Or, as you optimists like to say, another two-thirds left to enjoy. :)
A few more random thoughts at this point:
We're not on vacation. I know, hard to tell from what we've blogged so far. Our stay in Italy was a vacation. But Rob is still working, the kids are still have to study, and I still have to do the thousand things required to keep us all fed and clothed. We tried to settle into a pattern of exercise, then work, homework and housework, followed up by an outing in the afternoon, and an occasional three-day weekend. Still seems pretty cushy, I get that, but remember, this is the ideal, and the reality is that it takes way longer than it should to do the mundane but necessary stuff, so we've had to pare down our overly ambitious sightseeing list. Guess we'll just have to come back.
I will never, never, ever be "caught up." Not on this blog, not with laundry, nor with teaching my kids or studying myself. There's no so thing as "caught up" when it comes to exercising, reading, or being the mom. I know, this is a painfully obvious truth, and it's certainly not the first time I've had this realization. It's just that somewhere deep inside of me, I am a destination girl, not a "joy of the journey" person. I need to just get over it. And yet...
Procrastination never was happiness. Speaking of catching up, poor Robbie has spent the past week hunkered down, 10-12 hours a day, trying to finish his remaining online assignments before his finals on Tuesday. I don't think there was any intentional procrastination, just an underdeveloped sense of the time required to finish the work. He may come by this naturally, for which I sincerely apologize. It might even be genetic...my dad still makes lists that are pages long, and estimates that he'll whip through it by the end of the day. Sigh. Hopefully now we've got better sense as his parents, and won't put him behind with another two week vacation in Italy. Wait, did I just say that?!
People still trump places and things. I've said it before, and no doubt I'll say it again. We've seen some of the most beautiful countryside in the world here in the Loire Valley, and been on what we like to call the "Parade of Chateaux", but the highlight has definitely been the opportunity to reconnect with Pierre, Solonge, Christine and Cyril, and to meet Christine's family! She and her husband Lionel have four kids too, and her two oldest girls are Ellie and Ainsley's age. They LOVE Alexia and Emmeline, and Evane and Clément as well! I'm so excited to see Magali in two more weeks, and meet her kids too! Much more coming on the fun we've had together, I promise! Long walks, playing cards, learning petanque, trying the rider mower, delicious meals, jumping on the trampoline, going to a movie, the playground, school...not necessarily "tourist" things to do, but a little taste of real life, for which we are so lucky and grateful. We have been here for three and 1/2 weeks, it'll be four before we leave, can you imagine what a huge disruption to have a family of six foreigners living with you that long?!! Details can wait, but thanks can not. If only I could say this half as well in French!
You have to be willing to make a fool of yourself to learn a language. Immersion is definitely the way to learn a foreign language, and the younger, the better. I think this may be partly because kids aren't worried about what other people think of them quite so much. It has been awesome to watch the girls try and communicate with their new friends. They haven't learned much French (not really an immersion experience for them, since we speak English), but they use google translate on their iPods, and plenty of body language, and have a great time. Junior high kids might be at a serious disadvantage, being at that awkward age when everything is embarrassing. I have done my best to demonstrate by example what it means to look like an idiot in pursuit of communication though. :) Once we were at dinner, and I was trying to remember the word for "duck" and I simply flapped my arms and said "quack" in order to make myself understood. Learning to speak another language is a great way to stay (or become) humble. There's no waiting until you've got it perfect, or even passable...you just have to jump in and try. Luckily most people are super understanding and helpful when you do this. There is certainly a life lesson here. Who knows what we can achieve if we learn to let go of perfectionism and the need to impress others?
Maybe I could even learn to enjoy the journey and become an optimist. :)
Posted March 23, 2014. Backdated to keep the posts in the order they were posted.