Oh goodness. I don't know what it is, but it has felt so hot here in Caen the past few days! Is it because we don't have the readily available air conditioning that we are so used to having? Is it because of the lack of breezes? After 10 summers in Chicago and 6 years as a lifeguard on Lake Michigan, certainly I have experienced much hotter summer days than 82 degrees with 55% humidity. How ironic is it that for many days we were without hot water and now that we have it back, all we want is a nice cool shower? But regardless, it has just felt hot, sticky and sweaty lately. It has caused general lethargy for me and the girls. Andrew - not so much. He is pretty resilient!
Today, my parents and I took the girls to the park at La Colline - we have been there many times and posted pictures on this blog. But the preparations before we could even leave the house seemed to take an eternity, as sweat beaded up on my nose and upper lip and my shirt felt damp. The park wasn't going to feel any better, what kind of an idea was this, going to the park in the searing sun? All I had to do was dress the girls, brush their chompers, do their hair, put on their shoes and pack a quick pic-nic. So why did this effort seem insurmountable? Even Ella was dragging, citing the humidity and the heat for easing her typical excitement for the day. Now I knew it couldn't just be me feeling the affects of this weather.
We arrived at the park and other than a trip-and-scrape-your-knee-and-elbows stint by Grace within the first 5 minutes, the rest of the park visit was nice. We had a lovely pic-nic in the shade. The rose garden was still in bloom. The labrinyth of boxwoods still managed to confuse the girls. And I think my parents were pleased by this tiny peace of paradise well hidden from the daily happenings of Caen.
Around 2:00 p.m. it was time to take the girls to their new school for a trial run. My parents delivered them promptly at 2:00 p.m. and then crossed our fingers for a successful day. We then headed to the Caen War Memorial Museum. Stupidly, I just assumed that a huge museum that caters to thousands of visitors would provide air conditioning which is why I suggested this outing for today. But we arrived and it was not air conditioned. It was more comfortable than standing in the sun, so we had that going for us. We took our time strolling through the halls of world history, recounting what I believe starts around the time of 1918 and goes up to after WW II from 1944 and beyond. It's amazing how much more I can learn and retain as an adult about the world than I ever could as a middle school, high school or college student. For me, I simply didn't know anything about the world - it's geography and history - other than where I grew up in Indiana. It has taken me years of travels to actually digest and learn anything and make sense of it all. I might be by myself on this, maybe on the verge of stupidity, but I doubt it...
I think my mom and dad had a nice time at the Memorial. They both knew families that had sons or daughters or fathers or mothers that were affected directly by World War II. As we walked through the rows of photo's and stories my father was well aware of different acts of war and peace that had occurred from 1929 (when the stock market crash occurred) up until D-Day and beyond. He recognized many of the world leaders and the worldly incidents that had taken place. He was 12/13 years old when D-Day occurred.
After about 3 hours at the Memorial and with 1 hour left before we had to pick up the girls from the trial at First Baby's School, I decided to take my parents to the grocery store. I wanted to buy some fruits and veggies for dinner and the heat was making it hard for me to concentrate and relax. Surely, the grocery store has air conditioning. After shopping for a little while (in the lovely A.C.), we then sat down at the coffee shop and enjoyed some beverages and pastries (pain au chocolate, crossaints and meringue), burning time. We had a nice conversation about how I can't find certain baking ingredients in Caen, France (powdered sugar, brown sugar, marshmallows) which has made it hard for me to bake my favorite treats.
At 6:00 p.m. we left to pick up the girls. When we arrived, they had clearly had the time of their lives. I know this because the minute they saw me they started crying (nice feeling, huh?) and begged to stay longer because they were having so much fun and had not enough time to play. The staff at the school seemed happy enough so I think the trial went well. I promised that they could go back on Friday. Tomorrow is their last day of "real" school so I had thought they might want a few days off before starting another school. But no! They want to go back to First Baby's School right away! I am still going to find something for Ella to do outside of this school - I think she may be a bit too old for it all. But for Grace and Mia - it is perfect for now.
Tomorrow brings a new day - and hopefully lower temperatures! It is the last day of school for the girls. My parents and I plan to just hang around Caen and see local sites and just chill. So we'll update you tomorrow on any fun news and developments!