One Nation, Under Guns*

A couple of weeks after a gunman murdered 10 people in a grocery store near me, I threw on flip flops to pick a few things up at the grocery store. When I got there, all I could think was – why did I wear flip flops? I can’t run in these.

We are One Nation, Under Guns.

In restaurants, I always take the seat where I can have my back to the wall. I never sit with my back to the door.

Because we are One Nation, Under Guns.

In public places, I scan everyone. To see if they are carrying a gun. Especially at movie theaters. I once left a movie because a 20-something male entered, alone, with a large backpack.

I almost never honk my horn anymore. Not even when someone’s about to hit me. Not even if the person in front of me at the stoplight is so absorbed in their cell phone that they miss the green light. Because in our One Nation, Under Guns, 44 people are shot and killed or wounded every month in a road rage incident.

When I kiss my kids goodbye and send them off to school, I worry. My son is 10 and in 4th grade. Just like the kids at Uvalde, whose beds are now empty. Whose parents awake at night screaming, helpless, devastated. The nightmare they will never wake up from.

My friends are buying backpacks with bulletproof lining for their children.

We are One Nation, Under Guns.

In this country, before I send my kids to anyone’s home to hang out with their kids, I ask the parent if they have guns. If they do, I ask them if they are stored unloaded and locked separately from the ammunition. So many parents store guns in a shoebox under the bed. Or “hiding” in the closet. They claim their kids don’t know where they are. But the kids almost always do. They pull them out to show them to their friends. Because they look cool. And then, a child dies.

The truth is, One Nation, Under Guns.*

Guns are now the leading cause of death for children in this country. We teach our kids to hide under their desks, to be perfectly still, perfectly quiet. We do drills to practice hiding from an intruder. Because this is the price of freedom.

One Nation, Under Guns.

I don’t enjoy concerts any more, or large gatherings. I don’t feel safe. I used to love parties and clubs and concerts and losing myself in loud music on the dance floor. But then, Pulse. Las Vegas. And the random fights that break out every day in public places where someone brought a gun, because they made the decision that in the event of any conflict, they are willing to escalate that conflict to the ultimate end point: death. They made that decision for the rest of us, and the rest of us, if we are lucky, will live with it.

We are One Nation, Under Guns.

I go to protests and marches. I see angry men, openly carrying weapons that don’t belong on a city street in the hands of a civilian. I meet their eyes, trying to understand what could create a man who thinks this behavior is acceptable. They stare at me in hatred. Trying to scare me, put me in my place. Telling me in no uncertain terms that no death toll is too high, they love their guns more.

This isn’t freedom.

I’ve been ridiculed for my fear. By people who love their guns, who believe they are “protecting” their home and family. Yet – why is violence the only method of protection they are willing to provide? And while they’ve been conditioned to believe that a gun is required to fulfill their manly duty, the truth is that gun makes it 2X more likely that someone in their home will be murdered with the gun, and 3X more likely that someone in their home will use it to complete suicide.

One Nation. Under Guns.

Why shouldn’t I be scared? We have more mass shootings here than days each year. We are 26X more likely to be murdered by gun than we would be if we lived in any of our peer countries.

I bet those countries don’t consider us a “peer.” My French family and friends look at us with both confusion and horror. We are rich with money and resources. But we are not civilized.

110 people die by gun every day. Four years ago, when I began my volunteer work as a gun violence prevention advocate, our informational handouts said “96 deaths by gun each day.” I keep having to edit that number.

We are One Nation, Under Guns.

I watch as the rest of the world tightens gun laws in response to horrific mass shootings, domestic violence, and murders. I watch as these laws work. I watch in shame as they point to us as a cautionary tale.

