Refreshment from France

We had not taken a real and serious vacation since moving to Russia, so we were overdue. Ministry colleagues offered us a place of theirs in the small town of St. Aignan, France, so we took it, though not sure of all we were getting.

With no Internet, TV, or phone our lives were definitely different, but then change was welcome.

We lived in the top apartment of a 2-story house. The yard was perfect for us. Sun and shade with loads of fruit trees. Loads of bird activity, including a neighbor’s chicken who took up residence for a couple of days. The kids named her Henny-Penny, and she seemed to enjoy the petting and attention.

Lyle had all 3 kids picking up fallen apples (small, hard green) and using them to practice their throwing arm in preparation for the baseball mitt use. Both boys have very good aim, and Kerith is proving quite accurate and fast. The long driveway was lined with high hedges and the property itself is quite secluded, as it seems all French residences are, so we felt like we were squirreled away from everything even though the neighbors were close by.

The big open porch on ground level housed a huge gas grill and large wooden table and chairs, which we had to take advantage of frequently.

Town life was simple. Store hours are very minimal, i.e. 4 hours/day for a local pub., so we wandered around armed with paper and pen to write down all the working hours of everyplace we need. The St. Aignan church and castle are impressive and the view of the Cher river beautiful. We walked about 13 min or so into town, but our main grocery was only about 5 minutes in the opposite direction.

Language: Diana picked up quite a bit, and the kids at the playground learned “Please, mister, would you push me?” (Lyle was swinging kids on a sort of maypole with handles.) There is very little English here, which has been only a minor hindrance. Armed with her Fr/Eng dictionary, she figured out practically everything. Of course expressing ourselves was another matter. We met our backdoor neighbors – Pierre + wife – who are g-parent age and friendly. We managed to communicate where we lived and how long we were to stay in town. Lots of smiles and nodding. They are avid gardeners, and our kitchen window overlooks their labors. Even gave us a huge zucchini as we were leaving and talked at us – amazingly friendly given our inability to talk back.

Outings: We really had very few: a big canoe trip one day and two days of visiting other towns and castles along the Cher river.

Really, this R &R is doing exactly what we needed — to get away from Russian culture and give time to personal contemplation, prayer, and growth. We actively felt ourselves “healing up” and recharging our batteries.
Our spiritual growth individually and as a family was another blessing, which I will comment on in another post.

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