France-week “un”

Well, a week ago at this time, we were in-flight between JFK and Keflavik (that would be the airport in Iceland). I highly recommend Icelandair as a great way to get to France. Also, Iceland appears to be quite the destination. One day, I hope to disembark and stay a while! Icelandair has TV screens on all the seat backs and it’s pretty much like on-demand. There was even a channel for kids with Thomas the Train, Bob the builder and Fireman Sam: three of our favorite children’s videos. Noah watched more consecutive hours of TV than he has in his whole life. He did get a few hours of sleep in as well…Caleb held it together really well until we got to Paris and then was overwhelmed by tiredness and broke down. I am so thankful to be traveling with my mom, but of course both of them, at the same time wanted ME to hold them. I can barely hold one of them anymore, they are getting so big.

My uncle picked us up at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris (recently rated one of the worst airports in the world) and after having to file a lost stroller claim, (we had to wait 45 minutes for an agent to even show up and attend to us and another family with a baby who were also missing their stroller), we were on our way to Brittany. Noah promptly fell asleep as soon as we started driving. Caleb got right down to it and decided that he wanted to learn French right then and there in the car. First order of business: “Mommy, how do you say ‘car’ in French?” Voiture. Kid knows his priorities. For someone who needs time to adjust to new situations, he is certainly throwing himself into learning French. Two things he’s got down pat: 1) “Bonjour Papy. Comment ca va?” Translation: Hello Grandpa (my grandfather). How are you? and 2) “Chocolat” As in “Mommy, can I have some Chocolat?” This is usually in reference to the famous and delicious “pain au chocolat.” Although, we eat chocolate in many forms here: hot chocolate, choco BN (a great kid’s cookie), then there are just squares of chocolate. Yum.

There a nice little pebble/shell beach cove, affectionately known by our family as “La Petite Grêve”, five minutes down the road on foot from my grandfather’s house. My mom has taken the boys there twice to do some rock climbing and tide pool searching. It’s really only good for swimming at high tide, but we spent hours on end playing there as kids. Endless adventure. We have also ventured twice to La Plage du Verger. That’s a real sandy beach. Beautiful. We’ve been digging pools and building sand castles and, yes, swimming in the 59 F° English channel. It’s really not so bad if you can get yourself in. The weather has been pretty nice but cool and windy for August. On sunny days, the beach is still a very good option.

We’ve making some local trips to kid friendly things, mostly centering around animals. My mom and I keep joking about the manure smell that seems to follow us everywhere. Between the fields around our house getting fertilized and then we keep going to farms… We went to La Chevrerie du Desert, a goat farm that produces and sells du fromage de chevre, goat cheese. We had a nice time seeing, petting and even feeding mostly goats but also some ponies, donkeys, pigs and a variety of birds.

One gray afternoon, we decided to try and beat the rain that was coming and ended up at a nice flat beach, good for soccer, with a fantastic playground. My aunt bought Caleb and Noah French soccer jerseys (that was before the poor behavior of the French team in SA). We’re still wearing them and Caleb absolutely had to play soccer, immediately. That was why we went to the flat beach. The flat beaches are part of the tidal prairies that get covered by the ocean at really high tides. They are called Les Prés Salés – The Salty Prairies. People bring their sheep to graze there. As we drove by the prairies, they were absolutely full of grazing sheep and so we stopped (like shameful tourists) to check it out. We were literally surrounded. It was a safer version of running with the bulls in Pamplona 🙂 Hilarious. I wanted to post a video I posted to Facebook. But apparently, since I’m using the free version of wordpress I can’t upload videos. Any wordpress users out there who can confirm that for me?

Today was low-key. We took a walk to look for tractors working (success) and a horse and a pony that are often grazing in some nearby fields (also success) and went down to the port to see a sail boat regatta (only partially succesful). We saw the last few sailboats and then we found a merry go round, had a snack, and built a rock pyramid on the beach.

Tomorrow we’re taking a little road trip to check out a reptile/amphibian zoo that was advertised in the paper.

I have set up an internet connection at my grandfather’s house just for the month because of my grad school classes that are in-progress year round. Let me tell you, between the kids and my grad school, I travel with a LOT of electronics. At security, I took my laptop out of my bag but left my teeny tiny mobile scanner in. The TSA guy looked at me when my bag went through the machine and said “Do you have a printer in there?” Ooops. So, in case you’re wondering, take out your mobile scanner too. But so far, maintaining my class abroad isn’t too bad. I work mainly at night, just like at home. My class ends on the 23rd. So I’ll have three blissful days left of French vacation with no class. Maybe I can finish early. Doubtful 🙂 It’s still vacation, even with the class. It’s beautiful here, the air is fresh and cool, the food is good and it’s great to reconnect with family, the French language and with a place where I spent so much time growing up.

I think I will have to do a separate post for pictures. I wanted to integrate them into the post but my time is limited. So…pictures forthcoming. Promise!

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