It's been a while since I wrote a post. Mainly because I am trying to keep my head above water in this French learning adventure. It consumes most of my day; I wake up thinking about French verbs and articles, and I go to bed thinking about how to ask questions and form sentences. My teacher and I are meeting once a week for one-on-one tutoring, and that has really helped. I think it's starting to sink into my brain. Praise God!
But other than just language learning I have had a few opportunities to experience France in other ways. The Saturday before last I went to the city of Grenoble with a friend here who has a car. She was going to IKEA, and also dropping someone off at the train station there. I have been wanting a more comfortable chair, since these hard straight-back chairs have raised havoc with my bad back. So I jumped at the opportunity. It was a beautiful day out and the scenery was amazing on the way there. Albertville is so beautiful, but it is completely surrounded by high mountains. It's a little hard to get a bearing of where you are in France, or even which way is north or south. This was the first time I had left Albertville in over a month of arriving here. Grenoble is about an hour away from Albertville. It is the "capital" of the region/county of Savoi. France is made up of 95 counties, or regions. Each one has it's city where all the administrative activities occur. I will have to go back to Grenoble in about a month to present my long term visitor visa and get it approved. On the trip there, the valley opened up and the mountains got further away. We could see abbeys, and forts, and castles up on the hills. The river that runs through Albertville, followed along side of us most of the way there. We saw a lot of farms and horses, and cattle. It was really beautiful and refreshed my spirit! Well, we got to IKEA, which is exactly the same as in the states, even down to the Swedish meatballs, which we had for lunch. The only difference was that the food line had a whole section of French pastries, of which we had to partake of with our Swedish meatballs! The trip was a success and I found a very comfortable chair for only 49 euros. My back is thanking me!!! After IKEA, we took Marissa to the train station. I loved driving through the city of Grenoble. The architecture is very French, and very old. It's a beautiful city with lots of museums and interesting buildings. There is a cable car that is made up of individual "bubble' looking compartments (called the Teleherique de Grenoble, if you want to look it up) that goes over the Isere river, and up the side of a mountain to the "Bastille". I hear the views from the top are amazing. I hope to go visit there this spring when we have a break.
My other fun adventure was getting to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics here at the school on the "big screen". Well, compared to my laptop, anything is a big screen. One of the men here set up his computer to view on a projector style screen, and we had a party of food and watching the Olympics. Of course, it was on French TV, so all of the announcing was in French. I think that I might start watching a little French TV on my computer because it's good to hear the language in a natural setting.
The school is planning a one day outing to ski. I was planning on going, and just sitting in the lodge and sipping hot chocolate all day, but then I found out that they don't have ski lodges here in France. Since I don't ski (and neither do some others here), and I don't feel like just standing out in the cold all day, a small group of us are planning a train ride to a close by city; either Anechy or Chambery. So, I'll have to fill you in on that adventure once it has happened. In the meantime, let me express my thanks for all the cards and letters I have received from you back home. You have no idea how happy I am to look in my mail cubicle and see something there. Your sweet words and bible verses, and thoughts help to lift me up during the trying times! God is so good, and meets my needs at every turn. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn to lean on Him and trust Him more each day. Love you, Sandie