Monday, 30 May 2011

Singing, cake, beer and Germany!

On Friday night, Les Nancy Gospel Singers, the STARS, Kaleidoscope and Africarel gave a concert in a huge modern church in one of the small towns surrounding Nancy. It was incredible. The Stars are such amazing witnesses to the love and joy of God! Their simple love for Christ and for one another is so completely evident, as is their joy of life. I felt so completely full of joy as we were singing together, singing God's praises to all who watched.
This choir is another reason why I love being here so much! The people are so amazing and it's wonderful to be part of such a great group! I never imagined this!

Saturday morning was not so great. We got up super early to head to Germany for F's family re-union. I was grumpy because the shower was not free until it was time to I didn't get one. The children wanted my pillow in the car. I gave it to them to keep the peace. The children wanted my ipod. Again, peace was more important..also its harder to say no when the parents are there! Then Mr 4 year old was being such an incredible brat the entire way and screaming sat directly behind me. Needless to say, we arrived about midday at the farm belonging to F's cousin and I had a banging headache. I don't like to moan normally, but it really was awful. The 4-year-old's behaviour at home is continuing to deteriorate. Meanwhile, at school he remains an angel! HOW IS THIS? I continue to pray for wisdom and patience and I thank God for forgiveness. :)

Anyway, the day totally got better and the children really enjoyed themselves! F's cousin has four kids who are 15, 19, 21 and 22 and they are all really cool and speak amazing English! They are such a friendly family. As were the rest of the 80-odd people who turned up for coffee and amazing German cakes in the old barn in the afternoon! It was really great to meet them all, although there was a lot of nodding and smiling and 'yahs' on my part as most of the people spoke no English or French! F's lovely parents were there though and his brother and sister's families so there were some French people to speak to!
It was a really great party! We played team games, drunk German beer and ate lots of amazing food! I got on really well with the young people, and all-in-all it was a great time! I felt very welcome and privileged to have had the opportunity! Also eager to learn German!
I did have to sleep in a room with the kids though and they were very noisy - kept waking up and being really noisy and they woke the whole house up in the morning! The journey back as also a nightmare. VERY hot and there were bad traffic jams. When we finally arrived back in Nancy, about 8pm I headed straight to Krista and Jonathan's to be with the gang! It was good to see everyone. The other choir people had been in Strasbourg with the STARS - it sounded amazing, so I'm sorry to have missed it, but I did get my first experience of Germany, and it was GOOD :)

Photos to follow :)

Today I have been hanging out wit Betsy all day, and after school, I took the children for a picnic in the park which kept them entertained. We had to shelter in the shade though - it was 30oc today!

Mum and Dad arrive for a visit tomorrow! I can't wait to see them!!

Much love and God bless xxx

Friday, 27 May 2011

Yesterday, today, tomorrow

Yesterday betsy cut my hair - she is a mean hairdresser and it saved me a packet!! Thank you so much! We also drunk Monacos at Les Artistes with Laura - what a beaut!

Today I taught English, ate lunch with Krista and Noelle and had stuff thrown at me by a disobedient 4-year-old. He was told off by his father and myself and he said sorry. I got let off early so I could get ready for the concert tonight!

Tomorrow I will be accompanying the family to a big fat german family reunion! ....exciting times!

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

2 months left

...and I'm booking my travel back home for the end of July. I feel sick.
I also nearly cried when I was talking to F+S about leaving last night.
This means ...


Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Today I got the kids loving worship music. It was a good day! Worship music in French and English! My little girl is now wandering around singing 'Beni Soit Ton Nom.' ('Blessed be Your Name.') Fantastic! I have also been teaching the children about Jesus's teachings. No.1 'Turn the other cheek.' Quite understandably as children, (and as humans, let's be serious) they like to take the 'eye for an eye' approach. I am trying to teach them that this is not the way to be. Jesus said so. This is actually starting to work. I explained this last night, and today was a good day, almost no fighting and practically uneventful. I might add that I thoroughly enjoyed the children's company and we did lots of art activities together and read stories!

This evening, I am staying in. It is much needed. Last night, we again hung at Ian and Maria's and played games. I was the only single person there. I also felt like a 5th wheel - not that I mind at all! It was great fun as usual!
This weekend, I am joining the family in going to F's family 'festival' in Germany. Apparently he has A LOT of cousins. I think it's going to be 'hilarant.' (hilarious!!)

