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Month: January 2016

Second night in France

I’m just starting to remember what day it is, and accepting the time on all these clocks as a possible truth. Nothing went as bad as it could have. Jason took us to the airport and while we were a little emotional, most of the freaking out and being sad about our temporary separation was not new to us, we didn’t feel the need to be dramatic with our last goodbyes, though they were still hard. The flight into Amsterdam, while uneventful, was really long and boring. I spent far too much energy on trying to get my kids to sleep. Kaleb finally dozed off about 90 minutes before landing but Kaylee and I were wide awake, next time I will forego the gravol and just not care, it turned out to not be a very big deal, to be honest, my kids didn’t turn into gremlins, they didn’t scream, fight or even whine. In fact, the worth I heard between Calgary  and MRS was “I just cant get comfortable and it’s really bugging me” Me too, kid. While I realize and appreciate how incredibly amazing it is that my kids didn’t go insane, I am forever going to be holding it against them… “Remember that time you were awake for like 50 hours without crying? calm down”.

 

Our new landlord picked us up at the airport in Marseille, customs was almost nothing, I’ve only been through customs in two different countries, one of which being my own, but France honestly just glanced at my passport, asked where I flew in from and waved me along. After picking up my luggage I could choose to go through one hall “Declare nothing” or go to an officer “Declare goods” he looked pretty bored sitting there while everybody passed him by. I expected more, but was not at all disappointed by the quick exit from the world of travelling and our entrance into our new life. Alain (Landlord) was so awesome, he insisted on carrying our bags, drove us to Aix and gave us a quick little tour of the town and our new neighbourhood. Once inside (fourth floor up a narrow, winding staircase) he gave us a very detailed orientation of the apartment, the kids of course, stopped at the part where he handed over the wifi password and ignored everything else. I didn’t care, they weren’t fighting or crying, I didn’t mind of they wanted a few minutes of internet.

 

By the time he left it was around 5pm, despite agreeing that we were all going to crash immediately, we decided to open up our suitcases, shower and make some food, I mean, if we could stay up another 2 hours then we’d be hitting a regular bedtime, and since we were not crying yet, I figured it was a good idea. Dinner was the snacks leftover in their “snack bags” from travels and a pack of Lipton’s soup that I squeezed into one of the suitcases. Sometime between 7-8 we all went to sleep in our beds and I was sure we’d sleep until noon the next day. When I woke up I thought ‘Wow, what a great sleep, so glad I closed all the shutters to block out the morning light!’ yeah, it was midnight. Fine, Back to sleep. But what time is it now? What time is it in Calgary? How many hours awake vs sleeping have there been in the past few days? GO. TO. SLEEP. I got out of bed to hit the bathroom quickly and on my way I noticed Kaleb sitting up in bed. I didn’t say anything to him because it wasn’t visiting time, went to the bathroom and crawled back into bed. After some restless lying in bed a child crawled in, kind of expected, he saw me get up, nope, that’s Kaylee. Ok, I can share my bed. Oh, here comes Kaleb. Whatever. Despite being wide awake, I tried to be very quiet and still, wanted to keep the illusion that it was night time. I mean, it was night time. We played musical chairs for the next few hours and finally got out of bed around 7am. I tried to muster together what I could to feed the kids while we prepared for our day, then went out to buy food. Our landlord bought us milk, orange juice and some rock hard bread biscuit things and jam, presumably for the rock bread,  while totally awesome, didn’t quite cut it for breakfast.

Buying food was interesting, to say the least. I have spent my entire life getting everything I need at only a few places, that did not happen today. As we were wandering around checking out our neighbourhood I bought one or two random things as I came across them in different markets and shops. Bread from here, yogurt from there, across the flower market for some pasta and sauce. We didn’t starve today but my two goals for tomorrow are 1) a playground, my god, the kids need to run in a place that ISN’T the street (which is not a sidewalk, despite it being the place you have to walk, hopefully my kids get used to that soon) 2) stock up the pantry and fridge. It would be really nice to have bread, milk, butter and cheese at the same time. maybe some flour too, then I can actually make things… we’ll see, I have to map some things out and figure out the best bang for my buck, within walking distance (And I still don’t have an old lady cart yet). I really don’t want to be buying food once or twice daily, it’s going to come down to finding out better options, and better planning.

I still feel really tired, Hopefully that doesn’t last too much longer.

 

 

Last night at home.

Six months seems so short and so long at the same time. When I think about what I was doing six months ago, it doesn’t actually seem that far away. Of course, Jason and I have not spent months apart since we met. I really wanted to dedicate an entire post about how I felt about leaving him for that long, but I just cant do it yet. He had bedtime cuddles with the kids tonight while I finished packing, there was a moment when I walked by and overheard just a few words and my heart just sank. Ugh.

