Tag Archives: France

Americans in Paris: 2006

After leaving Guam in June of 2005, we began a new journey towards the other side of the world.  But first, a pit stop in Monterey, California to learn the language of love, le français.  My husband and I went to school just like our kids from 8 am – 3 pm Monday through Friday for 6 months.  The  differences were my husband and I lived, breathed, and dreamed in French 24/7 for those 6 months, AND I still had all of my mommy/housewife duties too.  Everyone tried to chip in and help, but overall, I was stressed out with wanting to be the perfect French student, mom, and wife. 

Miraculoulsy, we all made it through those 6 months and packed up all our household goods to be shipped overseas to Paris, France.

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Cleaning House

I wrapped up our Experiences in Guam posts yesterday and have them all posted to that page now.  Soon I will start on our Experiences in Paris.  Since I don’t have copies of e-mails from that tour, I will have to wrack my brain before I can post anything.  Thankfully, it was our most recent move, so hopefully my brain won’t let me down too much.  I’m thinking about posting some pictures from our many adventures as well when I get the chance. 

My husband went to Florida yesterday to get our (temporary) new house ready for when we move in June…31 days ’til pack-out…  He’ll be gone for 2 weeks; he’s also got a military conference in Jacksonville he’s got to attend and a couple of job interviews.  While he’s working down there, I am planning a total clean-up and purging of our house here.  It is amazing how much stuff can accumulate in less than 2 years!  If the computer or I get buried in the process of cleaning and I can’t update my blog anytime soon, click on the tabs above if you missed reading about our first 2 overseas adventures in Japan and Guam.  When you’re done with that, click here for my other blog www.sorose.blogspot.com.  After that, I guess you’re on your own.  Have a great weekend!

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Orders From Guam

Continued from my previous post Welcome to Guam:  2002 (part 13).

“9/20/04: PARIS  !  !  !  YAHOO  !  !  !  (from G8r)”

” 9/20/04  (e-mail sent to G8r less than an hour prior from the person who coordinated his next orders):  RE:  French Foreign Service College  G8r, You are a “GO” for French War College February 2006.  DLI (Defense Language Institute – the military’s foreign language school in Monterey, CA) commences June/July 2005.  Need to absolutely confirm with you that these dates work with your situation/command?  Please confirm.  Thanks…Helo Shore Detailer”

These were the last copies of e-mails that I have in our notebook of Guam memories.  My husband returned from Iraq in January 2005, and we all left Guam in May to begin yet another adventure…on the other side of the globe.

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Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue

Noticing that today is Columbus Day – only because my federally employed husband has the day off while my children got on school buses this morning – I decided to do a little more research on the holiday…or day of observance…or day of protest(?).  First I checked out wikipedia.  I think it’s a great place to start when I want to learn more on a subject because it’s usually simple and to the point.  I remember coloring pictures of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria at this time of year when I was in elementary school.  Reading wikipedia this morning gave me another perspective on the discovery of the Americas.

Apparently not everyone is happy about celebrating Christopher Columbus.  In the US, it’s celebrated as Columbus Day.  Many other countries celebrate (or protest) this day as well but with other names.  It’s Day of Indigenous Resistance (Venezuela), Day of the Race (most of Latin America), and Hispanic Day (Spain).  In Nevada, it’s a day of observance and all government offices remain open (except federal, of course).  In New York, everything closes except the stock markets (I wonder what would happen if they did).  In Colorado, the Columbus Day parades are protested in Denver by Native American groups.  In Hawaii, it’s Discoverer’s Day, and they celebrate more the work of James Cook in the Hawaiian islands than Columbus’s meanderings in the Atlantic.  There are parades and protests all around the world. 

Here in Virginia, it is a legal holiday.  And that makes sense, seeing that a lot of American history happened on the soil here.  So, why are my kids in school then?  I don’t mind; it just seems strange.  Especially since the schools in the city next door are closed.  We live in a pent-city area (is that correct? bi-city, tri-city,…).  In our city, all courts, city offices, libraries and post offices are closed and there’s no trash collection, but school’s in.  Everything’s the same for 3 of the other 4, except 2 of them aren’t opening their school doors today.  And for the fifth city, everything’s open (except federal places).

