Thursday, 30 June 2011

it's been too long!

So, since I last wrote, lots has been going on! Last weekend I did my back in pretty bad. I'm not sure how....
On the Saturday, I went with the family to F's annual work BBQ at his can factory! We ate sausages, saw how cans are made and the children stuffed their faces with sweets and had countless rides on the merry-go round!
Later on, I went with the family to another BBQ at some friends of theirs. The lady was English, married to a French man, and they have two little girls who are completely adorable. They have a really gorgeous house with a little garden so the children had fun playing while we sipped sparkling rose and chatted! They are really nice people, and yet more anglophones in this city! It's been so surprising to find so many here! Their one year old daughter took a bit of a shine to me, and I ended up spending ages bouncing her around on my hip 'dancing' to Michael Buble! Ha... However, I think this is what did my back in as she is a pretty heavy child! I left the BBQ early to meet my new... 'friend', JB in town. We had a really nice evening, waled in the park and hid under the trees while a thunderstorm passed overhead. There have been SO MANY thunderstorms here so far this summer, and when it rains, it really rains!! That cleared up and we went and got a drink on the place and watched the 'sound and light show' on the buildings of the place. It's pretty cool, they project all these images and things onto the buildings and play atmospheric music - hard to describe really, but very cool. They do it every night in summer and I have since taken my lovely sister, Alice who arrived on Monday.
Anyway, after a really nice evening on Saturday which ended up with sharing a bottle of wine with friends and talking till 2:30am, I woke up on Sunday morning with a really bad back.... It felt like something had shifted in my upper back/trapped nerve and it was really very painful to move :(
I went to church and did my tutoring in the afternoon but by evening I was feeling too bad to go to bible study so stayed in and Skyped with Betsy which was a complete joy and eased by back pain no end! - Miss you girl!!!
Monday morning came and I felt even worse. Little Alice was feeling under the weather too, so F+S took the boys to school and creche and we both stayed home and watched DVDs.
Later on I went to the doctors - first time in France and it was really different, like an office in a big old house. Not only did he look at my back but gave me a full-examination...slightly awkward! Anyway, he said he didn't need to scan it but that something wasn't right (this is what I could understand) and he prescribed me two types of pills + paracetamol + rest. (The last one was going to be a bit difficult.) Anyway, a week on and the pills have been working and it is easing up, but it's still not right - ouch!

So, on Monday evening, my dearest sister arrived!! It was AMAZING to see her get off the train at Nancy and to have her here! We got back to the apartment and had a drink and caught up on all the news! She came right after finishing her A levels and I think this was her first bit of freedom!

We had such a good week when she came! The weather wasn't amazing, but we had a really nice time together and she loved the children!
On Tuesday, it was the National 'Fete de la Musique' where all types of music is performed in towns and cities all over France. Little Alice had her flute concert out doors after school, and we packed a picnic and all the family went to see her! She was so good after only a year learning the flute and I felt really proud!
Then afterwards, we rushed off so I could get ready to sing with choir. We sung in the 'Temple Protestant' right in the centre of town for over two hours - it was awesome! So many people wandered in and out and it was a really great atmosphere! Afterwards we went out and about to see what was going on, and I have literally never seen so many people on the streets! It was packed, with music on every street corner, some really good, some just mental drum-n-bass blaring out of speakers, people playing guitars, African drums, jazz-bands! It was such a great atmosphere! We were starving so we went and got some food from the kebab shop - the good kebab shop - and headed down to the place to see the light show, although it wasn't so effective with all the other music going on! Later we wandered back through the old town taking in everything that was going on, with the last bit of light still in the sky. We got back home around midnight - it had been a long day and the next day was Wednesday!

Wednesday was cool though - Alice tagged along with the normal stuff, and in the afternoon, she helped the children make stuff out of felt and sparkly things! Little Alice wanted to make a pencil case, but Stanley decided to make leg and arm warmer things... I'm not really sure how to describe them, but they are pretty special and he throughly enjoyed dancing around wearing them!
In the evening, we went out for dinner :)

On Thursday, Alice helped me out with some singing and stories at the school - much to many of the little girls' delight (it was like two me's and Alice experience the mobbing I get practically every time I go into that school!) Afterwards we wandered into town. I showed Alice the park and the animals (she loved JoJo the 60 year old Chimpanzee!) And we had a picnic on the place. Afterwards we hit the 'soldes' (sales in France are amazing) before getting absolutely drenched in a crazy downpour!
I handled the kids in the evening, and we ate dinner with S and watched Gavin and Stacey. Good times!

