It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

                A few years back an office/school supply store ran an ad featuring a parent and two kids shopping for ‘back to school supplies’. This popular Christmas song, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” played in the background. The parent was in ecstasy dancing up and down the aisles dropping pencils, notebooks and backpacks into a shopping cart while the children (one boy, one girl – of course) followed behind, arms crossed, sulking and dragging their feet. Pretty clear message, if I do say so myself.

                Anyway, for me, it really is a wonderful time of the year. While my eldest is now school age, I’m happily going to officially start homeschooling her this year. Sorry indoctrinating, French, socialist, public school in town; I have heard too many bad things about you. And I will begin teaching at the College this academic term for the first time since the birth of the twins! Classes started and we are now a few days into the school year and I’m thrilled. I have students from France, England, Spain, Malta and South Africa. They have so much potential. I just love teaching; I love the former students returning with big smiles, I love meeting the new ones with shy promising faces, and I love the eager look of anticipation and hope on all those faces when I begin a new year with them.

                So while I’m sure that I don’t share the same reason for my joy with the parent in the commercial mentioned before, at the end of the day we are both pretty darn happy this time of year. So cheers to happy parents, joyful teachers, and young minds all thirsting with the expectancy and love of learning that only the opening of a new school year can bring!

                The photo I have put in this post is just one of the three of us looking happy. As it turns out my camera is back in the U.S. where we spent our summer holidays with my family. All my photos were deleted somehow and so I left it in the capable hands of my Dad hoping that he will be able to recover the lost photos! Until then happy new school year!

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American’s Abroad No More

I am no stranger to shamefully late blog posts. My hope for this post: finish writing about last year’s goings on before the new school year begins. I only have a few days left. So here it is.Image

Our two American students left the College for University at the end of term and so we had a BBQ and movie night to say good-bye. Another student, Alexander, came as well. He’s not American and he’s not graduating. Somehow whenever we serve steak he manages to get an invite. We call it the “Alexander phenomenon”; he must have food radar for such events.  I don’t know how he actually accomplishes such things but we like him well enough so we just let it go.Image

Anyway the year ended well and everyone is, hopefully, enjoying the summer holidays and gearing up for the Fall term (now just a few days away.) And this really will be my last post about steak. Really.Image

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Bleu Entrecôte

Living in France I generally like to try to fit in with the natives. I think I accomplish this relatively well, especially due to the fact that I have discovered that when I speak French, or something that slightly resembles that language, people are more  than (often but not always) willing to talk with me: in English. Maybe it’s because the French just cannot bear to hear their beloved mother tongue butchered by a foreigner but I like to think it’s because the French recognize the massive effort I put forth to communicate with them and they follow suit by trying to speak English to me.

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Anyway, in our attempt to integrate into French culture we have found some American culinary masterpieces that translate sans difficulty. I’m talking about nice juicy steaks, or, as the French say, entrecôte (more or less the American version of a rib-eye)! So at the end of this last academic year we hosted a few of the senior students for an evening meal of entrecôte, French fries (obviously this food translates well), and pineapple upside down cake (this one doesn’t translate easily but it’s sinfully delicious and that transcends the language barrier).     

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When Mr. G asked how each of us wanted our steaks done, our French student replied with a laugh, “Bleu! Because I’m French!” The other asked for red, and, keeping up with the color themed idea, I asked for pink.  We all had a wonderful time as one of the advantages of living on campus at a boarding school is that we get to know the students in and out of the classroom. We had a few BBQ nights and these are photos from one of them. Sadly, there are none of us at table because the food disappeared too quickly. So here’s to our American/French summer evening BBQs!      

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In legal terms…

…our appeal of the notorious road running through our school campus was upheld in one court and then over ruled by a higher court. This means our lovely, understanding, intelligent ‘Marie’ (I’m using these adjectives to describe him lest I use some less than charitable ones) can put the road through whenever he wishes. Although, after consulting a lawyer in Nantes, our Headmaster discovered that anytime the Marie wants to run that road he has to notify us and then we have a period of time to appeal the ruling before he again tries to overrule our appeal in a higher court of law. And allegedly this well thought out battle, invented by who-knows-who, can last for years! Brilliant isn’t it? Anyway, I’m going to stop using my limited legal vocabulary because, even though I took a law class in grad school, one of my brothers actually is in Law School. And I really wouldn’t want him to read this and laugh at me. It is never good for one’s morale to be laughed at by a younger sibling. Ever.

