Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Week in Motion

The last week has been busy, busy, busy! Meeting new people, traveling and enrolling Lauris in daycare has kept us on the go, and it is a good thing. Last week I was able to meet a friend out on the town for dinner and a few hours peace which was a much needed rejuvenator from 24-7 time with an energetic 9 month old. We had a wonderful time at another friend’s house on Wednesday complete with dozens (maybe six, but it seemed like 24 or 36) of kids running/crawling around. Lauris has two friends that have birthdays around the same time, and it has been a pleasure watching these three interact and develop their rugby skills. Friday I met a few more mothers whose kids are a little older, but still a wonderful group of ladies. And Friday evening we had dinner with possibly the only other Latvian speaker in town. I find it incredible that our friend, having made the decision to learn Latvian, accomplished this goal by writing letters with the help of a dictionary and visiting Latvia a few times. Despite not speaking Latvian for a few years she spoke well enough to hold her own in conversation the entire night. Wonderful! Quite an inspiration to work more diligently on my French!

We accepted an offer from a friend to accompany him to the Millau bridge on Saturday. Only two hours south of Clermont-Ferrand is the town of Millau. It hosts the world’s tallest bridge, the Millau viaduct, whose highest pylon stands 343 m (1,125 feet) tall. Built to relieve traffic traveling south to the coast through the Tarn valley, it is 2,460 m (1.53 miles) long, and has itself become a tourist destination. With incredible views of the bridge as well as the river valley and Millau, I advise anyone traveling through to stop at the visitor center on the north end of the bridge and take a coffee, and a short walk up to the viewpoint.

Sunday was spent relaxing at home, but we did manage to take a quick trip out to Riom, the largest city directly north of Clermont. We visited a very beautiful church, the Basilique St-Amable (of which the nave and part of the transept date to the 12th century).  The church’s doors were open and welcoming, though our visit was somewhat marred by the amusement park ride set up right outside its doors and blasting carnival music. The fountains were not running, and being a Sunday, the city was noticeably empty. So we headed home, stopping for dinner on the way.

The last week has also seen our first visits to the halte garderie or crèche, the French daycare. I have French language lessons two days a week, and during this time we have struggled to find care for Lauris. After one unsuccessful visit (my French was not up to par for the task) we received some much needed and appreciated help in navigating the necessary paperwork and ensuring its correct completion. This week Lauris has started his adaptation, the process of introducing him and letting him get used to being away from me and in a different atmosphere. The process involves visits of increasing length, and once he feels comfortable I will be able to drop him off on my way to class. I believe that these six hours a week will provide a needed break in schedules to us both.  It will also be beneficial to both of our French studies – his with other children, and mine in the professional courses. This will be regular exposure to the French language which will hopefully provide a solid base for learning French once he starts school in a couple of years.

To top off this positive breakthrough spring is finally making an appearance. Although we still might have some cold weather, signs of what is to come are everywhere; in the park the crocus are emerging and the pansies in bloom, everywhere trees are budding, birds are chirping and winter coats are being discarded in favor of lighter jackets and sweaters. With the sunny days and warmer weather I feel my spirits rising and my wanderlust increasing… maybe a trip to the countryside in the next couple of weeks?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I agree, a trip to the countryside in the coming weeks!


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