As summer comes to a close next week and the kids head back to school, I find myself simultaneously trying to tie up all the loose ends from summer while preparing for the new school year. I was a high school teacher for over a decade, and September always feels like a new beginning for me, even though I'm no longer heading back to the classroom when my kids do. I've already purchased to insane number of items on my seven year old's back to school list and ordered some much needed back to school clothes for them, so at lease there's that!
My youngest gets his lunch provided at school, but my older son brings his own lunch since he's gluten free and the school can't properly accommodate for him. I've spent a bit of time getting a menu plan ready for the month of September to help make the transition a bit smoother (for me, at least). As we prepare for the last weekend of summer, I am still clinging to the memories we made over the last few months.
This summer was one of adventures. We spent two weeks in Italy in July, and I still have blog posts to write about our time there. For our kids, that vacation was particularly special because we spent a week on a farm in southern Italy, and the kids got the chance to see a completely different way of life up close and personal. I have several posts almost ready to publish, so stay tuned for those soon!
We also spent a week in Brittany, on a dairy farm. We played and swam, and even learned all about the dairy industry in France. There have been large protests recently in France in the dairy sector, so it was interesting to hear about it straight from a farmer's perspective. In addition to relaxing in our cottage, we took day trips to some of the villages in the area and sampled local products. I am still sorting through my photos from that trip, but I expect to have some posts up about it in early September.
In addition to our travels, this summer was what I have come to refer to as the "Summer of Goodbyes." We have been slowly growing our social network here in Paris over the last year and a half, and this summer saw us saying goodbye to a big chunk of it. First, our friends from Spain and their two children went back to Madrid after their contracts expired. Then a member of my writing circle headed back to the United States after his year here with his family. At the end of July, an Irish family whose son was a friend of our eldest moved back to Dublin after having been in France for the last eight years. Finally, a British friend of mine decided to go back to school and change her career. She left for England with her son this week. It's tough to say goodbye to people, especially since we don't have the same extended network here in Paris yet as we did in Canada. The upside? We now have an excuse to visit!
As we enjoy the last few days of August with the joy of a late season heat wave, I have vowed not to curse the crazy heat in our apartment that lacks air conditioning here in Paris. Instead, we will head out to a park with a water feature, or to the Paris Plages, where we can toast the end of summer in style. Maybe I'll even be able to hunt down one of Paris's elusive sparkling water fountains. Because who doesn't want to be able to fill their water bottle with not just water, but sparkling water when the temperatures break heat records?