins to refresh ourselves with art, sculptures and relics.
As our time continues in France, we are in equal parts thankful for new opportunities and also missing friends and connections and comforts of home. Marco and I still worry for the girls' lack of social connection out of school time - and for ourselves as well.
As we see, you get what you get and it's up to each of us to make the best of what we've got.
And the news? We finally had confirmed that Geneva has in fact won the art contest she'd entered - though you know this as I've yelled it from the rooftops ;) We're invited to a Thursday evening meeting/presentation for the formalities. Still very proud.
A la prochaine,