Chemin de Candordy

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Chemin de Candordy is the name of the road that our little “Impasse”, or dead-end street, stems from.  These are the cute ceramic road signs in our village.  The hand painted drawings are different throughout the village.  They add a little extra character to the normal (French) street signs.

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This is Dennis and Ann Marie’s gate and entrance to their house.  They are one of five neighbors on our “Impasse”, or street.  We see this white gate every time we come or go from our house.  Most home owners have gates.  Property is very private and if you visit someone you have to ring at their gate.  One does not even get to the front door.  Most gates are automatic, like a garage door in America.  Ours is not.  If you notice in the above photo, there is a small light on the right hand side of the gate.  When their gate opens/closes this light will go on to warn anyone of the operating gate and/or someone pulling out of the driveway.  I have noticed this light at many residences.

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This is the intersection of our “Impasse” de Candordy with Chemin de Candordy.  The property with all the shrubs and trees is Patrick and Denise’s house.  They have been great neighbors, especially during the floods.  Their grandson, Adrian, goes to school with Jack and Sophie and he is often found at our house.  In fact, Jack and Adrian argue like brothers.  Adrian is 9 years old.  They usually like to play soccer.

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This is a view looking down our Impasse/street.  Around the bend to the right is our house, 6 Impasse de Candordy.  We have loved our little street.  Last weekend our street had a “neighborhood” party.  It was at Ivan and Caroline’s house.  They live at the end of our street.  They have a son who is in his 20’s.  Ivan had Mojitos ready for all of us to drink and we had to kindly decline!  Ivan and Caroline are known for their crazy and fun parties.  Ivan brought out his guitars and my boys tried to play with him.  We were all singing and enjoying each other’s company.  It was so fun!  When my kids started feeling a little tired, around 10:30, they were saying goodbye to everyone and we noticed the french were a little surprised by this.  Aaron and I asked if it was polite that they leave and okay for them to leave (after all, we just lived one house down) and they all responded that it was fine, just unusual.  Usually the kids all stay up late with the adults.  Aaron and I did not leave until after midnight.

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Citron Vert

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Today I went to the store to pick up a few things.  One of the items on my list was limes. I can’t always find limes, so I was happy when I saw a few.  I picked up the remaining limes, 8 to be exact.  They were 5 for 1.50 euros.  At the check out counter the lady got to the bag of limes and looked at me and said, “These are 5 for 1.50.  You have 8.  That won’t work.”  I looked at her and said that was all that was left and I needed all 8 limes.  She then said, “Well, I don’t know what to do.  You need two more.”  She then looked at the other cashier and asked if she knew what to do because I needed all 8 limes but the store did not have any more and how was she supposed to do the transaction.  The other cashier did not know and so she had to make a phone call to the manager.  I was laughing!  How could this be a problem that she did not know how to solve?  What if I only needed one lime?

She talked to a manager and I was charged for 10 limes and I was told to go to customer service so I could receive a refund for the 2 limes that I was over charged for!  How funny is that?  I went to customer service and received 60 centimes (like 60 cents) for the difference.  France!

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While I was at the grocery store, Aaron was at the specialty pool store to get something for our pool.  He said the door was open and he noticed a worker in the back.  He walked up to the counter and said, “Excuse me, can you help me?”  The worker looked at his watch and said, “We are closed right now.  We will open in 10 minutes.  Please come back.”  Aaron politely walked out the open door and waited for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes the man helped Aaron.  France!

The majority of stores in France will close anytime during lunch, 12-1:30/2 pm.  The French usually are not out shopping at lunch time.  They take their mealtimes seriously and those that work expect that time off.  It can be very inconvenient but we have gotten used to it.  The major grocery stores stay open at lunch time, which is the time I like to go shopping because I know not many people will be there.  They are all eating lunch! Speaking of lunch time, Aaron and I are going to miss our 1 hour and 20 minute lunch we have with Jack and Sophie.  I do love that my kids all get to enjoy their lunch time and they never feel rushed.

Paris with Alexis

Last week I enjoyed taking Alexis and her roommate, Rebecca, to Paris.  Rebecca was leaving for America and, of course, Paris was a must see.  We visited all the popular sites.

The Eiffel Tower

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The Louvre (the below pictures are of Napoleon III Apartments)

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Musée d’Orsay and the Musée de l’Orangerie (I didn’t get many photos.)

