As you know our children play a huge role in our lives and are actually quite integral to this blog. So when Millie asked the other day if she could write a guest post about her life in France, it took me just a nanosecond to say “Yes.” Millie is 16; she has an immense passion for life, she’s very sporty, she’s quite tiny and she’s also terribly sweet most of the time! I gave her no guidelines as to what she should write and have not edited her offering at all; in fact the only thing I said was to “try and keep it to around 1500 words.” Apart from my snapshots of Millie herself, the rest of the photos are her own. So, this is Millie’s life in France; it’s a glimpse into the life of a teenager in a foreign land and I really hope you enjoy it as much as I did when I read it.
Hello, my name is Millie. That might be the most cliché opening line of all time, but I’m really not sure how to introduce myself to thousands of readers across the world. I think, to date, my biggest audience would be the few hundred students in my old middle school who used to read my articles for the student newspaper. Although, judging by the number that ended up on the floor, I doubt very few people actually read them.
I’m not new to writing itself—I’ve been filling notebooks and annoying my friends since I learnt my ABCs. The new part is writing about this particular topic. Maybe I should start from the beginning.
As a family, we’ve always travelled. It’s something I’ve grown up with and never questioned. To everyone else, the way our family moved to foreign countries was confusing. How could we leave our friends, our culture, everything we knew, behind? As a little kid, it wasn’t difficult to fit in across the world. Everywhere we went was a new place to explore, perhaps a new language to learn, and another country to tick off the list. It’s great fun telling people the places I’ve been.
Perhaps that’s one of the reasons my mom (or mum? I’m never certain which one to use) started this blog. When we first decided to move back to France, I was really excited. After four years in the States (5th through 8th grade, for me), I thought it would be amazing. Not because it was France, (I’d already lived there) just because it would be a new adventure. From the endless cardboard boxes, to finding the house, to finding a school, I wanted to be a part of it, right down to the blog and how it would function. Despite some preposterous claims from male members of the family, the name ‘Our French Oasis’ was invented by me!
At first, the blog was a strange new venture, and us kids wanted to be involved in every feature of it—the little ones especially would beg to have their photo in it or be talked about! For a few months, the posts didn’t follow a specific timetable and were very much oriented towards our friends back in the USA, and letting them know about life in general and how we were getting on. Then, a larger number of strangers from the Internet started commenting and becoming a new, unbelievable community. The blog as it is today was born, all started by my own mother, whom I didn’t know could even write! Thanks to all of you who have followed, commented and chatted. You have no idea how happy you have made her. I like to call you OFOans, but it hasn’t caught on yet! Now it’s become a bit of a running joke every time mama picks up a camera— “drop what you’re doing and come pose guys, we need more photos for the blog!” At least, with all of the outtakes and hundreds of snaps from daily life, we’ll be able to look back in twenty years and have a detailed memory of life now; and we’ve all started going round taking photos.
I have just realized, however, that I’ve spent five paragraphs talking about everything except my chosen topic to write about—that is, my life in France and my view of it. My apologies. I’m certain my language arts teacher would be ashamed of me.
Many people believe that France is old fashioned, rural, and filled with elderly men on bicycles with their berets sitting on their heads and baguettes tucked neatly under one arm. In fact, I’ve still never seen anyone wearing a beret!
Where we live, not fifteen minutes from the seaside and within easy reach of amenities and large towns, life really is quite idyllic. It’s a charming mix of ancient and contemporary architecture, history, culture, and people (although I don’t think there are any people who could be classified as ancient walking around). From the neat, vibrant little city of Rochefort, with its colourful shop fronts and beautiful square, to the ice-cream-filled, tourist and sunshine-oriented town of Royan, there truly is something for everyone.
Our home is a wonderful juxtaposition of all these themes. At first, with its many, many coats of paint and different renovations, I was uncertain about how it would turn out. Compared to our modern house in Florida, it had a kitchen straight from the groovy 60s and bedrooms with leaking windows. I was less than convinced.
By the time a few months had passed, though, something magical had happened. The place had slowly been transformed from a dusty, antiquated house into a beautiful, bright home. The gardens were a big selling point, too. When we first arrived, they had become an impressive forest through years of lack of proper care, and over the past year and a half, with lots of time put in and trips to Gamm Vert (the local farm and garden centre), they have become a thing of beauty. Everyone has seen the pictures. There is an undeniable tranquillity about them that simply wasn’t present in our backyard in Florida. I’ve also learnt that no matter how many times mama insists we’re only getting a few small plants, it’s always best just to get the giant flatbed instead of a regular sized trolley!