Much love to all.
I am missing home a lot today I think. Or the people.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Poorly child

Number two (nearly-5-year-old) is poorly with a fever, sore throat and is being sick. Oh dear. So today I am looking after him. I don't really know what to do after taking his temperature, (it was 39.7 - eeek) apart from keep him drinking lots of water and resting him up. This is now the third child that has stayed home ill with me. I assumed that he would get sick at some point and although I feel very sorry for him, he is an excellent ill person. He isn't complaining at all and is really being very sweet - it makes a change from his normal self. That said, I really hope he makes a fast recovery as it's horrible seeing him poorly.

Monday, 23 May 2011


I dont think I ever want to leave Nancy.
I just love it :D I still miss home though...a lot.
What a strange situation!
Tonight we sung our hearts out at Gospel Choir with all the STARS from Chicago It was just awesome. Who'd have thought that you could ever find something like this in a city in France?

Bon nuit :)

Visiting a strange country...

Randomly, Betsy and I decided to go to Luxembourg at the weekend. We booked train tickets and a hotel the week before, and on Friday evening, about 8pm, we set off on a train to Luxembourg. The first thing that happened is that we struck up conversation with a very friendly French guy. However, when he got off the train at Metz, we refused to give him our details. This seems to happen too much! The second thing was that when we crossed the border into Luxembourg, our phones had no reception. They just didn't work at all. We really were in a different country! When we arrived into Luxembourg, it was just about dark. It was strange too, everything was written in English, French or a strange Germanic language - presumably Luxembourgish! ( It was all rather funny, seeing as we'd just spent less than an hour and a half on a train and it felt like a totally different country. We used the google map I had printed to find our hotel. When we got there they were just about to shut up for the night - thanks to God we got there in time! We started to speak to the woman behind the desk in French, until we heard her discussing with her colleague in English and realised that she spoke that better! They realised that they had upgraded our room to a 'suite' by accident (hilarious as we had paid a fairly small price for the room!) We decided not to head out and to enjoy our suite as we had it and it was already pretty late. We had some wine from the mini-bar and sat on the windowsill of the hotel and chatted. Later on we had some prayer time together and hit the hay!
I just want to emphasise how much we both appreciate this friendship we have together. It is so completely blessed and I know we will miss each other so much when we both leave Nancy. I think we have become better friends through the situation! We spend so much time together and can really talk about everything and be completely ourselves!

The next morning I had a bit of a nasty cold - again. I think its a combination of being tired all the time and the kids! Anyway, we had an amazing breakfast - which was included in the hotel price - and was basically a bit of an all-you-can-eat opportunity. Luxembourgish breakfast consisted of: pastries, cereal, fruit juice and yoghurts with cold meats and cheese and boiled eggs. Interesting.

Anyway, we headed out into the city, grabbed a map and started towards the old town. It was, again, a really lovely warm day! There seemed to be a massive street market on that day, so we did a bit of browsing through the stalls. Later we came across the Old Town. Its sort of built around a valley, and this bit of town was in the valley. It was really beautiful and quiet. Lots of narrow cobbled streets and nothing at all like busy Nancy. To be honest, we weren't really feeling being hard-core tourists, so we just lazed around on some grass under a bit of a gorge and I made a daisy chain for my hair because I felt like being a bit of a hippy. Later on, we found a bit of a food fair thing, and ate burritos, french fries, chocolate covered pear and drank Sangria. Quite the mix!
What else did we do? We found the old city wall, decided not to pay to go into the crypt, saw the Abbey, sat with our feet in a fountain and just generally enjoyed wandering around the city. It was really a lot quieter than I imagined and really multicultural. We found a really beautiful square with lots of restaurants and a big band playing in the bandstand where we stopped to listen and dance and sing long inappropriately! Then we wandered back through the market and bought a load of sweets. we shared a huge long snake, wandering along with one end each in our mouths and really not caring how we looked! We then had a really great time chilling in a park and praying about things. I guess we both have a lot to think about future-wise an praying about it together is really great!
Then we went back to the hotel to get our stuff. The guy on the desk said we could have the drinks from the mini-bar for free so that was a bonus! We decided to eat on the nice square and picked a Mexican place and shared some yummy food while listening to another band playing a great variety of music...including a medley of Phil Collins! It was a bizarre multi-cultural experience. We noted as we sat there drinking coffee that:

"We are drinking Italian coffee in a Mexican restaurant in Luxembourg, listening to a live band playing Gershwin. We are speaking French although we are English and American, but there are so many other languages being spoken."

It really was a very cosmopolitan place and great for a visit. We both felt though, as we arrived back in Nancy at 12:30am Sunday morning, that we were coming home. And how good that felt.

