Friday, September 30, 2011

happy birthday to my maman cherie!!

My Mom is a riot. She makes me laugh so much and is SO much fun to be around.

Here we are (Mom, LITTLE brother Andrew, and me) in Albertville, France.

Andrew's face cracks me up.

And then a year ago, we thought it'd be cool to take another bandana picture. I was having a really hard time not smiling for the picture. :)

I love doing silly things with you Mom!

Happy happy birthday! I'll get you a mille feuille when you come to visit in December. :)

Happy packing!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

monthly craft time!

This afternoon was craft afternoon with Mallory, Gabrielle and Halle too! We worked on a "pumpkin in a frame" craft. Everyone got to be artsy and design how they wished. I love how cute they turned out!

The picture isn't very good, but I showed G how to use a paper cutter and she thought it was amazing. :)

And then she went around and helped everyone cut their paper!

This just makes me laugh because I have no idea what's going on. What am I doing!?! Gabrielle took this photo...

It's SO fun to have them over and do crafts with them. It delights my heart. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

my favorite raspberry picking spot

Thank you, Hubert!!!

Your garden is my favorite in all of Rennes. I especially love that it's within walking distance of my house. :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

sunday afternoon apple picking

Yesterday I had lunch at the Workman's and loved spending time with their family. They have a really special family and it's so much fun playing with the boys.

They're going through the same homeschool reading curriculum that my Mom used with our family, and it brings back so many memories of great books we read. "one more chapter, Mom!! Read one more chapter!"

Yesterday we talked about Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink-- it's a GREAT book.

Efrem read Wagon Wheels to me. I don't look very happy -- it's a sad story! Well, sad and happy. But we must've been at the sad part.

In the afternoon, we met up with Hubert and Catherine and their family and went to pick apples for free! The apples were beautiful and big and delicious.
I had visions of applesauce dancing in my head. Now I need to find jars and a pressure cooker.

 After the boys had eaten many and picked a few, they set themselves down in the parking lot and played.

Felicitations, Hubert! C'est toi et non ton jardin qui est sur mon blog! ^^

Have you ever eaten plums right off a plum tree? ooooooh yum. It was like candy!

It was a great way to spend Sunday afternoon, but now I have a million apples I need to do stuff with. Anyone want to help?

Friday, September 16, 2011

special post for my Wiebe aunts! :)

Dear Aunt Florene, Aunt Donna, Aunt Helen, Aunt Terry and Aunt Marilyn (and Maman),

I've been thinking about you all a lot these past few days. Well, I think of you often, but I thought you deserved a SPECIAL post on my blog, so that everyone can see how much I love you! :) Is it not one of the biggest honors you've ever received? Hehe.

I'm a very blessed individual to have such wonderful women to look up to in my life. You have all blessed me in so many and unique ways.

I have a few pictures from around my house that I thought YOU would enjoy.

I bought milk today. So handy to store it in my pantry until I open a liter. Kind of like buying it at Braums, no?

(Abby, notice the wheaties box??)

Woohoo! My Mennonite ancestors would be so proud of these used and re-used ziplocs!

Aunt Florene, the two orange-ish tinted ones were from frozen pumpkin that I finally got around to using in pumpkin bread.

The newest addition to my kitchen... soooooo fun! I've been saving up for a kitchen mixer and finally found one that I liked! It's kind of in the same family as Mom's bosch, but there isn't that middle thing in the bowl -- you know what I'm talking about? The plastic center thing? And it comes with 3 possible hooks -- a dough hook, beater, and mixer hook.

If you take the bowl out, and bend down the arm you use the blender! Milkshakes anyone?
There's also one of those food chopper attachments (like for cutting potatoes, carrots, cabbage, etc.) that can go on top.

I've used it once and it was so efficient! Hello whole wheat bread and no more kneading by hand!

Still some geraniums blooming on my balcony

Anyway, just wanted to share a few pictures with you that I knew you'd like. Maybe not so interesting for the rest of you, but these ladies are so dear to my heart, that they deserve their own post!

With Mom and Dad leaving, it's so reassuring knowing that A, L and E will have family close by. By close I mean... the same continent. Thank you all for having invested in my life and for continuing to love me and care for me from afar! I love you all sooooo much! Give your hubbies a big hug from me! :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

quick update

After 4 hours and 15 minutes of waiting in line, I handed in all of the documents needed and got a new temporary resident card! Wooohooooooo!!!! It was quite the experience -- looooots of pushing and shoving and angry people. 

Funny story. I got to the building at 7h30, and there were only about 10 people in front of me. The guy right in front of me was this young too-cool-for-school kid, probably about 17 years old, who moved around with one of those over-exaggerated and unnatural struts, and who spoke in gangsta tones. You know the type? :) 

So I'm standing behind him, patiently waiting, my ginormous thermos of coffee in my hands, when he turns around and says, "are you angry?" Uhhh, what? I asked him if I looked angry and he said no. Then he said, pointing to my thermos, "is that coffee in there?" I said yes and he goes, "oh. it'd be better if it were tea." Hmmm, what!? Strangest conversation starter ever. But we talked a bit, both concluding that we hoped to get a ticket and that we weren't standing in line for nothing. 

Cause you see, as the time got closer to 9 (when the doors opened), more and more people were coming to the front of the line, butting in front, and very much not respecting those who had been waiting hours. I knew it was going to end up being pushing and shoving your way through the entrance, and I was NOT looking forward to that. And so this guy looks at me and goes, "yeah, it's too bad that people are cutting in line, where's the justice in that!? But don't worry m'am, when it's time to go inside, I'll protect you!" Again, what!?!? Hahahaha. I decided to take the opportunity to talk to him about how competitively waiting in lines definately shows what human nature is really like; selfish, individualistic, doing whatever you can to be first and to protect your own interests. He wasn't too interested. 