I watch as our right-wing politicians block any and every meaningful legislation. Even the most basic – background checks. They point to everything but the guns and the loose gun laws: mental health, declining religion, Covid restrictions, non-traditional family structures, video games. Every country has these things, and at the same rates as we do. But only in America do we live like this and die like this. These same politicians point to “evil.” They claim it is not a “gun” problem, but a “sin” problem. I ask those politicians, who claim to love America and to be the only party of patriotism: Do you believe Americans are inherently more evil than people in any other country? Do you believe that we are more “sinful?”

I don’t. And I bet these “true patriots” will never claim that, either. So then, the obvious conclusion is to look at the only changing variable: The fucking guns.

Or perhaps we are more evil. How depraved is our society when we allow a man to murder an unarmed black teenager and walk away, and then auction the gun he used in the murder for $250,000?

They say: the answer is, we need more guns. More police officers with guns in our communities. More security officers with guns in our schools, churches, grocery stores. More “patriots” with guns patrolling our communities. It’s a dangerous world, so go out and buy a gun to protect your family. No one else is going to do it.

So more guns are sold. Gun laws are loosened. The gun crime rate skyrockets. The body count rises. And the people with pockets full of money from the gun industry say: We Need More Guns! “They” all have guns, and the only way you can protect yourself is by having a gun! Even more depraved: If you don’t have a gun, if you aren’t willing to buy into this arms race, if you don’t want to contribute to the danger and sickness that is our gun culture, clearly you have chosen to be a victim in waiting.

But we have no choice – we are at the mercy of whoever has decided to bring their guns into our shared spaces.

One Nation, Under Guns.

I ask this: When will we finally see this supposed guns-everywhere utopia? Where all these guns make us safe? We have 400,000,000 guns in this country. More guns than people. Will it be 500 million? A billion? When do we reach that magic number of guns where we stop dying at these rates?

Or maybe, we can look at the many, many examples around us – abroad and in states like Massachusetts. Gun. Laws. Work.

Areas where there are more guns and looser restrictions have more deaths by gun.

Areas with fewer guns, and those with tighter safety laws, have fewer deaths by gun.

This is not hard to understand.

I’m exhausted by the people who are determined to keep us as One Nation, Under Guns.

*credit to poet Amanda Gorman, who wrote, “The truth is, one nation, under guns”

The Marshall Fires

We are not okay.

I had a brief moment of relief and hope in November, 2020. Until this sank in: 74 million people in this country thought that four more years of the Florida Man was a good idea. And now, rather than gleefully believing they were “owning the libs,” they were furious and increasingly unhinged from reality.

Then, 2021 opened with the January 6 insurrection. With everything that happened during the former president’s 4 years in office, and with everything that has happened since, democracy is failing in the United States, the supposed bastion of democratic principles, the shining beacon on the hill. It’s a frightening time to be an American. But so many are so bogged down with other crises (many a result of “American Exceptionalism,” like can’t get a job with a living wage, bankrupt over medical bills, can’t afford to go to college, can’t afford maternity or paternity leave….) they can’t even find the energy to shrug a shoulder over it.

In March, a mass shooting in Boulder at a King Soopers I sometimes shop at. Gun sales and gun violence skyrocketing in a country where millions stand against any reasonable gun laws, for no reason other than, “Fuck you, I like my guns.”

We are entering year three of a pandemic that has changed everything, but hasn’t seemed to change the things that really matter, like working together, caring for each other, using and trusting our amazing technology and science and medical advances to get us through. Or working to change systemic issues like a for-profit health care system that leaves out our most vulnerable, or how racism and poverty impact health outcomes.

Then, December 30. Both my husband and I had early morning appointments, and the kids were home alone for less than an hour, but still, the thought of what could have been haunts me. I got home and we decided to stay inside for the day – the winds were freaky strong and our house felt cozy and safe. But 2021 had another gut punch in store for us. The Marshall Fire ravaged my hometown, destroying over 1000 homes. It feels wrong to bury this story in paragraph six. Community trauma on top of community trauma on top of community trauma, add in personal traumas that so many of us are processing, too. It’s hard to know where to begin.

