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It’s beginning to feel a lot like… home

So this week something has clicked with Kaylee’s teacher. It’s amazing how much a teacher affects a child’s outlook on life. Kaylee is finally getting help in class and is offered work to is more fitting to her classroom experience. I hope it lasts, honestly, because this week my daughter had her first good day at school, after a month (though there was a two week break in there). Having good days at school means she’s happier at home, she’s more interactive with strangers (an important part of this trip), she’s offering way more help with chores and daily needs and she isn’t contrary with me and her brother as much. It’s amazing to have my happy, bubbly girl back again.

Kaleb continues to enjoy school, despite the challenges. “It’s regular school for them, it’s hard school for me” I think his class was more suited to his school experience and he has a teacher that doesn’t tell the class to shut up, which also goes a long way.

I really wish the kids could play after school. The kids have made a few friends in school who they play with at recess and sit with at lunch, and I’d love to be able to offer more opportunities for them to hang out. I think that back in Canada, playing on the playground after school was an important part of their (and my) days, and we all miss it. In a month I may be asking the kids to invite a friend over for dinner or something, but I’m not there yet.

Next week we are headed to Spain. Cheap flights around here are calling us in all directions, but since our travelling companions are headed there, we decided to tag along. We’ll fly into Madrid, spend a night in a hotel and then bus to Granada the next day, spend a couple days there before bussing back to Madrid, spending a couple more days there then flying back home. Kids in France do not take vacations outside of regular scheduled vacation weeks, I’m told. It is just unheard of. I haven’t yet explained my intentions to the principal, I’m still working up the nerve to have that conversation, but I’m assuming he’ll understand. When he first met me and asked about our trip, I called it a vacation because it was the easiest way for me to explain the experience in french, I assume I’m not the only foreigner to take a trip during school weeks. C’est la vie.

This week we got to experience our first cold. A really bad, head splitting, sinus aching, tissue consuming cold. It actually was unlike any cold we’ve experienced in the last 5 years (and before that my kids were still young enough that all my memories are fuzzy). Luckily I had brought some of my favourite medication (My theory is when you’re sick is the last time you want to be out shopping, never mind experimenting with foreign drugs). I had also brought some for the kids, but only a nighttime formula. Apparently I ran low on space in my med/first aid kit and prioritized being able to knock my kids out over them being able to breathe and function during the day. Since this cold came with an incredible amount of sinus pain and headaches for all of us, medication was not something we put on the back burner. I went out to buy some decongestants for the kids at a medical medicine pharmacy (Yeah, I have since figured out which pharmacy specializes in what, that was a real relief) and learned that in France, you don’t give decongestants to children. Ugh. Night time medication it is. And you better believe My visitors from Canada will be hoarding a FULL first aid/meds kit. With my kids either unable to breathe and in incredible pain, or a little doped up from the anti histamines, they missed two days of school this week. Double Ugh. Missing school is also a different game in France. In Canada, you contact the school and let them know your child will be absent (Note the tense), In France, you send a note once your child returns begging forgiveness, and it comes with a doctor’s note. I will not be wasting my, or a doctor’s time having bad colds diagnosed, not to mention the cost for a doctor’s visit (While 25 Euros seems totally reasonable when you NEED a doctor, double that for two school notes and it seems insane).

Damned foreigners always expecting a pass from the expected behaviours.

Yesterday, in pain, slightly feverish and tired as hell, we had to leave the apartment while our landlord showed it (He’s hoping we’re the last tenants here and somebody will take possession shortly after we leave). It sucked. It was 5pm, so very few places were open, we really didn’t want to walk around but benches don’t exist here outside of parks and the cafes that were open were too bustling and loud for our tired bodies and headachy brains. We wandered around dreaming of a place that would serve us hot soup or a place to sit that wasn’t the ground. We ended up walking by a place that served fried chicken and fries, and I was surprised his door was open and his sign was out. Most places to grab a bite aren’t open this early. We went on in and took a seat. I was only mildly surprised when he told us he didn’t have any chicken for us (In a chicken restaurant) but could make us some fries. I didn’t care at all, I would pay for any food he had just for a place to sit. He brought us out two giant portions of fries with Mayo on the side. He had been speaking english early on (My accent must be horrendous, because we did start out in french) so I asked him where he was from. He didn’t have a french accent when he spoke in english like everybody else. He told me he originally learned english in India, after that he spent two years living in England before moving to Ireland. It was in Ireland that he decided he wanted to move to the united States, so he spent the next year trying to arrange a visa that he could eventually apply for citizenship with, He spent a month in California, a month in Washington and two weeks in New York before he gave up on trying to find a place in the US that he didn’t loathe, so he came back home, to France. Amazing. We learned that he hadn’t started prepping chicken yet because he didn’t expect any customers, but had come in early to try a few new recipes, and he would very much like to have some testers. So we tried his chicken nuggets, his chicken wings, his onion rings, fried onions and a few other dishes, for free. All of it was incredibly delicious, I started looking for things to criticize just so he didn’t think I was just being polite. We went back home with our spirits lifted, our bellys full and in a much better mood. Kaleb was raving about the guys food and Kaylee was raving about how incredibly nice he was to us. I thought all night about his story. India, England, Ireland, US, Home. He made it sound so easy.

Could it be that easy? Hmm, that gives me an idea…

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