After saying goodbye to some friends, it was time for a few weeks of isolation with the family. Two weeks in France. Two weeks without internet. Two weeks with a lot of French. Two weeks.
So the week started with a Monday train to Le Chaufaud. It is a very small village right on the border of Switzerland and France. I mean right on the border. It was about a 10 minute walk to Switzerland. It is an old house that has been in the family for generations. It was the taken by the Nazis in World War II and became their headquarters on the border (as Switzerland was a neutral country people were trying to cross to freedom). It is also a very old house. It was the end of July and it was raining and freezing in the house. Shoes, sweaters, electric and wood fire heaters were in full use. It was just me Baby Gaga and G for the week; and a few generations of Mama C’s family. It was such a cool experience to see four generations of a family together.
Mama C's Dad gave me joking looks of disapproval as I would respond to the French I understood in English. He told G to only speak French with me, which she did every once in awhile, but always quickly returned to English. This is one of the many reason my French is no where close to fluency! Other than that, I went on a couple of hikes with and without the girls.
This was a tough week. I had been hearing G say things for months about my leaving, but this week, she was telling me how she is going to have a crying, screaming fit when I leave her. She repeated that fact that I am in fact “leaving her” too many times. Each time it became more difficult for me to respond to. On top of that, Baby Gaga has reached 10 months, which is the age of becoming clingy. She would literally only go to me and her Mom. Since her Mom was back in Zurich, we spent a week attached at the hip. Lucky for me she is sleeping through the night and likes to nap a couple of time during the day. She is as close to “my baby” as I want to be for a long time to come. But she is my baby. When I see her go only to her Mom and me, I realize that the relationship I have with her is special. I am not her Mom and she knows it, but I am second best.
After a weekend off, I headed to Hyéres, to spend a week on a vineyard on the sea with the other side of Mama C’s family. This could not have contrasted more to the cabin in the woods. There was a chef, a pool, and the sea was a short walk away. Many spent the day on the boat, diving and drinking; followed by a French meal. The attire was dressy. Champagne with apértif. Salad or cold soup, meat and vegetables, a cheese patter, and dessert. And obviously, a copious amount of wine. Rosé. Red. White. Ports.
Most everyone spoke English this week. While most of the time it was French, Mama C’s family is international. There were Americans, French who live in the United States, and the French who live in London. Since, I have not succeeded in speaking French (comprehension only...and even that is debatable at times), Mama C’s family is extremely welcoming and happy to speak English with me. The conversations always ended up back in French, as they should, but I would throw in my own sentence in English here and there.
This was not a bad place to spend my last week with the kids. It was a bittersweet week. I am sad to say goodbye to the kids in a few days but I am glad that the job is over in so many ways. I made it through a year and I am positive I made the right decision in not sticking around for any longer. I will have one last day/dinner with the kids before I am off to finish my travels and head home. No one is making it easy for me to leave but if goodbyes are hard then it means you made some good friends and did a good job right?
The vineyard on the way to the sea!
My beach babe