My sweet little town. We’ve traveled very little this year due to Covid. No international travel, no visiting family in France. And each time we’ve left, I’ve ached to get back to my bubble. The country feels more hostile, less safe. People are on edge, angry.

But not in Louisville, Colorado. Here, we feel safe. We are surrounded by a community that cares about each other and supports each other. And now, that community has been forever changed. Who knows what the future holds as we begin the process of cleaning up. Some will rebuild. Some will move away. Will we retain this sense of community and love and support for each other? How do we ever feel safe again?

Destroyed businesses in Louisville, where the Rotary restaurant had just opened.

Like everyone in Louisville and Superior, we evacuated quickly. I didn’t believe it was real, that we were really in danger, even though the air outside was filled with ash and smoke that whipped at my face and nested in my eyes as we tossed our quickly thrown together overnight bags into the back of my car. It all felt too surreal. I thought – we just need to not breathe this in. We’ll be back by tomorrow. I grabbed none of the things I was so sure I would grab in an event like this. My scrapbooks. Baby books. The journals that I’ve filled for 4 decades. Watercolors by my grandfather-in-law. Letters from the kids.

But I had the kids. And our beloved dog, Charlee. And my husband was in Denver, on his way to meet us in a safe place.

We spent the afternoon and night of the fires anxiously checking our newly installed Nest camera over and over and watching the news. Desperate for information, unable to turn away, wondering if our home was still there. Texts, emails, calls from family and friends poured in, checking on us, and I felt surrounded by love while at the same time devastated by the violent destruction we were seeing, helplessly watching the flames tearing apart our hometown, thinking about the things I wished I would have grabbed and hugging my husband, kids, and dog far too tightly.

Our house survived. We returned in disbelief coupled with relief and not a small amount of trepidation, realizing that the fires had come within a few blocks. We drove through neighborhoods that looked like a bomb had been dropped on them. We had piles of ash on our front porch, and some came in through our windows. We found charred papers in our yard that were most certainly on fire when they landed here. We’ll need to do some minor work to clean up soot in our attic and garage. As I swept the front porch, it hit me – these ashes are my neighbor’s homes. Their lives. The remnants of everything they had. And I sobbed. I’m so lucky, but my heart aches at the near miss, and my heart breaks for all that my friends have lost.

Found in our yard – the burnt remains of an old punchcard.

Twenty percent of my kids’ classmates are without a home. The devastation they are faced with is impossible to comprehend, and yet there they are, my friends and their kids, still showing up, even smiling through it all. Reassuring us that they will be okay. Because that’s what people do. I want them to know that they don’t owe us this, that they can break down, cry, scream, rage, and feel whatever they need to feel right now.

Survivor’s guilt is a real thing. My 9-year-old son commented, “I feel happy that I still have a home, but I’m so sad for my friends and I don’t feel like I should feel happy when they aren’t.” We feel an urge to help in any way we can, but right now everyone is so overwhelmed they don’t even know what they might need. I remind myself that help and support will be needed for months, years even.

Our community has come together to support each other – because we are an amazing community. So many restaurants giving out free meals. Clothing drives, gift card drives, toy drives, book drives, fundraisers – it seems there is more than enough to go around, and help is still pouring in from locals and from around the country.

We drive by a destroyed neighborhood, past National Guard vehicles, on our commute to and from school. I still can’t quite process it all. Is this real? It’s hard to reconcile in my mind what I’m seeing with my eyes and smelling with my nose, juxtaposed against what it should be. It doesn’t get easier, and I’m already starting to forget what that beautiful, vibrant neighborhood used to look like. I think of the families I know that live there, and how on nice days we would bike alongside this neighborhood and exchange cheery hellos with friends as we all made our way to school.

I’m not one for toxic positivity. Right now, optimism is hard to come by. A small billboard outside of our school got painted over the weekend, a blue background with the word “hope” written inside a yellow heart. It felt good to see it, and for a brief moment it did penetrate deep into my soul, where my resilience currently lays dormant.