It helps that everyone is incredibly friendly. Some people seem to think that the French get impatient with people who can’t speak the language, but apart from the rare exception, everyone just smiled at our efforts and did their best to communicate when we first came here. My French has come quite a long way, too. From barely being able to say more than a sentence when we first arrived, I’d now pronounce myself ‘fluent in conversation’. Of course, when it comes to reading long texts or talking about something with some obscure vocabulary, I’m less than proficient. Everyone seems to be genuinely glad to have us here. I hear that all of the little girls go up and give kisses or bisous to mama when they see her at the school gates! (And don’t get me started on the popularity of our dogs…)
There is simply a way of life here that is undefinably fantastic. I never know how to compare the places I’ve lived in when I’m asked to pick which is my favourite, but France certainly possesses an unnameable quality that the others do not. From the way the sky is a bright, clear blue; or how long grass grows beside the road; or how buildings that were here long before us still stand. There are empty, wild beaches stretching for miles, just waiting for an adventurer courageous enough to take them on; and a different island to visit for every day of the week. I truly believe that someone could come and visit for a month without going near a city or town—the countryside itself is so calming and timeless that it would be quite possible to spend all day pottering down little lanes or rambling through shaded forests.
Maybe this is all very strange to be hearing from a teenager, but the feeling encompasses everyone who comes. Of course, I will always miss my friends in America, but several have come to visit, and my best friend is coming this summer… I’m counting down the days so I can show her everything! In France itself, my biggest complaint would be the school system. Having spent four years at school in the States, where a lot of the learning is done through expressing oneself and creative activities, adjusting to the strict French system (copy the lessons, learn the lessons, be tested on the lessons) was tricky. Personally, I find it to be quite boring, and being a naughty student, spend most of the time drawing all over my notebooks (which is frowned upon by teachers… oops).
In the end, though, how many kids can say that they live in a foreign country with such an incredible history and culture? Everyday there’s something new to learn or see. One thing that has caught my attention in the past few weeks has been the change in clothing. It seems like everyone clung to their winter coats until a few days ago, and now, walking in Rochefort the other day, they’ve suddenly all exchanged their coats for shorts and t-shirts! Maybe spring is just a myth in France and we bypass it altogether and go straight into summer?
Well, it seems that I only have a few words left until I reach my word count, and I’m sure you’re all wondering where Susan has got to! In the meantime, thank you for reading my nonsense, and perhaps next year I’ll post an updated version… a lot can change in a year, after all. Ciao, everybody.
P.S. Maybe I should take over the blog. No? Okay. I agree. xx
133 thoughts on “Millie Hijacks the Blog”
Very enjoyalbe and waiting for the next episode
Hi Roger! Glad to know you liked it, maybe someday… X millie
Well done Millie, thoroughly enjoyed having you ‘visit’ today – what a lovely surprise. Thank-you. xx
Hi Petrina, thanks so much! Glad to hear that you enjoyed my writing X Millie
Gosh, your part of France sounds much more deliciously divine than mine! How calm , clear and articulate Millie is, i’m almost tempted to put my house on the market and swap départements!! And what a lovely confirmation that the choice you made to come (and i know how difficult those choices can be) was a positive and happy one for all the family. Millie, I would love to hear how you are geting on a year from now – consider it a date!
Haha, I will certainly write again sometime. Thanks so much for your compliments 🙂 glad to hear you enjoyed it. Xx Millie
Wish my kids could write as well as you do, Millie. Lovely post and thank you for the different viewpoint.
Why thank you, Phil. I’m sure they write wonderfully. Thanks so much and glad to hear you enjoyed it 🙂
Many thanks to Millie for taking the time to share her view of your lives in France. I loved her writing and photos and perspective very much! I also enjoyed hearing about her transition to France from Florida (I live outside of Washington, DC and am interested in the difference between the educational systems in the two countries). Please don’t wait a year to update us, Millie!!
Perhaps I’ll have to update you all sooner! I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed reading my post 🙂 thanks xx Millie
Felicitations to Millie on an engaging, well-written essay. Bravo!
Thanks so much xx Millie
Amazingly observant & mature for a young lady! I also grew up overseas and didn’t really appreciate the experience until later in life!
