The Lou Messugo Blog - life in the south of France from a British/Australian TCK's perspective, bringing you French culture, travel on the Côte d'Azur and beyond, expat issues and a little bit of je ne sais quoi all mixed up with a hefty dose of photography.

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Travel with kids: festivals around the world

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festivals with kids MKB carnivalToday's post is a first for me: I'm hosting the Multicultural Kid Blogs monthly blogging carnival on travel with kids.  Travelling with my kids is something regular readers will know I'm passionate about so I'm delighted to be able to collate an article with contributions from bloggers all around the world on this subject close to my heart.

logoMKBcarnivalThe theme I have chosen for this carnival is visiting/participating in festivals, fairs, fêtes and cultural events across the globe as a way for children to understand more about a particular place or culture.  Travelling far isn't always possible for families for numerous reasons including the two main ones of time and cost, but travel doesn't have to be far to be rewarding - "travel at home" is just as important as overseas or foreign travel.   What is seen as normal or mundane by one person might be seen as exciting or exotic by another so in the case of an international blogging carnival one blogger's visit to a local food fair in Europe is as interesting and relevant as another's visit to a tribal festival in Africa.  

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Processionary caterpillars - what are they?

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On a recent day out to the mountains to check out the dire snow situation in the local ski resort we were taken aback by just how many caterpillar nests we saw in the pine trees and how much destruction they had caused.  There were vast areas of what looked like dead trees and more nests than I've even seen. Some trees were groaning under old dried-out brown nests while others were still healthy-looking but covered in silky white "tents" about 15cm in diameter.

processionary caterpillar nest in pîne tree

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A night at the ballet

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Last week JF and I spent the evening at Covent Garden, along with Darcey Bussell, Fiona Bruce and Carlos Acosta but this didn't involve flights, hotels and expensive tickets; we didn't leave France, in fact we didn't even leave our own local area. In the somewhat shabby 1970s surrounds of the Alma Cinema at the CIV lycée in Sophia-Antipolis/Valbonne, a place where I'm more used to watching student plays and attending parents' meetings, we were transported to the glamour and excitement of a live ballet performance from the Royal Opera House in London.

Arts Alliance ballerinas poster

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Expat farewells

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It's no secret, I love living where I live.  I've lived a nomadic life moving country 9 times though sometimes all those other countries seem a very long time ago as I've now been in France for nearly 18 years.  But even within France I've moved house 8 times, lived in 7 different towns in 5 different départements from Nord Pas de Calais in the very North to the Alpes-Maritimes in the far South-East corner.  And out of all these places in France where I am now is where I have felt happiest, most at home.

alps meet mediterranean

This contentment comes partly from my physical surroundings: it's stunningly beautiful in the PACA* region, being close to the coast and mountains, close to Italy and close to one of best cities I've ever had the fortune to know: Nice is more than nice, it's phenomenal!  It comes partly from the wonderful Mediterranean climate but it also comes hugely from how international this area is....

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Souvenirs of an expat life

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Memories make up an integral part of expat life, memories of "home" or previous countries lived in, often rose tinted, usually nostalgic, sometimes sad, mostly happy, but always there.  Of course every life is comprised of memories whether expat or not, but here I'm talking from a personal point of view as an expat since birth.  My memories are helped kept fresh by many things including photos, music, smells and importantly, souvenirs. Souvenirs, for me, are precious keepsakes from my well-travelled life not just trashy trinkets from a weekend away.

souvenirs of expat life 07

Souvenir

Definition in English: souvenir   n.  a thing that is kept as a reminder of a person, place, or event. 

Definition in French: souvenir   n.   a memory or a keepsake,  se souvenir   v.   to remember.

The English word comes from the French.  Souvenirs/memories, memories/souvenirs, in the Franglaise life I lead I find these two words being used interchangably, they've practically become one.  My souvenirs, things picked up in the 9 countries I've lived in, help keep my memories alive.  And so my house is literally littered with souvenirs.  Not t-shirts, mugs and magnets bought at the airport to remember a week's holiday (though of course I have those too) but furniture, art work, soft furnishings, musical instruments, books, toys, crockery, even cutlery and glasses.  Look around my house and it's obvious I've travelled!  

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