My kids, at their young, raw, vulnerable age, are having to endure things that I, as an adult, with the reserves and experiences of a longer life, feel beaten down by. I try to reassure my kids that there are good times ahead, even if right now feels awful for so many reasons. That together, we’ll get through this. That we need to keep our own “buckets” filled even if right now it’s with the smallest of things – a hug, a smile, a good book or a fun show. Or my favorite, a delicious taco from one of our favorite restaurants. I try to reassure myself of this, too. Because this is how we move forward. This is how we find strength. And with that strength, we will be able to help our friends and neighbors who need us right now and every day, moving forward.

But, it’s okay to admit, too, that we’re not okay. And right now, that’s where we are.

*Note – there are many pictures of destroyed homes in our town circulating on various news sites. I’ve chosen not to include photos of burned homes here, as those feel deeply personal and this is a personal blog, not a news source.

Et alors… quoi de neuf?

My long hiatus has been unintentional.

Sort of.

Truth: What is going on in the U.S. has thrown me for a serious loop. When I began my blog years ago, I wanted to write about the often funny, always interesting, and sometimes exasperating differences between French and American culture, and to share anecdotes from my own life on what it’s like to be in a bicultural, bilingual marriage with kids. I enjoyed comparing our two cultures and poking fun at each of them.

November 2016: suddenly, those differences don’t seem so funny or cute anymore. Many of them seem pathetic and even dangerous. Even the smallest topics I consider writing about feel hypercharged. I, like so many others, feel like a stranger in a strange land in my own country. I often find myself defending the US to my foreign friends, and I’m weary of trying to defend what I don’t identify with nor agree with.

I always intended this to be a personal blog where I shared my story, my family, my experiences. While I’ve touched on politics, it was never intended to be a political blog. But isn’t the personal also political? Can any of us afford to ignore the political these days? To pretend it isn’t a part of us, a part of our culture? And of course, deeply important to the course our country and the world takes? Wouldn’t it be irresponsible to pretend otherwise?

I struggle, too, to find balance between actively doing my part to make the world a better place and still finding time to enjoy life – those little moments with my kids, the joy I find in traveling, the laughs I share with friends. I consider posting a few photos from a recent trip and I pause, feeling guilty that here I am, lucky enough to travel around the world with my kids, while others in my home country are suffering unimaginably.

So, I’ve spent much time wondering over this last year and a half how to continue this blog.

But I’ve decided to try. Rick Steves writes about Travel as a Political Act. My experiences traveling, meeting and talking with people, even the times I’ve been confronted with angry, vocal locals once they find out where I’m from, have made me a better person, of that I have no doubt. My mind has opened, my world view expanded. My ability to empathize and to see a perspective other than my own improves each time.

So, I will continue on. Some posts may be fluffy travel posts full of pictures of gorgeous locales. There will still be funny anecdotes about the culture clashes of being in a French-American family. Some posts may be political. I may lose followers. And that’s okay. C’est la vie. C’est comme ça.

My Husband is an Immigrant

My husband is an immigrant.

He went to one of the best high schools in Paris, and then one of the best preparatory schools. He graduated from the top university in France (Ecole Polytechnique) for math, science, and engineering. He came to the US first as a visiting scholar, and then was invited to return for graduate school. Soon, Hewlett Packard snatched him up. That great brain of his helped create some of the first all-in-one printers and some of the first digital cameras. Now, he works for Google.

He came to the US because of the unique opportunities our country offered. Like many immigrants, he stayed because he felt welcomed, challenged, and knew he could have a career here that would surpass what was available to him in France at the time. So here he stayed, collaborating with other immigrants, working alongside American-born engineers.

Would he have followed the same path today? Would our technology industry, strong as it is, be attractive enough to great minds like my husband’s despite the current administrations’ policies and attitudes toward immigrants?

