Our Arrival in Mougins
We were very excited last Friday around 2 pm to finally move into the real house, which happily has no offensive odors. In fact, it is quite lovely and I really like it a lot. Except for the small fact that the water keeps shutting off and at least three times a day Dave has to go outside to the pump and push a button to turn it back on. I think the plumber is coming to fix that next week.
So far the weather has been spectacular-cool in the morning and evening and sunny in the day. It was cloudy last Friday and a few drops of rain fell, but that was it. Apparently it hasn't rained here in a few months. Dave spent yesterday filling up the fish pond, which had lost a lot of water; and filling the pool just a bit.
The kids are still adjusting to school, and I am still adjusting to going back and forth three times a day. The school is about 7-8 minutes from the house by car, so we have to plan ahead (unlike at home!), especially since we must first drop off Abby at her school, the turn back toward home and park at Sophie and Sam's school to walk them inside. Interestingly, Sam and Sophie are both having a harder time than I expected. Sam thinks his teacher is mean, which I'm sure she is not, but at first blush she seems a little intimidating. Sophie says she is bored and doesn't learn anything, which I can easily believe because she is in the equivalent of kindergarten. I have been working with her at night on spelling and numbers.
Abby, on the other hand, seems just fine! Thankfully she met a friend named Emily who speaks English. Her mother is Scottish and her father is English. She speaks French as she has lived her for about 4 years. Apparently she helps Abby figure out what's going on in class at school. As there is no school on Wednesdays Emily will come over to play. Abby has had a very good attitude and has not complained about going to school at all.
I am trying to figure out what to do with myself. In the meantime I am eating a lot of junk and feel very out of shape! I haven't exercised since June, basically and I can feel it! Today I drove around for 1-1/2 hours trying to find the horseback riding place. I never found it, but when I figured out where I was, finally, I was by the McDonald's and felt it necessary to comfort myself with a coke. I did feel a little better after that! I still have to do some of the same things like always: book the condo, send refund checks, pay bills online. Grocery shopping here is getting easier as I find things I need, but they have the same dumb carts as in England with all four wheels spinning in all directions. Very hard to control! Other than that, I have been doing a lot of laundry. We haven't had easy access to a laundry room since we left Nantes, so I had a lot of catching up to do. It is still not that great as the washer and dryer are in a room outside that you can only access from outside. Also, the dryers here are different in that they catch all the water from the clothes in a plastic container that you have to empty. This makes it so the clothes are never totally dry. I've teen told that most everyone just hands their clothes on a line and the iron EVERYTHING. I'm sure this keeps clothes looking very new and all, but it is a total waste of time! No wonder Virginie has someone come three times a week: she is doing laundry the entire time! In addition there is a different woman to do the ironing. I won't have her come, but I don't blame Virginie one bit.
Dave has been busying himself with yard work (the yard is enormous!) and has already managed to prune several trees and make plans with "Mohommed" to come and haul things away. In fact I hear him out there now chopping something down. His favorite things to do are to are play this game on Webkinz called "Goober's Lab" and talk to Virginie's best friend Stephanie. Stephanie has one son, Louis, who is in Sam's class. Stephanie has been helping us do basically everything and I feel guilty that I didn't have someone there for her to do the same. Luckily my sister and Dave's parents have spent some time with her, but knowing how lost I feel I'm sure she could use more interaction.
The other day the kids found a frog in the pool and scooped him out. The dumped him in the pond and named him Swimmy. We haven't seen him since! However, there are tons of goldfish in the pond and they like looking at them just as much. There are also tons of lizards around the house, inside and out! Sophie has also succeeded in finding the tiniest snail shells I have ever seen. Stephanie verified that's what they were, and Sophie (who thought they were just seashells) was suddenly grossed out and threw them at me!
On Sunday we went to church for the first time here. Everyone was very nice and they even had a translator who sat up front and spoke into a microphone in English. They gave us headphones with which we could hear the translation. I tried not to use them, but after a while my brain was so tired trying to make sense of the French words, I just gave up. My brain gets really tired some days trying to speak French.
Tonight is back to school night at both schools. Dave and I must divide and conquer. Hopefully he will understand what is going on!
I really miss everyone and the ease of knowing my way around. But it is really beautiful here and I am having a great time with the "struggle" of living in the French Riviera.