On Friday before she left, Alice and I had breakfast out and had just enough time to hit the Musee des Beaux Arts - which is definitely worth a visit - before she had to get her train. We were both really sad to say goodbye, it's been so good to spend some real quality time together.

Love you Alice xxxxxx

Alice found a knitting shop...

In the park


Crazy feature in the Musee des Beaux Arts

Friday, 17 June 2011


...that means exhausted!!
Even though Monday was a holiday, this week has been a pretty tiring one!
Last night both parents were away with work so i had the children all by myself. This was fine really... I had had a really good afternoon (even though it involved lots of walking in the rain) and was feeling pretty chilled!
Anyway, they were actually pretty good, until Maria came over to see them and help me put them to bed, then they started to play up BIG TIME. It was pretty bad because I had hoped they would be really sweet for her.
Anyway, we managed to get them into bed, and spent a really nice evening chatting over dinner and port! :D
She left a bit before 11, and I went online to see that Betsy was back home in the states! So we got chatting on Skype...was so great to speak to her - it's so strange not having her here anymore! When I finally got to sleep I realised that I would have only 6 hours sleep (not hugely abnormal anymore) and this morning, the little one woke up and started running around about 6:30am... that was not great, but being midsummer, it's fairly easy to get up as it looks like the middle of the day outside at that time!
The kids really behaved themselves this morning thank the Lord, and everyone got to school in plenty of time. Then this morning, I have been jumping around singing and dancing to English songs with the kids at the school which was so fun, but super-tiring! I'm now off for a bike ride with Laura!!
Thank goodness it's the weekend tomorrow...and on Monday, my amazing sister, Alice is coming to stay!!!

Have a fantastic weekend all :)
Bisous xxx

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Sometimes walking back from somewhere at 6pm on a Wednesday with a 4 year old makes me want to kill myself (not literally) can anyone dawdle so much?!!!
But then, I think and I realise that he is merely appreciating all the things that we are too 'grown up' or 'busy' to appreciate. I need to cut him some slack.
That is all.
Bisous xxx

Monday, 13 June 2011

Jour férié!

Today is another public holiday, joy of joys!
I woke up at 9 this morning to the smell of freshly baked pain-au-chocolats and the sound of nicely-behaved children eating breakfast! I even managed to get one of the baked delights before the children gobbled them all up!

However, the children and their Mum were looking at potential Au Pairs on the internet a little while a go... I know it's inevitable, but I could say that I've felt less sick.

Anyway, off to a big lunch party chez a family from church in a bit which should be a lot of fun! I have made a French tart as a contribution, I hope it tastes ok...!

A bientôt!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Au revoir ma cherie! ....and a catch up of some recent events!

On Friday, my best friend here, Betsy left Nancy. It was really sad. Her Mum and sister had been staying this last week too, which has been awesome, and they all went off together first to Italy where they are going to stay for a few days before flying back to The US together. 
Betsy is like a ray of sunshine. She has brought so much joy into a lot of people's lives here. She is such an amazing friend and I am sure that we will always be friends, but it was heart-wrenching to say goodbye. As I saw their night train pull out of Nancy at 10pm on Friday evening, I felt so strange, but I know we will see each other again, and we will continue to be friends, supporting each other and praying for each other, but conversing through skype across and ocean...until our reunion in Wisconsin summer 2012!

Last weekend of the long weekend, we spent some really good quality time with Betsy before her family came.

For the bank holiday weekend, the family went away with the kids, but I stayed here to make the most of my time with Mum and Dad, and with Betsy 

After saying goodbye to Mum and Dad about 3pm on Thursday, I went back to the apartment, booked my tickets home for the summer (2nd August for anyone who cares!) and went to sleep!
Later on, myself, Betsy, Matthias, Ian and Maria ended up going over to Francis's apartment that night. It was a really lovely evening. We chatted, ate pizza and played 'BANG'. I think we're all getting a bit hooked on that game! Maria and Ian left about midnight, but the rest of us, having nothing to do the next day, decided to play scrabble... goodness knows why! Seeing as it was in French, Betsy and I teamed up with a dictionary and the guys went solo! It was actually pretty fun and we did come second - sorry Francis!
We ended up getting home around 2:30am and the next day, I blissfully lay in until around midday! So nice not having the kids waking you up!
It was a really hot day, and after lazing around for a bit, I met up with Betsy and Krista and we went into town and did some shopping.
Then that evening, I had everyone over for dinner and Betsy taught us how to dance! It was a really fun evening! Even Krista and Jonathan came with Noelle!
After we had finished dancing, we decided it was too early for the night to be over and ended up playing scrabble again - but this time in English - till 3am... Serious party animals, us!! Actually, it was really fun and this time we all teamed up to help the French people!