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I also feel that this is a well-timed post. Law School Brother and his beautiful wife just gave birth to their absolutely gorgeous first daughter! So I’m pretty sure he is busy falling in love with my beautiful niece and I am guessing that reading my blog posts is currently not a huge priority. Just a guess. So think I have my bases covered!

So there you have it. It seems as though the road will be delayed for a time but the looming threat is still hanging over us. It would be such a shame to lose all of this beauty.

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Cats!

ImageOver the Christmas break as well as Easter holidays the International College of Chavanges slowly drained herself of most of her human inhabitants leaving behind in the wake of partings a few living beings belonging to the afore mentioned human beings. Cats. A small wave of panic rose to the surface as worried teachers wondered what would happen to their beloved cats while they were home making merry.

Great minds think alike they say, and apparently we have many great minds here because everyone thought of a similar solution. ‘Let’s present our problem to Mrs. G. by way of subtle pleas for her help.’ I don’t really find it necessary to fill in the details at this point. Needless to say we had a full house over all the holiday breaks. Meetings took place between my dog, Antonio, who thank goodness, actually thinks he’s a cat. And our cat Coco and the remaining living cats on campus: Mr. Leach’s Snowy, and Mr. Crawford’s Caviar.Image

And as luck would have it is now half term holidays. Funny enough I’m looking after all the cats again. I guess it’s a good thing that I do love animals and that, despite some people’s opinion, I am not a crazy cat lady. Although I am rather gratefully that over the breaks nearly all the people are off campus because generally whenever I go out of doors, one, often two, cats follow me around, sometimes right on into the house with me. And that would really just be another example of why I am a crazy cat lady. Which. I. Am. Not. But just in case…anyone can kindly invoke the intersession of St. Francis of Assisi on by behalf, I think he’d understand. So happy half term break, may all the students and teachers return refreshed and ready to finish the last term. Rest easy all; I’ve got you’re cats. Image

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Servant of the Servants of God

Servant of the Servants of God.

Beautiful post…

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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I will pause for a minute as a courtesy to my American readers while the shock subsides because, as they know, Thanksgiving was over two months ago! This post has been sitting on the dashboard for a while. Let’s hope, that like a good wine, this post has gotten better with age. Here goes…

On November 22nd Americans celebrated Thanksgiving and we, living farther afield from our homeland, still carried on this lovely holiday tradition with our family and American students. It is one of my favorite times of the year; a time to give thanks, to remember our blessings, and to share good food with family and friends.

The memories of past Thanksgivings also make this time of year one of my most loved. Celebrations were a big deal in my family and my Mom and Dad made sure that everyone had a “marvelous time”, as my Mother would say, when the days remembering births, feast days, holidays, and other celebrations of varying degree would arrive. Although we did still miss all the Aunties, Uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, and sister’s-in-laws, nieces and nephews again this year! But in my own small way, I try to carry on this tradition with my children. Which of course means, among other things, spending days in the kitchen with my girls cooking and baking, laughing and talking, enjoying the preparations for the holiday just as much as the day itself.

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So this year there were two American students who joined us, happily being freed from evening study periods and other such activities. John, who has been with us for every Thanksgiving, and become a regular fixture at our Thanksgiving table, celebrated with us. And another new face, Steven joined us as well. This will mostly likely be our only Thanksgiving with him as he was just accepted to Thomas Aquinas College in California, which is also the Alma Mater of one of my own brothers! We are very happy for him and he will be leaving us at the end of the academic year.

So although this post is late in coming we wish that each of you who celebrated Thanksgiving truly enjoyed it, and, for those of you would did not, we hope that you can pause, if only for a moment, to give thanks.

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