First thing to do in a new country?
Ross learned French in High School, and he was always going on and on about 'Pain au Chocolat'. I gathered that this was some kind of French Pastry. Or maybe he was talking about chocolate eclairs.... Mmmm, who cares? I'd take either one!
Our first morning in France had us heading to town in search of a French bakery. And 'oh my', it didn't disappoint. It was so difficult to choose! Of course the bread is all amazing. And then there are the pastries, cakes, tarts, buns, croissants! I have always said that I think croissants are gross, just a big hunk of pastry....but since Europe I have totally changed my tune on that point!
We had a wonderful time choosing our French breakfast, and then we settled outside in the little town of 'La Bresse' to enjoy our foreign feast.
Ross' long awaited culminating French moment had finally come; he blissfully bit into 'pain au chocolate' for the first time in his life!!
After this delicious breakfast, Ross took the younger kids home, and Levi and I seized on a rare opportunity to do some shopping! Yay!!
Most of the time on our trip so far, any shopping had involved the whole family tromping around a shop together, with Ross and I endevouring to get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Trying to do any kind of shopping in a foreign country with 5 young kids is most certainly NOT fun.
There's usually a fair amount of;
"hey, stop touching everything",
"no, you may not all have new fun foreign toys",
"Shush!!! Stop being so loud or they'll kick us out!"
"Wait....we're missing someone!!"
......and so forth.
But on this lovely morning, Levi and I did a little browsing together ready for his birthday the next day.
It was shortly after we began this wander through town and I was browsing in a little shop that I had a moment of panic seize me. Wait....we were in a new country!! And they speak a new language!! I hadn't had anything to do with ordering breakfast, Ross had done that. I didn't know how to say anything! We had decided to come to France quite suddenly, and I hadn't had any time to learn how to say anything! My sole knowledge of French language came from the cartoon Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. Ok, my heart calmed down a little, I know those songs off by heart. 'Bonjour', yep, I had it covered. And, 'I want so much more than this provincial life'....hmmm, not so useful.
So when a lady in the store spoke to me....eeek!! I had lots of useless German and Arabic pop into my head.
I thought; 'Do I say Bonjour back? or is that just weird to reply in that way? Oh no!'
So I perfected the friendly smile head-nod on that morning. ( I learned this useful skill while living in Japan years ago ).
Someone babbles away in French to me; I Smile and bob my head. All good.
But then Levi and I decided to purchase a watch for his birthday, oh dear! The sales lady was very kind and friendly, maybe because I had awkwardness written all over my face, but she still spoke in French to me in a questioning tone and then paused....to which I replied something like;
"wee....bonjour.....pain au chocolat"
Well, despite my idiocy, we managed to get a nice present for Levi and enjoy the morning together. We stumbled upon an art gallery that was adjacent to the tourist info office, the door was open, so we had a sneaky wander through.
After we got home the kids enjoyed playing in the river at the bottom of the property. It was pretty cold, but that has never been something to stop my kids wanting to jump into any available water source. We had rented a house from Airbnb, it was nice and we all fit fine. But just on the side of the property, there was a tent and a bunch of campers, the owner and some friends we assume. They were all hanging out smoking bongs or something like that. Every now and then, one of them would stumble over our way and say something unintelligible. It wasn't threatening or anything, just a bit odd. Luckily they didn't try to steal anymore smooches, probably learnt their lesson from our arrival. Once, Ross was taking the rubbish out to the bin, and a lady walked up to him stoned, said something jovial in French, swayed and fell over...! She'd passed out. Ross had no idea what to do, so he shrugged his shoulders and walked back inside.
So when we went down to the river, we could see the campsite group smoking and watching from afar those strange, non-kissing foreigners with all the kids.
The next day was Levi's 12th birthday. It rained. It not only rained, it poured! In fact, during the day we had a running joke that every time Levi stepped foot outside, it rained. Anytime he went inside, it stopped!
We found a rather rustic ( and expensive ) theme park. Actually, we call it the 'Crappy French Theme Park' haha! We were the only ones there. Probably the only ones who wanted to be outside in the rain. But the kids actually had a great time. There were tyres that you could use to slide down the hill, and a little bike track, and a few other activities that we got to pay a fortune for while sloshing around in the rain, LOL. We also got to eat more delicious French Fries, yum!
Happy birthday Levi! French food, weird campers, sneaky art, rivers, rain and a cool crappy theme park. France so far was certainly fun and different and an adventure to remember.