Feb 25, 2009: At the school that Grace, Mia and Ella attend in France, there is no school on Wednesdays. I had heard that instead of Wednesdays, kids go to school in the morning on Saturdays. But it seems to vary by where you live and even by what school you choose. Notre Dame Ecole Maternelle has school on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. So thank goodness for Peter and Suzie being here on a Wednesday, having a plan to take the girls to the aquarium in Trouville today. Don't get me wrong. I am not freaked out by the prospect of spending Wednesday's with my girls. But I do admit that having recently come from full-time Corporate America, I am not necessarily equipped with activities and adventures in my pocket. Add to that this whole new place-to-live thing and voila! You see a mommy who doesn't know what to do with her three young kids all day every Wednesday. So my new goal each week will be to find something interesting to do all day each Wednesday with the girls. Spongebob Squarepants, while quite funny and voted as preferred use of time by most 5 year-olds, is not an appropriate use of a school day off. The exception is if your child is in a cast, vomiting, action-packed pooping or inconsolable. Then Spongebob can be available in whatever capacity you choose.
While Peter and Suzie took the girls to the aquarium, I met Andrew for a long lunch. We found a close brasserie and sat to get warm. I have been impressed lately with Andrew's acquisition of French skills. Having NO background in French, he has done well in conversation and day to day issues he encounters. Today at lunch was not the case. He ordered one thing, but got another that we are pretty certain was tripe or something worse. I added a picture above of his reaction to this delicacy for good measure. You get used to eating odd food here in France. My salad came with smoked duck strips, something I would never order on purpose in the United States, nor would it be a mainstream item on a menu. Andrew ended up with a medium-rare beef steak and french fries, which would normally be reserved for dinner, not lunch. But when in Rome....
Andrew left to get back to work and I went to get some more coat and clothing hooks for the apartment. I had walked into Peter and Suzie's studio apartment that morning to vacuum and take out the garbage and I was embarrassed by the number of clothing and coats and towels laying on the floor. The bed and side tables and linens I had supplied were insufficient. So I tended to getting them some places to hang items and some other small pieces of furniture. After that, I went to the Poissonniere (fish market) to get some fresh St. Jacques scallops for dinner and some breaded fish for the girls that I had planned to disguise as bread sticks. Next, I went to the Fruiterie (fresh produce) to get some bananas, cucumbers, green beans and grapefruit. Finally, I stopped at the local market to get some white wine. After all my stops I had noticed that each store in some way had commented about me being an American, either to my face or to another person. I can't say I felt offended, they were not being mean. They were just pointing out in an unsubtle way that I WAS discovered - my American accent was not unnoticed. My U.S. credit card was not unnoticed. My formal French vocabulary was not unnoticed. One furniture store, having met me before, promptly pointed out a new item they had received upon seeing me. It was a huge canvas storage box that had an American Flag painted all over it. How could I not want to buy this fancy box, I am sure they were thinking.
We fed the girls the green beans (which from their births I have called Bean Fries, as I firmly believe if you call anything a "fry" they will eat it), the fake fish sticks, yummy cherry tomatoes and strawberries. After the girls went to bed, I put Suzie in charge of preparing the scallops. She is a great cook, fly-from-the-seat-of-your-pants type of cook so this was up her ally. If I was in charge of some nice juicy scallops with their "feet" still in tact, I would surely overcook and remove all enjoyment from the meal. Suzie marinated them in lemon rinds, olive oil, garlic and salt and pepper and they were so tasty. After dinner, we just sat, the four of us, and chatted. It was nice.
Tomorrow is Thursday. Suzie and I plan to take the girls to school and then spend some quality time shopping. We like to shop together but up until now have not had the chance. There are so many clothing shops around here that it is a miracle that I have not purchased one clothing item yet. Andrew heads to Belgium tomorrow to see a client and won't return until Friday. So tomorrow night Peter and Suzie have decided to take the girls to a nearby restaurant for dinner while I go to my Osteopath appointment and also wait for our new, ugly couch to be delivered (they called and want to bring it early, yay!!!) A demain!