A dear friend who is also married to a French man said to me recently, “Carol, we’re one Freedom Fries incident away from our husbands being the next ‘bad hombres.’” (Mauvais mecs, if you want the French version.)

Remember Freedom Fries? After 9/11? Because I do. I remember the subtle and not so subtle comments and jabs I received about being married to one of “those French guys.” The traitors who didn’t support Bush’s Iraq invasion. The ones who should be thanking us for eternity because they aren’t speaking German right now. The ones who should be rubber-stamping all US policy, not daring to stand against us citing something like principles.

While I don’t purport to sit here in my privileged life and compare rude insults made to my husband and me during those years to the instability and terror immigrants and refugees face now, to the families being threatened and torn apart by the travel ban and ICE knocking on their doors, I will say that I got a glimpse of being the vilified “other”, and while I recognize that for us it was mild, it was still, well, awful. And it was hard not to be scared.

My husband’s father was born in Tunisia, where the overwhelming majority of the population identifies as Muslim. We wondered, during the Freedom Fries years, if we were one terrorist attack away from my husband’s nationality and his father’s birthplace marking him as a threat to the USA. We wonder, now, how many of our enemies are emboldened by #45’s recklessness. How many more of our allies he will offend. How that will play out for us, here, foreign and domestically born.

How far will this vilification of otherness go? What level of inhumane, undignified treatment will we accept as a country? How long will so many dehumanize those who are deemed not “one of us,” not deserving of “belonging”?

Like it or not, immigrants are the reason our tech industry has led the world. Many of our engineers, many of our greatest minds, came from countries now banned. Steve Jobs, founder of Apple; his parents fled Syria. Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, is a Russian refugee. Immigrants founded a disproportionately high number of companies in this country.

My life with my immigrant husband and our two children is filled with more love, joy, and adventure than I ever imagined I would experience. That, and French fries. He isn’t the “other.” A nameless, faceless, maligned immigrant who shouldn’t be here. He’s a human being, a husband, a father, a hard worker, a brilliant mind, and a now a US citizen who still holds hope for the country he grew to love when he first came here more than 20 years ago. Despite it all. I hope this country doesn’t let us down.

My husband was featured in an article in our local paper. You can read that here:


Spring and Les Villes et Villages Fleuris

Spring is here. When I lived in San Diego, the arrival of spring meant days were now 72 degrees instead of 68; time to put away the scarfs and boots and break out the flip flops. Here in Colorado, spring means green blades of grass breaking through, blossoming trees, tulips, and then this:


That’s my backyard two days ago. We got 17 inches of snow. We went sledding, built a snowman, had a snowball fight…. Spring along the Front Range means your what-to-wear dilemmas look like this:


I’m done with the snow. I stored my snowboard mid-March, got a pedicure, and started wearing sandals. Visions of flowers and beaches and hot sun toasting my bare legs are dancing through my head.

Alas. I’ll fill my thoughts, instead, with Les Villes et Villages Fleuris de France.

This was a new discovery for me last summer. As we drove into a village in Bretagne, my husband pointed to a bright yellow sign and exclaimed, “Ah, un village fleuri !” and he went from mildly cranky/exasperated Frenchman-driving-car into happy, relaxed, joie de vivre Frenchman mode.


The Concours des villes et villages fleuris is an annual contest in France where communes are evaluated for their aesthetic beauty. When the label began in 1959, it focused mainly on the beauty of the green spaces and floral displays, but now communes are judged in three categories: “la qualité de l’accueil” (the quality of the welcome and ambiance to visitors and residents), “le respect de l’environnement” (looking at the respect shown to natural resources and preservation of green spaces, as well as events that celebrate nature), and “la preservation du lien social” (how do the green spaces and gardens promote social interaction and utilization of those spaces within the commune). In all, it is an attempt to look at the overall quality of life impact on those who live in and visit the commune.

