A technophilic couple with a bilingual 13 year old and French-born 8 year old leave the USA again (2014), this time permanently, to return to France in pursuit of good food and a different approach to life. And cheese. (http://www.mfromage.fr/) The adventure continues.
On Sunday we had some Holiday time with the Cahoon's and then went ZooLights at the National Zoo. Tuesday night was Alex's Holiday Choral Concert for his chorus group at school. Other activites included Vincent's second haircut and dinner at Buca di Beppo.
Saturday was the Winter Fair at Alex's school, then a trip to Brookside Gardens to see the annual train exhibit. Vincent loves the "choo choos" as much as Alex. Alex also took some very nice pictures.
We journeyed to Carlisle, PA for Thanksgiving with Marjorie, Bruce, and family. We had a great meal at The Hotel Hershey which included an all you can eat gourmet buffet with seafood and raw bar. Yum! Then there was a midnight excursion to Walmart for some of us to experience the madness of pre-Black Friday. You will also notice from the pictures that Alex lost his second front tooth.
After Alex had an entire week off of school for Toussaint, he got an additional two days off for Hurricane Sandy. We had to amuse ourselves in the basement with snacks and car ramps. We also had a nice play date last weekend with Alex's friend Frank-Eli.
Vincent is walking all over the place and eating with utensils and having a grand ole time.
Alex had a sortie (field trip) to a spectacle de danse "The Creation of the World" presented by a Lithuanian dance troupe at the Kids Euro Festival in DC. It was also his first time on a school bus which he thought was exciting.
Lots of eating per usual, including a fantastic meal at Full Key in Wheaton with roast duck.
Vincent was the Cookie Monster and Alex was Darth Vader, although
Alex was also a ninja on Sunday for Rose and Beth's party and a pirate
at at school. Alex loved his first trick or treating experience in the
US, and Vincent enjoyed walking everywhere.
Last week was Alex's Toussaint vacation at his French School. Just one week off instead of two in France, oh well. We spent the week exploring the countryside of Maryland and Virginia. We also went to the Air and Space Museum near Dulles airport. Alex loved the Blackbird, the Space Shuttle Discovery, and the Concorde of course. Vincent also loved all the "air-mains" and watching from the Observation Tower.
The weather has been absolutely perfect this October in the DC area so we've been taking advantage of it, trying to eat and play outside. We met Z & GG for lunch on Thursday at Eastern Market at Boxcar Tavern. On the way back to our car we accidentally ran into our good friend John McArdle which led to a great afternoon of catching up over beers and fries. Then we headed to the State Street Theater in Falls Church to see JD's friend Des who was participating in the 48 hour music project awards and his band was also playing.
Then it was a busy birthday weekend - football game at Spencer's school where he is in Marching Band (1st down Cougars, RAWRR), dinner and cake, fun on Saturday with lunch at Los Toltecos, putt putt, and then a big fondue dinner followed by steaks as Spencer was off to the Homecoming Dance.
Finally catching up on some pictures. We've had some great weather so we spent more time outdoors and on the porch. We can't seem to get away from the wine and cheese. Vincent had to have another operation on his hydrocele, hopefully the last one. He's doing fine. Alex had his first book report on his favorite book, "Volcanoes". We've also had fun watching the scary spider that is living on Grannie's front porch.
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Not once but twice this week we found ourselves on the DC Waterfront, eating lunch at Cantina Marina, which has great views of the water, and many airplane and helicopter flybys - an yes, that's Marine whatever (probably not One or Two, but still, pretty cool).
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Z and GG are docked at the Capital Yacht Club so we had a nice visit when them on Saturday. The Pride of Baltimore II was in town also. Alex again got a chance to drive the dinghy, and see a water cannon off the DC Fireboat. Did we mention the weather has been phenomenal?
Alex's desk and homework. Alex is enjoying learning to read and his homework. We've set up Papa's old work desk for his homework(devoir) station - note the soldering iron and old morse code machines among other things.
Week at school, playgrounds, the zoo.
We have been exploring all the local playgrounds after school, and went to the zoo since it is so close to Alex's school. Vincent also had his 15 month check-up and four shots. Ouch. We had some more great food, Los Toltecos for Mexican, and Mykonos for Greek.