We also had a really awesome day on Sunday. A group of American people with Down Syndrome (the STARS) have arrived to stay for a week with people from the church, to attend conferences and sing with our choir. They were at the church in the morning, and we had a celebration service for them later on in the afternoon with testimonies and music and aperitif afterwards. The stories were truly inspirational and I think that we're going to be really blessed having them here. I love our Church here in Nancy. It is such a great family, and such a blessing.
After that, the normal bunch headed back to Betsy's and we sung gospel songs on the way back. In fact, we kept randomly breaking out into song through most of the evening as we ate together and played games! It was a really nice evening, but again a late one. After dropping the children off at school today, I came back and slept for most of the morning. Sleep really does get pushed to one side when you've got more fun things to be doing, but I must make more of an effort to get a few early nights in the next couple of days! However, I feel very happy to not be in the situation I was in last year, finishing my degree.

Thinking of everyone with exams and deadlines this week. Keep strong everyone, push through, it will soon be over! Praying for you.

I hope everyone has a really great week!

Lucy xxx

Friday, 20 May 2011

balade a velo!

I have finally braved cycling in Nancy!! Although the traffic is a bit mental, and there are a lot of one-way systems, Nancy is pretty velo-friendly! There are lots of cycle lanes on the roads and there are cyclists everywhere! I just have to keep telling myself to keep right!!
So on Tuesday, Laura, Betsy and myself decided to pack a picnic and take a little cycle over to the canal and river area on the other side of town. We actually found ourselves pretty quickly in the countryside and enjoyed a really sunny ride amongst the trees and wild flowers.

We also had a very lovely picnic next to the river in the sunshine and chat chat chatted!So now I have experienced the joy of cycling in Nancy, I think I will take the bike out more often. It's a great free way of getting around, quicker than walking and better exercise! Fear of cycling in the city: conquered!

In other news....
This week has been slightly better with the children. Wednesday was a lot better this week, and we spent a lot of time in the little local park in the sunshine. The children found some other children to play with and I had a good sunbathe. :) Later on however, before going over to Ian and Maria's for games, I realised that I was looking rather 'salad du tomates!'
This week, I have been spending lots of time with friends, and enjoying life in France really!
And tonight, Betsy and I are getting a train to luxembourg to stay overnight in a hotel, and spend the day sightseeing tomorrow...

...more on that soon!!

Bon weekend a tous!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

last Saturday...

...was frankly, fantastic.
After a night out dancing with the international peeps, Betsy and I walked back to her's where we enjoyed Baileys and cheese before bed. (Krista and Jonathan are en vacances!) And on Saturday morning, (after a lie-in without any kids running around to wake me up) she made us American pancakes which were amazing! Soon after, I headed back home where lunch was practically ready - after too may fat pancakes with maple syrup, I wasn't really feeling it.

Anyway, this weekend, the Gospel Choir was singing at the wedding of some people at church, so after lunch, I put on my nice dress and headed to the Temple Protestant with Betsy, where the wedding was taking place. It was a really great atmosphere, everyone was so joyful and the wedding was amazing - so unlike a British wedding! I thought we sung pretty well too! Afterwards, it transpired that we were all invited to the aperitif reception for the wedding, so somehow, we all managed to get lifts to the venue a little way out of Nancy. It was so much fun, we all had champagne and lots of banter among the young people from Church! When it was time for us to leave, none of us wanted to, so Matthias invited us young people to his for a BBQ. This was great and we spent the evening eating, chatting and singing to Guillaume on the guitar. Later on, we all headed back to the wedding - about 11:30pm - for desert and dancing. It was so great of the couple to invite us as we don't really know them, but I think we livened up the dancing - 'till 4 in the morning!!! This is crazy, as all the weddings I've been to before have been wrapping up around midnight - this one was only just getting started at this time. How I love France! I don't think anyone made it to church in the morning... but I think it was just about worth it!
I can't really describe how good this day was. This post isn't really doing a good job. But it was just so fun. It's great to have friends here - real friends now, I never thought this would happen like this! The Church youth are so cool, and I'm really enjoying being here so much! When work gets tough now, I don't even care! Thank you God.

The couple leave for the reception!


A rose between two...brothers!

The soon-to-be marrieds!

Justin attacking a hot dog

Crazy desert


Alban et moi

These French men loved a bit of the 'Can Can'


I haven't had time to post about the weekend yet - will do that soon - but I wanted to quickly share something Betsy and I discussed the other night our time here in France...
We have both been so blessed by the people that have come into our life and these people, we feel would have not been there had we not been so reliant upon God trusting in Him to provide for us. When we first arrived, we knew no-one, and we spent a lot of time alone with God. He blessed us in countless ways and brought us friendships and a great church amongst so many other things. When you rely on people, they will always let you down. But we have found that through relying on God, knowing he alone is enough, he brings amazing people into our lives with whom we can share God's love and joy and have fun!  :)

"Rejoice in the Lord, always. I will say it again: rejoice!" 
(Philippians 4:4)

Friday, 13 May 2011

that was one nasty week (in the life of work!)

