* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

An afternoon choral songfest

Choral Songfest 1As if conversing and reading in French weren't enough of a challenge, Doc Leo and I are now part of a local chorale.  Not only do we sing in French, but we've also had to belt out tunes in Spanish, Italian, Latin, Niçoise, German, and Greek! 

I tend to feel a bit smug at my perfect pronunciation when we get to sing something in English.  I also provide a bit of linguistic coaching, especially on our words that follow absolutely no grammatical rules at all.

Our group was recently invited as guest performers to a regional concert of five different groups.  I thought you might find it interesting.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dual Thanksgivings

Dual Thanksgivings 1Once again, another American Thanksgiving has come and gone.  While it has always been a special occasion for me as an American, it just happened to be our first American holiday we experienced as new foreigners living in a country where it was meaningless.  We shared it with our new French neighbors, and we’ve been sharing it with the French ever since.

This year, as last year, was interesting in that we were also guests as non-Americans put on a big spread, too.  Here’s how we enjoyed both events!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Alpine trekking

Alpine Trekking 1

Every year, our church holds a fall retreat at the camp we volunteer to help keep nice up in the mountains.  One of the annual activities is a fairly substantial hike on one of the numerous official trails.  As I belonged to a hiking club for a few years as part of our village activities, I look forward to participating in this scheduled activity.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been a very sporty person, and every year I keep getting older while there are always plenty of younger people, so it gets harder and harder to keep up.  But I continue to plug along, and I thought I’d share some of the views I captured at this year’s event last month.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

When work is joy

Work is joy 1Last month, we participated in the annual fall clean-up at the children's camp we volunteer helping keep in shape.  Over the years, we've all managed to take this property that was falling apart from lack of attention and turn it into a space of beauty and relaxation, although getting and keeping it there hasn't been so relaxing!

We now pretty much do the same things every year, so it would be boring to keep showing you the same activities.  But I like to honor the various people who dedicate their time to this endeavor each year, plus give a bit of a progress report on how everything continues to improve.

I'll start off with my own pride and joy, the pretty fire pit I brought back from a horrible mess several years ago, and now just takes a bit of annual weeding.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Wheat & Lavender

Wheat & Lavender 1Yesterday we ended up having a spontaneous fun experience I thought you might also enjoy.  French towns like to have fun activities in the summer to pull in the tourists, and our area is no exception.  It is possible to attend open air theatre and music concerts, and the old villages like to put on folkloric presentations harking back to their traditional heritages.

Some friends from church were aware of a village festival back up in the mountains, and we all decided to go check it out.  Here are some views of the scenery, the village, and the activities we enjoyed.

Friday, August 5, 2016

A French surprise

French Surprise 1This past year, we became part of a new local community chorale group.  When the year was over, several of us decided we'd like to get together during the summer.  We had a group dinner early in the summer, a great way to develop new friendships. 

However, I was surprised that one couple was aware of my birthday, but they sent me this adorable birthday card.  As we are both into music and cats, it was so appropriate!

Then, another couple invited us to dinner, which I thought was just a continuation of making friends.  In reality, they'd all conspired to throw me a little surprise birthday party!

It was such a fun evening, I thought I'd share my French celebration.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Beach Blanket Birthday

Beach Birthday 1

I have a very good friend who happens to be the same age as my second daughter.  She is a Brit married to a Frenchman and now has three kids.  You've seen them in some of my posts, as we've been involved in a number of their family activities or we have just gotten together.

It turns out that her husband and I share the same birthday, although a generation apart.  Normally they are off on vacation at this time, so we never get to celebrate together, nor do I just get to celebrate mine with my friend.

This year, however, they happened to be around, she threw him a beach party, and I was invited to participate.  So I got a beach party, too.  I thought you might enjoy the ambiance.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Over the Col de la Lombarde

Pass 1

I recently had an opportunity to meet an internet acquaintance in person in Milano, Italy, allowing us to get away for a few days.

Rather than take the open toll road with its 200 tunnels (my grandson and I counted them one trip) through the mountains, Doc Leo decided to take a lesser used scenic route over them.

As we didn't have time to dawdle on the way over, we came back the same way so we could enjoy it more.  I thought you might like sharing some of it with us.

Monday, July 25, 2016

PR Meet-up Milano

PR Milano 1Last spring, I had the privilege for the first time of meeting in person a new friend I'd made on my favorite sewing website.  That pleasure was extended recently by getting to meet two more users of the site.

One visit was fairly local, like the first one, but the second one involved a day's trip into Italy, which we turned into a mini-vacation get-away.

I thought I'd show you some of what we did.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Another village tribute

Village tribute 1

Once again, France has had to hold an official moment of national mourning.  Communities all over the country, from small villages to the largest metropolises, gathered their local residents together for the traditional minute of silence and the laying of wreaths by the communes and other groups.

Our village was no exception, and we joined in to show our personal sympathy with many of the local friends we've made.

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