You go Millie!
haha thank you so much! It’s certainly quite an experience… Glad to hear you enjoyed it. Xxx Millie
Thank you for sharing your heart. I loved your thoughts. I think you Mum (🤗) is proud of you.
I enjoy this blog so much. My former French exchange son hears me so often referring this blog. Our trip to France, to see his family was our dream of a life time. He is from the Louraine region and lives in Nancy.
Thanks again for sharing.
I’m very glad to hear that you enjoyed what I had to say 🙂 Thanks for the kind words! Xx Millie
Enjoyed your thoughts. Thanks for sharing.
Would love to visit your beaches.
SKP in Missouri USA
The beaches certainly are quite stunning! Thanks for reading 🙂 xx Millie
I am new to reading this blog, which I enjoy immensely. I didn’t realize you had previously lived in Florida, where I now call home. Your post was delightful Millie. I look forward to hearing from you again.
Hi Cyndi, I am so happy to hear how much you are enjoying the blog, we spent four years in Florida, we went there from France and returned to France! I do sometimes envy you the warmth and sunshine, we made so many wonderful friends there, such lovely people, I am happy several have visited Susan x
Thank you so much! I will hopefully write again at some point 🙂 xx millie
Millie – you are absolutely brilliant!!!!!! I am sitting here with my mouth agape! That was an INCREDIBLY enjoyable read. I am so very entertained and moved at the same time – what a genuine “feel” of your life’s experiences. Wow. I’m so uplifted by your writing. A sincere thank you for sharing with all of us………..what a treat, I cannot wait to hear from you again – and the dogs are indeed a hard act to follow as guest writers – but you’ve done yourself proud!!! Simply fabulous. Thank you!!!
THANK YOU SO MUCH XOXOXO! I’m so glad that you loved it. My return at some point seems to be a common request, so I may well make a comeback in the distant future 😀 It was fabulous fun to write… those pesky dogs were taunting me that I couldn’t beat them… xoxo Millie
What a delightful read. You must quite proud of this beautiful young lady.
Hi Jackie, thank you so much I am very proud of her, but more so because she really wanted to write a post and has taken such a huge interest in the blog and the readers (and their comments!). Susan x
Hey Millie – your article is as beautifully written as you are inside and out. DJ and I can’t wait to see you and your family in just a little over a month. The places we get to explore together sound so nice.
aww thanks so much xoxoxo I am actually counting down the minutes and hours! Millie xoxoxoxoxo
Very nice piece, well done. Do keep writing.
Nice photos, too,. You have a good eye for composition. I especially liked the picture of the dogs.
Thank you! I do enjoy writing and try to write quite often (usual in the form of silly fictional stories). Photography is something I’ve never tried to master, I just point the camera at pretty things! haha but thank you so much. The dogs are certainly posers. xoxoxo millie
Bravo and well done, Millie! Both the words and gorgeous photos really suggest that je ne sais quoi of why we all find France so enchanting. I agree with Emm, keep going… 🙂
Thank you so much! I may have to consider it haha. xx millie
If your mum hadn’t mentioned your age, I wouldn’t know from your writing style. It’s humorous, charming and well put together. I wouldn’t be surprised to see you starting your own blog when you’re a little older and not slammed with school work and tennis.
You are a writer. And write like one too.
Wow! thanks so much for your incredibly kind words. I have been considering a career in journalism or writing later on. I have a couple of years to decide, thankfully. I do write quite often–usually short stories and the like. Wonderful to hear your thoughts. xx millie
A born writer, I’d say! Will be interesting to know how her writing life develops in the next few years. For a 16-year old, she’s a writer miles ahead of others her age. 🌟
Hi Judy, thank you so much. I am very proud of her, she has always loved to write and loved to read… and read… and read… I wish more children nowadays could understand how important it is. And indeed, how pleasurable it can be. It’s not a chore, it’s fun! Hope you have a great end to the week. Susan x
Brilliant post Millie! Your mum must be so proud of you. I’m sure all the travelling has made you a very mature young lady and your own blog can’t be far off now! If you started now and carried on into adulthood, you would have a wonderful journal of almost your whole life and it would inevitably include any major changes to the world you live in, whether it be fashion, education, architecture, anything. It would be good to see the world through the eyes of a teenager as she grows up! Have a lovely week.