Yesterday I posted a 'happy birthday' post for my lovely sister. It seems to have disappeared and I have no idea why :( I think blogger is messing up! Anyway, she is amazing, and I miss her, and I'm sad because I missed her 18th... instead, I was being screamed at by a 4-year-old and cleaning up wee.

But it's finally Friday night, the parents are finally home and putting their children to bed, and I am sat here, very tired but happily thinking that I have over 2 days of freedom! However, this week has been so energy-sapping that I'm struggling to muster up some enthusiasm for going out tonight!

I am going to write some good things that happened this week, and try to forget how awful the four-year-old was. (I know its not really his fault and I love him really.) And how awful wednesday was. (Think cleaning up wee from the living room floor then realising that another child is flooding the bathroom - sums it up really!)

1 - Tuesday night! There was a thunder storm, and Betsy and I trecked it over to Lauren's lovely flat in a part of town we hadn't been to before in rain macs and flipflops. Good times. Lauren proved to be an excellent hostess, and along with Matthias, Ian and Maria, we all had an amazing Korean-style dinner! (apparently she learned how to cook like this from watching Korean dramas online!) We went for an adventure out of her bedroom window, climbed under a dripping fig tree and explored the wild garden, every so often jumping at thunder and lightning! Later on there was poetry recitals (no idea how we got onto that), fun with Sgt Pepper (Lauren's cat, an American citizen with a Beatles-inspired name) and a crazy game that was terminated around 12:30am when we realised how late it had got! The night was ended with a beautiful walk in the still of the evening, the rain having freshened everything up after the heatwave.

2 - Wednesday night, children in bed, I went for a walk in the twilight and spent time with God. It was very much needed and it was really beautiful.

3 - Thursday morning, helping out in the school. So much fun! Children are somehow cuter when they're not your responsibility!

4 - Thursday lunchtime, walking through Vielle Ville and watching all the restaurant owners setting up their chairs and tables on the terraces and the buzz of it all.

5 - The weather generally. Just such a good climate here. One reason to live in France!

6 - Giggles with Betsy last night - and booking our trip to Luxembourg next weekend!

7 - Chatting to a really nice man over coffee in my favourite cafe this morning. I just love how much easier it seems to make friends and have conversations when you're not in your home town. Great for the French too...

There, 7 really good things about this week :) God is so good and is keeping me so positive even though it's hard. There is so much to be thankful for!
I am also thankful that it is not this time a year ago. We were all so stressed  finishing our degrees and I would never want to do that again. Thinking of and praying for everyone in the situation right now!

Have a fantastic weekend!!
A bientôt! xxx

Thursday, 12 May 2011

My sister...

is 18 today!!!

She is also the funniest, sweetest and most amazing sister I could ever ask for. She ALWAYS makes me laugh, her comments just make my day, and she is one of my best friends. For always. 

...I'm sorry I can't be there, but Im thinking of you!
Love you very much xxxxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Spoke too soon!

So yesterday morning went well, but going to bed wasn't so great! I was all alone with the kids last night, and they just didn't want to go to bed. I managed to get them down in the end and enjoyed a quiet evening to myself. However, this morning, they were really bad. I think nothing of having to get the kids out of the house by myself. It's tough but it's normal. However, when I speak to the other mums at the school about it, they are often shocked! Some of them find getting one child out of the house bad enough, so I guess I shouldn't feel so bad when it doesn't always go completely right.

Before I came here, I never knew I could get so cross! I have since discovered that what gets to me the most is when I ask a child to do something completely reasonable (like cleaning their teeth before going to school) and they shout 'NO' in my face and carry on running around like crazy. This was this morning. When the super-nanny tactics from last week, when counting to three still doesn't work, when the oldest child is ready and waiting and we are going to be late for school - what do you do?
Needless to say, it was a difficult morning. But we got there in the end.
I got the kids to school, and I jotted all this down while grabbing a quick cafe before going off to do my English lessons. They were actually a delight: I love teaching the little ones sometimes! We did the colours, and the weather, and I taught them how to sing 'Sing a Rainbow'. We also talked about the Royal Wedding and I'm going to bring them some pictures next week so we can learn about the Royal Family!!

It's still really hot, but today is a bit muggy and feels like rain. One thing about the warm weather is that the fashionable youth of the city get even more fashionable! In England, you would be looking at some of these guys and saying to yourself 'he's got to sway the other way!' But here you just think 'typical French guy!' (This doesn't refer to all French guys, I hasten to add, just some of the more fashion-concious ones!)