Finally the weather turned nice and cool. We had lunch last Saturday at Chevy's where Vincent enjoyed the chips and had his first ice cream cone. Alex devoured his lunch of tacos. We then headed over to Carrie's to meet their new dog Axle. He is a very sweet dog and we're glad he's part of their family.
snacks and standing
We've spent a lot of time on the back porch having snacks this summer. Vincent took his first steps (2 or 3) on Saturday and will walk holding on to our hands. He is close to being mobile. Watch out!
Labor Day Weekend. We had a great day on Saturday visiting Z and GG who are docked in Eastport in Annapolis. It was very hot and humid (of course) so we ate and drank and drank and ate. Alex drove the dinghy, and played a mean game of war with GG. Vincent even napped on the boat. A great meal was had too at Davis Pub. Alex had a lot of question for Z about the boats and barnacles and stuff. Oh, and the movie everyone was staring at? Down Periscope. Good stuff. We didn't have time to watch "Captain Ron".
Vincent's hair was getting pretty long so we took him for his first haircut. We were driving back from Pennsylvania and hit the mall in Columbia, MD, and there was a Cartoon Cuts and I had a coupon, so it was meant to be. Vincent was very good. The haircut was nice until she put gel in his hair and spiked it. Funny!
The other big event was buying the step-up-step-down convertor for our Nespresso machine. Not sure why it took us so long to do it. But those capsules cost more here than in Europe!
Et voilà ! Enfin c'est la rentrée ! (Translation: It's back to school time!)
This year Alex begins first grade in the French school here in Washington (Lycée Rochambeau primary school). We decided to do this for several reasons, not least of which was that we want him to maintain his exposure to French as we will one day – sooner rather than later, hopefully – return to France to live. It seems like a very nice school from what we can tell. We meet the teachers and tour the building tomorrow evening. Alex's maitresse, Madame Monique Curioni took a slightly nervous Alex under her wing immediately and shepherded him along to meet his classmates.
The free breakfast at the hotel was sparse so we headed to Perkins where Alex ate two orders of pancakes. We then spent the day at Dutch Wonderland. Alex's favorite rides were the simulator, the Space Shuttle, the cars on the Sunoco Highway, and driving the small boats. In the evening we drove back into downtown Lancaster for some really great Thai food at Sukhothai. On Thursday there was breakfast at Denny's and back to Maryland.
Alex wanted to know if we were going to stay "in the old abandoned house" and "if it had electricity" when we pulled up to the hotel. Funny. The hotel was fine and it had a really nice pool we all enjoyed.
A quick visit to Toots and Poppie this weekend. Aunt Shana came along too. Vincent enjoyed using his shopping cart and also climbing up the stairs. Alex had a great time at the Delaware Children's Museum. There were some good meals and drinks of course.
Then it was back to DC and Carrie's house to surprise David for his birthday with some BBQ from Famous Dave's. Yum. Then on Monday night we had a delicious Thai meal, Alex's choice, since he was having his tonsils out the next day.
Including a nice French lunch at Bistro Bis, and hanging with Alicia who was in town on the rooftop of her hotel. Vincent can say "apple" and "peach" and really likes to eat both.
Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease (HFMD) -
You will notice the red spots on Alex & Vincent in the
pictures. Thanks to my cousin Mace and his son Eddy, Alex and Vincent
contracted this highly contagious sickness. Poor Mace had a really bad
mmm, pancakes (Vincent finishes off Alex's pancakes) pictures
End of July, into August...how can it be? We've been back a month and it feels like much longer we have done so much catch up on US things - doctors, school registration for Alex, eating eating eating. We hit the Parthenon in DC, right over the Maryland line, for a delicious Sunday lunch outside. Yay, eating outside even if it is 100 degrees and humid. Gravelly Point to watch the airplanes take off and land, the Trolley Museum, and then Annapolis after dropping Pauline off to go to the beach. We met up with Z & GG for a bit but it was just to hot to stay outside long. Then some pool and food and fun with the Cahoon's.
We spent the past week catching up on more administrivia of moving back to the US. In between, we managed to have many more good meals including Indian, Vietnamese, Thai, and authentic Cantonese. We also went to Cheesetique in Del Ray, a fabulous cheese store that existed before we moved but we had never explored.
Alex enjoyed the playground and has been learning sudoku from Grannie. Oh, and there was the task of registering Alex at Montgomery County Public Schools, which has an entire Department for children arriving from other countries. Pretty impressive.
