Fréjus, France

Fréjus, France
Aqueduc Romain

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Une autre semaine à Fréjus

We haven't posted for over a week...where does the time go? We've been in Fréjus 6 weeks already as hot summer beach days have turned into the mild pleasant days of autumn. Our adopted city has gone from bustling vacation resort with packed beaches to a quiet town living at regular speed. Some of the beachfront restaurants and boardwalk shops have shuttered for the season, yet most remain open. The beaches are never empty, the retired regulars hang out along the fence near the municipal nautical club which is still very active, and everyday, groups of kids are being taught here how to sail, windsurf and kayak.

We have developed our own regular schedules. Irie has begun to blossom, giving us a kiss and a wave as she heads into her brave new world every morning at 8:30 and again every afternoon at 1:30. We continue to laugh at the crazy crowd of parents who crowd the school gate at the departure times, looking for their little students to appear. Meanwhile Irie knows we'll stand back toward the street where it's less crowded so she comes bounding out with hugs and smiles. On Weds., when there is no school, she usually sits in on my french lesson in the morning (since it's with her french teacher from the school) and in the afternoon she has her piano lesson.

Lisa has quickly developed a tight little group of friends who take her hula class, do an arts and crafts class together, and regularly converse in french and english to the benefit of both. I meet with my own new friend, Florent, on Monday mornings at the local cafe. He speaks better english than I do french, but we both understand the other's language well enough that the conversation can flow easily enough. He is planning a 3-week trip next August that will take them from Seattle to San Diego (with a possible stop at our cabin on Diamond Lake) so that immediately gave us something to discuss. He is also a skiier and I do believe we'll end up on the slopes together this winter. Lisa and I both also take french on Tuesday mornings. Lisa will be starting a more advanced class in another location, which is the right thing for her to do, however, I admit to a little sadness about it. As husband and wife who, at home in our normal routines have our own professions and schedules, sharing time in a stimulating educational setting was a reminder of the learning environment in which we met so many years ago, and I enjoyed it immensely!

We have also had the not-so-regular events that make the time fly by. Our apartment complex held an "end of season" picnic last Saturday which was very fun. It met all the preconceived notions of a long french lunch with multiple courses being served, wine flowing freely, and conversation ranging over the gamut of topics. As the new Americans staying for a year, we were met with much interest and questions, and it was a pleasure to make contacts with our neighbors.

Also, my parents are here after their own huge 35-day tour of 15 European countries. They are staying for 10 days then still have 4 days in Paris after they leave here on Tues. morning. We are trying to keep them busy and fed while maintaining sanity in our small apt. I am most grateful to them for taking care of Irie while letting Lisa and I take a much-needed getaway to Nice. We stayed in a charming hotel minutes walk from the famous rock beaches of Nice, as well as near old-town with the typically-European narrow pedestrian streets lined with restaurants and shops. The dinner our first night, at La Zucca Magica (The Magic Pumpkin), was the best meal I've had since the Queen Mary2 cruise. It's a 4-course vegetarian meal plus dessert and based on the confiance du chef, in other words, every patron is eating the same thing and you don't know what exactly you are eating until it arrives at your table. It was an exceptionally delicious evening!

We see the parents off on Tuesday morning, finish two weeks of school, and it will already be the end of the first off on our first vacation. We have rented a peniche, or houseboat, and will spend a week cruising the Camargue and the Canal du Midi due west along the Mediterranean. We will spend Lisa's birthday in Sète, and upon our return, her dear friend Athena will be joining us for 10 days. C'est la vie en France.

1 comment:

M. McKinney said...

Man, the culture shock coming back is going to be rough--You guys might just have to stay!