Last weekend Elias, Aurore, Aaron and I went into Uzès for dinner. Elias drove his car and he found a parking spot along the Boulevard Gambetta and we were set to go eat. After a few hours of a fun and yummy dinner we came upon Elias’s car and two other cars parked in front and back of his car. Each one was COVERED in pigeon poop! The people sitting at the adjacent cafe were all laughing as we were looking at the three cars, specifically Elias’. We could not believe the amount of poop. There were even pigeon feathers stuck to the car. We were laughing so hard. As we were pulling out of the parking spot, a family passing by was pointing at our car with disbelief and disgusted looks upon their faces, followed by laughter! It looked like a war zone of pigeon poop, feathers, and tree branches!
These photos do not do the scenario justice! We quickly found a car wash at 11:30 pm so the poop would not start “eating away” at the paint on the car. When we arrived there was another man in the next car wash stall washing his car because of the same problem! We all about died of laughter!
This past year we have had the privilege of meeting and getting to know the Serrano-Milone family. There is Elias, Aurore, Maëlle, Gabrielle (Dada) and Joshua. They are a kind, wonderful family who live in Toulouse, about 3 hours north of us. We love them and we are hoping they will get to America in the next few years. We have had many weekends and short trips together. This past 8 days they came to stay with us in Sanilhac, except for Elias who came for the weekend and then met us at the beach on Wednesday. We all had so much fun together! Many hours were spent poolside, at the river, jumping cliffs, watching movies, playing card games, catching frogs and crabs, laughing and laughing for hours! Many tears were shed as we had to say goodbye! We feel so blessed and grateful to have met the Serrano-Milone’s! The kids all had control of the camera for 8 days and we have hundreds of photos so I have had to go through all the pictures and try to choose a few for my journaling.
Saturday, July 18th, we had a ward party at our house. We were so happy to have our kind friends from our congregation in our home. We had a kitchen full of food, laughter and friendship! It was a hot humid day so the pool was enjoyed by many! We have made some incredible new friends this year! We feel very grateful to have served amongst so many wonderful people from all backgrounds!
Aaron was asking everyone to congratulate Elder Holding (the red head) who was leaving Monday to return home from his two year mission. And to wish him well on his first “kiss”!
Below is a picture of me and a few of the ladies in our Nîmes ward attending a Stake Women’s Activity in Montpellier. Left to right: Aline, Nicole, Isabelle, Darcie, Nicole et Claudette.
This is Adrien, one of the school children in Sanilhac. He is also the grandson of our neighbors Patrick and Denise. Adrien and Jack enjoy playing together, especially soccer in our yard. The two of these boys have sometimes acted like siblings, arguing over who won/lost. Adrien’s mother, Carole is a working single mom. Her parents, Patrick and Denise, are the ones who would get Adrien to and from school and Carole usually would not be able to pick up Adrien until 7pm. This is very common in France to have the mamie, grandmother, and/or papi, grandfather, take care of their grandchildren. I will miss seeing Carole, she is a very sweet lady who has always made me feel very welcome and comfortable! Plus, she has a contagious smile!
Friday, June 19th our family was invited to Maria del Carmen and Paul Mallet’s home. It was fun because the Jerome family, Ribera family and Darguence family were all there too. There was delicious food and fun friendships! The Mallet’s have a nice open yard so the kids could run around and play! Paul has built their lovely home from ground up! Maria has a beautiful armoire in one of her bedrooms. It is roughly 8 feet tall and is absolutely stunning! I was in awe of its’ beauty! I would not be able to find something like it in America for under $10,000. Armoires are so well made here in France and they are used by almost every household.
Below are some photos taken by Maria on her phone. My phone was not working very well so I could only snap a few. We are going to miss our friends!
