Weekend Adventures

We’ve been trying to get out and do something every day, it’s really no fun living in a hotel. This time we went to a mall that is near the base and then to IKEA.

The whole point of going to the mall was to get a cell phone. There are services on base, but we had such great service in France that I just knew we could get something just as good. A couple of locals told me about cell phone providers and I took a chance with one.

And I was right! I got a 10euro a month plan that includes 4gb of data a month. Yay! We use a map application on our phones to get us to anywhere, so we do use a lot of data. I turned off the cellular service for the majority of the apps on my phone until I figure out how much I end up using. The kids both need phone plans still, but it was a heck of a time to just get mine set up so we are waiting on them. Maybe this upcoming weekend.

Next up was IKEA! It’s the same everywhere right? Well, mostly the same. JW (and the rest of the family) loved the hot dogs at IKEA in France, but really who doesn’t like a grilled hot dog? So that was high on his list to eat for lunch. But the hot dogs, not the same. They were more like sausages, and they were boiled. They were edible, but we probably won’t do that again. We ended up buying just a few things and looking at beds for the kids. All the moving we’ve done and the taking apart/putting together has caused the beds to need to be replaced. Plus we had to have an ice cream.

I didn’t really believe Chris when he arrived before the kids and I did and he said there’s trash everywhere. I mean, really? I just couldn’t see it. But unfortunately, it’s true. Here’s a better picture of Mount Vesuvius, taken when the map took us on a wild way out of IKEA’s parking lot.

From the US to Europe

We managed to stay in the US for about two and a half months. Toward the end of two months I realized I just wasn’t ready to leave yet. I was not looking forward to living in a hotel for who knows how long, not looking forward to flying with a little person who gets airsick, not looking forward to trying to adjust to the time difference.

Leaving France was hard – for a lot of reasons including and not limited to plane tickets only arriving two days before we were scheduled to leave, and they were the wrong dates but I got them fixed – and so we did managed to attend my brother’s wedding in South Dakota, arriving the evening before. Nevermind that we arrived to a city about six hours away, so we had a very early morning getting up and driving. My husband performed the ceremony, which was short and sweet, and quickly two families were joined. My brother looks crazy happy in the photos, as does his new bride. She’s great, his new kids are good, and they’ve recently moved for their jobs. They were getting settled in as we were leaving to move back to Europe.

We did get to celebrate Halloween! Two years in France not dressing up and you end up with kids that were so happy to get to participate.

Thor wore his costume for days, it’s with us now but surprisingly he has not worn it. There’s a chance he forgot since we are in a hotel room and the suitcases are all stacked in a closet.

It’s hard getting settled in. Sure there are facebook groups and random people that I “know” who live here, but it’s tough. We are hotel living, and crossing all of our fingers that we’ll be in our own place by Christmas. That’s so close!

Some highlights – we will have a pool! And a great view. Plus an alarm system and locks everywhere. We will hopefully have decent internet service – in the hotel on base the internet *sucks* – it is seriously so terrible. A few days after our first arrival the service went out for probably a day and a half, and ever since we reset the router multiple times a day. We are not within walking distance of anything like a grocery store or market, but we’ve already bought one vehicle and we will more than likely have to buy another. It’s just so completely different than life in France. I’m working hard to remind myself that every place is different, nothing will be the same, and probably very little will be similar.

The sunsets are beautiful, and base reminds me of San Diego.

We are still on base so no great pictures, any errands we run are on base. We did go to a cool mall last weekend – it’s modeled after a volcano with parking around the outside, the stores in a circle, and the interior of that circle is a space that is used for things like concerts or mini carnival rides. It was kind of surprising to see a lot of mining on our way to the mall, but it’s the same kind of surprise you feel when you realize people are homeless in your town, or there are kids who only eat at school. It’s not really surprising – it’s actually happening every day.

Here’s to a new adventure. Oh and here’s a bad picture of Mt. Vesuvius. It’s right there!

Observations on a French playground

When the days are warm we head to the playground after school. Every parent, or whoever picks up the little toddler from school, has the same idea. Our favorite playground is enclosed with a short fence, there are two gates, and it has three large areas to play and four small areas. I just mean there are seven playground things for kids to be on. There are green metal benches all around the fence, for parents to sit on and a few trees around.

French children usually dress impeccably. And by that I mean if you can imagine what French children dress like based on a movie or book you saw or read, you will probably be correct. They all wear scarves, Mary Jane shoes or what I call a loafer, shirts on hot days, skirts with a shirt and sweater, sometimes a hat, and they are set free in the playground to do whatever they wish.


JW pushing his friend

The slides have that soft playground padding surrounding them, while the slide/climbing set for the big kids has rocks underneath. Not hurt you rocks, but small gravel, sufficient for padding and for the little ones to throw happily in the air.

Parents will gather on the benches and visit, I think they are gossiping but the French speak fast and in groups like this more than one is speaking, and I listen slowly. I just like to imagine they are, and not in a malicious way, but just visiting excitedly. On occasion a child will run to someone, to complain, to ask something, to get a snack.

The fence feels secure. My son knows not to leave it and he will usually find someone he knows to play with, though on a school day the playground is full of children from another nearby school, not his. The kids chase each other until it’s time to leave, they play touché (which is basically tag), they take turns following each other down the slide.

Older kids are outside the gate usually playing soccer, but occasionally riding a scooter. The entire park takes up the space of a city block so there is a very large gazebo, more benches, and a merry go round in the same space, all of that outside of the fence of the playground. The park is named after the U.S. President Wilson and there is a memorial for the Second Infantry Division.