Part II of those charming perched villages:
I’m grateful for my family, who know the true meaning of unconditional love. My mom, who I can talk to at anytime, about anything, and know I will have her support and loving, wise advice when I need it. My dad, who has never left me with any doubt that he loves me and would do anything for me. My brother, who can make me belly laugh like no other person I’ve ever known. My kids, whose mischievous smiles keep me on my toes, and whose hugs make the rest of the world melt away. My grandparents, who have been so lovingly involved in my life, and still are here, with us. My aunts, uncles, and many cousins who I always enjoy seeing. And of course, my husband – for the solid, unwavering love he gives me, for his gentle smile, for the safe haven he has been for me since the day I met him.
I’m grateful for my friends; a diverse mix of people who fill my life with joy and help me to remember what is most important and what isn’t worth worrying about.
I’m grateful that I have seen so much of this world, that I have been able to immerse myself in different cultures and gaze upon some of the most stunning places in existence.
I’m grateful for good health; my own and my family’s. I used to scoff at this, even think it was trite. Yeah, yeah, health, blah blah blah. No. So many struggle with health, or watch helplessly as those they love struggle. Good health is an amazing blessing.
I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to get a college degree, then a doctorate, in a field where there is rarely a shortage of jobs.
I’m grateful that I can step away from my career and stay home for these precious years with my two young children.
I’m grateful that I will eat a yummy meal on Thanksgiving, and that I never have had to question whether or not there will be food on my table.
I know I am a lucky woman, to have what I have, to do what I do, and to be where I am today. For this, I give thanks.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all. May you, too, find much to be thankful for on this day.
As I gaze out the window on falling snow and a ground covered in blankets of white, my thoughts drift to warm places. So now, I’ll sip my hot tea and take an armchair trip to the South of France. Care to join me? On y va !
The steep, rocky mountainsides of Provence create not just natural beauty, but lend to stunning, charming architectural wonders perched high above the Mediterranean.
Carnival time sneaks up on me each month! This month, the Raising Multilingual Children Blogging Carnival is hosted by Sarah (my new neighbor – yay!) over at Bringing up Baby Bilingual.
It never crossed my mind growing up that I’d be part of a bilingual, bicultural family. Dreams of the future were hazy at best; I tended to dream big yet not concretely. But wow – I cannot imagine life any other way.
I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to take, resources for, and access to French lessons both in the U.S. and in France, so I can help my children to learn a second language while learning it (struggling with it) myself.
I’m grateful to Amazon.fr and Amazon.ca for all the great books I’ve had delivered to my doorstep.
I’m grateful to have lived in San Diego and to have sent our daughter to the San Diego French American School. What a remarkable school and community of people.
I’m grateful that I’ve been able to spend so much time in France, and that we are able to take our kids there and share the French language and culture with them.
I’m grateful that my husband has such a fabulous sense of humor about the French language and culture, so that when I’m feeling exasperated, rather than take offense, he laughs and makes a few jokes about the “ridiculous French.” (Say this with a thick French accent and you’ll appreciate it, too.)
I’m grateful for YouTube and Roku, where we find movies (La Maison de Mickey) and all sorts of French music videos to sing and dance to in our living room.
I’m grateful that right now, my daughter still thinks it’s pretty cool to speak French.
I’m grateful that I, with a few minor exceptions, have had kind, patient, and encouraging French teachers that have made learning the language more akin to an imagined vacation overseas than the stereotypical browbeating, you’re-not-worthy treatment that makes for great stories down the road but aren’t all that fun in the moment.
I’m grateful for Sarah at Bringing Up Baby Bilingual and this page of hers that has made finding French in Colorado so easy for us.
I’m grateful for the community of bloggers I have found that help keep me motivated and inspired about this often difficult journey of raising children bilingually.
Most of all, I’m grateful for the world that being a bilingual family has opened to us. I’m a better, more tolerant, more open-minded, more patient, and I think more interesting person after learning how different languages, cultures, and families can be.
I love that we are a bilingual, bicultural family. I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Don’t get me wrong. We moved to a beautiful place. Louisville, CO, and nearby Boulder, are lovely, enchanting. We knew we needed to try something different in this quest to find “home,” because San Diego, while another fabulous place, didn’t feel quite right. We need to see if somewhere else is the “home” we crave. We recognized from the beginning that there was a possibility that we’d leave San Diego and realize – she’s the one for us. Whoops.
Like the song says, “You only know you love her when you let her go.” I knew I was fond of San Diego. We had a history. She’s beautiful, fun, exciting. She has a lot going for her. Now that I’ve moved, I miss the things I knew I would miss, but there are so many things, often little things, that I now realize she had that I just didn’t appreciate.
We’re settled in here in Colorado, and I think it’s hitting all of us that we’re here to stay rather than on an extended vacation. It hit me so hard I’ve cried every day for the last week. Especially when my daughter said this: “Mommy, I want to go back to San Diego. I miss my French school. Can we put it on a really big truck with all my teachers and my friends and move it here?”
But that’s not the way life works.
An image of a place in San Diego will pop into my mind, sometimes so vivid I almost feel I’m there, and I’ll think to myself, “we should go to Spiro’s Gyros and sit on the patio where we can watch the boats in the bay,” or, “maybe I’ll see so-and-so today when I drop my daughter off at school,” then it will hit me – I’m not in San Diego anymore. A sense of longing and a sense of loss bombards me.
Here’s what I remind myself: We have embarked on a great adventure. We’ll only be better for it. We’ve landed in a beautiful place, we have good friends here, and we need (read, I need) to remain optimistic and positive and give Colorado a true chance. If I sit here and cry that I’m not in San Diego anymore, I’ll ruin all these gorgeous sunny days where I could be exploring this beautiful, dynamic place I’ve landed in. She’s no slouch, Colorado. There’s a lot to love.