So even though we are the UNITED States, we still aren’t quite united on this one.  I think, though, that we have a pretty good system of checks and balances here.  They don’t always balance perfectly, but, then, no system is perfect.  When we lived in France, we got to see some of the ways their system works.  We weren’t citizens, but we got to observe for the year and a half we lived there.  And since we’ve also lived in several different states, we’ve seen how the different systems work just within our own country.  Since each state makes some of their own laws and rules, going from one state to the next, we can’t remember if we can drive legally while talking on our cell phones (which is distracting anyway) or who is required by law to wear a bike helmet (I make our whole family wear them no matter what age) or what birth month dictates when a child can start kindergarten. 

Schools have been a big issue for us.  In France, we spoke with a few of the military families that we met there.  We found out, whenever the military transferred their families to another part of the country, their children would know exactly what to expect at school the next day they attended.  The whole country teaches the same curriculum.  If a child is in the 7th grade and is studing world history in Paris then they would be studying world history in Cannes.  Their math classes align; sciences, history, languages… everything is taught at the same level.  And the level is not easy; my children found their studies in France harder than their honors classes here in Virginia, and we are in a very good school system.  It has been frustrating at times for our children to go into yet another school and take the same science class over again.  Or to have to catch up the best they can on that state’s history.  And on top of that, to make new friends and compete with all of the kids who have lived there all of their lives. 

But after next summer, we’ll be back in Florida – permanently – and we won’t have to worry about those things as much.  They’ll finally learn that their state bird is the mocking bird, and the state flower is the orange blossom, and they were born in Pensacola (not Pepsi-Cola). 

In fourteen hundred ninety-two, a lot of things were going on.  Some sad crimes resulted from people expanding around the world.  But hopefully today’s world can learn from all of that history, and we can use that to do better in the future.

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History Lessons

I have always loved to hear family stories.  I remember as a little girl listening to my grandmother tell my sisters and me about growing up in South Carolina with 4 brothers and 3 sisters and then moving to Florida when she was 12.  I wanted to be where she spoke of.  It was then that I started asking about ancestors.  I wanted to know where our families had come from.  My mother’s side is mainly English with some Scottish.  My father’s fraternal grandparents were Czech and his maternal side was French.  My mother-in-law and her mother have found someone from one side of their family was on the Mayflower and another side back to Robert the Bruce in Scotland.  We have compared a few notes between my husband’s family and mine and see where some of their paths could have crossed in the past.  With all the resources on the internet now, I have learned new things my parents couldn’t pass on to me about their families and have met a lot of cousins. 

Before we moved to Paris a couple of years ago, I met a distant cousin through the internet who lives in France.  He didn’t speak any English, but I had just learned to speak French.  So when we moved there, my family and I were able to visit the quaint town of Muttersholtz, Alsace, France where my great-great grandparents lived before they immigrated to the US.  There, we were taken on a horse-drawn carriage tour of the city by some other distant cousins.  We kept meeting cousins along the ride, and it felt like a reunion.  A few months later we were invited back as special guests to the unveiling of a book that had been written about the town’s history.  They had put a picture of my children and me in the book under a 2-page write-up about how my great-great grandparents, a couple of uncles, and a few cousins had left France for the “New Frontier” of the United States.  They seemed so proud of their connection to the US and of having several of the off-spring of previous citizens of Muttersholtz in their midst that day.

I have fun reasearching my family’s genealogy, and maybe one day my children will enjoy reading the stories and interesting facts I have collected over the years.  I know they love history class at school, so maybe they will love their family history as well.  My youngest son’s 4th grade history class was based on the Greeks all year long.  I knew he was really into it when everytime we went to the bookstore or library, he came to me with an armload of books about the ancient Greeks or a Greek god or a Greek dictionary.  He couldn’t get enough of it.  He even did a special report, not assigned by the teacher, for the class.  My kids come home often with, “Did you know…?” and have a new interesting fact unknown to them before that day.  

History is important in many ways.  It tells the story of life.  It tells us where we came from and may give a glimpse to where we are going.  It tells what may have been done wrong in the past and gives us the opportunity to do it right or maybe just better the next time.

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