Phase I: Getting Ready to Go
May 8-14: JM and Diane take a quick trip to Nice to check out the area and find a place to live.
June 20: Sign the contract to rent a house in the Drome region of Provence.
July 20: Apply for long-term visa to France.
July 23: Receive long-term visa to France (except JM).
July 30-Aug 14: Trip to Saskatchewan and Manitoba to visit Diane’s family.
August 3: JM applies for emergency passport renewal in Saskatoon.
August 9: JM also receives long-term visa to France.
August 28: Depart for France.
Phase II: Settling In
September 2: First day of school.
September 7: First teacher’s strike.
September 17: Buy car. Meet new babysitter.
September 19-28: Diane goes back to the US to wrap up some business.
September 23: Second teacher’s strike – but only for Z’s class. L still has school.
September 28-October 14: Grandmaman and Grandpapa come to visit.
October 7-10: JM and Diane take grown-up trip to Mornas, Orange, Aix-en-Provence, and Les Baux de Provence while L and Z stay in village with Grandmaman and Grandpapa.
October 12: Third teacher’s strike.
October 12: First invitation to visit French family’s home.
October 17: Stop tracking the number of teacher strike days. Stop tracking the number of invitations to French families’ homes.
Phase III: Learning to Live in France
October 24-November 2: Fall school holidays. Take day trips with the girls to Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux, Vaison-La-Romain, Bollene, Grotte de la Cocaliére, and the Pont de Gard.
December 5-11: Visited by favorite Australia friends and their 7-year old son.
December 12-20: JM back in California on business. Diane alone in France with the girls and her French/English dictionary.
December 20-29: Christmas holidays in Paris and London.
January 23: L’s birthday party. 13 local kids come over for a “California”-style party including pinata, peanut butter sandwiches, and Ritz crackers.
February 4-6: Spend the weekend near Montpelier with Diane’s brother-in-law’s friend’s wife’s brother and his family (get the connection?) who are also Canadians spending a year in France. Visit Nimes on the drive there and back.
February 13-21: Diane back in California for a week on business.
March 5-11: Road trip to Italy. Two days in Genoa, one day in Verona, three days in Venice including Mardi Gras. Venice ROCKS!
April 9-16: Boat trip on the Canal du Midi with friends from Australia.
Phase IV: Winding Down
May 18: Book our flights home.
June 5: Last guests leave taking two suitcases full of pottery, winter clothes, books and other stuff back with them.
July 2: Leave our village.
Phase V: Europe Road Trip
July 2 – 9: Mountains in French-speaking Switzerland.
July 9 – 16: Alsace, France. (The part beside Germany.)
July 16 – 23: Normandy, France.
July 23 – 30: The Loire Valley, France.
July 30 – August 5th: Lyon, France – plus one last quick trip to our village to pick up our remaining luggage and sell our car.
August 6th: Leave France. <sniff>
Phase VI: Home
August 6th – 23rd: Visit Grandmama and Grandpapa in Ottawa
August 23rd: Home!