The next day I slept in till midday again, and quickly cleaned up all trace of our soiree as the family were coming back that afternoon and I had neglected to inform them of my plans... not that they would've minded but I wanted to be on the safe side.
That afternoon, Krista, Jonathan and Betsy had organised a wedding shower for Ian and Maria. We all put on our summer frocks and cracked open the bubbly, played wedding showery games and generally had a really nice time! It was such a hot day, but being sensible North Americans, the Pletts have air conditioning which made it more bearable in their loft apartment! 

Betsy and I spent some time in prayer together before saying goodnight, and the next morning, she left early for Paris to meet her Mum and sister!
This last week has been pretty easy for work, and we have spent some nice time hanging out with Betsy's family. On Tuesday we had English bible study which was great, but it was also the evening the hot weather broke, and Ian, Maria and I walked back in the pouring rain and arrived home absolutely soaked!
Wednesday of the children went very well and in the evening, I went to a lovely soiree and BBQ chez Jeany, and with some other people from the church. I left early however to meet Betsy and family on the Place for a late Monaco which was really lovely!
Thursday, I joined the Pletts and the Boersma's for the evening and helped with the packing! And on friday, we had lunch together, and then tea and cake chez Ian to say goodbye. It was really very sad.
But she's going back to her home, and in a month or two, I'm going back to mine, and this time we've had here together will remain such an amazing memory.
Thank you for being such an amazing friend, for making me laugh, cutting my hair, always being up for singing and dancing and doing random last-minute things and for being there! You are the best!
Bon courage, keep smiling, and may God bless you in your final year of uni!

 Missing you so much already. Je t'aime, pour toujours!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


...also while I remember it, something really cool happened while the children were eating their dinner last night. The 4-year-old was being completely un-rully as seems to be the habit at the moment. After he came back repentant from a spell in his bedroom, I decided to try something different. 'Lets write down all the things we would like to see in our home'... ie - no shouting - no hitting - sitting nicely at the dinner table.
I suggested 'thinking about other people.' Suddenly, the 4-year-old piped up with: 'yes, and thinking about Jesus too!' This sparked an awesome conversation about what Jesus said (the older two both knew that he said 'to love one another and love God.') We discussed what this means in terms of their own lives and it really got them thinking, they were still thinking this morning!

i love my bike

I love cycling around Nancy these days. I feel especially French when I have a baguette sticking out of my basket. Today, I was daring (and hungry) enough to actually eat some bread while cycling!

Thats all really... get cycling! :)

Monday, 6 June 2011

Mum and Dad in Nancy :)

I really want to write more about when my parents came to visit in Nancy... It was such a lovely time and I don't think  that this will do it any justice. It was just really special, and I know that I am so blessed to have the relationship that I do with my parents.
Unfortunately, due to the nature of Dad's work, they had to come mid-week. However, this worked out really well as they got to spend time with the children!

These are just a few of the things I will remember from this lovely couple of days!

Having lunch with the children in the Parc Brasserie
Being Wednesday, the children had no school, so after the usual morning routine and flute and mediateque, I took the kids down to the Parc Brasserie to meet Mum and Dad.
The children were really sweet and well behaved when we all sat down and had lunch together! My parents loved meeting them, and I the children enjoyed it too! I was glad that they were on their best behaviour and I was really proud of them!
Afterwards, the children showed my parents the animals in the parc, including 60-year-old chimpanzee, JoJo, before we took them to the activity centre for the afternoon.
This was so that I could show Mum and Dad a bit more of Nancy as the children would not have liked to have been carted around! As it was, I think we would all have been just as happy playing in the parc with the children all afternoon, but as it was, I took Mum and Dad to Parc St Marie, pointing out some of the Art Nouveau buildings along the way! 
We had a walk around and met up with Krista and Noelle for a bit!
It was soon time to go and pick up the children. First, we got li
It was so lovely to show them my city as they have heard so much about it, but now they have seen where I live!

