The other day Doug remarked that being here is like living in a bubble. I have had a real face-to-face conversations with exactly three people over the past few days - Doug, Quin and Berkley. And it's kind of sad when talking to your 5 and 6 year old kids counts as real conversation - as any parent of a child that age could tell you. Not that the French have not been nice. In fact, we've encountered none of the French haughtiness that supposedly exists. Everyone has been truly kind and patient. But our (okay - my since I'm the only one who has ever taken a French course) French is so minimal that we can only make barest preferences known. Typically, the person in question will respond with some rapid fire French which is utterly incomprehensible to me. I can pick out bits and pieces and make the gist of things, but I said to Doug that I need people to talk to me like I'm a slow three year old. The lack of ability to communicate really hampers making connections with others.
Life in the bubble is particularly hard for the boys. They really only have each other to play with - and having your brother as your only friend is not the best situation. At the castle today, there were several groups of kids playing. Quin and Berkley really wanted to go play with them, but they were involved in imaginative play, which always involves complicated instructions like - okay, pretend you are the bad king and you are attacking me, the good king, with all of your men. First, you..... They could only stand by and watch.
Quin had a mini-meltdown this morning, in part due to this I think, saying he wanted to go home. He says he misses his stuffed animals, bed and Legos. So, we're off tomorrow to find some of the creature comforts of home for the boys - some Legos and maybe a new stuffed animal or two.
As for the grown-ups, we are definitely enjoying our time in France (don't get me wrong about that), but we are starting to look forward to our time in London, where navigating a menu is not a mind - boggling event (try figuring out if something is vegetarian if you don't know all the appropriate words for meat!) and where simple human interaction is so much easier.