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Ladurée

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No photos:  Versailles, Notre Dame, Champs-Élysées, Place de Concorde, Tuileries Gardens, Metro, RER, delicious restaurants, crêpes, Arc de triomphe…

Great Roman Games

Saturday, May 2nd we had the chance to go see a reenactment of the ancient Roman Games in the Arènes de Nîmes.  The Nîmes arena is a Roman amphitheatre dating to 70 AD.  We have visited the arena on a few occasions but this time was awesome (despite the mile long line and heat)!  Jenn and John were still in town so we all got to have a new experience together.  The spectacle is performed by 500 participants from around Europe. When we arrived at our seats, each person received a colored program with a red handkerchief.  This “red” was our team and whoever was in the arena competing, the respective color would be waved in the crowd.  The team colors were red, green and white.  This Roman Games was based on the famous military commander, Hannibal. Hannibal was considered one of the greatest generals of antiquity.  He played an important part in the history of the Mediterranean area.

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The Games lasted 2.5 hours.  It was a long time to be in the sun, but we did eventually get cloud coverage and it cooled off a little.  This was a performance I am so happy we were able to participate in.  I don’t know if we will ever get a chance to see a reenactment quite like this in a 2000 year old structure!  We were all interested as chariots came roaring out in the arena and started “fighting” each other, or seeing the “fights” against the barbarians of different lands.  It was very entertaining and we had a fascinating afternoon imagining life in times past!

Marius

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This is our friend Marius!  He is the kindest 10 year old boy I have ever met.  Aaron first met Marius at Jack and Sophie’s school.  Marius is responsible for opening the locked gate for those students who ride their bike and need to store his/her bike.  Sophie rode her bike to school one day and Marius helped her get her bike “locked” up.  Since that first meeting many months ago, Marius has met up with our kids at the stade, field, to play a sport, he has come over to our house to hang out with the kids, we see him riding bikes through Sanilhac, we see him at the village events, etc.  Marius always has a huge smile on his face.  He lives right next to the school and he has an older brother, Justin, and a younger brother between Jack and Sophie’s age.  Marius is very polite and very kind.  He always tries to help others if they are hurt or need something.  He adores Sophie and is always looking out for her.  We love Marius and wish we could bring him back to America with us!  We will miss seeing his adorable smile and miss his genuine kindness!

Running of the Bulls

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Back in the Fall our neighbors, Morgan and Guillaume, told us about the running of the bulls in our little village of Sanilhac.  They told us it would be in May and it was really fun and something we did not want to miss.  They took us to the bull ranch one afternoon so we could see all the bulls.  They have about 20-30 head.  We were anxious to see this event but we had not seen any advertisement as we approached the month of May.  The children all had friday, May 1st off from school.  I had noticed that stores were advertising they would be closed on May 1st and we were not quite sure what the holiday was.  Until, Aaron and I returned from Paris with my girlfriend, Jenn and her husband John, the night before May 1st.  When we were driving back home from the train station I noticed gates were being set up in certain places in Sanilhac.  A light bulb went on and I knew “this” holiday was somehow associated with the bull run.  Sure enough, Aaron inquired at the Boulangerie about 30 minutes before the events were to start.  The running of the bulls began at 11am and then activities were happening throughout the weekend.  May 1st is Labor Day in France.  Everything was closed!  (We had to buy some eggs from the baker because all the grocery stores were closed.)

We all quickly got ourselves ready and we went down to the centre ville.  There was a lot of excitement.  People were lining along the barriers and some were, also, just walking in the middle of the roads.  I was a little perplexed by this.  I had envisioned bulls being herded through the streets of our cute little village and was a little concerned for those just casually walking around in the streets.  Jenn and I had to run through a field of waist high weeds so we could reach the boys as they were watching from the side of the road.  Right as we got to the road the parade started.  I say parade loosely because it was nothing like a US parade.  It was just a line of trucks and cars.  3 trucks started this parade and then we see horses all packed together tightly.  A few horses were getting a little “wild” and their riders had to reign them in to get control.  Within seconds, this pack of horses went right by.  We would have totally missed seeing the bulls if we had not been on this little overlook of the road.  There were 3 bulls sandwiched in between the horses.  This was the running of the bulls.  What?  Did we miss something?  This was fun?  We all broke out in hysterics because of the stupidity of this event!  I didn’t even have time to take a picture of the 3 bulls that were hidden.  We laughed so hard!!!!