Bruise update: I have discovered bruises on my right elbow and arm, my hand is nicely bruised and the one on my shin is about the size of an apple... looking good! ...I'm going to hesitate before I take that trottinette out again!

Monday, 9 May 2011

Darn trottinette!

Last night, I headed over to Besty's. As it was a Sunday night and I didnt think there would be many trams running, I took one of the trottinettes (scooters). It seemed like a good idea. It was nice to be speeding along on a warm evening and it definitely halved my journey time! I stopped at a corner shop for a bottle of wine, and put it in my bag and continued along. However, I was clearly getting a bit cocky, and as I was crossing the road near Betsy's apartment block, I hit the curb a little hard and fell down, hitting my hand really hard and whacking my shin on the side of the trottinette. It was SO painful!!!
Thankfully, I was so nearly there, and was able to rest up with a bag of frozen veg on my leg, so the swelling isn't too bad, but it still hurts a lot this morning! Teach me to be so speedy!!
Anyway, it was great to see Betsy!! We got take-out pizza and shared the bottle of wine that had (thankfully) not been smashed during my fall! We spent the evening catching up on our holidays and laughing lot! She had had a wonderful time at the seaside and was looking very brown!
It was such a good evening and totally made up for the pain!!

This morning, the kids were very sleepy, and for once, they didn't want to get out of bed! But it was back to school today, and they all got off to school well with minimal fuss. I think I might be getting pretty good at this routine malarky! (Probably shouldn't speak too soon though!) However, I was the one who messed up this morning, and forgot my keys to get into the school where I sit in on the 10-year-old's grammar class. I'm not too upset though, as I'm sure you can imagine! It's such a nice day, so I think I'll just catch up on my lesson planning and chill in the park!

God bless you all xxx

Sunday, 8 May 2011


 I have now been back in Nancy for a week, and I can almost see the weeks that are left here mapping out in front of me. There are 12…maybe even 11 as we haven’t completely arranged when I will be leaving yet. In some ways, I just want to be back at home with my family. In others, I absolutely love all the experiences that I’m having here, all the people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, and just being able to do things I can’t at home, and being away from my old life. Also, this weekend it’s been 27oc: summer is definitely here in Nancy!

This week has been ok, pretty good really. I haven’t done much apart from look after the children during the week, but it’s gone well. Alice went off on Colonie on Monday at lunchtime, and after that, I got to rest a little after my journey back and hardly sleeping the night before. Then I went to get the boys – Stanley had been at the activity centre.
It was choir as usual in the evening, and as we were preparing for our concert this weekend, it went on for an hour longer than usual. Thus I was eve more tired the next day, and I had Stanley all day!
Looking after Stanley by himself turned out to be a really nice experience though. When he has my full attention, he is so sweet and so much better behaved. We took the tram to the swimming pool and we had so much fun together, although I discovered the French’s love of the swimming hat. Stanley had one, but I didn’t think that I would have to wear one. I was wrong: I was not allowed to swim without one. Luckily they have swimming hat vending machines, and five minutes later, I was bobbing around in the kiddie pool with Stanley, both of us wearing swimming hats! I felt very attractive. However, everyone has to wear one so it’s not so bad! Stanley absolutely loved swimming and he was so cute splashing around! Afterwards, we went to the play park, the headed home for lunch. Seriously underestimated how long it would take to walk a tired child home from the tram stop – man alive! After lunch, I made him have a little sleep, and I even got to close my eyes for a few minutes too! We spent the rest of the day playing in the back yard and watching a DVD until it was time to get the little one!
I spent the evening in relaxing with F+S. The fact that no-one’s been about much this week has meant that I have got to spend some good time with the parents which has made me feel happier about being here. I find it a bit strange when we hardly see each other, and I think that next week will be a bit like that! I have been having trouble sleeping though. I think I got so used to how quiet it was back home that all the noise of the cars outside and from other apartments has been bothering me a bit. Subsequently, on Wednesday, I was more tired than ever! Thankfully, Stanley was at activities again, so I had the day to myself. I can back from dropping the boys off and curled up on the sofa for a bit. Later on, I went and had lunch with Krista. It was great to catch up! She and Betsy had been in Nice, and she had just got back on the sleeper train. (Betsy had continued travelling and gets back tonight.) She was back for 2 days before heading off to Scandinavia for nearly three weeks with the family….lucky!!!
On Wednesday night, I went to bed really early, and felt a lot better for the next day – a full day with Stanley! We went to the market in the morning and bought too much fruit and veg…then Stanley dawdled all the way home and my arms nearly fell off!
We spent the rest of the day at home, and I helped Stanley with his writing and tried to start teaching him how to read. He liked it, but after a while he got a bit bored and confused, so I let him go off and play.
When little one came home, we had a really good dinnertime. I have implemented the super-nanny tactic of star charts for good eating, and it’s working a treat! Both boys sat up and ate all their dinner. They usually make a fuss, leave things and can never sit still. This tactic has been working really well and now they are eating well without the star charts too!
By Friday, it had started to get really hot. I took Stanley to the park, and we ran through the fountain and got soaked, but it didn’t matter at all because we dried off really quickly! As a treat for eating so well all week, we went to a burger restaurant. He loved it so much and I got my French fry fix! This week has been a lot better than I thought it would be and the children are back to school tomorrow. On Friday night, F, S and I had a really nice dinner and I caught up on sleep!

