morning: showers for everyone! we were sweaty and grimy from the long and hot travel day before. the feeling of clean water was awesome. we had a bread and jam breakfast and headed to the beloved rennes market. it was a gorgeous market day: sunshine, warm, and not as crowded as i expected (before 11a). the market was enchanting but perhaps too overwhelming. there were the piles of produce and bright colored fruit everywhere (there didnt seem to be much notable impact from the e.coli scare in german produce). i realized what a treasure this place was and that we werent going to get a chance to dilly dally around and smell all the smells and see all the sights. X wouldnt have been patient enough for that, and she deserved a little "X time" after all that travel. what a parental sacrifice though. the market also reminded me of what we dont have in halifax: freshness and variety at reasonable prices.
(walking to the market; french cool; not impressed with the market. we didnt get much in the way of smiles from her earlier in the day)
friends: after perusing the market, we met some of my friend, jean-jacques, family: sara (his daughter-in-law), enor (17 month old grandson) and gaelle (his wife) for time at a cafe and the babies to meet. this story may now get confusing for anyone who wasnt following before, or maybe it will still be confusing. sara and guillaume (jean-jacques son) are getting married. they found their wedding rings on a website that would not ship to france. it was arranged to have them sent to us. of course it would be highly unlikely we could have gone to rennes without seeing jean-jacques (jj, for short), but this wedding ring thing made it imperative.
anyway, enor and X wandered around the "place de la mairie" (mayors/city hall plaza) while we greeted sara and gaelle. we decided to find a cafe (because this is what all proper french socializing events involve) and chat while we waited for jj and guillaume to arrive from their errand that took them away from rennes that morning (following this still? you are better than i). dave played with X near the cafe and she found a musician to dance to and a flower peddler to give her a free flower.
just as we were nearing lunch/nap time, jj arrived. we said hello and remarked that it felt as if no time had passed. it was wonderful seeing him and seeing everyone was doing well. we again felt that rennes was more like a place that felt like home rather than a city we were just visiting.
lunch: while X napped, we had lunch with daves boss and his wife (jean and myriam. i guess its time to use their names) at home. we had bread and treats from the market. jean and myriam had picked out some ham, pâté (with foie gras embedded), dried duck, and fresh fruit. i think i am surviving just fine without cheese and butter. and i remembered...french mustard is heaven!
afternoon: when X woke up, she had a lunch of fresh fruit (apricot, cherries, apples). she really hasnt been eating much, at all, but she did pretty well with these enticements. the heat seems to make her indifferent to eating, which is stressful. i waver between not worrying about it and trying to offer her a hundred things to see if she will eat something. weve been hydrating her though, and there is always the plentiful nursing! i dont think the french are big on breastfeeding, or at least public breastfeeding. ive been discrete, as always, but im not going to go home every time we are out and X wants to drink.
after lunch, we went to the grocery store and found several items without dairy for X that we can try (polenta cakes, lentil/rice patties, apricot cookies, rice milk). then we met jean-jacques for a stroll in the thabor park and a chat in french. dave spoke to him the most because i followed X around. she was wearing a dress but really wanted to get dirty. she seems to have entered a climbing phase. every tree root/trunk area needs to be climbed over (as well as all the stoops by the boutiques...where often dog piss and/or cigarettes are plentiful). if she finds something she wants to climb on it gets very hard to accommodate her or to remove her. its a tricky situation to navigate. anyway, it was nice to see jj for another brief time and the weather was so beautiful it was essential to be outside enjoying it like a good french person.
dinner: jean (daves boss) made another simple but amazing meal of artichoke, spinach, sweet potatoes, and white fish. he made everything plain so that X could partake in everything, which was wonderfully thoughtful. and she did indeed try a bit of everything. she seemed to really enjoy the artichoke (once i got to the heart) and in fact we all did. they are in season now and tasted fantastic. one of the most fun things to eat, ever!
(the artichoke was seriously the size of her head!)
after dinner we took X outside to burn off the last of her energy. she seems to have converted into this time zone pretty darn well though.