staying in touch

It has been a while.
Last year, it felt that as we were no longer traveling, there was no reason to post articles or photos anymore.

That being said, I am posting today because I hope it will help us stay in touch with friends and family despite the little time we have to phone, skype or write.

So here is a medley of our latest adventures in a world full of contrasts , starting with Easter holidays in Venice, where we enjoyed a big bath of beauty for the eyes and mind, delicious food and precious family time with the grand-parents.

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IglesiaAu

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Venicewalk

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a week in Hawaii – by Alvar

Hello I am Alvar and we are now spending a week in Hawaii. Yesterday we went on a beach and saw a little spring of fresh water. It was cold but it was all right. When we came back we saw a monk seal and came home. The next day we went to “baby beach” and we could see fishes in small pools. Then we ate pizza. After lunch we went into a canyon, and onto a really fun beach with lots of waves. The water was warm and it was sunset time. We had a great day.

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PS: the seal is having some rest, not dead !

Cannon Beach

Here are some pictures of our improvised weekend in Oregon.

Ben and I already had some good memories from our first trip in the area 12 years ago but we now have a whole bunch of new souvenirs with the children. The weather was perfect and the landscape just incredible.

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Running under the rain

Fall has arrived in the Pacific North West.

It has been raining cats and dogs last week. Non Stop. Days and nights and days again. I thought I was mentally prepared for this. Aren’t we used to the mud an the cold rain of Normandy ? Didn’t we survive the London drizzle ? Yes. But this rain was much more water than I could possibly imagine.

Some Seattlelite told us it is typical, some others said it is an exceptionally big storm…Whatever this may be, we soon realized that we would have to get wet if we did not want to spend the winter locked in.

So despite of the 100% chances of rain, we took Alvar to his “Cross-country” meet.

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He bravely made his 0.4 miles of running in the mud, and we were all soaking wet, proud and happy. It was really energizing to see all these families and children running like crazy despite the terrible weather.

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And sometimes, after the rain, comes a rainbow !

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Back on track

Hey !
First time in weeks I find a moment to post on the blog. We have been in Seattle for a month now, and it has been physically and nervously demanding, but we are now back on track for a close to normal everyday life.

Seattle
We landed mid-August and went straight to our new house on the South end of Mercer Island. A huge, empty, blue (!) house on a steep hill, in front of majestic Lake Washington. The views are inspiring, even mystical. In the distance, Mount Rainier is watching over us. Since we arrived, the evergreen state has greeted us with a constant sun and an every day blue sky. We’ve been told many times that it won’t last, but for now, we are enjoying the never ending summer.

mercer island

Until last week, our days have been a mix of delighting and peaceful moments at the beach, in the forest or the mountains, and not so pleasant shopping experiences in horrible malls and depressing parking lots. We did our best to quickly empty our boxes and assemble our furniture in order to finally feel at home after those 7 months of nomadic life.

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The children have been so happy to find their toys and books back ! Alvar keeps telling me : “It is really cool to know that we are going to stay here for a while”. Our home is far too big for us and some rooms are still empty, but it is bright, comfortable and very convenient with the children.

School started again on September 4th, and Alvar is ecstatic since his first day at the French American School of Puget Sound. He loves it ! He can’t stop writing in cursive letters, saying out loud his Jacques Prevert poetry and looking for jokes on the Internet so he can share them with his “buddies”. He has a great relationship with “Monsieur Matthieu”, his Grade 3 teacher.

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Austine started attending a Play Center twice a week, from 9 to 12. She meets with other toddlers, enjoys a room full of toys, dolls, painting and play dough activities and spends some time outside in a playground surrounded by redwood trees. She does not like separation (and I don’t either !) but she is brave and seems to like it there.

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For myself, the big adjustment has been to get use to driving. Ben offered me a very nice second hand Subaru Outback, which is probably the best seller car in Washington state, so I blend in well and I do feel like one of them. By “them”, I mean one of the many housewives that are going back and force from a school to a playground, from a shopping mall to an after school activity. I do enjoy the new mobility, but I don’t like spending that much time in a car. We’ll see if I get used to it, but the good news is that we are keeping it local so our lives are mainly arranged around the island which makes it a little less painful. And because we are in Amazon country, the delivery guy is doing most of the shopping for me, saving me time and stress.

Ben has finally found an environment that fits his needs for space. After 10 years in “tiny” Europe, he can start breathing again ! His job is challenging and he has been putting a lot of passion and hours into it, as always. The first three months have been rewarding but goals are still to be achieved and deadlines to be met … And then, they will instantly be replaced by new ones.

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It is Friday afternoon and we have a social weekend coming up (phase 2 of a proper installation in a new country). The school is very good with creating a community and the networking works briliantly. “Ambassador parents” have invited us to their home and a fall picnic is scheduled for Sunday. We also need to knock on our 7 neighbours’ doors to introduce ourselves properly.

I really feel like a Bree Van de Kamp with my batch of cookies in front of my enormous 3 garage house.