Back to blogging…

IMG_5904Goodness me, it has been so long since my last post I’m almost afraid to start writing again! It’s not for want of anything to say, in fact, the real problem is that there has been too much going on. We celebrated Thanksgiving (more on that later), prepared for the end of term with Mr. G. marking exams, filing student reports, and making sure that the students were full of Christmas sweets and puddings before returning to their respected homes; and we celebrated the glorious feast of Christmas amid almost complete peace and silence! The octave of Christmas is far too beautiful to touch upon here, perhaps next year when the twins are older…

And in other news…Malcolm over at British Catholic Blogs added us to his impressive blog list! He runs an incredible blog roll. The site is a wonderful source of news and inspirational blog posts from writers around the world. We are very pleased that ‘The Chavagnes Experience’ was added to his list!

So to celebrate, and to make myself feel a bit more British, I will make myself a pot of English tea, and eat toast lightly spread with marmite. And not just any old marmite, but “Ma’ amite: Toasting to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee”, which was a gift from our chaplain. There. I feel more British already.

Also you can have a look at Malcolm’s BCB by clicking the link below, it is well worth it! Enjoy!

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Avant et Après part 2

As with most old houses the work is never really complete. There is always something to be fixed, something is leaking or broken but I don’t mind. I have discovered that there is very little that super glue and a hammer can’t fix.

But we certainly didn’t do all the work ourselves. Some of the bigger projects were completed by Rafael, who works at the College and could probably repair anything. At least that’s what my girls think and they are probably correct.  My parents also helped quite a bit. They painted, they measured, bought, and hung curtains; winterized the doors, left us with lovely plants and herbs to grow. Dad largely redid the girls room, Mom purchased bedding, blankets, towels, decorative items, seasonal “festivities” among many other things, you know, all those items that make a house a home. So the cottage as you see it in these photos is really a work of love, continually maintained by our own hands as well as by some of those who love us. And it is a home, our home.

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Avant et Après part 1

When we moved in to the little French Cottage, I was eight months pregnant and getting ready to give birth to our second child in a second country where I did not speak the language. This fact was sufficient enough to keep my worries on the impending birth rather than…well, anything else really. Needless to say my nesting instincts, as well as my Trading Spaces “carpet and cover” mentality, took control of the situation with surprising calm and vigor. So we would like share a few before and after photos of our place with you. They are not at all extensive, and they don’t show all the rooms and spaces. However, it gives a reasonable snapshot of the place. All the “before” photos were taken by Philip (I never set eyes on the place until the first day we moved in which, all things considered, was probably a good thing) and the “after” photos were taken by yours truly. Hope you enjoy a bit of the rustic French countryside life we have come to love.

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A River Runs Through It.

Or in this case a Road. That’s right break out you’re Joni Mitchel and weep. They are going to “pave paradise” and put up a road.  The local French Authorities have decided that it would be a good idea to seize a large section of the International College’s property and run a road through it. This would destroy the student’s gym, the access to the pond (complete with grazing cows), the beautiful grounds, and our lovely Saint Joseph’s chapel. Not to mention that it will be within yards of our little cottage.

Why would the “Marie” (the Mayor) think this was at all necessary? I haven’t a clue. You can drive through the town of Chavanges in thirty seconds flat, ten seconds if you are French, and there is never any traffic. The school has officially filed an appeal at the first road hearing, October 8th. Let’s hope we can stop this travesty before it takes root! Keep us in your thoughts and prayers please! Here are a few random photos of what we stand to lose. 

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An American in Paris.

                                  I have been waiting to use that blog title for a long time.                                                         And now it is true, times six to be exact. We spent a week in Paris this August and were able to mix a little business with pleasure. The twins needed to be registered at the U.S. Embassy and apply for passports, social security cards, and complete the birth report abroad. And let me just say, I don’t think I have ever had to fill out so many forms, compile so many documents, and organize so many papers in my life. I’m not really sure how it all happened, but it did, and the twins are now French born American citizens in possession of American passports too!

While in Paris we were also able to see some of the sights with the girls. We climbed Montmartre on foot to reach Sacre Coeur, at Notre Dame we walked the famous Left Bank and feed the birds; we saw the Eiffel Tower (from a distance) and even watch some of the London Olympics. (N.B. The Women’s gymnastics final is not to be recommended as a pre-bedtime activity for small children.) Lovely Paris trip overall.

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The boys are back in town!


Oh, sorry, did I just say that? What I wanted to say was…ahem… the gentlemen have returned from their summer holidays abroad. School is back in full swing and we have loved seeing all the lovely faces of boys whom we have grown to know over the past few years as well as a few new faces. I have already made muffins for some of the students and we have all greeted each other with the joy and expectation that a new academic year brings. Here is to a wonderful new school year!

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Time to say good-bye

Before the end of term we purchased a small BBQ to help ring in the pending summer holiday. Nothing says ‘summer’ more than a hot and tasty BBQ meal! So Mr. G happily opened grilling season at the Gonzales’ house. Yes, I know it looks like a pyre built for the gods but that’s just what happens when you let philosophers light fires. (For safety reasons you can note the watering cans in close proximity to the grill.)

Anyway, we were also able to have two of Mr. G’s favorite students over one evening to BBQ and eat with us. Alexander and Augustin joined us and we had a great time hosting them. They are both incredibly funny, very sweet, with lovely personalities and it was nice to spend time getting to know them. Sadly, Augustin will be continuing his studies elsewhere, but Alexander will be with us again next year! They have great summer plans which, for Alexander may even include a trip to the good old U.S. of A. We wish them and all our other students a blessed and happy summer holiday!


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