The Story Behind Attending School in France

• 17 June 2009



































One of the downsides to renovating a home in another country (versus near one's permanent residence) is the logistical nightmare it creates! While we are grateful for this opportunity and have always felt good about doing it, the renovation does not come without its challenges. For one, you pretty much have to be here to make sure anything happens. That being the case, you have to figure out a way to come over here for periods of time to work and make sure they work too. This can be very tricky with work situations, even if you work for yourself as the Husband currently does. Trips end up being planned last minute as work projects allow, making us all feel like we're flying by the seat of our pants.

During the last six months, the Husband and I have been apart on 3 different occasions for a few weeks at a time--one being in the wish-it-were-more-peaceful-but-often-ends-up-being-chaotic month of December. Although necessary for the completion of the renovation, it's very difficult to be apart from the one you love for weeks at a time, especially during the holidays. At the end of the day I've a new appreciation for single mothers. It's a tough, tough job.

This last trip over to France needed to be an extremely productive trip. Many things were happening all at once and subsequently a month-long trip was planned. The Husband didn't want to leave me again with all 3 little ones for so long so he volunteered to bring our oldest daughter with him. I consented knowing it would be good for her and good for him. We pulled her out of school here in SLC and off she went on an adventure with her daddy--something we hope she'll remember all her life. She was both nervous and excited at once.

To save money, they camped at the town's little campground in a little mini-trailer. In the morning when it was time for school, they consumed a simple breakfast before readying themselves in the public bathrooms at the campground...and then off she went to school. I can still hardly believe it. What a good sport! We are incredibly proud of her for 1. being willing and 2. genuinely trying to enjoy it and learn from the experience.

School let out at 4:30 and then our daughter accompanied the Husband up to La Maisonnette so that he could continue working through the evening. Our daughter amused herself with a craft box I created prior to her departure and with other creative projects she came up with on her own. When she tired of those things she set off to selling off all the odds and ends that came with the house we bought (dishes, pots, pitchers, etc.). She basically held her own "brocante" or "vide grenier". Given that I used to sell baked goods at my parents' tag sales, I'd consider that a hereditary trait :)

The Husband and I knew we didn't want to be apart for such a long period of time, but didn't exactly know a way around the situation. One night when expressing my feelings to my sister Cherilee, she volunteered to help out. What that ended up translating into was a drive down from Seattle with her 3 kids in tow, just so she could tend my two youngest while I skipped town to help out the Husband and child. What a sister! (Is there a sister-of-the-year award out there?) I packed up my grubby work clothes (the idea of looking remotely chic tossed out the window), work shoes, gardening tools (stuff like that is so expensive in France), Hefty cinch sacks and off I went. Eighteen hours later I arrived in the beautiful village that we fell in love with just under a year ago, but this time if felt so different as so much has changed in the past 10 months.

So there you have it...more than I ever intended to write but I guess a few hours at a hotel by
yourself makes for a rather prolific post :)



































One of my daughter's craft projects using extra supplies from one of the contractors; not a bad place to hang out, eh?




































Reading Charlotte's Web near the gate to the house

27 comments:

keely steger said...

what an amazing opportunity for you all! love this pic of your daughter- looks like a place well-suited to a little girl's imagination...

Lisa said...

You've made me feel like nothing is impossible. I love it!

Annie said...

I agree with Lisa. Reading things like this gives me license to thing big and follow through on those dreams.

I love the one of your daughter reading by the gate. Fantastic.

Kris said...

Wow, E.! Max and I are so impressed. What a great adventure for her. I was wondering what Cher was doing in Utah...what a busy month for all of you. I can't wait to see you next week.

Sam and Josh said...

What a wonderful opportunity for you and your family. You cease to amaze me with your advetures. It was so fun to hang out with Cher while she was here, so I am really glad she came to help.

jen&john&maddy said...

Wow! What an adventure! It will definitely be worth it in the end when you have your gorgeous house in France and memories to last a lifetime!

Georgia said...

Maybe E. could read "The Secret Garden" next ;-) I cannot wait to visit that village some day!

amyks said...