Hi, Marian! Thank you so much for taking the time to read my nonsense. Quite a few people now have suggested I start a blog with my nonsense, so I may have to consider it! I’m not sure what I would write about, but it’s certainly an idea I shall entertain. Have a lovely week also! Millie xoxoxo
I so enjoyed reading your post. When I see ‘OFO’in my email I always go there first. Now two writers to look forward too.
OFO is quite fun to read haha. I’m not going to be a regular feature but I hope I can post again sometime. Thanks for your kind words 🙂 xx millie
Brilliant blog Millie, love the photos you have an artistic eye, now how about some paintings or drawings in your next blog.
Thanks so much Roger 🙂 I will try–not promising anything though! haha I don’t think my art is quite up to those standards. xx millie
Hi, Millie! Greetings from Charlotte, NC! The azaleas and irises are blooming here but there are no ancient stone buildings to go along with the blooms! 😦 That is what I love about France…stones and wooden beams and absorbing life at a slower pace! 🙂 Which is why your mom’s blog is so special…we here in the States can at least pretend we are there through her pictures and descriptions.
I enjoyed your ..”pottering down little lanes or rambling through shaded forests”; and, “the countryside so calming and timeless”. Not everyone can “paint” with words so that images pop into the reader’s mind! Well done! I read “The Great Gatsby” eons ago, but always remember Fitzgerald’s description of the sheer billowing curtains floating inside the room. Your writing has some of that essence, so keep on composing! Your humor came across as well….adored the description of the little old man wearing a beret. I can see “him” in my mind’s eye! Your dogs are precious…the photo of them brings “warm fuzzies”. Your last pic of the tree and the diagonals going on in the composition was beautiful! Best regards!
Hi Melanie! The irises are all starting to raise their heads here, too. I’ll get my mom to include a photo of them next time! I’m so glad you enjoyed my writing! I thought I was a bit too poetic for a blog post at parts lol, but I’m glad others liked it. The Great Gatsby is one of those novels that just feeds the imagination! Glad to hear that my humour was appreciated by SOME people… I think my family get a little bored with it at times haha. Thanks for the feedback with the photo. It was only taken on an iPhone so there should be better content next time! Have a great end to your week! xoxo millie
What a blessed beautiful young lady you are! Maybe you should begin your own blog to open the eyes of teens your own age! You have much to share and I would let my children hang out with you any day, only they are all grown and gone now! You are precious indeed, thank you for sharing!
Thank you so much for your kind words! It will be a consideration, that’s for sure. xoxox Millie
Congratulations, we’ll done. I am reading this from Antigua in the carribean. It was interesting reading your views of living and benefiting from traveling, in different countries. I look forward to reading future instalments, from your point of view.. There are many children here from all over the world, travelling by boat and being home schooled. Once again merci.
Thank YOU! I’m so glad you enjoyed reading it, and hope to post again at some point. travelling is certainly fun to write about. x Millie
As your former editor back in Florida, I will say that I am very impressed. Too bad the education system in France is not as stimulating as a lesson with Comrade Matluck. Glad to learn how much you are enjoying your time there. By the way, who specifically talked about berets and baguettes? MDR! Take care!
That is the highest praise I can get! So far you are certainly one of or even THE best teacher I have ever had! It’s quite sad that the education system here is so lacking. The berets and baguettes are stereotypes, I thought haha. Have a great weekend. x millie
What a delight! I have twin 15 year old daughters and it sounds like you could be besties. We home school and for English this semester the girls created a travel blog. I’ll have to share your wonderful article on their sight. Don’t get too excited, the only readers are our family. I really enjoy the way you write. You are casual and friendly and make your readers,even middle aged women in America, feel as though we’ve been to France with a delightful new friend. Enjoy your adventures, they are a great gift. Check out my daughters’ blog and I’ll share your link on it. Teentravelsite.WordPress.com
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for your kind words and sharing the post 🙂 I love the blog, by the way! x Millie
That was a superb post, Millie. You seem very happy in your new home country and I hope you say here for many years to come. I look forward to your next installment.
