Monday, May 15, 2017

My French Mind

As we get further into our year here in France, we find our family using more and more French, sometimes even in the place of English.

The other day I was sitting at school, writing down the lesson, and I thought 'Oh man, I have to efface this whole thing'. I paused, that didn't sound right. Efface, efface, efface, I know it sounds like it, what is it in English? I finally remembered that it was 'erase', but not for a while. This is just one of many situations where we find ourselves at a loss of words.
We have also taken to calling our pencil cases trousses, notebooks cahiers, and have been saying words like commence, comprehend, and bizarre much more often.
Another thing that has been a problem for me is thinking that french words are really what you would say in English, for example:
I was talking to Mom and Biniyam one night, and during our conversation I said, "... you know, when you manque something." They looked at me like I had said I was an alien from outer space. Mom shook her head, "No, I don't know about manqueing something"."That's not an English word? When you don't have it, there's not enough. What word do we use?" They burst out laughing.
After I racked my brain for what it was in English, I realized that I meant to say 'lack'. They sound almost exactly alike to me now. I'm still pretty sure that manque is a synonym of lack, at least in my crazy world.

Something that French people say a lot is "Ça me dérange" which means "That bothers me", or "Ça ne me dérange pas", "It doesn't bother me". This is a phrase that has become one of our favorites to say around each other, another is "Ce n'est pas grave", 'It's not serious'. And this is one that we hear a lot at school, "Ayo, il y a trop de bruit là!", "There's too much noise there!".

Hopefully one day I will be able to sort this all out, and be able to go back and forth between languages without getting tongue tied, or as Mom calls it, French Fried.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation
 of my heart be acceptable in your sight, 
O Lord, my rock and redeemer.
-Psalm 19:14

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Skiing to Spring

A few weeks ago we finished our skiing season. We had signed up for a ski school on Wednesday afternoons, and Mekdes and I did cross country skiing with our school for P.E.. I had only gone downhill skiing a couple times and Mekdes and Biniyam had never been, so this was a new experience for all of we are in the Alps.
Even though there was not a lot of snow down here in Albertville, as soon as it was cold enough we were able to go up to the mountains around us. Soon we were skiing like pros. We had the opportunity to go up one Saturday with the whole Family, so we spent the day whizzing down blues and tumbling down reds.
The ski school went for as long as it could before finally all that was left was slush and mud. Now for school we went straight from skiing to swimming, and the weather here has really gone up. The mountains are turning green, and yesterday we got to experience 'La première sortie des vaches' or 'The first exit of the cows', where we went up to a farm and got to watch all the cows go out for the first time this spring. It was very cute as all the cows went bounding and running through the field.

Below is a link to see a video of us skiing. The one going straight down the mountain is Biniyam, he does not like to turn and beats all of us to the bottom most of the time.

Click here to see us ski

And here is a link to see 

The milk from these cows is used by monks to make cheese 
and by the farmers to make ice cream.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

It's a Hard Knock Life

Today in our French class we were talking about cliches or stereotypes. French people might think of Americans as being portly, noisy and obnoxious, while when Americans usually think of French people with a beret and mustache, carrying a baguette and wearing black and white stripes, right?
Well, I think that when we came here people had the stereotype that life in France is the dream, but for us, that hasn't exactly been the case.
The first day of school was overwhelming, period. Everyone was of course speaking French, and every class there was a new teacher to awkwardly figure out we were American. The first day I came home and never wanted to go back.
After that our motto was 'Heads down, hands down, don't say a word'.
Since then it has gotten a lot easier. Eventually the words people were saying started to slow down and make more sense. The kids in our class seemed less intimidating after they stepped back from trying to get as much information from us as they could, and now we know who to ask questions to and who to stay away from. We survived math class with 3 different teachers, and a ski trip with a bus full of sick kids. We survived going over to a French family's house, and we even survived learning different verb conjugations, though it seemed almost impossible. 
 So even though it might seem hard, we will survive this year knowing much more French than before.
And for the record, I don't think I've ever seen a person in Albertville wearing a beret or black and white stripes.
The view of Albertville

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Strasbourg, Capitale de Noël

After six more weeks of school we finally got out for Christmas break. We decided to drive to Strasbourg, France, also known as the capital of Christmas. Strasbourg is right on the German border, so it gets a lot of German influence, including architecture and food. We spent the week exploring the city, castles, and cute villages. For Christmas we found an English church to go to which was nice. And it was all very, very cold. Unfortunately no snow, even in the alpes. Merry Christmas everyone!