Oh, and some breadbaking and wine and cheese at Carrie's. We went to Wegman's which had an excellent selection of French wine and cheese. JD made friends with the cheese expert, Alfred.
Bonne Anniversaire à JD... pictures
More fun at Grannie's. Vincent likes Alex's toys including the guitar and water guns from Gretchen and Dennis. He is also enjoying the shopping cart. The boxes arrived, and Alex dug out, among other things, his karate outfit. Hooray.
Hanging with Heather on Sunday and Mondays. She is staying with Pauline while she volunteers at the Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. Lunch at some great places in Wheaton, MD - this time, it was Kantuta's Restaurant. Yum. Sushi dinner for JD's birthday at Niwano Hana and then a Carvel cake. Oh, and the next day some Guapo's. We are still getting used to the size of the portions here, but love that there are doggie bags.
Don't forget to check out the quick movies, including pool and bike riding - movies
We were thrilled to see our friends from Paris, the Veitches (but pronouned VEETCH!) this afternoon. They are in the US for summer vacation and are staying with friends in DC. Abigail, Toby and Alex had a great time playing in Lincoln Park.
We finally made it to the Cahoon's for a visit. A great time and a cookout with burgers. It was so nice to see our friends after so long, and catch up on things. Check out how much Spencer, Mitchell and Natalie have grown!
2012-06-29 last daySaying goodbye to our friends and local vendors including Sushiland, the best sushi in Levallois, and the Anjou, the cafe under our windows.
2012-06-30 arriving USArriving DC to 1.3 million people without power and 100 degrees. Ugh. Staying with Ilene who had power for four days. Thanks to Carrie for all the food and diapers and bandaids and popcorn and dental floss we could not have made it without you.
Vincent stands by himself! Vincent's first pair of shoes (sandals).
p.s. Lincoln and Vincent have had the easiest adjustment. Lincoln has the run…
It's hard to believe, but our time in France has come to an end. After three years and three months we are back. There is no other way to explain our experience save to say that it has been truly life-changing.
Here are pictures from the final days. These are from JD's camera. Gabby's has even more.
A bunch from the park
Alex goes to the park with his friends almost every day after school. He runs for hours with these kids and has made some nice friends that we'll stay in touch with.
Move in progress
Some pictures of the apartment before and after the departure of the boxes.
Final pictures from the apartment and the airport.
Arriving Budapest. Hot, beautiful day. Walking around Vaci utca shopping district. Drinks and snacks at Gerbeaud Cafe. Back to hotel to check in and rest. Metro to Kati's to visit with her family. Dinner at Dunacorso, one of Bela's favorite restaurants. small camera large camera
Another hot, gorgeous day. We walked a bit, down to O utca to see if we could find Grandmother's old apartment. Then we walked down Andrassy utca before taking the old metro to Hosok Tere with the monuments of all the Hungarian Kings. We walked a bit into the park to see the statue of "Anonymous". Then we ate a delicious meal at Robinson restaurant on the lake in the park. It was too hot to go to the zoo, so we went back to the hotel to rest before heading out for drinks and dinner along the Danube. small camera large camera
Bela's interment ceremony at Budapest Újköztemető, the large cemetery. Kati planned a lovely ceremony with flowers and music and a priest.…
Bela Andrew Banyasz November 26, 1928 - January 27, 2011
The pictures of Bela's interment ceremony at Budapest Újköztemető, taken by Bela's good friend Lazlo (Laci) Schaffer, a professional photographer. Bela's ashes are buried with his mother and Aunt Rose, per his wishes.
Vincent enjoyed opening his birthday cards and licking and chewing on them. He had a good day, including a very nice birthday meal at Cornelius, our favorite French restaurant. We had the asparagus flan and côte de boeuf, more than enough food for the entire family. We were so full we didn't get to his pear tart yet!
We've had a few warm days to enjoy the park. It was 80 degrees on Saturday, hence Vincent was sporting his cool new top from Z and GG. Then it turned gray and cool. Ah, Paris.
Vincent likes to crawl around on the grass in the park. Vincent has started to say Alex - he says "Ah - ixe", and Vincent - "ince". He can also pull himself up to a standing position in the crib. Watch out! He had his 1 year check-up and weighs 23 lbs. and is 31" tall - right on target with what Alex and JD were, except that JD weighed slightly more.