But, still, Opera, I really miss you.
Optimism. The double rainbow we saw out our hotel window the morning we left San Diego:
Last weekend we visited the Denver Art Museum’s Passport to Paris exhibit, advertised as “More Monet in Denver than ever before.” I love the French Impressionists, so there was no doubt we were going to go, even if it meant dragging a three-year-old and an eighteen-month-old through an art museum. Between pushing buttons on the audio tours for the kids to keep them entertained (“Mommy! She stopped talking again!”) and pulling my daughter’s curious fingers away from priceless works of art (“NOOOOOOOOOO! Off limits! Eyes only!” Cue hyperventilating Mom all too aware of angry glares from other patrons) we managed to see most of the works displayed in the show’s trio of rooms.
The rooms: Court to Cafe, Nature as Muse, and Drawing Room, focus on French art from the late 1600s to the early 1900s and include a fascinating look at how art and society mirrored each other through these dynamically evolving centuries. The show incorporates 50 masterpieces from the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut, 36 landscapes from the impressionist artists from the private collection of Frederic C. Hamilton – on public display for the first time, as well as drawings on paper from master artists of the period. Here are a couple of my favorites (no photography was allowed, so I had to scan them from postcards I bought):
If you are in the Denver area and interested, the show is here through February 9, 2014, and tickets can be purchased online or at the museum. Click here for more details.
This post is part of the Multicultural Kids Blogging Carnival, hosted this month by Stephanie at InCultureParent.
We are enjoying our first real fall in a long time. In San Diego, the seasonal shifts were so subtle I hardly noticed them. This year, I greet fall in Colorado with wide, appreciative eyes. I love the changes, the reminder that time is passing, that seasons are changing; I feel it in my core, the physical linking of nature with the rhythm of our lives.
Autumn brings a season full of uniquely American traditions; fun times filled with celebration, friends, and family. Back to school time comes with the smell of fresh cut grass on the football fields and Friday night games. I don’t watch much football anymore, but I love the idea of it. I love the energy around the games, the tradition, the cheering crowds. Seeing stadium lights, even from a distance, sends a tingle of excitement up my spine, just as it did when I was a teenager going to my high school games. I romanticize it all; the injuries are much less glamorous… I’ve seen too many of those in my days working the sidelines and helping out at Saturday morning injury clinics. I plan to do everything I can to make sure football remains a spectator sport only for us all, but I digress.
In October, we hit the pumpkin patches to find the perfect future Jack-o-Lantern, along with gourds for our mantel. We run through hay bale mazes with the kids, pretending to get lost so they can show us the way out. We go apple picking, and then I try out all sorts of new recipes trying to make sure the bags full of apples we found don’t go to waste. We have friends over for pumpkin carving parties where the kids, because they are young, grow quickly bored, and we adults carve self-proclaimed masterpieces over pizza and beer.
Trick or Treating – my kids are finally old enough for this! My daughter practiced for days before Halloween – knocking on all the doors in the house, calling out “Trick or Treat!” Then the day finally came, and we took them around our block, proud parents of our adorable costumed cherubs. We ended up with way too much candy for such little ones – a 3-year-old and 18-month-old; or at least this is how I justify raiding their bags and gorging on chocolate during their naps. I love Halloween.
New tradition this year: raking up the leaves and jumping in them. I have never, in (indistinct mumble) years, had the opportunity to do this. So when my husband finished raking all the stray leaves into a tidy pile, I had to exercise some serious restraint to let my kids dive in first, before me. We jumped, rolled, buried ourselves, and tossed those leaves around, cracking each other up.
In San Diego, I would still be wearing tank tops and flip-flops. Here, though, I’ve put those away. I’ve never lived in a place where people actually pack clothes away for an entire season. Colorado weather is wonky enough that a flip flop worthy day is still possible. But I have enjoyed actually needing my scarves and sweaters, rather than wearing them just because “ ‘tis the season” as I did in San Diego.
Next up – Thanksgiving. I love Thanksgiving. I love the relaxed nature of the day; any day centered on food is a good day, as far as I’m concerned. We travel to Arizona each year to spend this holiday with my large extended family – it’s often the only day all year that we see many of them, as we live far enough apart that get togethers are few. When I was growing up, we’d all meet at Grandma and Grandpa’s house – over the river and through the woods. Later my aunt took over hostess duties, but the last couple years, we’ve had it at my mom and dad’s place. My husband and I try to take the kids out in the morning for a hike or walk where we point out the unique beauty of the Arizona desert and try to get enough exercise to justify the ridiculous amount of food we will most definitely be eating.
I’ve explained to my kids that the weather is growing colder, the days are getting shorter, and the leaves are changing colors and falling from the trees because it’s fall. My daughter is fascinated by all of this – she never saw any of this in California, so she loves to point out the leaves blowing around the neighborhood and tell me it’s fall. As with so much of parenting, her awareness, the way she completely inhabits a moment with her whole being, helps me to slow down and enjoy it all, too. And as the kids get older, each fall tradition becomes more meaningful. Going back to school isn’t just a date in the calendar, it’s an event my kids take part in. On Halloween, we’re now part of the crew of neighborhood kids. Thanksgiving, I do my best to convince them that stuffing is the absolute best part of the meal, and that piling as much whip cream on a slice of pumpkin pie as possible makes for a perfect dessert.
I love fall. Even better now that I have kids to experience it with. For them – it’s all new and exciting. For me, it’s exciting all over again, as I see it through their innocent and alert eyes that don’t miss anything. They aren’t worrying about bills or getting home in time to cook dinner, they’re picking up a fallen leaf and examining every vein and edge, then showing it to me with delighted grins. The delight is infectious, and a reminder, along with the season itself, to slow down and enjoy it all.