On Saturday morning, I went to do my tutoring at the house of 7 children!! The three kids I teach are so great, really sweet and so clever. They have all been put forward at school and their English is amazing. The oldest girl is already taking her ‘bac’ this year at 16 years old -most French kids take it at 18 or 19 – and she will start University in September!

After a nice family lunch, I went to meet Laura. We had a drink on the Place in the boiling heat and then went and sat in the park and chatted. It was so nice to be out in the sunshine!
There was no Groupe de Jeunes last night, so I stayed in and filled out job applications, spoke to my lovely Mum on the phone and ate with F+S. After, I watched a film and went to bed.

Today was really great. I went to church in the morning, and it was great to be there again after quite a long while!
Afterwards, I went back to Isabelle – a lady from choir’s - house for lunch. Another girl from church, Elsa, also came and we had a BBQ in Isabelle’s garden with her husband and Son. They live a little way out from Nancy in a beautiful house with fields and woods around. It was so nice, and they are such a lovely family!
Afterwards, we got ready to go to the choir concert. It was in this tiny little village church – I have no idea why – but it was so beautiful! We practiced for an hour before, and then gave the concert to a church full of villagers at 4pm. It went so well! It was amazing acoustics and it was great to finally perform all the songs we’ve been practising! We have quite a few more gigs coming up now too!
Afterwards, we had drinks and aperitif before heading back to Nancy.
I’m now off to Betsy’s for a late bit of dinner and a much-needed catch up!!
I hope you’ve all had a good weekend!
Much love,
Lucy xxx

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Home: Part 3. (including a Royal Wedding!)

The day Britain had been waiting for arrived! I woke up and lazily headed downstairs about 9am to find mum already glued to the television, a pain-au-raison in hand. I also noted the union jack bunting that she had her school children make then bring home for herself! Ha! After ribbing her for being so lame, I decided to grab myself some lovely coffee (another good thing about home - the coffee machine) and join her since I too wanted to see a bit of build-up!

We thought it would be fun to wear red, white and blue, seeing as by this point, we might as well go the whole hog with the festivities. Alice joined us, and soon after Grandma was here, also wearing our national colours and waving union jack flags! Hilarious. Mum made Pimms and some yummy snacks then Erin and Eddie turned up... not so lamely dressed us us, but bearing strawberries!!

We all sat down to watch. It was just completely amazing. I am sure you all watched it and know what I'm talking about, but it was just so moving, so genuine and down-to-earth amid all the pomp.
There were some really special moments:

Princes William and Harry turn up...

Kate and her Dad

It was great to see all the royal family, always love a glimpse of Prince Phillip - what a legend.

And the little bridesmaids and pageboys were so cute!

The service, although old-fashioned was meaningful. I think one of the things that stood out for me was when the bishop of London preached. His opening lines were:

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.” So said St Catherine of Siena whose festival day it is today. Marriage is intended to be a way in which man and woman help each other to become what God meant each one to be, their deepest and truest selves." (

Amazing words. I was kind of proud to be British at this point. Watching two royal celebrities (let's be honest, they are), committing their lives to one another before God.

We cracked open some bubbly once the ceremony was over, and it was all very celebratory. We waited until the couple appeared on the balcony for the flypast. I thought how crazy it must have been for Kate's family. I am sure that never in a million years would they have believed that they would be in that situation!

Well after it was all over (for TV viewers anyway) it all felt a bit flat. There were no street parties in our street... But it was a great occasion!

Later on, I went to meet a friend for a drink before coming back home for a family meal. Arthur and Rosanna were back and it was so nice to see them; it felt like old times again!
Later on we watched a bit of TV. I never much liked Friday night TV before, but it's amazing to watch a bit of British comedy chat after 3 months of French TV which is really shocking!