What a great experience you are giving your daughter...she seems to be just as amazing as you are. I am so envious of both of you, but in a good way:)

Janika said...

I love how you are not letting the seemingly overwhelming logistics get in the way of your dream. I also love how you are doing so much of the work yourselves. Truly an inspiration!

Karen said...

I just found your blog within the last week or two, so I'm just "getting to know" you and "meet" your family. I LOVE what you and your husband are doing and I think your daughter must be a pretty amazing young lady to be on the adventure she's on. It speaks volumes about the person she must be and I can only imagine the wonderful future that lies ahead for her!

Chelly said...

Wow! I'm speechless. This is definitely a life altering adventure that your daughter will never forget. This is setting the stage for more adventures to come and for her openly embracing them. I love it! And ditto the other readers in that I am so inspired. Nothing is impossible. Thank you for sharing.

Birdie in DC said...

litte e is such a great sport-- what an amazing experience for all of you.

Kristine said...

This is an experience she will never forget! Love that you are teaching her that dreams are never impossible!

noelle said...

can i be your daughter? so awesome!!!

Joslyn said...

oh stephanie...you are my hero. what a life! you are giving your children such a gift. you should be very proud!
xo

Nicole said...

Congratulations to your family! This particular picture is incredible. Amazing!!

Andrea said...

Wow, how incredible! What an amazing opportunity for your daughter.

Would you mind sharing a little more about the craft box you made for your daughter (eg, what you put in it, what container you used, etc.)? I was thinking I'd like to put something together to keep my kids busy and happy when we go to the family cabin in a few weeks, and I'd love a little inspiration.

Thais said...

Steph,

so are you guys going to move to France?

Lulu Belle said...

So fantastic Steph! And you could have written and novel about why E was in school in France and I would have read it all...I find this entire journey so fastinating. Maybe one day you can write a book - what a story it would be!

Prairie Girl Studio said...

i turned the half century mark this week ... but i am really young at heart ... would you mind adopting me?
seriously, this is such an incredible lifetime opportunity for your daughter ~ what a gift you are giving her and your whole family ~
warm wishes as you venture on!
prairiegirl

Megan said...

That last photo of her reading takes my breath away. It reminds me of something out of "A Secret Garden." So magical! This whole experience for her has a screenplay in it somewhere!

Mary Elizabeth Liberty said...

wow, I was wondering just that. and more. Thanks for sharing this amazing endeavor, and the quirky details.

Sharnel said...

I really enjoyed this post. What a wonderful little girl you have. Such a special time with Father and Daughter.
Thank you for sharing.
Oh and your home in France looks so beautiful!
x

Jen said...

I have so many thoughts right now...first, your sister is one-of-a-kind! second, your daughter is one-of-a-kind! third, I can totally visualize her adventure becoming a children's book!
That last shot of her reading, should be framed forever!
♥ Jen

Amy said...

I found your blog via design mom, and having a fabulous time living vicariously through you! What an amazing adventure.

I would love for my daughter to go to school in France for a bit. Does your daughter speak french well? How is she doing?

Really, you could have written a novel and I would have happily read! Thanks for sharing!

jen jafarzadeh said...

Hey Stephanie, so fun reading all about La Maisonnette. My question is how hard it is renovating a home in France with the language barrier? Do you and your husband speak French fluently? what an incredible adventure for your whole family that will always be remembered!

stephmodo said...

Andrea, the craft box contained a bunch of random things from my own craft drawers. paper, scissors, embellishments, stickers, punches, stamps, etc. REally anything goes!

Amy, my daughter speaks pretty well. There were many things she didn't understand (most of it was slang) but she can definitely hold her own.

Jen, the language barrier would make an already difficult project far more difficult. Luckily my husband speaks French fluently and can communicate well with the workers. We've found this absolutely essential. I, on the other hand, can understand some but I cannot speak beyond extremely basic French myself. I'm going to try and work on that...you know, in all my spare time :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
 

stephmodo © All rights reserved · Theme by Blog Milk · Blogger