I have a couple of pix to upload but for some reason when I try, I get "Google Cloud Picker" popping up and can't get around it ! UGH another technology glitch - anyone have any suggestions?????? I've been trying for 1/2 hour and now the kids are going to get up - This day is NOT starting off well. There, thanks for letting me get that out!
This weekend was overcast, cloudy and very cool. We still don't have our car because our American money hadn't arrived in France yet (came in last night though! Yea!). On Saturday, we realized how bad Emma has been feeling - she needs her friends and we haven't connected with anyone yet. We thought walking to the Polygon mall (an indoor mall that the boys and I discovered tucked to the side of the historical district) might be a good idea for her, so, we all put on our cute white sneakers and headed for the mall (The Mall Dude (Andy) was even into the whole thing!) When we arrived and started walking around, however, we realized that all of the stores are different (duh!-I'm not sure what we thought was going to be there) We did see GAP and The Body Shop but no stores that the kids would be interested in, Emma's partial smile turned back into a dismal expression and we decided to give the teens some time on their own and meet back at the meeting spot at 4:30.
The place was packed! You see, from the middle of January to the middle of February is one of the two times of the year that the stores are authorized to have sales by the government - if they want to mark any products down, NOW is the time - we came at the right time! Between the sales and the weather, the mall was the perfect place for everyone to hang out!
In the end, none of us were thrilled with that experience, we purchased a game and a puzzle and left the mall. The boys and I took Andrew around some of the historic area since he hadn't been there yet, and Emma decided it was time for her to head home -- OH - after a stop at McD's! our first, and with any luck, only, stop at McD's - Adam had to try a Grand Mac - so he did - tasted the same according to him, Emma had french fries, Nathan tried a new Oriental fold over sandwich of some kind - do they have that in the USA yet?
After Emma left, I found a 20 euro bill on the ground and we had a little snack on me about 20 min later, before heading home due to the cold.
Saturday evening, the kids and I went next door to church at St. Bernadette's to experience our first French mass. The priest talked very slowly so Adam and I had fun picking out words that we knew! Toward the end of mass, a nice gentleman approached Emma and began talking to her, she looked at me, I leaned over to him and very kindly explained the we are American and understand very little French (in french)- to which he began talking even more in French but with hand signals to help this time! In the end, I was able to figure out that he wanted us to collect money from people at the end of mass for a charity that I knew nothing about and wouldn't be able to answer any questions that anyone might have anyway! I said "Non Merci" several times and he shook his head and walked away.
Sunday was a little nicer outside. Andrew and Nathan and I figured out where my French class was going to be, mapped it out with the bus map and headed for the bus stop. We rode the bus to the correct stop and walked to the building - no problem! The public transportation here is fantastic! That afternoon, the kids and I took Andrew back to the historical area and walked around more - showing him the Arch and the monument that we can't figure out a name for, the Prefecteur, The Hall of Justice, The Aqua ducts etc... I think he enjoyed our little tour. We then came back and worked on our puzzle!
On Monday morning, I checked our bank account for $$$$$ from USA but no luck.
Emma and I had a date with a lady and her 14 year old daughter who we met at the International Chapel a couple of weeks ago (where we went to watch "How to Tame Your Dragon"). They are very nice and showed us around the indoor mall explaining which stores the teenagers tend to like that are not very expensive etc... we had a very nice time with them and a delicious lunch of Pizza - probably the best pizza I've ever had (besides my brother's of course!). They even showed us (in the historical section) a little English store that stocks American goods - Emma was thrilled to see dill pickles!.
Upon our return home, I checked the status of our wire again, found nothing new in our bank account so Adam and I packed up our French dictionary, I wrote some sentences that I translated with Google Translate, grabbed our bank info. and headed for C/A bank. I was able to pick up our debit cards, withdraw the Euros that I needed to pay for my class, and find out that the wire could take up to a week to transfer! UGH!
When we got home from the bank, I remembered that in addition to the fee for the class, I was required to bring a photograph of myself - I don't know why, the INRA asked Andy for one too - hummmmmm. So, Emma took my pix, we went to the store, printed off a f 4x6 and I was ready for my first French class! I got to the building with no problem, got there early (20 min) as requested -- to a locked door and nobody around! Finally a nice gentleman saw my predicament and led me to the office where the teacher would eventually show up. At 5:27, the teacher did show up, introduced herself, in French so I didn't quite catch her name, and led me to a room where about 10 other students were waiting. We all smiled at each other, went in and sat down. I completed a form and gave her my pix to which she replied -- Oh! Very Grand (Big!) - then I realized that she needed a passport type photo! So, I took my pix back, said I would cut it down and bring it back next week - I don't know if she understood what I said, but she did let me have it back!
The class started great - numbers! I know my numbers - 1-500 or so - yea! I was off to a good start! But then, the tape player started - in French, no explanation, and she began asking people questions about what had been said - again, in French - I was lost! I was, however, able to figure out the question that she posed to me and answer it! Yipeee! I called this class submersion on facebook because I felt like I was drowning for 1/2 of the class.
Now, keep in mind, this was everyone else's second class - the course started last week. I also found out that the other students already know multiple languages since most of them work in the science field! I will keep plugging along and see what happens.
We are finding that, contrary to what I had heard before arriving in France, the french people are very nice. I think that the key is to address them in their language and tell them that we don't know much of it but will try. They have all been very welcoming, helpful and happy --- I hope I didn't jinx it now!