Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Little House In The Big Woods- Chapter Three

I've misplaced my sunglasses again and Jacob is, like a trooper, using Google Translator to learn how to say, "I've lost my glasses. Were any left here?" in French despite the fact that the chances I left them in the grocery store are slim. Speaking of French, the other day one of Menna and Jem's friends from neighboring Bugeat drove up to the house to check on us and make sure we were getting along alright. Javier spoke no English and we speak no French so we had to work with Spanish, the one language we both spoke (him fluently and us barely). I've realized that speaking Spanish makes me sweaty- there is so much pressure and you have to think quickly while realizing you may say something foolish. Luckily the amount of words we know leaves little room to say anything TOO creative unlike the lifeguard at the pool who told us that the entrance we used (presumably for lifeguards) was only for "people who save people in the wars." I'm guessing that either it was a special Veteran's Day at the community pool OR that he has an overdramatized view of his job OR he may have done a bit of colorful translating. The poor lifeguard was very kind as he explained to us that not only did we come in the wrong way but I was also not allowed to bring my shoes into the pool area and Jacob and Vaughn were not allowed to swim in short-style swim suits. Vaughn is going to have to decide if he is content with going to the lake or if the allure of the slide at the pool is enough to break the Speedo barrier.

Actually, one of the funnier language interactions happened in Barcelona where Vaughn was surrounded in the ocean by a couple of younger kids who kept talking to him. I believe they were speaking English to him but their accents prevented him from recognizing it. He just looked at them sheepishly and finally said, "Gracias?" which set them off laughing good-naturedly.

The other day Jacob and I were tallying up all of the notable things that have happened with Vaughn since we set out on this journey a month and a half ago. In that time he has: conquered his fear of going underwater and learned to swim; stopped taking melatonin to go to sleep; started washing his own hair; started consistently using correct capitalization and (for the most part) punctuation; started boogie boarding and skateboarding; improved his spelling and made good headway on his multiplication tables up to 12. On a sadder note, after much pressing we finally copped to the fact that we are Santa, which he took pretty well.

Although it is often hard, spending so much time attached to us seems to have been good for him and he's not showing any signs of being homesick although he does find life on the farm a bit boring. Jacob and I are loving the languid pace that allows for lots of cooking, walks and reading but it can be a little tedious for the solo child. Still, it is hard not to get excited with every lizard, toad and giant grasshopper we see and we're trying to max out the fun things to do in the area. Yesterday we rented a paddle boat (Jacob pleaded with me for an hour in vain to let him post the video of me dancing on the front of the boat while I sang the opening notes to China Grove) and today we drove an hour and half to a site where they built a re-enactment of a peasant farm from 600 years ago. It was a beautiful day and fascinating to see. I did get bit by a pig because it is obvious I'll never learn (no skin was broken but that pig and I will never be friends now).

I'm writing this outside now while waiting for the sky to become dark so that we can use Menna and Jem's telescope to check out the night sky. Jacob was less than enthusiastic about this activity, claiming that it merely transforms "minuscule twinkling lights into very small twinkling lights" but I said that I did not come to rural France in the middle of summer to spend two and a half weeks in the idyllic countryside to NOT do some wondrous stargazing as a family, damn it.

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