While he was busy painting, I decided to take advantage of the paint on the table and paint some Christmas cards to send to friends and family. To be honest, I initially wasn’t very inspired but then what seemed like a disaster on the paper turned into inspiration and I ended up making a wee stack of cards to send off. No photos, though, but some of you will have received them in the mail!
village Christmas gathering
Jean-Marc has been calling up various people in an effort to find work, and one of his recent calls to a local landscaper resulted in an invitation to the village Christmas gathering. Not a job, but a good opportunity to meet more of the locals!
So on the 22nd, we gathered at the bottom of the hill along with all the families and Père Noël, who was ringing his sheep bell. We climbed the hill up to the town hall’s party room, where there were treats for everyone and Père Noël gave out presents to all the village kids (apparently all bought by the village!). We talked to a few people and then I ended up chatting to the woman next to me. At first I heard her daughter singing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” with an excellent accent and I commented on how good her English was. The woman replied that they spoke English at home and then we discovered that we’re both from Vancouver and that she went to the high school that is just a few blocks from where I lived for 15 years! Not only that, but she is a classical music agent who is self-employed. The similarities were kind of astonishing, considering we are both living in a tiny village of 400 people, but it was a nice meeting and I’m looking forward to getting to know her better.
Christmas with the family
Officially, I don't have any paid holidays for the first year of work, after which time I get five weeks, but since we had been working long hours and we went away on tour for 10 days, I was able to take the week between Christmas and New Year's off. So we loaded up the car with Christmas presents and Domino the cat and headed off to the in-laws for the holidays. We ended up spending six nights there and had a nice time together with family and friends (the infamous 9-hour dinner friends). This was the first time since I took my job eight months ago that I had proper time off, so it was very welcome! The only bémol (downside or "flat") was that the family got the stomach flu one by one. We thought we had resisted it, but by the time we drove home, Jean-Marc wasn't feeling so great and the next day I was in the same boat. New Year's eve was a bit of a bust as a result - not that we had much planned - but it gave me a head start on my dietary resolutions!