On Saturday, Arthur, Mum and I went to clanger wood with Brammy. It was so beautiful, and we saw a deer really close up and it stood there and watched us for ages! 

Later on, Dad, Mum and I went into Bath for a bit of shopping etc. We had a really nice lunch in the sun watching the amazing opera singer in Abbey square and just enjoyed the atmosphere. It really was packed with tourists there and it reminded me of when I used to live in Bath and popping into town for something was like doing battle with the tourists! Anyway, it was a really nice day, and later on, we had sausage and mash with onion gravy as I'd been craving it while I was in France...they just don't do sausages like in England! Lizzie came over and she stayed and I woke up in the morning and knew I had to go back to France and it was pretty horrible. But Lizzie, Alice and I went to Maranatha, and afterwards I said goodbye to Lizzie and then we went home and had some lunch and then Mum and Dad took me to the station and I had to leave them. It was so horrible leaving my family, but I know now that three months goes fast and Mum and Dad are coming out to visit in 4 weeks :)
The journey back went fine, except for a slightly scary trek through Gare du Nord area with my huge case. I arrived back at the apartment feeling totally surreal but not too awful and this week has gone well, although it's been full on. More of that in the next instalment.

Missing you,
Lucy xxx

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Home, Part 2

This is a continuation of what I got up to when I left home. Mainly because, even though I've only been back in Nancy 2 days, memories of my amazing time back home are fading fast and I want to record them in some way, and say thank you to the people who made it a fantastic time! I cannot stress how nice it was to be staying at home with my family during the week and I miss you even more now then ever.

On Monday, some of the old crew was re-united and we took the opportunity for a nice walk along the canal and a picnic at Bradford on Avon. It was a really warm and lovely day and it was amazing to see everyone again! Much food was consumed, new girlfriends were met, and we caught up on everyone's 'nouvelles'!

We couldn't end the day without a trip to our favourite pub, The Castle.

Kirsty, Tajb, Lizzie, Erin, Me, John, Jenny

Unfortunately, as some people had places to be, our reunion was short. Lizzie and I had also been invited to a BBQ at Lizzie's friend, Dave's farm. We had heard that it was a pretty amazing place and we were not disappointed! It is absolutely beautiful! We asked Dave to take us for a tour and the place is so big we only got about halfway round and that was a pretty long walk. We had a really lovely evening, sitting in the sunshine eating great food and chatting to Dave's parents. We had a tour of the house, which included climbing out of the attic window and onto the roof of the house, and we also had the privilege to help feed some orphan lambs which we did while the sun was going down, it was so beautiful. A spell in the city really makes you appreciate the countryside! Later on we played some games (I actually won both of them, much to my - and everyone else's surprise)
and we left feeling well fed and having had an amazing day!

Dad and I took a day trip to 'The North' (somewhere near Nottingham) to visit my Nanny and Grandpa. It's a kind of crazy thing we do so we don't stay over there and stress them out. But the journey was pretty long. However, this time it was great as it gave us a chance to have a really good chat! It was lovely to see the grandparents too, we had a really nice pub lunch and I told them all about life in France. They always have really cool stories to tell about the past and family and stuff which is really interesting! After being plied with yet more chocolate, we said our goodbyes and drove back home.

I didn't do much this day, but I had a friend over for coffee in the morning which was nice, and basically spent the afternoon trying to think about what the next steps for my life are going to be after leaving France. It's kind of scary but also exciting... I am looking forward to joining the real world soon!
I spent the evening curled up on the sofa with mum, a bottle of wine and a documentary on William and Kate!! By this point, we were getting pretty into the Royal Wedding hype!

Thursday was a nice day, catching up with William and his family and spending a lovely afternoon in Bath with Tom :)  We saw the film 'Submarine' - go see it! It's brilliant, and so Welsh!

Part three coming soon (for those who are remotely interested in my holiday activities...)

Monday, 2 May 2011

In which I try to demonstrate the awesomeness of my time back home! Part 1: Easter weekend

…Yesterday I woke up to the sound of birds and the countryside, with my best friend lying next to me. Today I woke up to the sounds of cars and children. Two different worlds… 
I arrived back in Nancy at around 11 last night shattered and feeling slightly surreal. Home was so familiar and I slotted back into life there with surprising ease. I thought it would have been a bit strange, but it just felt like I had never left. Coming back to Nancy felt like coming back to a dream...a very familiar dream. The next three months are not going to be like the first three. I came back to my room and my things; to children who greeted me with so much love and affection, and to a job I am now at ease with. I dreaded coming back, but now I think it's going to be just fine.