Thanks Nadia! I’m not sure I could ever stay in one place for too long–far too much to see and do!–however I do love France! My next instalment seems to be widely requested, so I suppose I will have to write again for the blog at some point! x Millie
Nicely done, Millie! So good to hear your “voice.” You have a lovely writing style, not unlike your mom’s, that seems like you’re speaking to me. I miss you all! I hope to be able to come over and see your oasis in person. Xoxo, Nancy
Thanks so much Nancy!I miss you so much. Please come visit! It would be awesome! xoxoxo Millie
Excellent report, great photos! Mille, you’re a talented and natural writer. What about starting your own blog for younger persons who certainly would be curious and interested about your life abroad just as an older group reads your mom’s blog for the same reason. At your age I would have loved to have had access to news of someone living a normal life in France, and by understanding the differences I think it would have given me the courage to go ahead and make that choice for myself. At any rate it would definitely have been, and would be today, educational, entertaining and enjoyable. Go for it.
Thanks so much! I will definitely consider it! Have a great weekend! xoxoxo Millie
Well done! So lucky that you’re so well travelled at such a young age. Fun stuff! Thanks for the post.
Thanks! I’m glad that you enjoyed it 🙂 x Millie
What a wonderful post! This is my first time posting a comment on your blog but Millie put a smile on my face. In this era of rude and bad-tempered teenagers, you are both blessed with having such a loving, respectful and wonderful daughter-mother relationship.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it! We are very lucky, yes! 🙂 thanks for reading. xx Millie
Such an enjoyable read, excellent account Millie you really conveyed your experiences, beautifully put in places… Bravo!! A return guest appearance at some point is a must!! Such a great writer in the making! I tune in to read every blog Susan and have loved hearing and seeing news and life in France, huge hugs from a dear old friend xxx
Thanks Claire! I’m so glad that you liked it so much. I’ll certainly make a comeback at some point! Hopefully we can all see you soon. xxx Millie
Such fun to experience your oasis of the day through your well written words. A thanks so much, Mar
I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂 xx Millie
Lovely post Millie. from a new OFO fan
Thanks! Welcome to the OFO family haha! xx Millie
Just discovered this blog through Paulita Kincer’s Dreaming of France.
How refreshing to hear such positive thoughts coming from a sixteen year-old! You are a lucky young woman and a very good writer. Your photography is very fine as well. Best of luck to you! I look forward to reading your mum’s posts too.
Thanks so much! I take a lot of pride and joy in writing so it’s always great to hear people say nice things about my work! Her posts are definitely incredible. Glad to hear you enjoyed it 🙂 xx Millie
Thanks Millie – beautifully written!
Thank YOU! Glad to hear you enjoyed it. xx Millie
Millie, I love this post! So nice to learn a little more about Susan’s family, how you like living in France and all of your adventures. You are a very talented writer so keep it up! Looking forward to more of your work.
Thank you so much! I will certainly write again here at some point. I’m so happy that you enjoyed it. Have a great weekend. xx Millie
A wonderful post, Millie! I’m writing so late because I live on the “Left Coast” of the US. I’m interested in the French education system and what teenagers do for fun in France, so I hope to hear from you again.
The time differences are certainly ginormous! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post. Perhaps those shall be my next topics… xx Millie
How proud you must be!!! I’m proud and I don’t even know her😜 Such beautiful writing form for a young person…just might lead to a career one day!
Thanks so much! It’s something I’m considering, but I have a while to decide yet… glad to hear you enjoyed it. xx Millie
Well done, Millie. That was such an interesting post and very well written. Love your photos, too.
Thank you! It’s great that you enjoyed it. Photography is a particular hobby of mine so I had a nice stock to choose from haha. have a great weekend xx Millie
Bonjour depuis Lyon 🙂
Very nice post and beautiful pictures Millie!
Merci beaucoup! I had great fun writing it. xx Millie
Well written Millie! I think you should start your own blog about your experiences as a teenage ex-patriate as you navigate your way through the education system. I too lived in France and travel there twice a year, every year. You are right in saying that there is something special about France. Unless one has lived there one cannot understand…. I am constantly homesick for it when I am not there…
Hello! I’m so glad to hear that you liked the post! My own blog has been requested by multiple people so I may have to consider it. France truly is a special place, I agree. Have a great weekend xx Millie
YOU can SUBSTITUTE for MOM anyTIME!
