We’re having lots of adventures. Some of them are intense, a bit dramatic, like climbing Canigou, or huddling in the ruins in howling winds trying to reach the watchtower, while others are everyday.
Such as having 10 french friends of the kids over for soccer, snacks, and pool time, Tris’s initiative. He and Jordan labouriously wrote out a lot of lengthy invites, and I brought home some snacks. There was lots of soccer, boys speaking incomprehensible french and not listening (don’t run by the pool! (said in French), don’t stand on the loungers! –Listen to us! which they didn’t). Luckily a french father stayed, helped keep them in line, and brought some popular nutella crepes. The parents who came to pick them up asked how it went, seemed surprised to hear there were no major disasters, and had a lengthy discussion about how they wouldn’t do it, and how they’d started having birthdays at rented locations.
We also went on a days’ outing to Ceret, a gorgeous artsy town popular in the day with Picasso, Monet, and Dali, to coincide with Claire’ Grade 2 class trip to the art museum. To enter Ceret there are 3 bridges in a row over a deep drop to the river, the oldest of which is the Devil’s Bridge, said to have been built by the devil 1000 years ago in exchange for the soul of the first to cross the bridge.
Whoever made the deal is then said to have cannily sent across a cat. The modern art museum is low key, lots of sketches and weird paintings and busts.
The worst of the day to day happenings involves Smokey, the little gray cat. Smokey, our rescued stray from the first year was brought over by the friends who’d had her. She was very shy, no more fluffy tummy to rub as she lay on her back, she scrambled underneath a bed and stayed warily out of reach while we cajoled her, offered food, outstretched hands. Nope, and no. Apparently she’d spent a lot of time outdoors, nights too, and liked to catch snakes. She was left in peace, doors and windows shut to acclimatize. … and… found a way out. Disappeared in to the great outdoors, and never came back, didn’t arrive at her original home either. Much mourned, especially by Kate, who’d been at a sleepover at the time.
And then getting to spend a day our favorite way, with a hike across the hills ending up at Castelnou, charming pretty ancient walled village, for a meal on the terrace of El Hostel.
We’re also back in to the day to day, used to grocery shopping again, getting ready for Jordan’s birthday, taking the car in. The kids are all settling in well at school, no tears this year. They have regular activities (especially intense for Jordan, who has soccer or chess 5 days of the week), and choir and gymnastics for the girls. Which makes Sunday our one free day, though Jordan and Claire have no school on Wednesdays, and Kate is off Wed afternoons, some useful downtime and activity time. They all are no longer struggling with the language, or the length of day, have friends, and even come home with top marks in the dictees. They also come home groaning over tests they didn’t understand or having to memorize poems. And Tris and I basically live to serve all of that. Or so it feels! 4 days they are off, 8 to 5.
So here we are, getting comfortable and having fun. Finding housing for January is proving tricky though, we’re either going to be farther away from town or in a small place with no views and pool, we’ll see.