And maybe that's because he was feeling guilty, because RIGHT before they opened the doors, he ran to the front and pushed his way through, and was one of the first in the building. Unbelievable.

But, I was able to get a ticket, and then enjoyed a cup of coffee and a croissant with Sophie and Joel who showed up a little later and kindly kept me company while I waited. 

What an experience! But now I can stay in France for another year and that is worth all those hours of waiting in line. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

the not so fun part of living in France

Every year I have to renew my "french resident card" which is THE document that allows me to stay legally in the country. The actual renewal process is quite easy -- the same documents need to be furnished every year, new ID photos, an 85 euro stamp, etc. It's a 2-step process. First, you hand all of these documents to the lady behind the counter and then she gives you a temporary card. Step 2 happens several weeks later, when you go back to pick up the pretty, laminated card that gives you permission to stay yet another year. Easy peasy.

So why is it the "not so fun part of living in France?" It's actually the process of getting to the counter to hand the lady the documents that is the hard part.

In order to get an apointment with the lady, you have to get a ticket and then wait until it's your turn.

The hard part is getting the ticket.

At least it is this time around. I don't remember it being so difficult the past 4 years, but I am NOT having an easy time this year.

Since they only have a certain amount of tickets that they give out per day, and since it's first come first serve, Halle and I decided to get there 30 minutes before the government building opened (Halle is on step 2 of the process, I'm on step 1). Clearly, we weren't the only ones who had this idea.

It was early... I had a large thermos of coffee and we decided to take some pictures to pass the time. We actually look like we're having a good time (and at this point, we were!)

Eager with anticipation at the thought of being able to spend another year in France!

And then, right when we got to the front of the line, they said that there were no more tickets. UGH. We'd waited for about an hour...

Halle, fortunately was on step 2 of the process (she just needed to pick up her card) and thankfully she was able to do that without needing a ticket. She was a happy camper. Way to go, Helenka!

I, on the other hand, still needed to get a ticket in order to get an appointment in order to hand in my documents in order to get the renewed card in order to stay in France another year.

But there was nothing more to be done right then and there. The building closed for lunch and opened again at 13h30 with a new set of tickets to hand out, so I thought I'd try again. This time, I got there at 12h45, waited in line again, and AGAIN they ran out before I could get one. Sooooo frustrating! I talked with one of the ladies that worked there and she said that usually within 10 minutes of when they open the doors, the tickets are gone and it's no use waiting in line. 

Which means, I need to go again tomorrow. Sigh. So tomorrow morning, I'm planning on being there between 7h00 and 7h30 (yes, 2 hours before they open) to hopefully get a ticket. :( 

It's so easy in these situations to get frustrated and start complaining about the French system. And even if it's not the most efficient way of doing things, this is how it's done here, and it's OK. It's a great opportunity to practice patience, kindness and gentleness to those around me and to NOT complain. It's a privilege to be able to live in France, and going through these little "hurdles" to get a resident card helps me appreciate being here even more once I have it. 

I hope tomorrow evening I have good news! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Yesterday I skyped with Shorty, and look what she showed me!

She has a stethoscope! And not one of those cool plastic ones we used to play with as kids, but a for real, expensive and for nurses one!

Linds, you know exactly what I'm thinking, right? ("our baby is all...") Snif snif. :)

And hmmm, notice it's purple? K-State all the way baby!! Woohoo! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

strange? I think yes.

Today I was walking down one of the main streets in Rennes, things looking pretty normal and then... you see something strange in this picture?

The green tree-person in the corner? 

What is it / he? What is he doing? Where did he come from?

He was just standing there, waving his arms and strange fingers in very obscure and modern-dancey ways, his eyes often remaining closed, not saying anything.

So I'm of course cracking up and taking pictures, looking around to see other peoples' shocked faces, but no one seemed to think this was out of the ordinary, and NO ONE was taking pictures.

And that's when a slight fear crept into my head. Here I was, on the side of the street, taking pictures of this strange gangling being and trying to conceal my amusement at the oddity of what I was seeing, but...what if it was supposed to be serious?

Haha, I don't know -- like promoting "go green" or environmental something or other?! No one else was laughing or taking pictures...

Suddenly I was determined NOT to make eye contact with him, for fear he would walk over to me and reprimand me. Can't you just picture it in your mind? Tree guy chasing me down the streets of Rennes bellowing in a deep voice, the sound ricocheting off the buildings "doooooon't mock meeeee, American!"

I was cracking up. Oh man. You NEVER know what you will see on the streets of Rennes. :)

Monday, September 5, 2011

at the count of 3, jump!

Saturday our whole staff team (plus their kids) went to the beach for a day o' fun. Apart from feeling a little under the weather, I had a good time! The high was 78 degrees, and it didn't get that "hot" until around 17h30 or so. It was cool!

The kids were so fun to watch. They're awesome. 2 Americans, 2 French, and one Franco-American.

I told them I wanted to take a picture of them, and right away the oldest boy turned to them and whispered "let's make a face!!" ha.

Then I wanted to take a jumping picture of them -- cause jumping pictures are always so fun. But they had a haaaaard time jumping at the same time. Do we jump on 3 or after you say 3?!?! I was laughing so hard.

This might be my favorite.

It would not be the same working in Rennes without these kiddos on the team.