Haha thanks so much! xx Millie
Millie, what a wonderful idea to write this blog. We’d love to hear more about your daily life, school, friends. Your perceptions on how life is different there than say in the States (like you wrote about the differences in the educational systems). Is it easier for les jeunes to make friends than adults? I have many friends in Paris but for the first 20 years of our “friendship”, it was a superficial friendship. It took along time to break that barrier; now we think of ourselves as “sisters”. But that took 20 years and my coming to their children’s weddings! Is it the same for young people or were the kids in your school eager to meet and get to know you? What is your school day like? what do you do when you are not in school? There is so much you can write about that would be fun for kids here to read (and adults).
Thanks for sharing.
Hi Jacqueline! This is Millie replying. I’m so glad you enjoyed what I had to say. I think that as with children anywhere, it’s far easier to make friends and just fit in as part of the group, even without speaking the language! I know my younger siblings have all got hundreds of very close friends here. I would say that it took me quite a while to make friends at first, being a very shy person and not having the courage to go up and say hello to anyone! The other kids, once they knew I wasn’t some English alien, were all very eager to accept me and include me in their groups, even if all I did was stand on the fringes and listen! I still do not have a lot of friends here, however that’s my own fault–I am just a naturally antisocial person haha.
My school day is quite long. It starts at 8:25 and I then have lessons until 10:15, where we have a 15 minute break. After that, classes continue until 12:20 when we have time to eat and get free time until 1:50, when lessons continue until 4:50, the end of the school day (there is another 15 minute break during the afternoon). The lessons are all taught mainly in the same classroom, as it is the teachers who go to the students and not the other way round!
When I’m not in school, I play sports most evenings (I do tennis competitively and also take taekwondo classes). I spend a lot of time reading, however, all my reading is done on the computer because it’s hard to acquire english books here, so I probably appear as quite a tech nerd to a lot of people! I enjoy writing books (fantasy or science fiction are my favourite genres). I also speak to my best friend in the states a lot.
Once again, thanks for reading the blog! So many people have requested my return or my own blog that I will certainly have to do something! I’m not sure what I would write about, but, as you say, there is so much I could write about. Have a great weekend! xxx Millie
Thank you for your writings. It was lovely, and it seemed to me I was also reading what my daughter wrote. I knew I was reading from a teenager, it was fun. Keep up with your writing and you will do well and better for the future. My daughter just finished writing a 40 page exam (project) for Journalism studies at Uni. And trust me I ended up down the stationery shop to buy another pack of printing paper after 40 pages was done by her lol. You are a very interesting young lady with the world waiting for you. Keep up the good work, (are you sure you are taking over OFO soon?) What a lucky Susan, she will be putting her feet up and relaxing, early retirement haha. You guys rock!
haha, I’m so glad you enjoyed my post! When I was younger I’d sit by the printer for hours printing out stories and wasting ALL of the paper and ALL of the ink (much to the chagrin of my parents…)! I don’t think I’d be able to take over OFO without killing my own mother! haha she loves it way too much and it’s not what I’d want to do. 🙂 have a great weekend x Millie
Millie, what an incredible post, you are undoubtedly a very talented writer and an author in the making! My eldest daughter leapt at the chance to read this post when she heard someone only a little older than her, so you have gained another OFOan (as you call them) in our household!
Thanks so much Lily, I’m glad to hear that your household is full of OFOans! Thanks for the compliments, too 😉 xx Millie.
Millie…that was wonderful. I am looking forward to meeting you…
Susan….you are an inspiration to all parents.
Thanks so much! Have a great weekend! xx Millie
What an extraordinarily amazing blog. You have incredible insight for someone so young, who has already realised what is really important in life. I can only see you going from strength to strength!
Wow! Thanks so much! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the blog post. xx Millie
The pictures are truly phenomenal. Love the insight of a teenager in a French school too.
Hi Paulita, as I said before, so sorry to have taken so long to reply, your comment went into spam! I still love comparing schools around the world, I find it fascinating, the education system here is very different to that in the States and also to that in the UK and New Zealand. Susan x
Thanks so much, Millie, for sharing your perspective on life in France. When I was young (hitting my dotage now), my family, like yours moved often and lived in different countries. My parents, like yours, loved to travel and we did a lot…camping all over the UK and Europe (we had a big French canvas tent–orange and blue–and drove a VW Campervan) and we met so many people around campfires where no one language dominated and so games, gesturing and laughter became the means of communication. What I can say looking back on that youth is that it was a tremendous gift even though it included seven elemetary schools, two junior high schools and finally one high school. It gave me a perspective on the world that few of my contemporaries had. As a result of that upbringing, I have never been blase or dismissive about other cultures. It is clear you enjoy that outlook, too. Yes, school in France is comparatively dull 🙂 when viewed against a system where creative free expression is valued, yet just the fact that you can juxtapose your school experiences gives you a broad perspective that few of your contemporaries will ever know. It will make a big difference in your life…it already shows in your writing. Clearly, creative expression isn’t just something you want to do, it is something you NEED to do…and happily, you are so very good at it!
