Where has the time gone? We always wondered how we would spend our time in Europe. We knew we couldn’t be tourists 100% of the time as that would get old. There is no time to be a tourist!
We finished our intensive language A1 class and it was intense! Three hours in class plus about six hours of homework a day. John now has a really fun tutor, and I am taking formal classes. I skipped A2 and am taking two B1 classes. We still can’t speak it, but we are starting to understand it. We are taking two conversation classes each week, too.
I have made some terrific friends in language class and we have many social gatherings. We are a diverse group of all races, nationalities, religions, and ages and we have so much in common as we struggle to assimilate. My heart is incredibly happy here!
We have been volunteering a lot at the English library. We developed an automated registration system for enrolling university students. The students flash a QR code, fill out a form and then the data can be batch uploaded to their circulation system. It turns out they use the same program I used in the states. I also completed my portion of a project in which we are indicating reading levels of the books. This will make it easier for our French patrons to find books (in English) on their reading level.
We had our first dentist visit. Finding a dentist is like pulling teeth! We really like him. A full mouth x-ray and exam was €23. Super modern equipment, but no cleaning and from what we are told, the cleaning will take about 10 minutes. That will be in 18 months! Yikes! Floss is not real popular here. Our dentist was impressed with our dental hygiene, but some dentists actively discourage flossing as they think it causes gum problems. It is hard to find in the stores, too. I have been plotting that we should find two other dentists. Then we can schedule 18 month cleanings at 6 month intervals. System D!
(System D is what the French call how to work around the rules.)
One of our neighbors invited us for apéro (aperitifs). It was a lovely evening in 90% French conversation. She invited us to join her at the neighborhood community center for a concert. These are regular concerts that have a guitarist, violinist, and mandolin player.
So, that night we discovered that it is a chorale group and we were to be part of the chorale! (I think my French comprehension may be lacking or we were horn-swaggled.) Anyway, we had a blast! I guess we are now in a chorale group. I would not have put that on my “Move to France” Bingo card.
I finally wrote the Office of French Integration and Immigration to see if our appointment was lost. ( We are almost three months overdue.) It turns out they are running 8 months behind. So it will be at least January before we have our appointment. That is also when we begin our visa renewal process. Yikes!
If you recall from my last post, France had just returned to work from Les Vacances. After seven weeks of work, it was time for another two week “vacances.” So things slowed again. The French have a 32-35 hour work week, multiple vacation periods a year and still manage to get things done. Family and the enjoyment of life is the priority here. I wish we would have moved here in our 20s.
We took this opportunity to take our first real vacation in well over a year and went to Vannes. It is in Brittany on the Gulf of Morbihan and the area reminds us of the San Juans in the Pacific Northwest. We took a ferry to a small island that had a quaint village in the center. It was like stepping back in time. We walked for miles, read fluffy fiction, and just relaxed.
It was one year ago that we came to France on a scouting trip. I cannot believe it has been a year. It was an incredibly stressful year. We think back to what we have been through and we still feel a bit overwhelmed by the memory. (PTSD?) Are we glad we did it? YES! A million times, YES! At least once a day, we will have a moment where we stop and look at each other and ask if this is real. We are actually here? We did it. France is a dream come true.
Angers is our happy place.
And now for way too many photos and some videos…
Vide Grenier -Community yard sale - More than 20,000 people came!
Night Music Festival https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3ZeO1Y2Uch0
Donkey visit https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CDlSsw5Wv7I
Sunset Cruise https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MmvHHHHdAjk