One of our goals with this blog is to give you a glimpse into our life in France, however crazy and chaotic it gets at times. We’ve been here for almost two months now, and are definitely in a rhythm with our new schedules and life. So, what’s a typical day look like for the Shady family?
6 am – Glen and Jessica are up… or at least that’s the plan. The snooze button on the alarm may get hit a few times sometimes. Who’s counting, though?
7 am – All the girls are up. Hannah and Maddie are our early risers and normally wake up before 7. Elizabeth is a teenager-in-training and would sleep the morning away if we let her. As I’m sure is true with all families with young ones (or at least I’ll tell myself this to make me feel better), our mornings are a blur of making sure the kids’ clothes match, everything’s in backpacks, hair’s brushed, teeth are brushed, etc.
8:10 am – Off to school for everyone! 8:10 am is the goal, but realistically it’s closer to 8:15 or 8:20 because someone has forgotten their backpack or is taking forever to put their shoes on.
8:35 am – The girls are all where they need to be and our language school class starts. Our mornings are normally technically-based. We are taught the fundamentals of the French language, grammar, phonetics, pronunciation, culture, etc.
10:15(ish) am – Break!!! I put this in because this coffee break is absolutely essential to my sanity. Or maybe I just have an unhealthy relationship with coffee. Who can say?
10:25(ish) am – Back in language class. Our teacher is absolutely fantastic and makes the class time very dynamic. Every day is different, and I guarantee that I learn a ton each day (even when it doesn’t feel like it!).
11:20 am – Classes are done for the morning! With French schools there is the option to either pick the kids up during lunch or let them stay at school for what they call “cantine” and recess. Our girls stay for cantine on Fridays, but we pick them up the rest of the days and eat lunch as a family. We all get two hours for the lunch break.
1:35 pm – Back at the language school. Here’s where our days vary a bit. Each afternoon is a bit different. So I’m going to give you an example of a typical Tuesday. On Tuesdays at this time, we meet in the chapel at the language school and have a group worship time with all the students in the school. Different students lead the worship time and a different student (or guest speaker) leads the meditation/devotion time. This is such a wonderful and enriching time for us!
Note: The worship time in the chapel is entirely in French as is all of our time at the language school. We are encouraged to only use English if we have to, and to try to practice our French as much as we can.
2:00(ish) pm – Back in our classroom for some more technical French training. Normally our afternoons are our time to practice speaking French. Most of the time we break up into small groups and carry on mock conversations on whatever particular subject matter we’re studying at the time. I have to admit to you that normally I go into this time dreading it, but afterwards am normally pretty thankful for the extra practice.
4:00 pm – Classes are over and it is time to pick the girls up from school. Thank goodness because normally at this point my brain is fried! One thing that I definitely underestimated was how mentally exhausting learning a new language (via immersion!) can be. I specify “via immersion” because you never actually get a break and your brain is working non-stop on processing the new language. It’s really good, but also extremely draining!
Between picking the girls up and having supper, we normally just have down time for all of us. So whether we hang out at the playground, play some games at home, or choose to be lazy bums and watch some TV, we just all take a mental break.
6:00 pm – While this is early for the French, our girls are normally dying for dinner at this point. After dinner, we work on homework, do bath time, story time, and help the girls wind down.
8:00 pm – Bed time for the girls. I probably shouldn’t admit to you how much I actually look forward to this time. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my kids! Love them!!! But I also love getting a couple hours of time without them too. With that said, normally this is the time that we do our homework and clean the house.
10:00 pm – Hahaha… I wish. More like by 11:00 pm or later we make it to bed. I normally always regret this the following morning. One of these days I’ll learn and become a responsible adult that goes to bed on time. Someday…
OK… so that’s our life right now. I know, it’s not that exciting, but that’s kind of the point. Sometimes when you’re purposefully working on a goal that God has set in front of you, it’s not always exciting. Sometimes, it can feel exhausting, monotonous, challenging, or whatever else you’re feeling. But just as there is purpose in our everyday life, even when it feels like my brain can’t take any more French, I am confident that we are where we should be for our service to the Kingdom of God.
I pray that this has encouraged you to look at your daily schedule for God’s purpose and guidance through it!
~ Jessica ~