Packing sucked. The two suitcases we were going to take turned into three, two of which are dangerously close to their weight limit, and all of them are completely stuffed to the brim. I’m trying hard to ignore the fact that one of them already appears to have a damaged zipper… please just get me to my apartment. It feels weird to cut our wardrobes down so small for half a year, All packed up and yet articles of clothes keep popping into my mind. Fine, no, I don’t need a collared shirt, when do I wear those anyways? One bathing suit is fine. Yes, I could probably use more socks, but I’ll just wash and wear the few pairs we each have until they have holes. And why the hell do I own like eight times more bras than I do jeans? Pick your favourites. Ok, cut that pile in half. Ugh, fine, cut it in half again. I spent more than a few minutes trying to hunt down my favourite, most comfortable sports bra I had fully intended to wear on the flight, with no such luck. Did I already pack it? Do I have ZERO sports bras? Stop thinking about BRAS! I refuse to open those suitcases one more time, enough is enough.

The Journey from my home to our new apartment is going to suck. It’s going to start with saying goodbye to Jason, bummer. Then after the nightmare that is taking two kids and a bazillions pounds of carry ons through security, we sit and wait for two hours. Then I spend many hours trying to get my kids to sleep on the plane, fully regretting letting them stay up late and making them get up early because as tired as they are, they don’t sleep, they just get more evil. Then we land in Amsterdam at 8:30am local time, 12:30am Calgary time. Then 4 hours with evil, tired kids until we board our next plane. The rest will likely be a grumpy, disorienting blurr that ends with the kids fighting and yelling while our new landlord tries to give us an orientation of our new home. I’m pretty optimistic, hey? Come on, at least I can be prepared. If it goes better than that, it’s a pleasant surprise, if it doesn’t, thats ok, that’s what I was expecting, I just hope the new landlord doesn’t judge my kids too harshly on the monsters they will turn into and eventually gets to meet the awesome, super friendly kids they are.

Today was the last day of school. One of the many things I did not get done was a goodbye present for the teachers, we always give a year end gift and I’m a huge fan of group gifts from the class, but that wont be happening this year. I’ve come to learn that people have wildly differing opinions on the value of teachers, from “Overpaid babysitters” to “The single most important influence on the next generation”. I’ve always leaned more towards the latter and never considered myself having a view far on one end of the spectrum until my kids went into school and I heard from other parents. Maybe my kids have gotten lucky with such amazing teachers, maybe I was strongly influenced by my own teachers as a child, I don’t know where my feelings come from, but they are there, I believe in Alberta teachers are undervalued, under appreciated and overworked. Regardless, I wanted to let them know I appreciated their work this year and I let it slip, I regret it already. I really hope that the teachers in France are just as awesome. I really hope school registration goes ok, and i REALLY hope that my worst case scenario of home schooling the kids for 5 months doesn’t become a reality. I mean, we were told our kids could register on long stay visas, but what if we get there and everything goes down the pooper?

I seem to have lost my ability to think positive for the night… better go take comfort from my husband for the last time in many months….

Two weeks to go.

My god, where has the time gone? It seems like just yesterday that I said to Jason “What do you think about me and the kids going to France for a few months?” A few days ago Kyla asked me what I’m bringing for groceries, at the time I thought it was such a silly question, I’ll buy my groceries there, obviously. But she made a good point, when we get to our apartment it will be around 4:30pm local time, we will be cranky and tired from our travels and I will be far too overwhelmed to venture out and try to find something to eat in a place where I have far from mastered the local language. What are we going to eat for dinner? What will we have for breakfast the next day? I kind of shrugged it off and didn’t think much of it, food was not something I was worried about, in fact, I was worried about very little, (besides leaving my husband, which I can’t yet bring myself to write about, because I’m not done being teary eyed about yet) I was very calm, knowing everything would magically find it’s way to my suitcase, all rolled up and neatly packed away.

Then it happened.

I woke up the next day to an email from Air France. “Votre Voyage a Marseille” yay! I quickly scanned the email and realized it was all in french, despite getting previous emails in english. Hmm, where’s the button to translate this into english? Oh my god, there is no button, oh my god, there will be no button for SIX MONTHS. I felt a weight on my chest. I’m not going to have more than one bathroom, I’m not going to have a yard, Oh, I still have a suitcase to buy! I still have to figure out what clothes I’m bringing, I still have to decide between saving money and bringing x,y and z or saving space and buying it there… and what the hell am I going to bring for GROCERIES?!?

I’ve been taking many moments to have a good cup of tea and some meditative breathing, but somehow that doesn’t seem to be helping these suitcases become packed and organized, has disney lied to me all these years? Do I just need to come up with a catchy song? Whats the deal?

Two weeks to go … 100 things to get done.

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