Picking up little one from Creche
...was so sweet! We walked all the way to pick up the others from the activity centre and Dad held his hand the whole way and he just loved it...I think he was a bit in awe of Dad!

Aperitif chez nous
Later on, Mum and Dad came over to meet F+S and have an aperitif. It was a bit stressful when they arrived, but being the awesome, experienced parents they are, they entertained the children while S got some nice snacks together and then we all sat down to chat while the children played and little on climbed all over Dad - he wouldn't leave him alone! It was pretty cute, but we decided to leave and go out for dinner before too long as I think we all felt that the affection shown by Tobias to my parents highlighted the space between him and his own parents...which is one of the things that makes me sad about this job.

Dinner and wine at my favourite Italian 
We went to my favourite place to eat and it was great. However, I think the stress of looking after children spilled out a little. When I have to deal with it myself, I just get on with things, but with my parents there being so nice, I think I got a bit emotional. I guess i needed that though, and we had a lovely dinner anyway! Afterwards, we walked on the beautifully lit-up Place Stanislas before heading our separate ways for bed.

Thursday – Pont de L’Ascension (or bank holiday and not having to work!!)
Bank holiday for France! I got a semi lie-in before cycling over to meet Mum and Dad at their hotel. IT was a really beautiful day and we went and had coffee on the Place. We enjoyed chatting and watching people..including a man trying to untangle his two dogs from their leads for like 15 minutes. Everyone seemed to be getting involved in this fiasco and it was rather humorous!

Ascension Mass
We walked into the Cathedral before the beginning of their Ascension Mass. There was some incredible music playing from the huge organ and it was really atmospheric. We left after the procession of the priests swinging incense. It was really quite interesting and something I had not experienced before.

Bank holiday...
Because the French take their bank holidays seriously, most of the shops were shut. However, I thought we might have some luck in the more ethnic quarter of town to buy food. I was right and we got some amazing ficelle bread and fruit to eat for lunch and went and sat in the PLace St Epvre in the sunshine to eat it.

Walking through the rose garden...
The rose garden in the Parc Pepiniere is now in full boom and we wandered through before having a final drink together and heading back to the train station for Mum and Dad to go back to Paris for their flight.
I was sad. I think we all cried a little bit. But thankfully, although I am  nearly 23 years old, I still love being with my parents enough to want to spend nearly all of August with them on holiday...and I can't wait!

It was so great to see you, thankyou so much for coming to see me and for treating me.  Thankyou for being interested in my life. Love you always xxxx

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Tuesday: the day my parents arrived in Nancy :)

Yes, the time is passing fast, but this has felt like a long week!
Lots of things have happened. There has been very hot weather and very wet weather. There have been children, and an apartment empty of children. There have been friends and there has been family. All in the space of 6 days. It feels like about a month has passed since cake and beer in Germany.

On Tuesday, after my English lessons, I helped Betsy move out of her old (tiny!) university residence. Although she hasn't been living there for 2 months, she still had to keep it on as she had signed a contract. We had a bit of a fuss with the office people about how much she owed, but we walked away from it feeling pleased that the job was done. Also feeling sad as it means she has to leave soon... She is one of the best friends I have ever had. I know I say this a lot, but she really is amazing, and I will miss her so much!
Afterwards we had lunch and exchanged back rubs back at her place before I headed back to get ready for the arrival of my parents!
Sadly it was pouring with rain as their train pulled into Nancy. Not the most wonderful first impression, but it was amazing to see them there in this city I now call home. Unfortunately, it was getting close to school run town, so I took them to their beautiful hotel and dashed off to get the children. Thankfully they were good that evening, and I got them all down with no problems. Straight after, I headed down to the Place Stan and met with Betsy and Matthias before meeting my parents at one of the brasseries. We all sat outside under the canopy and talked for an hour or so. I was so happy that Mum and Dad got to meet some of my friends and vice versa... showing them some of my world here! I think it was also really great for my friends to meet my parents too as they are obviously a huge part of my life! Afterwards, we parted ways and Mum, Dad and I chose a restaurant on the Rue Gourmandises (As - I think - it is affectionately known). We had a really lovely meal,  catching up and me talking far too much about everything here in Nancy! I am so fortunate to have such amazing parents and it is amazing to have such a good relationship with them now I am grown up!
Afterwards, I took them to Les Artistes for a nightcap, and we parted ways...

More on the rest of the week tomorrow!

God bless xxx