After Strasbourg we drove to Munich, Germany for a night. We visited Dachau concentration camp which was really sad, and the next morning we got up early and explored the old part of town, most of which was destroyed and then rebuilt after World War II.

Next we drove to Salzburg, Austria, we actually stayed in a small town called Gmunden on Lake Traunsee, 45 minutes from Salzburg. Where we also spent my 12th birthday.
We explored around there for three days, also very cold, and on the drive back we stopped in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

We got back to Albertville on Monday and went back to school on Tuesday. We were supposed to go on a ski trip Tuesday afternoon, but it was canceled because of the lack of snow, hopefully we start getting some snow soon, I hear it's snowing a lot back home.
We miss you all! Happy 2017!

And other villages

Mozart's House, and Museum

 And we finally found a decent coffee for Dad

Friday, November 11, 2016

Italy Vacation

During our 2 week fall break, we decided to drive to Italy. After a 4 hour drive, with an unexpected turn into Switzerland, we made it to our Air B&B in Lake Como. We had a very relaxing week there, mostly rainy weather, and every day visiting a city across the lake, a villa, or hiking up to an old abandoned castle.
 We saw an old castle on a hill, so we
hiked up, up, up through the rain, and finally
found it, even though it was surrounded by barbed 
wire, we poked around, and met some wild goats,
who showed us the way under the fence. 
( Mom still wouldn't let us go in)
 In the clouds you can see the castle tower.
 Does anyone recognize this sight? 
Villa Balbianello was the sight where many 
movies were filmed, including Star Wars: Episode II, 
Casino Royale, Ocean's Twelve, etc.
 Villa Carlotta

After a week at Lake Como, we took a 3 hour train ride ( vs. a 7 hour drive ), to Rome. As you can imagine, we did all the touristy stuff around the city. Colosseum, the Roman Forum, Spanish Steps, the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel, Pantheon, and all the fountains, but we also saw some less famous sights, such as the Mamertine Prison, where Peter and Paul were kept, and where some of second Timothy was thought to be written.
We spent 4 days in Rome, and we did feel the earthquake one morning. 

 All throughout Italy we very much enjoyed 
their gelato, but Dad still can't seem to find
a decent sized coffee in Europe. We learned 
to order an americano if you want close to 
normal .

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Bienvenue à Albertville!

Welcome to Albertville!
I'm sorry that I have not been able to update you sooner, but we have been pretty busy starting our life here in France. We arrived here after a three day vacation in London, which really helped us to get used of the 9 hour time difference. We are now living on the 3rd floor apartment above a kabob shop.
The first week we struggled to find Mekdes and I a school, it was a long and complicated process, but in the end we both ended up at a catholic private middle school. The first couple weeks at school were hard, but after a while we started getting used to the way things worked. We meet with a woman at our school who speaks good English and French, and who is helping us and the other American kids at the school to learn French. Biniyam is also doing fine, and making new friends in his 2nd grade class. All of us are learning more French, petit à petit.
It's pretty hard to sum it all up, but I'll try to keep you updated.
Merci pour votre soutien, tu nous manques!

Ready to Leave       
 We went to Harry Potter World

And Biniyam went to Lego Land
Mom and Dad's School
The View from our Apartment
The Road to our School
 We took a Saturday trip to Chamonix, Mont Blanc
 The highest point in Europe
 Down the road from us is the Olympic Ice Rink,
 we went there for Mekdes' Birthday
 Exploring France

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Mission Training International

Before we begin our journey to France, we are required to go to training. We left our house in Bellingham, and drove, and drove, and drove, all the way from Washington to the small town of Palmer Lake between Colorado Springs and Denver. We had orientation that night and began class the next day. Now we only have one more week to go, and then more driving.
In our class we have 7-12 year olds, but I'm the only one who's eleven. There are people going everywhere from Arizona to Thailand, even all the teachers were missionary kids. They teach us a lot of things about being missionaries, so it's hard to sum it up. We learned about learning languages and new friends...basically we learned the same things as the adults just in more fun ways.
Our room is like a hotel. We have two rooms, each kid gets their own bed and drawer. We get two bathrooms and a beautiful view of the red rocks.
There are a lot of fun things to do here, and we get weekends free. So far we have gone to Garden of the Gods, on a Mining Tour, Hiking, to the Cliff Dwellings, to the Air Force Academy, a concert at Red Rocks, and this weekend we went camping.

                                                              Leavenworth, WA
We spent a day at Yellowstone National Park
This is right before my hat blew off into the hot springs
                                                            Molly Kathleen Gold Mine

                                                               Garden of the Gods

                                                                 Red Rocks Amphitheater