La Chorale

One week ago I went with my friend and neighbor, Morgan, to tag along with her to her choir practice.  She belongs to a choir association that invites anyone to come and sing. There is a yearly fee and the choir performs at various events.

Aaron had originally volunteered me to go with Morgan, so when Wednesday came around I was complaining a little that I “had” to go.  But, at the same time I was looking forward to the experience.  I had talked to Morgan about it a few days before and she said it was very relaxed and I did not need to be nervous.  (The unexpected can be nerve racking!)

We drove through the countryside and arrived at this tiny village, Le Pin, for choir practice. It was held in a room similar to a town hall.  I was surprised at how many people were there.  I was expecting a small choir.  It was fun!  I was welcomed with bisous from anyone I met and I immediately was singing right along side Morgan.

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We began the practice with 15-20 minutes of warm ups.  None of it was voice warm ups. We were doing stretches, breathing techniques, choreography steps, etc.  I felt like I had just turned on an exercise DVD and we were “warming” up for the cardio workout.  I’ve never had that experience before a choir practice.  The rehearsal lasted 2.5 hours.  They have a repertoire of 2 hours worth of concert songs.  A few familiar songs included, “You Raise Me Up”, “Go Tell it on a Mountain”, “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” and “Hallelujah”. The others that were practiced were in French and a few were origin to South Africa.  The last 30 minutes of rehearsal was spent practicing the choreography for each of the songs. The conductor was frustrated because at the last concert a few women were not in sync with the “moves”.  I sat out for most of this because they needed to be in performance positions.  In the end I was very grateful Aaron volunteered me to go with Morgan.  It was fun being with her and experiencing something new!

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Bruno

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Bruno is one of our good single friends that we have had the privilege of getting to know while living here in France.  We met him at the church we attend in Nîmes.  He lives in Alès, which is 40 km (25 miles) from Nîmes.  He is a very thoughtful and kind man.  We have had him to the house a number of times and he has come to help us with yard work, rides to and from church, and he has given our children gifts spontaneously.  Bruno would always call and check up on me and the kids when Aaron was traveling.  It has been a blessing to have Bruno in our lives.  We will miss him!

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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Les Baux de Provence

One afternoon Rebecca, Alexis and I headed to Les Baux de Provence!  I recorded a visit we made to this beautiful village back in the Fall, but this time around we discovered an old church, Saint Vincent, dating back to the 12th century and a few other “nooks” that I want to remember.

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Les Baux de Provence has one of the best savon de Marseille, soap of Marseille, boutiques.  I absolutely LOVE the little shop and when Alexis and Becca went inside they couldn’t get enough of the perfume.  Savon de Marseille is a traditional hard soap made from vegetable oil around the area of Marseilles for over 600 years.  This particular boutique in Les Baux de Provence has soaps in beautiful colors and scents.

La Grande Motte

We made our first trip of the year back to La Grande Motte a few weeks ago while Rebecca was with us.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  We love the beach and my children are so easily entertained for hours!  We will miss having the water less than an hour away!

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Austin caught a few little crabs that were crawling along the bottom of the shallow Sea. We only wished they had been big blue crabs from the Chesapeake Bay so we could have enjoyed a nice dinner!