Monday, 30 May 2011
Friday, 27 May 2011
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
Wednesday, 25 May 2011
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
Monday, 23 May 2011
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 :)
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!
Friday, 20 May 2011
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
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|
|Alban et moi|
|These French men loved a bit of the 'Can Can'|
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! :)
Friday, 13 May 2011
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
...I'm sorry I can't be there, but Im thinking of you!
Love you very much xxxxxxxxxx
Tuesday, 10 May 2011
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
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
Thursday, 5 May 2011
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." (http://www.officialroyalwedding2011.org/blog/2011/April/29/The-Bishop-of-London-s-Sermon)
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!
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.
Tuesday, 3 May 2011
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.
Monday, 2 May 2011
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!
Sunday, 1 May 2011
I'll update when I'm back :)
Hope everyone has had a wonderful Easter and that you are enjoying the long weekend!