Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Two Years

Two years ago last week, we came to Paris for our 'look see'. To look for a house to rent and to see what the school we had chosen and the new life we had committed to from the other side of the world would be like. We ended up choosing the very first house we were shown, although not before viewing quite a few more in ever decreasing states of repair! I wish I could say that I remember this rhododendron bush from that first visit. It must have been in full bloom, but I do know that we would have passed it as soon as we walked through the gates to explore this house's amazing garden.

This year it was at its most spectacular as we hosted a farewell party for three of the closest friends we have made in the past two years. The high price we pay for this expat life that we are so fortunate to live is the sad goodbyes we have to say every year as families are relocated somewhere else in the world.

I have found it much harder to deal with the farewells this year, partly I think, because after two years we have got to know the people who are leaving so much better and also because as each of the friends we are close to moves onto different and far flung parts of the world, I am realizing that it could be a very long time before we are able to see them all again in person. I am learning from experience, that it is even hard to keep in contact through emails and phone calls with all the friends we have around the world, so that is why I am so happy that two years ago I also started this blog. It is a way for me to remember the wonderful experiences we have had as well as sharing bits of our lives with everyone we know. Together with Instagram (you can follow me @growingberries) and Facebook there is a chance I will be able to keep all these wonderful people in my life.

We were originally moved to France for just two years, but I am pleased to say that we are now staying on for another year. We're not ready to go. We still haven't hung all our pictures, some of our belongings haven't made it out of the moving boxes and there is still so much to see and do in Paris. Not to mention Keith's work which of course is what really keeps us here, not luck or my desire to stay put. I've decided to start taking more photographs of this house I love so that when we finally do have to leave I will have created a portrait of it. So, from now on, every week or so I will share a little detail. Remind me if I forget!

Friday, June 7, 2013

La Belle au Bois Dormant


All the Saturdays spent rehearsing (since September), all the driving, all the blisters, all the tears over stuck bobby pins, all the hard work was worth it to see Georgia and India perform in their ballet school's mesmerizing production of Sleeping Beauty last weekend. The standard of dancing was so good, you quickly forgot you were watching students rather than professionals and the audience, who bought their tickets before the show sold out in December, cannot have been disappointed, whether they knew any of the performers or not. The standing ovation showed they weren't!

Our girls are so fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of this experience. It is amazing to see what comes out of this small ballet school that I found by chance through a Google search. Their teacher, Sophie Ponthier demands and gets high standards, but always with a smile and perfect English! Her mother makes all the exquisite costumes (and I can tell you they look just as good inside as out). The student who danced the role of the Lilac Fairy has a place at the Paris Opéra School next year and Mme Ponthier's own ballet mistress, former Opéra star Liane Daydé came backstage after the performance to tell all the dancers that they deserved to be on stage at the Opéra! A polite gesture, maybe, but the star quality rubs off.

It is not always easy to get the girls out the door to ballet class three times a week and the language barrier makes it hard for them sometimes, but I think the memory of this show will be one of the best souvenirs of our time in France.
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