Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 18, 2009: So, Do You REALLY Like it?

March 18, 2009:  It is a fair question.  I have been asked by a few close friends lately, that follow this blog, if I REALLY like it here in France. If the whole family likes it here in France.  It is probably hard to tell by the blog posts if there is a true like or just tolerance of the situation.  Here is the honest answer, my answer anyway: I love it here.  Not a day goes by where I don't appreciate the extreme uniqueness of this point in time.  I walk down the street and see sophisticated and beautiful women that make me want to step it up a bit!  I see calm and collected children holding hands and behaving.  I see a castle from 500 years ago outside my windows and fast food stands selling the freshest breads you could ever imagine.  I have fresh fish and meat just steps away from my apartment and more clothing and home shopping than one could ever want for.  There is a school just steps from home that actually accepted my English-speaking children.  And I have NO job at the moment and all the time in the world to spend with my three wonderful children.  So, not only does it sound awesome, it really is awesome.  My parents and my in-laws can't wait to visit us, we have room for visitors and we have dozens of places to visit, in close proximity to Caen.  So let's be honest - you can't really complain.  I mean you could, I can.  I could (and do) complain about how I don't have any friends here.  About how I am dying for a night out without my kids, without my husband, just a girls night out. About how no one understands my awful French  despite my best efforts. About how the paint is peeling off inch by inch in our bathroom.  About how some kids probably make fun of Ella at school without her knowledge because she doesn't know what they are saying.  About how Andrew works too late and leaves too early.  About how I miss our family and friends.  About how we don't have enough yard space for the girls to play.  About how all three of our girls seem to be gaining bread weight as sure as The Chicken Dance or Hokey-Pokey are played at a wedding.  About how I feel like a chubby mother who just does laundry, dishes and vacuums all day.  But in all reality - don't all of us go through these challenges at some point?  It may be that I am going through, like, all of these in a speedier timeframe.  But regardless of where we live, don't many of us mothers feel this way?  I am just going to call myself out here.  For the first time in my life, I have no cleaning lady, no nanny, no family to assist, no babysitters on hand, no TiVo at a moment's click.  And the result?  I am fine!  We are all fine.  Change doesn't sit well with anyone.  Who wants change when things are perfectly fine the way they are?  I  know Andrew didn't want to mess with the good thing he had going.  The girls were all happy in Crested Butte.  I was happy with my virtual job in a heavenly setting.  Why mess?  You mess (I messed) because you know messing can enhance and enrich your life.  And regarding that, I can say our family is thoroughly enriched and enhanced.  We have also had challenges and unpleasant moments, but not anymore so than you getting a speeding ticket on the way to work or someone cutting in front of you at Starbucks or locking your key in the car.  All can be handled with a little, "at the end of the day, does it really matter?"  So I guess my long answer to the question of , "do you really like it in France?" is, "yes."  I wouldn't trade it for anything. But it doesn't mean I can't find something to complain about : )

Now, let's talk about today. Today wasn't very adventurous.  Originally I had wanted to drive to another beach with the girls (last week was Gold Beach) but Andrew had gotten back into town and needed the car.  So the girls and I were going to stay in the city limits.   These days, with our television options severely limited, we don't watch much TV.  So on Wednesday mornings, I often let the girls watch a DVD movie (gasp!!!) after breakfast.  By the time the movie is over I have been able to clean up breakfast, vacuum, take a shower and get organized for the day's adventure.  Today, after the movie, all the girls wanted to do was play Science Teacher (no idea why...) and practice their cursive writing.  Eventually, I got them out of the house around 2 pm to go for a walk and then play at the castle (our nickname for William the Conqueror's Castle).  Nothing to amazing or exciting happened except for the fact that I have noticed a much calmer and relaxed nature to the girls in public.  Instead of screaming and yelling and fighting the moment we get outside, they fight to hold hands with each other and actually listen to my commands of go on the green man, stop on the red man.  Civility!   The castle lawns were packed today with high school and college students.  The weather was beautiful, probably 65 degrees.  What a sight. Seeing young adults crowding the lawns of a 500 year-old monument at a matter of normalcy, seeing toddlers toddle their way along a wall that was built in 1450.  Just amazing.  Later, we came home and I made french toast on some fresh french bread, which the girls really got a kick out of.  Andrew got home a bit later and it was like the sky was falling they were all so amazed and ecstatic!   

After the girls got to bed, Andrew and I stayed up to talk about work and life and our children.  The basic summary is that all is well, on all points.  And we are ready for tomorrow and whatever it brings (I hope it brings a new computer desk and chair.)


  1. Great blog, Kate! Good for you to share your feelings so openly. I admire you and Andrew soooo much! Here's to a girls vaca!!

  2. I am so proud of you. You are right that many of us SAHM do all the things that you described. It is hard work and it is very lonely at times and the rewards are often mixed with great struggle and stress. I cannot imagine living your version of this with added obstacles - In a place where you struggle to communicate and have no friends close by. You are brave and strong and I am in awe of you. Soon you will find friends and have your girls nights out. It will be a blast and a well earned furlough.

    Your girls will remember all the fun stuff and very little of the bad. I was the twins age when we lived in Japan and really only remember the fun trips we took and very little of the struggles I am sure that my parents wrestled with. They will all come through this with flying colors and have great stories to recount at cocktail parties (way) in the future.

    I admire your fortitude and your bright outlook.

  3. You are doing an awesome job as we knew you would! So glad Andrew is settled and has his job in place - we will be back soon - just holler!!

  4. I see a book deal in your future. It's amazing what happens when you put 'pen to paper' and lay out your thoughts and feelings. I'm certain it's much different than in conversation. I admire your willingness to be so honest in such a 'public' forum, your positive - yet realistic - attitude, willingness/eagerness to learn, and fortitude to weather what comes your way and accept it with open arms.

    Miss you sista!

  5. Wow, you guys sure are sweet! Thanks for your support!

    Kristin - what is SAHM? I don't know those texting things to well. Andrew was playing on-line poker once and some guy responded to a comment that Andrew said with LOL. I told him it meant Lots of Love and he freaked out ; )

  6. I was trying to figure that out too....
    smart athletic home mothers???!!!!!

  7. Stay At Home Mom. As opposed to a WOHM - Work Out of the Home Mom, or the WAHM - Work At Home Mom. A true SAHM knows the lingo because all her friends are online ;-).

  8. LOL - Laughing out loud.
    ROTFL rolling on the floor laughing.
    ROTFLMAO rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.