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!

Strasbourg
And other villages

 Munich
 Salzburg
Mozart's House, and Museum
 Gmunden




 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       
London
 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
Montana
Wyoming
We spent a day at Yellowstone National Park
This is right before my hat blew off into the hot springs
MTI
                                                            Molly Kathleen Gold Mine

                                                               Garden of the Gods

                                                                 Red Rocks Amphitheater

                                                                         Hiking


Sunday, May 29, 2016

Snapshots of Burundi

Nothing that interesting has been happening around here. We are packing up our house and getting ready to leave. But instead of just writing about all of our stuff I decided to post some pictures of Burundi.

                                            This is the view from a balcony in Bujumbura.

                                        There is a hike you can take to Kibuye Rock where
                                        you get a bird's eye view of the village, and a bunch
                                        of Burundian kids following you.


                                                          Our pet chameleon, Buddy.
                                                          A boy and his chick, Pickley
                                                         
                                                                   Lake Tanganyika