Monday, August 31, 2015

Saying goodbye was not easy.... which is actually a good thing

At the end of July I finished my time at the school in France where I have been studying and working for the past ten months. I had the good fortune of working with some pretty amazing people who were not only colleagues and teachers, but friends. Here is a glimpse of a few of the people who have been a part of my journey this past year. By no means is this everyone, as I don't have pictures of many, but these are some of the people who made this year special for me.

I spent a LOT of time with these crazy guys

Partners in crime and fun

Patient teachers and dear friends

Baking Buddy, teacher, friend - she welcomed me into her life

Dedicated teacher and friend, she always made sure I was taken care of -
 and her kiddos were my favorite English students!

She was our housekeeper, but so much more

Our Chef, who patiently taught me French vocabulary for all things cooking related
This guy... he's an American-Frenchman with a huge heart full of kindness

Hospitable, kind, and super talented - she provided a home away from home

He put up with me day in and day out - providing laughter and balance in the chaos

And so, memories were made and friendships grew, and this is what made it difficult to say goodbye. I'm thankful it was difficult, because that means I was present and invested in relationships which have impacted me greatly and which will be truly missed. Thank you to all of you who were a part of my journey at Planete-Langues, you are now forever part of my story.

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Beauty of Lights

There is a town nearby that is famous for it's cathedral which is a significant point on the Saint Jacques de Compostelle trail. In my opinion, the cathedral of Chartres rivals Norte Dame de Paris in it's grandeur, and because it's in a small country village, you can see it from miles (or rather kilometers) away as it sits at the top of a hill with a magnificent view of the countryside. Also, there are no crowds, so you can actually experience the quiet majesty of the cathedral. 

I've been there several times to visit the cathedral, but I recently learned that there's a whole medieval village that still exists at the base of the cathedral which I had never seen; and, during the summer they have a special light show, every single night, all summer long. I love lights! The little twinkle lights at Christmas, the antique chandelier hung from a tree over a garden terrace, the flickering candlelight at dinner, the quirky lamp at the local coffee shop, the sunlight filtering through the trees, the moonlight shining in my window..... really, I LOVE lights! And so, I have been waiting with great anticipation for this opportunity to see the lights of Charters.

The cathedral of Chartres by day
The medieval village of Charters is picturesque and offered a wonderful start to the evening. While we waited for the sun to set we walked through the tiny streets, following the winding river towards the cathedral.

A tiny little restaurant overhanging the river

That's the cathedral in the background
Chartres en Lumieres - Charters in Lights
The pictures can't even begin to capture the beauty of the light show, but I tried to take a few to share with you. The lights are animated and tell a story of each of the historical monuments in the village that are part of the light show.

The cathedral in the midst of the show
The side entrance of the cathedral

Another side of the cathedral

This church was one of the many monuments that were part of the light show. When we arrived at dusk, I snapped the first picture, and at the end of the night, from the same spot, I took the second picture. 

It was a spectacular evening that delighted my senses. The beauty of the village was idyllic, the lights were beyond anything I had imagined, the music complimented everything nicely, the night was warm and cloudless with nearly a full moon, and the company was lovely!