Fréjus, France

Fréjus, France
Aqueduc Romain

Monday, December 15, 2008

Noël preparations

A busy week ahead. Getting ready for our French version of Christmas which, unfortunately for Irie, isn't living up to the American standards to which she is accustomed. She is tolerating the tree we found on the curb, tolerating the sparse number of ornaments (maybe because most were made by Lisa in her crafts class) and is very pleased with the packages that have arrived from the grandparents.
We are going minimalist as we have our trip as our present to each other, though Irie doesn't necessarily appreciate that sentiment just yet (I have empathy - she's a kid after all), and spent the weekend writing cards to family and friends that will go in the mail today. But she flipped out that we would be on the road on Christmas day, and that she would be opening most presents this Saturday, before we leave. She's not obsessing about Santa finding her but she started to get into this kick about poor Santa and the one-sidedness of his generosity. Well, that led to a teaching moment about the meaning of Christmas, giving, and selflessness. Sometimes I think she stops a tantrum just to get us to stop lecturing. To get in the spirit, we have been listening to Christmas music on iTunes and Irie has been watching Christmas videos on YouTube, while also enjoying the local Christmas markets and public decorations. Here no one decorates their houses on the outside, but most of the businesses do and the cities seem to put a lot of money into making the public areas look festive. They also take their separation of church and state seriously so all the decorations are of the secular variety, lights, trees, garland, etc., but a manger scene is not to be found.

We're on our way to Morocco in 6 days, our first voyage to the African continent, to a place that just oozes exotic mystique. We will spend 3 days in the medina of Marrakech in a Riad (their version of a B&B), then we drive to the edge of the desert where we will stay Christmas Eve before riding camels on a bivouac into the Sahara for a night in the earth's largest desert. What a way to spend Christmas Day, huh? Then we will spend parts of 2 days driving to the Atlantic coast where we will spend 3 nights in Essouira before returning to Marrakech for 2 more nights including what should be a festive New Year's Eve. We return home on 1/1/09.

Other news: I got a job. Shhhh, don't tell anyone. The story is typical of how one makes their way in a foreign land, getting to know the people and the community. I was having back pain after our boat trip so went to the local chiropractor. Talking to him in franglish it turns out his wife is the pregnant woman who was supposed to be Irie's teacher, and in fact, will be in March when she returns to work. Then, last week I ran into him again, and he asked me for my phone number because a friend who makes commercials needed an english voice-over and he thought of me. I just met with the guy this morning and he was très sympa and even offered to pay me for my work. I look forward to the experience, another possible friend, and linking to the commercial for you all when it's finished.

Lastly, we got hit with a major storm yesterday which kept us housebound. High winds, pouring rain (coming down sideways in the wind), and, as I found out this morning when I went to the bakery, high seas. Some of the beachside restaurants suffered some pretty serious damage, and lucky for us all, our friend Michelle had already documented it.


William said...

Pretty awesome damage. If i remember correctly, most of the restuarants were a fair distance from the waters edge. The waves looked high.

Dad & Mom

Nathalie said...

Finalement, vous aurez découvert beaucoup de choses durant cette année en France: que les arbres de Noël se trouvent dans la rue, que les boules de Noël se fabriquent avec des serviettes en papier, que l'on trouve du travail sans en chercher, et que la mer méditerranée peut être très méchante! Peut être aurez-vous la chance de voir la neige à Fréjus... cette année, tout est possible!

Anonymous said...

Wow- you might want to leave the country and go somewhere warm. Tell Irie she's making memories and all her ornaments will be here when she returns-who knows, she may even miss those parent made ones!