So as of yesterday, I've been in France an entire MONTH! It blows my mind. This month has gone by so fast! I do think my language has improved, although I still struggle a LOT. And eavesdropping is never an option.
As far as childcare goes, the kids and I have gotten to a place of mutual respect, for better and worse- they're more likely to obey me, and Victoria comes to me to discipline Gregoire or ask for help with things...which is great, except when it's Sunday and I was sleeping in and that's my day off.
Real parents don't get days off, of course, but MAN I like taking advantage of the fact I'm not a real parent sometimes.
So in this month, I've been to Quiberon a few times. Quiberon is a presqu'ilse (literally "nearly island") jutting into the ocean a little over an hour away from Elven. The family has a caravan there, so it's kind of like their version of when my family visits Bear Lake. Sometimes they go for the day, sometimes they spend a few days there- we haven't done that yet, but once the kids are out of school, we'll get there.
And yeah, the kids are STILL in school! They don't finish until July 4th, so my workday still is built around their school schedule.
I know my way around Elven like the back of my hand now. But since we eat so good (and ALWAYS at home) in this family, my real exploring only happens when I have a little bit of time to run a personal errand. I've tried two of the four local patisseries (and by "four local", I mean "four that you can see from standing in one spot in the center of town") and been VERY happy. Only one restaurant so far, today actually, and man I am still crazy about French food. There's only one thing I've been unhappy with, and that's some random dressing that I've had to eat twice. That's including the surprisingly delicious blood sausage (Boudin Noir).
Language classes have been going for a few weeks now. They're great- difficult enough they're certainly challenging me, but at my level as well. I haven't made any new friends in them yet...I think we all expected the classes to be full of cute little American Au Pairs like myself. But no, in both classes (Mondays and Thursdays) I'm the only au pair, the only American, actually the only person in their early 20s. But I do get along with my classmates, and hopefully I'll be able to hang out with some of these people! The Brits like me, because they can talk English. I think to all of us, finding another English speaker is like going up to the surface to breathe.
Which is probably a big reason why the Sister Missionaries in the branch are really reaching out to me. The local branch here is really close-knit and loving, and lots of people are trying to speak English with me. Mainly to improve their own, I think. The sisters are both American though, and they're hoping to hang out with me on Mondays- I always stay in Vannes for a little after my class to get lunch and walk around the amazing city a little tiny bit. It's such a nice part of my week.
My favorite parts though, even with the amazing weather and amazing food and beautiful scenery, have got to be the moments when I feel like part of the family here. Playing around with the kids, maybe cooking or making dessert, even setting the table for breakfast while everyone gets ready for bed. I am having an amazing time here, although I miss my real family so much.
Ten months seems like forever, but when I realize it's already been one, it seems like nothing at all.
Happy Fathers' Day!!