We're back in Oregon! I'm a bit embarrassed to tell you that we've returned because I wasn't able to blog consistently from Lyon like I had hoped, but now that we are home I can still share posts about France in retrospect. How are you? Have you settled into a school routine? Can you believe it's already October and we're entering the last quarter of the year?!
Winding down and preparing to leave Lyon was emotionally difficult because our rented apartment felt like home from the start, particularly because we loved getting to know our new neighbors and we jumped right into school and meal routines. But before we left we were able to spend a day in Paris with friends, and the flights home went well--friends and strangers helped me with our baggage, and the flight attendants were so kind that they re-seated the two people across from us so that my children could lie down if needed. (I felt bad that they moved them for us, but it was a nice gesture in acknowledging that I was traveling alone with three small children. Iceland Air takes such good care of children and families on their flights!)
Jet lag was a reality for a few days as my children were awake and playing by 4am the first two mornings home, but at least I was feeling awake enough myself to supervise them. Actually, switching time zones has helped me become the morning person I've been wanting to be, but getting up to run at 5am means that I can't stay up late to write like I have in the past. (Thanks for being patient with my lack of posts the past few weeks.)
Five things I miss the most about France:
Friends - as I mentioned, our neighbors quickly became close friends, and I loved the opportunity to stay with French friends over the summer and to have friends visit us.
Food - there was a great boulangerie/patisserie just two blocks away from our apartment, so we had fresh bread with most of our meals . . . which explains the need for me to take up running again! I also miss the daily open air market where I bought all our fruits and vegetables.
Walking and public transport - Walking through the cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon was such a humbling experience, and it was such a blessing to be able to get everywhere we needed to go without having to drive. We used a stroller only occasionally; mostly I wore my baby in a porte-bébé (mine is a well-used Ergo carrier) rather than keeping him strapped in a carseat like I would have had to do in a car.
My church - It was wonderful to return to Eglise La Bonne Nouvelle and find my pastor and his family and church members just as welcoming as when I first visited ten years ago. There's a small playroom and a sunday school where the children make crafts, and this was where my son spoke more French than anywhere else.
Free & accessible French preschool - the local public school (just two blocks away) was such a blessing for my three-year-old, and I loved that he had a male teacher. I wish we had a French school option closer to our home in Oregon.
Three things I appreciate about being back in Oregon:
1. My husband, of course! He returned five weeks before us. Talking via FaceTime made the distance more bearable, but it feels so good to be together as a family again.
2. A clothes dryer. In France it took at least eight hours or more for our clothes to hang dry, so it felt like the task of doing our family's laundry was never complete. Dryers, garbage disposals, and air conditioning are some of the everyday household luxuries that we take for granted in the U.S., and they are less common in France.
3. The freedom to homeschool - we could have homeschooled in France, but we wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to meet local children and parents and to improve our French. Now that we're in Oregon again, it's a joy to have time together as a family and to continue learning in a myriad of healthy ways.
I have more I want to share about life in France, and you may have a question or two for me as well. If so, feel free to leave a comment here or post on the Intentional Mama Facebook page. Bon weekend!
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