Wow! I’m so glad to hear that you liked the post. I have to admit that it annoys me when people dismiss other cultures or think of them as strange without bothering to learn about them! Travelling certainly brings that unique perspective! Your childhood sounds a lot like mine–I’ve attended over 7 schools in my lifetime and visited so many amazing places! I agree that school in France is quite boring, haha. Creative writing is one of my favourite things to do, so we’ll just have to see where it leads me! have a great weekend! xx Millie
Fabulous post and so well written. I can tell by your words that you are a very mature young lady. I visited France three years ago to shop the brocantes and I would love to return some day. Wish I could talk my husband into going, but he has no desire so it may have to be a girls’ trip again. I was in Normandy after flying into Paris and it was so beautiful. I’ll never forget that trip.
Thanks so much! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed my post. You should return! I’ve been here several times (including living here now…) and there’s always new things to see! xx Millie
What a charming article Millie, lovely to see another perspective!
Thanks Helen! So glad to hear you enjoyed it. Have a great weekend. xx Millie
Great article! And by the way, if you’ve never seen anyone in a beret, you should visit the Landes ! 😉
Thanks! I shall have to then! xx Millie
I really enjoyed Millie’s post. She made me want to go back to France for a visit! Great photography too!
Thanks so much Penny, it’s easy to take photos when everywhere is so scenic! We are very lucky. Hope you get back to visit next year. Susan x
I really enjoyed reading Millie’s post. I loved her photography too!
Thanks Penny, I will be sure she sees this comment when she comes home from school today. She has been quite overwhelmed by the comments and support she has received, it’s been fantastic. Have a lovely week, Susan x
Visiting from Comforts of Home and I loved it all. Great post and so well written. I am eager for the sequel.
Hi Marty, I am replying for Millie as she is at school but I will be sure she sees your comment, thank you so much for taking the time to write, it is always so appreciated and welcome to the blog. Great to have you following along. Millie will no doubt update everyone during the summer holidays on life in France through the eyes of a 16 year old. In the meantime I hope you will enjoy our family life here in France. Susan x
What a lovely writer daughter is!! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post! So young to have already found her writer’s voice!
Hi Jane, welcome to the blog and so happy to have you following along. Millie loves writing and it was so much fun to have her write her point of view and to share it with everyone. So glad you enjoyed it and thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Susan x
Beautiful post, Millie! You are a wonderful writer, please pursue it. Start your own blog! Being so young, you’ve given me a new and fresh take on France and as I’m new to this blog, I know I’m going to love visiting and learning more about your beautiful country!
Feel free to stop by~
Hi Jane, I am replying for Millie as she is at school, sadly spring break is over! However I will be sure to see that she reads your lovely comment. Welcome to the blog! Fabulous to have you following along and thank you for taking the time to comment, hopefully we can ‘chat’ lots over the coming months with various blog posts. Susan x
Thank you so much for your very interesting post. It is so nice to meet you. I was introduced to your mom’s blog and I am so glad that I found it.
I loved hearing about all the things you like and all about France. Your new homes sounds so very lovely. I have always wanted to visit France and maybe I will get the chance someday. In the meantime I shall follow your blog and learn all I can.
Love your dogs they are darling. I also have two dogs, Waldo a Border Collie and Lili a lab. They are both rescued dogs and I adore them.
Again, thank you and your mom.
Hi Mary, so glad you found the blog and thank you so much for taking the time to comment, fabulous to have you following along. As Millie is at school I shall reply for her and show her your comment when she gets home. She loves writing and I was so pleased she wanted to share her story and be a part of the blog, it made me a very proud Mother, that’s for sure! I adore rescue dogs, I actually find they often make the best companions, we sort of rescued Bentley, he was a stud dog who had outlived his usefulness, he went from living in an outdoor kennel and no family love to a home with us. He now has separation anxiety if we leave him, but we adore him so much! Susan x
Hello from California! Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed this article Mille! You sure an eye for your everyday photos. I’m sure the school system in France was a pain but you survived, yay!
