Monday, July 29, 2013

Dance Baby Dance!

Both Sam and Ela have recently taken up Indian dancing, twice a week they have two hour lessons at the local hall about 5 minutes walk from here.  They are enjoying it, especially when they get to put on a show (or spectacle as they are called here)!

Recently some of the local Associations (more on associations in an upcoming post) set up a big lunch with entertainment in for the less well off.  As part of the entertainment the dance Association that Sam and Ela are in gave a display.

Dancing ladies

Ela isn't actually supposed to be in this particular dance but decided to join in anyway!

Sam, looking good!

The older kids arrived to rehearse at 7.30am, we fortunately didn't have to be there until 11.30am as the younger kids dance routines are a lot more limited than the older kids (all girls, Sam is the only boy).  There was lots of excitement getting ready with costumes and make up, though Sam refused all offers of make up, and ice cream and anticipation. 
As is usual here no one was quite sure when things were going to happen but they kids kept themselves busy getting ready and running about the place and they eventually started a bit after 3pm (one of the main things we have come to accept about life here (mostly) is the idea of island time, things generally don't happen quickly and that's not necessarily a bad thing).  The dancing was great, though Sam was a bit upset that he missed a cue and didn't get to do all of his dancing, otherwise a successful day all round.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Happy Bastille Day!

Today is Bastille day and yesterday the annual parade was held in Saint Pierre.  The parades for Bastille day here consist of the military and the local associations for all different types of activities (biking, chess, football, marital arts etc. etc).  Sam and Ela have both been involve in Indian "Bollywood" style dancing so they joined their association (along with Aurelie) in the parade.

Local military units leading the parade


Blue, white and red trikes!
The parade route itself was only a few hundred meters long (which was a good thing for little legs that had already been hanging about for over an hour prior to the parade starting) but it was great to see all the different associations getting involved, in fact considering the numbers marching in it there were probably more people in the parade than watching it! 
It was interesting to see the differences to the Paddy's day parades in Ireland that I am used to.  There was a military ceremony prior to the start of the parade, which I have never seen in Ireland, French flags and hats in the French colours were distributed to all marching in the parade an there were no floats, just association marching, oh and a lot less drinking!

Sam on parade...

...and Ela...

...and Maman

We headed home after the parade but went back into town in the evening as there was a stage set up for music and dancing as well as pretty spectacular fireworks which we watched from the town beach (I got to keep my hands over Ela's ears for the entire time as the fireworks were too loud for her, the things we do for our kids). 

All in all a good first Bastille day in France for me (this time last year I was away in Africa for work).

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The family that slays together stays together!

Most people who know me outside of my working life know that among other things I'm a gamer.  I have been ever since I was introduced to roleplaying games as a 10 or 11 year old on a visit to my Dublin cousins (thanks Karl).  Boardgames, roleplaying games, LARPs, wargames, computer games, I enjoy playing them all. 
Of course nowadays what with having a young family and living 10,000km from my usual gaming crew I don't get to game as much as I used too (though with roleplaying via Skype and boardgaming over the internet I manage somewhat).
So one of the things I have been looking forward to is getting the kids into gaming (Sam is already Star Wars mad, see this post by Aurelie) as;
a) It's been such a big and enriching part of my life (the games themselves and especially the people who play them) and;
b) I'll have some one to play with.
So the last time I came back from Ireland I brought back a copy of Catan Junior a simplified version of the hugely popular Settlers of Catan boardgame for ages five and up.  We've played a few different card games like Mow (apparently French cows go mow, not moo) with the kids but this would be the first board game that they could play.
Sam took to it straight away and wants to play it pretty much every day, Ela wasn't too interested at first but joined us for our most recent gaming session, playing by herself for the first time rather than "helping" Maman or Daddy and enjoyed it, winning her second ever game!

Catan Junior is a great introductory game, the kids love it and it's fun for the adults too.  Now I'm looking forward to introducing them to roleplaying with Faery's Tale and more boardgames like Mice and Mystics!

For the record Sam has the most wins so far, a short lived "go easy on him" policy was ditched when he kept thrashing us.  The Geek is strong in this one!

Sunday gaming at chez nous

Ela tastefully celebrating victory (Sam is ill not sulking!)