Back in June 2009 our entire family was able to make our first trip to France! The little hamlet we stayed in is Vendras. At the time there were 61 residents of Vendras and now there are 100. We became friends with our neighbors, Michel and Lucette, and we have kept in touch with them the past 6 years. We all wanted to visit Vendras and see if we could see Michel and Lucette. Sunday afternoon we all loaded up and headed north about 18 km to Vendras. We arrived in the cute hamlet and noticed Lucette looking out her window. We had a lovely visit and they were so grateful we stopped by to see them. We reminisced about the first time Austin really discovered escargot along side Lucette. Austin was collecting the snails and Lucette gently reminded him they were for eating not playing.
Lucette was excited to meet Sophie! She was surprised at how much the children have grown. It was so delightful being with them!
Aaron, Austin and I had been inside their home a number of years ago and got to see the wild boar head mounted on the wall. The other kids got to see it and Michel told us he and his hunting group had caught 100 wild boar this past hunting season! They wanted to give us a little of the meat to take home but we were not going directly home and it was a hot day.
Michel was a miner by profession. He began mining at an early age. We learned this time that his grandfather had been a miner and they actually have his lamp he used in the mines back in the day. It was so cool!
The two summers we stayed in Vendras there was an older man who would sit on a bench at the entrance to the village. He had white hair and a long beard. He was deaf and would rarely wave to locals. He would sit on that bench for hours! We never found out his name but as the years have passed we have found ourselves wondering about the old man who would sit on the bench. Well, as we were getting ready to enter Vendras on Sunday I jokingly presented the question, “Do you think the old man is still sitting on the bench?” Oh my goodness! He was there!!!! But his long beard was shaved. Our jaws all dropped! We found out he has to have someone come into his home 2-3 times per week to help him stay clean. We were shocked he is still alive and still spends his days on that bench!
Mother’s Day in France was Sunday, May 31st. Jack and Sophie spent some “secret” time at school and at church creating beautiful gifts for me. It was a beautiful and simple day spent in France. We attended church where the primary, which consists of Joseph, Emma, Jack and Sophie, sang a Mother’s Day song. It was interesting because they did not sing during the sacrament service. They were allowed to sing after the closing prayer. Everyone stayed in their seats while the children walked up and sang and then the four children passed out flowers to all the mother’s in the congregation. All 4 children were so cute, especially Jack and Sophie! After church we headed to the Sea for a day of “rest”. It was very enjoyable!
Sunday, June 21st, was Father’s Day here in France. In years past, Father’s Day has fallen on a different day in France, so we were happy America and France were on the same page this year! Again, Jack and Sophie created handcrafted items for Aaron. They were so excited to give him their gifts. We attended church and the 4 primary children sang a Father’s Day song after the closing prayer. Jack and Sophie did a great job! It was so fun hearing them singing in french!
Alexis made Aaron breakfast in bed: sweet potato pancakes, which he enjoyed!
John, Jenn, Aaron and I took a dinner cruise on the Seine when we were in Paris. It was another thing Aaron and I had not done before, so we were looking forward to the experience. My first trip to Paris as a teenager my family and I took a river ride on the Seine, but it was not a dinner cruise.
We had a great time! The waitress was so surprised when we told her we would not be having champagne or any alcohol. She asked us quite a few times if we were sure we did not want something more than water and/or soda. By the end of the evening she told us she was very impressed that we did not drink alcohol. It is a very hard concept for the french to understand and respect.
We arrived at the boat around 8pm and we left the dock at 8:30. It was a two hour cruise up and down the Seine. We had a menu with 3-4 choices for each course. We ordered our food at the start of the cruise and the courses, 4-5 total, kept coming until the ride was over. We started with an apéritif, cheese/cauliflower puffs, with our drinks, then we had soup or a salad, our main dish, a cheese tray and then dessert. I tried the duck and Aaron had a plate of veggies. Their mashed sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes were so yummy! We all really liked our food!
It was fun seeing some of the sites from the boat. For example, the Eiffel Tower was beautiful as we rode by. When the sun goes down the Eiffel Tower has a light show on the hour and we happened to be passing by right at 10 pm. It was so neat! Also, Aaron was able to capture the Statue of Liberty, with the Eiffel Tower in the back ground!
We loved being with friends and we had a night of laughter, good food, fantastic ambiance in one of the most beautiful cities in the world!