After a wonderful Christmas time with our family, and what seemed like endless days of packing all the Christmas presents we weren’t supposed to get, the day came for us to leave. My mother drove up to Florida and our pastor met us at the airport to join our sending off team. There were prayers and tears, and more tears. Avonlea’s cousin Reese was staying with Grandma, so Avonlea said a tearful goodbye to her cousin, and nearly ran out through security to give her one last hug. There was a lot of crying.
The flight to London was short, only six and a half hours, so we didn’t get enough sleep, which was daunting with a ten hour layover ahead of us in London. But God provided for our family, and a sweet gentleman who suggested we go through security in zone 3 and hang out in the family lounge, even though our flight left from zone 1. The family lounge was a set of two small rooms with a play area, a tv, couches and bean bags. We took turns napping, while the children both played and rested. The flight from London to Lyon was smooth, and we met our team leader and his wife at the airport. Their smiling faces breathed energy back into us all, and the Lord renewed our spirits. We split up into two cars and headed on the hour and half drive to Albertville at midnight! What gracious people to pick us up and deliver us to our apartment at such a late hour. They even took us to the big grocery store to stock up on all the necessities the next day, and Pete took us to worship at the local service on Sunday morning.
From the airport, we drove through mountains and valleys that I’m sure would have been breathtaking during the day, but at night were outlined like Christmas lights by the little houses and light towers along their edges. We arrived at our apartment and it is great little place. I will describe it more in detail later, but it is perfect for us. It does have two beautiful armoires, and a few large old pieces of furniture. Between the armoires and the snow covered landscape, I felt more like we’d landed in Narnia than France.
I awoke earlier than everyone else the next morning, and began unpacking. Before I started, I anxiously stared at our coffee maker as it made coffee through our adapter, hoping it didn’t explode into sparks as it made coffee. It didn’t. As I unpacked our bags, and each time I opened one, I remembered how either my mother or mother in law helped me pack them. Putting tiny toys in shoes or nestling scarves in the coffee pot, while my sister-in-law emptied my favorite conditioner into tiny bottles, so I would have a few weeks worth before I had to start trying new ones out. We left my sweet mother-in-law with many of our things that didn’t go at the last minute, and a house that probably feels quieter than it should, in spite of the giant messes, toys, and clothes everywhere.
But, by the grace of God we are here, and happy to be here. Please pray that we adjust quickly, and have dispositions to learn joyfully, as Language school started this week. I was under the weather on Monday and Tuesday, and Oliver was sick today, to the point where I needed to stay home with him. Fortunately, these first days are mostly review and foundation, which I am hoping to catch up. Chris has been attending everything and filling me in. Monday everything starts in earnest. Please pray that we dive in and have the disposition of learning. Please also pray that Chris and Avonlea stay well. Especially Chris, as his Language acquisition is a priority for our family. We’ll have plenty more requests to come, thank you dearly for your love and support, I don’t know where we would be without it.
Here are some first day photos.
And this is our house, we are on the top floor, after some of the snow had melted.