Hello from France! Haha, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it. I enjoy taking photos… my phone probably has over 5000 by now!(and I’ve only had it five months…)
Not only are you a beautiful young lady, you have a knack for writing in such a way to make one feel like they are there sharing the experience with you. I loved your pictures (especially the dogs… We have 2 Jack Russells too!) Please hijack the blog again so we can hear more about your life in France. I live in Mississippi, USA and we have vacationed in Florida many times over the years.. things are really looking very Spring like here with all the flowers blooming. It is a nice time of the year before it gets so hot and humid… I bet you don’t miss those really hot summers. Not sure how long the school year runs in France, but hang in there… maybe summer vacation will be here soon.. XOXO
Hi! Thanks so much!!! It’s great to hear that you liked the pictures 🙂 I will certainly have to hijack the blog again at some point! Very spring-like here, too. No, I definitely don’t miss the humidity…
Usually the school year in France runs from the the beginning of September to the beginning of July. As I’m in lycée (10th,11th and 12th grade); the other two higher grades have exams, so I get out a month early, on June 10th. I’ve got a whole lot planned, and I’m counting down the days. Only one month left…
Have a great week! xxx Millie
Bravo Millie and Mom,
Your Mom has created a special opportunity for you, Millie – to become a part of her own “big ‘aventure'”. Creativity must travel along many avenues for all of us. I am pleased that you have found resonance with the writing way of experiencing life – and photos as well…This can be very rewarding as your Mom has written many times. I hope you will continue to share your bird’s eye view for it is more unique than you realize. Many years ago upon returning to Canada from France, after almost 5 years away (10.5 yrs to almost 16 yrs of age), I was an anomaly to others my own age and did not realize the magnitude of this gift of experience at that age until I felt the strong need to return again at 19. What may seem different must be explored and cherished – this is becoming even more compelling today.
I encourage you to reflect upon what is unique in your own experience, nourish and follow wherever it leads you for it is your inner voice.
You are not only taking part in your Mom’s blog – you are your own wings unfolding.
Your story carries the natural tone of a story-teller.
Hi, Trish! I’ve been writing about all sorts of stuff for as far back as I can remember–it’s just the easiest way to organise my thoughts and say what I have to say. Travelling does indeed give a unique view of the world–I find that people who don’t travel as much tend to have a more dismissive or stereotypical view of other cultures than those who have seen more of the world. Thank you for your advice! It’s that inner compass, I suppose. Thanks for your kind words 🙂 Have a great week xoxoxo Millie
I seem to be so behind this week, gardening season does that to me. Really enjoyed your posting. Thank you for writing it. Your perspective of your families’ travels and observations of many cultures is welcome.
Hi! Sorry not to have replied sooner! I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed the post! Thanks xoxoxo Millie
Lucky Mum, lovely daughter!
Thank you Rebecca. I do feel truly blessed to have lovely children who take so much interest in the blog and what I am doing. Thank you for commenting and welcome to the blog. Have a lovely week, Susan x
A brilliant blog. Really enjoyed reading it and it so expressive and informative. You know, I always thought of the French as ‘elderly men’ on bicycles with their berets!! Guess I got that wrong. The photo’s are amazing and love the dogs!!!! Yes I reckon you should take over the blog from Mom, or is that Mum? Take care. Keep writing more blogs. Love from us here is chilly Scotland. Actual we had a day the other day when the temperature was a record breaking 25C. We wore T shirts!!!!! Wow.
Love to all – Chris
Ha Ha Chris, I’ll ask Millie to take over, but you might only get one post every few months, she’s a busy girl you know!!! I’ll send some warm weather to Scotland! xxx
Millie, This is a great post. You have a knack for writing and I am glad that you enjoy it.
Thank you Esme, Mama tells me you are new to the blog, so thank you for coming and reading my post. I love reading and I love writing, it’s a hobby of mine. Millie 🙂
Millie, I enjoyed every sentence of your blog! I agree with you there is something special about France – especially the more quiet areas and small towns that are just sublime.
You have been fortunate to be able to live in such places and really experience the
the rhythm of life there. Tourists don’t really have enough time to get that. Keep writing!
Thank you Tania, I love reading and writing and I know I have been lucky to live in so many places, when I finish school I want to travel even more! Millie x