So, the aim of this post is to sum up some of the stuff that happened while I was back home as I got a bit too busy to write... [WARNING: this will be long!]

I left on Friday 22nd April (not Saturday, as I'd told people) in order to surprise my family. The trip went so well...
Here is something I wrote while I was waiting for the Eurostar in Paris...

Vendredi, 22 Avril.
I’m sat in Gare du Nord right now, exactly 3 months since I was sat waiting for my train at Charles de Gaulle on the edge of my big adventure. And now I’ve been here for 3 months, I’m going for a little holiday back home. I feel unbelievably different, and yet still wholly, completely the person I was then too. Just more…confident.  I have learned so much since I have been here. I have learned how to put myself second and look after children, not worrying about how I feel. Although this is still very hard… I have learned to be completely independent and yet rely on God for everything. Life is so completely blessed when you allow God to take over your life. You just stop worrying. Life is wonderful when you know Jesus.I have met so many wonderful people. I have so many new friends, friends I could never imagine my life without now, and three adorable children to look after. Yet I’ve met them all since the last time I saw my family. And I am so excited to see them. It almost feels unreal, like a dream…a dream that is soon to come true!

The journey so far has been incredibly blessed. The random ticket allocation seated me next to a lovely French girl from my church on the TGV to Paris, and we talked the whole way :D Then Mandy met me at Gare de L’Est and we had lunch together. She is the best! I am feeling that the worst bit will be London. But I’m trusting in God that he will look after me with all my luggage! I can’t wait to see Lizzie at Bath!

Actually, my journey continued so well. I met some lovely people on the Eurostar, and then hiked across London with another girl who was headed for Paddington. When I arrived at Bath in the early evening sunshine, I met Lizzie and it was just amazing to see her. However, she confessed that she had parked her car right up Widcome Hill...she wasn't joking either. We had a hilarious struggle up the hill with my heavy cases and drove the familiar route home. It felt so amazing to be back in the west-country after 3 months of urban living! When we got back to mine, Lizzie parked round the corner and I crept up the drive. Seeing the front door was open and hearing Mum in the kitchen, I ran in and surprised her! It was so amazing, the look on her face was priceless! And it was fantastic to see her! Alice was also there, and we went and had drinks in the summer house while we waited for Dad to get home. He was suitably surprised as he parked the car and I ran up to meet him. Although we all remarked on how normal it all felt! We spent such a lovely evening together with a nice meal and catching up on all that's been happening. It was also amazing to sleep in my bed again with the windows open and wake up to the sun streaming in. 
Unfortunately, lie-ins were not on the agenda for my week back home. My body clock has most definitely re-tuned itself to my new way of life, but this meant more time to enjoy what I've come to appreciate as one of the best parts of the day!

Saturday was such a nice day. It started with bacon and eggs (something very scarce in France) before going out for coffee with Mum and Dad. We later went for lunch at The Mill in the sunshine which was lovely, and great to see my lovely old colleagues etc! Afterwards, I headed over to Erin's to pick her up as she had just got back from Guildford for the week and we went over to Lizzie's. A very happy re-union! Lizzie decided it would be a great idea to cycle to Steeple Ashton (a village not too far away with a nice pub) so we headed off on a selection of Francis household bikes! It was all going great until we hit the hill going in to the village and we arrived at the pub red-faced and out-of-breath!! So ladylike! We had a great catch-up in the pub garden and, as it always does with these girls, it felt like old times! The sign of a good friendship, we can just pick up where we left off. After cycling back to her house, we had a glass of wine in the garden and chatted to Lizzie's mum and 'grand-mere' before leaving for evenings with our families. 
I had a great dinner with Mum, Dad and Alice, and then afterwards, they took me to Clanger Wood which was completely covered in bluebells. It was so beautiful!!

 Sunday - Easter Day!
Another really warm and sunny day! Alice and I went to church at Maranatha in the morning and it was so great to be back, celebrating Jesus' death and resurrection! Afterwards, we went for the traditional Easter Day lunch with the grandparents in Shaftsbury which was lovely as always! It felt extra special to be catching up with the family after I'd been away - it really makes you appreciate them so much more!
We had a great lunch, an Easter Egg treasure hunt, and fun in the park: most people enjoyed the children's play equipment! All in all, just a really nice day!

Easter bunny

To be continued...

Sunday, 1 May 2011


I'm going back to Nancy today after an amazing 9 days at home. It has been a really awesome time and I'm feeling pretty sad to be leaving, but excited for the next chapter of Nancy times!
I'll update when I'm back :)

Hope everyone has had a wonderful Easter and that you are enjoying the long weekend!