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If you look at the above photo you can see the hilarity of the moment.  There is the parade of horses with 3 bulls in the middle, an old french man on his bicycle, young men running with the parade in their typical french sweatsuits, two kids on a four wheeler right behind the horses…  Not shown are the rest of the residents of Sanilhac driving their cars/trucks in this parade.  We all looked at each other and asked, “was that it?”  Maybe this is one of those moments where you had to be there to appreciate the humor!

After this running of the bulls, all the spectators started making their way to the center square for drinks, fair-type games for the kids, food and music.  As we were walking we came across a few of the injured horses that had obviously been hurt by the bulls horns.2015-04-30 21.32.46

The kids enjoyed the few games they had set up.  John gave the boys a little money so they could shoot for a prize.  It was funny!  We all had some great laughs that day!!!

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Cannes

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We spent the weekend in Cannes, France with our friends the Serrano-Milone’s.  Aaron had a business meeting Saturday afternoon, so we all decided to make a fun weekend out of it.  We really wanted to get to Spain and Portugal, but the older boys had youth conference at the beginning of the week and Alexis comes tomorrow (YEAH!!!)!

The Côte d’Azure is beautiful!  Cannes is known for its’ Film Festival:

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The Cannes Film Festival takes place in May so we did not spot any Hollywood stars! That’s okay, because the boardwalk is so crowded anyway without celebrities nearby.  We enjoyed driving through the hills and neighborhoods of Cannes.  Aurore lived in Cannes when she was a little girl and her mom is buried there, so we got to see the “real” Cannes!

We spent saturday on the Med.  Aurore, myself, Noami (the wife of the Serrano-Milone’s friends) and the kids all hung out on the beach while the kids enjoyed the sand and water. It was an overcast day so our kids were the only ones swimming.  It was fun!  Our kids have a great time together!

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When the sun began to fade away we all loaded up and went to Noami and David’s house near Saint-Raphaël.  They live in the beautiful hills/mountains between Cannes and Saint-Raphaël.  The city lights of Cannes could be seen from their backyard.  They had a potato farm just beyond their stone “fence”.  Also, on our way up the hills/mountains we saw a group of wild boar grazing in the fields. It was so cool!  Noami made a delicious spread of food (I wish I had taken photos)!  We didn’t start eating until 9:30pm.  I love how the french take their time in preparing and planning their meals.  She made a few fresh salads, homemade “french” fries, a delicious olive tapenade, sausages, hamburgers, homemade mayo, a cucumber salad…  It was awesome!  We enjoyed great food and great company.

The next day we went to church in Cannes and met Noami’s father.  Fun family!  Her father has one of the largest “The Cure” memorabilia in all of France!  Aaron “died” (the last area he served) in Cannes on his mission.  It was so awesome for him to go back and see the church building and see some familiar faces from 25 years ago.  We had a fantastic weekend!

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Easter in Toulouse

Friday after all the kids were home from school we loaded up the van and went to Toulouse to visit our friends, the Serrano-Milone’s.  We met them, Elias, Aurore, Maëlle, Gabrielle and Josh, back in October when Elias was visiting our Nîmes Ward.  We have gotten together with them as much as we can being 3 hours away from one another.  All the kids get along so well!  It helps that their two girls are the cutest and sweetest young women in all of France! :)

While we were there, everyone talked, laughed, danced, played hide and seek, watched movies, shopped, went bowling, played football, rope swinging, catching frogs, went to the skate park (for a minute because it started raining), ate yummy homemade food (Aurore made some delicious couscous), watched a little General Conference, made a fort, had an easter egg hunt, and laughed some more!! We had a blast!  This was a nice break from our stressful week with Sophie’s finger!  We were all so occupied with “fun” that I didn’t get too many photos.

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I could not find any plastic easter eggs that are so common in America.  Here in France, most of the chocolate that is for Easter are chocolate eggs.  The best are the Kinder Surprise chocolate.  They are egg shaped hollow chocolate with a cool toy inside.  So, there were no plastic eggs filled with American chocolate or easter candies.  But, it was fun finding the chocolate eggs filled with new surprises!