Monday, November 21, 2011
What’s new chez nous?
Been away awhile, been busy awhile, I think I’ll update with randomness on what’s been going on and what’s coming in our lives.
October was a wonderfully fun and busy month in which we celebrated my sister's marriage, trick-or-treated, and watched our kids grow out of a clothing size. We did all of these things from US soil, observing and eating our way through an exhausting but blessed vacation. Another US observation, where are all the motorcycles? There are tons in France. Like maybe a 1-to-1 ratio with cars in urban settings. US roads are quite different.
While in the States, Sawyer started somersaulting one night, out of nowhere. Not sure how nor why he decided to flip, but it has provided much entertainment for all of us.
Leaving the US was really tough, goodbyes have become a normal part of our lives, but they never get easier. We learn to enjoy every minute we have with family on one side of the world, friends on another, and realize that everything can be taken away in an instant. Coming back to France was better than expected. It did feel like coming home, and getting back into the swing of our jobs and friendships has been natural and encouraging.
The day we arrived back, I stopped into a nearby grocery store for some bread and formula. As I rounded the aisle heading toward checkout, a corner of shiny maroon cans caught my eye. Is that Dr Pepper? It couldn’t be. But it is! Two blocks from my house. And the cheapest price I’ve seen yet in France (about $1.20). My first thought was that it was a one-time shipment, and I should buy all 30 cans on the shelf. But I restrained, bought a few, and returned a few days later. Since then, I’ve been going in every 2-4 days to buy a handful of cans of Dr Pepper. I think I may be the store’s only customer buying it, but my plan is that they'll think there’s a steady demand and thus it’s worth restocking. By my count, my plan is still working :).
November in Marseille has been really nice. Cool and rainy at first, it’s now brisk yet warm during the day, cool and dark at night. The city is beginning to gear up for Christmas, and it’s exciting! Lights are being hung from poles, storefronts are full of Christmas trees and toys, and chocolate advent calendars are everywhere. Speaking of Christmas, here comes Santa Claus:
As if the Dr Pepper story above wasn’t enough of a ‘welcome home’ gift, a week ago my buddy Ryan and I stumbled across Mountain Dew! This is big. Dr Pepper pops up occasionally, but not Mt Dew. This is the first time myself or anyone I’ve spoken to has seen Mountain Dew in France outside of Paris. And not just Mountain Dew. This little random coffee and pastry shop had Mountain Dew, Code Red, and Throwback Mountain Dew. I had one, but at $4.13 a can I won’t be a regular customer. Some other American imports I’ve stumbled across recently:
-A single bag of Nestle Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips sat on a shelf for $7.99.
-A bottle of Nestle Chocolate syrup runs $9.46.
-A liter (maybe it was 2?) of real Canadian Maple Syrup can be purchased for $29.17.
-3 Reese’s cups for $4.06.
-A small bag of M&M’s that’s not peanut (I saw coconut and pretzel): $3.72.
I passed on all of those items. But 3 months ago I didn’t know they existed in Marseille, so seeing them is a nice little reminder of home.
Elsie’s not big on American foods. She just likes Franco-American Toes.
This week is Thanksgiving! Thanks to the wonderful generosity and help from some friends and donors back in the States, we’ll be doing it right. Our association teaches English, but our French friends love it when we share our culture as well. Our desire is never to change the culture we’re in, but only to enjoy and appreciate one another. So this week we’ll be throwing two parties with about 20 people at each. Turkey, stuffing, sweet potato casserole, pies... a lot of it from home. Can’t wait!
Did you know that Icy Hot and Wint-o-green lifesavers smell almost identical? Why do I know this? They say memory is tied to smell, right? Well in college, my sophomore/junior roommate and pal Eric always had a stocked bowl of Wint-O-Green Lifesavers by the door. I would steal them often, and ate a few nearly everyday. That’s also when Joe Joe and I started dating. So a smell she associates with our earliest days together is that of Wint-O-Green lifesavers. Well this week, some back pain sent me to the medicine cabinet, and immediately my wife’s memory went back to college. “You smell like those Lifesavers you used to eat in college!” she exclaimed, enjoying the memory and thinking I’d smuggled some American candy back. Probably disappointed to find out that I’m simply getting old. But I’m glad that my aches and pains can bring back youthful memories!
Sawyer loves his new tool set. Whenever something of his breaks (i.e. the batteries run out) he breaks out his tools and goes to work.
Our sensational friend Tracy B took some lovely family photos of us (like the one up top) recently. I'll try and post a few favorites in a day or two.
Our little ones love each other, and we love that about them.