August 28th (shout out to my brother whose birthday is today HAPPY BIRTHDAY JARED)

Well as I write this, it is 7 pm Monday evening. We have been in France for almost a week. I was incredibly unprepared for several things on our flight to France. One which was the fact that I was taking two carry on suitcases that I then had to lug around myself as my five-year-old could not and would not have been able to carry one of those things herself. Two…the fact that I am carrying around two carry on suitcases, two backpacks…and trying to keep track of my very curious daughter who would frequently slow down to stare and point at things, ask millions of questions….and quite frequently managed to trip over her shoes causing her to stumble several times in every place we were. The third thing is the jet lag… of course I knew going in that I would need to adjust to a new timezone as would Evangeline but what I forgot or neglected to consider was also the change in other schedules…such as eating or restroom schedules. Any habit or routines you are accustomed to…go out the window when you change to an 8 hour time difference. Your friends you are used to keeping contact with are generally asleep when you wake up and working during the middle of the day and then as you are getting ready to sleep yourself their evening and free time has come. Several adjustments that I did not consider when coming, not that any of these would have deterred me but I might have prepared a bit better than I did.

I am pleased to announce that despite these things each night has been significantly better sleep-wise, Evangeline still fights naps and refuses to admit when she is tired but I know better and she sleeps like a rock. She is curious about our new home. She went right to setting up her room after we got here, she’s wormed her way into the hearts of the people we have already met, and she’s nervous for school but I think ready for the challenge.

I am lucky enough to know someone in the area whose family has all but taken us under their wing since we arrived. They have shown us around and given us advice. Are helping me with getting things squared away. It’s been amazing and the scenery here is gorgeous. Green, with mountains rising up everywhere I look. Rivers and lakes surround the city and the city itself is very much what I would expect an old French city to look like. Brick and stone buildings, cobblestone roads, lots of shops, bakeries, cheese shops, markets with fresh…Everything… I haven’t explored much of the city yet, I am waiting until Evangeline is in school so I can explore a bit without worrying about what she is doing. It will give me a chance to be more comfortable with my surroundings and make me more confident when showing her around.

Our apartment is very small, with a kitchenette literally the size of a small coat closet and the bathroom maybe twice that size. But I love it as it will really challenge me to live a more minimalistic lifestyle. I have a mini fridge, a two burner stove, and a microwave with no food storage space at all. So I’ve improvised. 😀

Now that a sleep schedule is getting underway the next step is to acclimate to the town and the food which is significantly different from American food in the fact that most of it is fresh. This city is surrounded by vineyards, farms, and ranches plus the fresh food market that is hosted just down the street two days a week. Most of the food that I’ve had so far is missing sugar. If you want sweet yogurt, you have to add sugar. Milk is kept in plastic bottles that don’t need to be refrigerated, eggs are kept the same way (this was not so weird for me), and the varieties of cheese available here is just…incredible. Evangeline has been less than enthusiastic about food here unless its bread with chocolate in it… hahaha.

I am able to pick up more things in French than I could a few days ago, I am more confident in speaking some things in French and thankfully my very rudimentary and basic knowledge of the language has helped quite a bit but I am excited to learn more and not only understand but fully communicate in French. I am using more French terminology with Evangeline and she’ll ask me “what does that mean” so I’ll tell her. She beginning to recognize phrases such as

Je ne sais pas (I don’t know)

Oui (yes)

Merci (thank you)

Basic things…and she’s more comfortable using these phrases herself now… it’s just the start. I look forward to watching her progress when she starts school. She will start teaching me things and I am excited to watch her grow.