No limits exist on the number of communes that can be awarded, so it isn’t a true competition. The label earned can be anywhere from 1 to 4 flowers, or the prestigious gold flower, given annually to 9 communes. According to Wikipedia, as of 2015, approximately 12,000 French cities, towns, and villages have received the award. Four flower status has been awarded to 226 of those.

To learn more, here is the link to the French site.

And here are some of my favorite flower pictures from France:


Like so many, I am deeply saddened by the events in Paris. I could delve into my thoughts on the politics of the situations we as a changed, evolving world face today, the ideology of how to improve things, my own pessimism regarding our ability to ever bring peace to this kind of fight, or the grief that those who have lost must feel so acutely. Thankfully, none of our loved ones were hurt. To talk of my own grief for a country I love seems self-centered at a time when so many are so personally affected.

So instead, I’ll talk about why I love France. It’s in part the obvious: the beauty – both natural and man made, that exists throughout the country. The fabulous food. But it goes much beyond this. While listening to NPR today, I heard a guest comment that we (Americans) have certain things we admire about other countries. We admire the Germans for the machines they make – their cars. The Swiss for their watches. But when it comes to the French, we love the way they live. We idealize it, bien sûr. We also poke fun at it (another strike? Geez!). Yet it is the French way of life, the joie de vivre, the bon appetit, the je ne sais quoi that we so admire and wish to emulate. For the French celebrate life. Art. Family. Food. History. French culture is a celebration the things that make being human great. The essence of humanity.

So I continue to celebrate France. France, Paris, Je t’aime pour toujours.


To Hug or to Kiss?

I certainly didn’t intend a two month hiatus – thank you all for sticking with me!

I have a tendency to bite off more than I can chew in life, and these last few months were no different. I went back to work as a PT on a per diem basis, I continued to teach French to preschoolers, and I took three university level French courses. I look forward to blogging more about that soon…. Oh, yeah, I’m also taking care of two energetic preschoolers and ramping up my workouts for triathlon season. Life is busy. Life is good.

We are prepping for a French-filled summer! We will be traveling to Iceland and France and then spending a few weeks in San Diego where my kids (now ages 3 and 4 1/2) will be doing day camp at the San Diego French American School. I am so excited to see how their French progresses! We’ve fallen off the wagon a bit with teaching (pushing, coercing…) them to speak French, and I’m hoping these activities will get us back on track.

First up, a trip to France! The other night, as I was tucking my daughter into bed, I told her that in France, when we greet friends and family, we give them a kiss on each cheek rather than a hug. I’m a huge hugger – I love nothing more than to give people in my life a big enthusiastic squeeze. My kids, too, give the best hugs – big tight squeezes that I can’t get enough of. I learned the hard way that this does not always go over well with the French. I remember telling my husband once how awkward it felt to me to kiss everyone, pressing my cheek to theirs. His response: More awkward than pressing your whole body up to everyone and squeezing tight? I see his point… The two cheek kiss greeting no longer feels awkward to me, but my daughter was confused.

Among her questions:

“Why don’t we give hugs?”

“Why do we just make a kiss sound and push our cheeks together instead of really kissing them?”

“Why don’t we kiss them on their mouths?”

Excellent questions, all. Then, she melted my heart with this:

“So, when I see Mimi and Papy, I kiss them like this,” here she demonstrated kissing me on each cheek, “And then the kiss goes to their hearts?”

Exactly, my amazing child. Exactly.

Can’t wait to introduce these two to France. It’s fun to visit a place we know so well with very little agenda – we don’t have anything we absolutely must see, so we’re planning a vacation around activities like puppet shows, toy boats at the Luxembourg gardens, and then lots of beach time and crepes in Brittany. My daughter really wants to see the Eiffel Tower, but I have a feeling the most exciting thing we will do will be to ride the metro. At any rate, it will be a different kind of trip than we’ve ever had. Fingers crossed for good weather and good tempers (the latter being more about me than my kids, I’m sure!)

