As predicted, I’m already slacking on my blog posts. I could chalk it up to post-Trump election depression, but that would be a lie. Laziness is a more accurate explanation. Just because I haven’t been writing doesn’t mean I don’t have lots to fill you all in on…so here goes!
The most significant events in my life since I last wrote have been starting a few weekly tutoring gigs, having a visitor, exploring a few new cities and spending a wonderful Thanksgiving in Switzerland. I have officially been here for 2 months. It’s going by soo fast!
Tutoring: Every Monday I pick up three little 7 year olds from school and babysit/tutor them for the next 2 hours. Their names are Olivia, Loïs and Marius…all super cute! When we get to Olivia’s house there is always a snack waiting for us on the table. The kiddos have to wash their hands, take their shoes off and put on slippers, and then they are allowed to eat. It’s kind of astounding how much they eat…the first week there was a full loaf of this cake-like bread, and I cut them off when it was half gone because it seemed like so much. The next week, Olivia specified that her mom said they were allowed to eat the whole thing. Last week, they ate 2 full packs of cookies…like what? They’re all still tiny little things though. I asked my roommate Axel if it was typical for french kids to eat snacks like that everyday after school, and he said that it’s pretty common. I guess I’m still trying to figure out how french people/europeans are all so little. Anyways, after snack they play together for half an hour and then we do a tutoring session. Their french accents are adorable. I also tutor my banker, Mme Tong, which has been a more challenging experience…I feel way more confident tutoring little kids. I’m starting with one more family tomorrow whose kids are 6 and 3 years old. I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to teach the 3 year old…but I guess we’ll see.
Visitor: Brittany (my cousin) came to visit me last week!!! Despite some issues with her passport, she made it to France just a day later than planned. It was so fun finally getting to show someone my stomping grounds, and also exploring a few new places with her! We ate lots of bread and cheese, drank wine, stuffed far too many people into my apartment for a Raclette dinner, experienced European Christmas markets for the first time, and made it to 4 cities (excluding Grenoble) in the 8 days she was here. We met in Aix-en-Provence, did a day trip to Cassis on the southern coast, then headed back to Grenoble. While we were in Grenoble we spent in afternoon in a nearby town called Voiron which is where the liquor called Chartreuse is produced by monks. Apparently the U.S. has the second largest consumption of it in the world behind France…anyone ever tried it? Chartreuse is one of my favorite colors, but it’s most definitely not one of my favorite drinks. Finally, we headed back to the Lanevilles in Geneva for a Swiss Thanksgiving!
Swiss Thanksgiving: As I believe I’ve mentioned before, both Caroline and Bill Laneville are unbelievable cooks so we were spoiled on Thanksgiving. On Thursday we had a meal just the 4 of us which was absolutely delicious. Then on Saturday was the feast (unfortunately Brittany had to leave Friday night, but my friend Elena joined us). The Lanevilles hosted around 25 friends and mostly fellow expats for a wonderful evening. Just like them, most of their friends moved to Geneva 20+ years ago on “temporary” work assignments, and then they ended up staying. We talked to some really interesting people who are also some seriously amazing cooks because we ate an unbelievable meal. In proper Swiss fashion, the main course was followed by a cheese course and dessert. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Random thoughts and observations:
- Many homes and apartments don’t have a TV here, or at least there are no TVs in the main living room areas. And they definitely don’t have multiple TVs. I love watching the kids I tutor when they play because they’re so creative and always come up with things to do that don’t include any form of technology. Very refreshing.
- All of the kids here get dropped off and picked up at school by their parents every morning, and most of them walk. I love going from my tram stop to my school and seeing all the families walking together.
Well that’s all for now…more detailed blog posts on Aix-en-Provence and Cassis to come!