Are we bilinguals?

For a long time, I’ve held lofty goals for my kids and for myself. I wanted us to all be “completely bilingual,” which I defined as nothing short of 100% fluency in reading, writing, speaking, and comprehension. I dreamt of accent-free French for my kids, and for me – maybe every tenth word or so would hint that I’m not French and give me a sexy, subtle accent that would earn exclamations like, “Oh, your French is so beautiful! Where’d you learn to speak it so well!” or “Don’t lose the last eensy-teensy accent you still have, it’s so adorable.”

That’s what you get when you’re type A. And have a husband who meets this “completely bilingual” criteria (albeit with a bit more of an accent. Ooh la la.).

My views have evolved. Matured? Grown more realistic? And while at one time I might have seen this as giving up, now I see it this way: we’re still pursuing something pretty awesome. I’m just more sane.

“Bilingual” means different things to different people. We’re certainly not monolingual, but we also haven’t attained my previous definition of bilingualism. So what does that make us?

All of us understand most of what is said to us in French. My kids spontaneously speak the language, sing songs, and watch cartoons in French. When thrown into a situation with people who speak only French, I don’t hesitate to use the language, and I’d say I’m pretty adept at expressing myself. My kids are at the point where they are able to use full sentences in French without needing prompting. Perhaps the most important thing: we are actively working on improving our language, every day, and have no plans to stop this work.

So I’ve decided to give credit where credit is due. Next time someone asks me if we are a bilingual family, I’m going to say, yes. Yes, we are.

April Fool’s Day, or, if you prefer, Poisson d’Avril !

I love a good prank, and April Fool’s Day has always been one of my favorite minor holidays. Despite the fact that my brother has, for decades now, tried to convince me I was actually born on April 1 (not April 3, as I count my birthday) but Mom and Dad didn’t tell me because they didn’t want me to think I was a fool. He still calls to wish me happy birthday on April 1. Every year.

And I still retain some level of paranoia that maybe he’s right, maybe my parents really have been lying to me all these years.

I asked my husband if April Fool’s Day is celebrated in France, and he said yes, it is. With a proud grin, he declared that he did his fair share of pinning paper fish on people’s backs when he was a kid.


So, apparently, it really is a thing in France, See this link.

I don’t quite get it, but it’s all in the spirit of April Fool’s day. So more power to you Frenchies out there – I may never understand some aspects of your humor, just as you might not understand our American humor. On that note, here’s one of my favorite April Fool’s pranks ever:


So go out there and fool someone, and Happy April Fool’s Day!

Fruit for my Labor

When working with preschoolers, it can be difficult to see if my efforts are making any impact whatsoever. I faithfully show up at my kids’ preschool each week (although this winter I’ve been sick more than not, so several sessions have unfortunately been cancelled, and my blogging has clearly suffered as well) hoping that maybe the children will greet me with a “Bonjour!”, sing along with me, count with me, and repeat after me.

Several of them do seem to remember the songs we sing; it’s so fun when they sing along. After a session where we played hide and seek with plastic dinosaurs and the kids had to help me count them and sort them by color, one or two went home and surprised their parents with a little, “un, deux, trois,” and a “Do you know how to say ‘blue’ in French? Bleu!”

But this one made my day: Apparently a game of duck, duck, goose broke out on the preschool play yard last week. We’ve played it a few times together – I can’t resist going outside with the kids on some of these gorgeous Colorado days. It’s been several months since it was warm enough to play “Canard, canard, oie,” but still: a couple of students – and not ones biologically related to me – insisted that the game be played IN FRENCH! How awesome is that?

So – it’s working. Even with only 20-30 minutes a week, these kiddos are picking up the French I’m teaching. Best of all: they want to use French. To show off to their parents, and to play with each other.

That’s success, in my book.