I need to write a list of “need to write about”s so that I don’t forget anything. So much to write about… It has been six days since my last confession and lots of things seem to happen in very short periods of time here. Just crazy. Ok, here’s the list:
- New members of the family
- Internet speeds
- The night of the toilet
- The return to Custines
- Tom speaks French
- A parcel in the post
Ok, I hope you have a nice cup of tea and are sitting comfortably because this will be a long one. Ready? LET’S GO!
1. New members of the family
Tom and my ‘family’ is continually extending – first there was Seb the oven and now we have Gerome the pig. Last week we were excited to welcome a brand new addition to the household – Serge, my sewing machine.
Welcome home, Serge!
Serge is a Singer 1507 and he’s very handsome. I am actually yet to use him because when he arrived I was too tired and fell asleep (see discussion point 3) and then we went away (discussion point 4) and then we went for a walk yesterday. So if I manage to write this fast enough I might whip him out before meeting Pip this afternoon. Otherwise tomorrow is sewing day. Soon our house will be full of material scraps and lint. Excitement plus.
Serge with two new sock creatures I prepared earlier
2. Internet speeds
Our internet appears to be slightly faster than it was previously which is bringing much excitement and happiness to our lives. Last night I even managed to upload photos to Flickr AND look at websites! That’s some sort of miracle. Sadly, it isn’t as lightning fast as it could be and it is still generally terrible, but web pages actually load now which is a great start.
3. The Night of the Toilet
Warning: The following discussion point contains graphic details that may induce nausea.
So Tuesday was a lovely sunny day and Tom and I walked around Montmartre and visited Sacre Coeur and then had lunch at a cafe near our house. We both had salads which were tasty and then we had a light dinner of a roast vegetable salad prepared by me. We were excited about our impending trip (the next morning we were heading to Nancy) and yet Tom started to feel a bit queazy at around 11pm. I ignored him and went to bed but couldn’t help but notice the sounds of regurgitation coming from the bathroom at around 12.30am.
After cleaning up Tom’s mess, I started feeling what I presumed was sympathetic nausea but which very quickly turned into full on gastro and I spent from 1am until 4am sitting on the floor in the bathroom next to the toilet, waiting for the next wave. I haven’t thrown up since I was about 12 and I was quite happy about this fact. It is NOT fun. Never again will I roll my eyes when someone tells me they had gastro. I’m a generally unsympathetic nurse and for once I could see why people complain.
Anyway at 6am I rolled and groaned out of bed and cancelled our train tickets to Nancy. So sad. Luckily we could get a refund on one of the tickets and we rebooked for the next day. Despite having a nickname of “rabbit” due to my excess love for green leafy food, I have suddenly been turned off salads. Give me meat.
4. The Return to Custines
Once we eventually made it onto the train early Thursday morning (it was great! Our train left at 8.12am and all we had to do was cross the road and walk 100m to get there!) we headed towards my old hangout of Nancy. I spent 7 months living and teaching English in a small country town near Nancy called Custines and it is an area of France that is very close to my heart. People tease me and wonder why I am so obsessed with it but it is where I grew to love this country. Custines may be a hole but it’s a nice hole.
We spent a day with my friend Christelle, one of the english teachers that I worked with, and her family and visited the new Pompidou Centre in Metz. A wonderful art gallery with amazing architecture – definitely worth the visit.
The Pompidou Centre in Metz
I love spending time with families when I am in a foreign country. Already we have managed to get an invite into a few French family homes and it is so nice to see how they function and to be a part of it. Meal times are especially great – particularly the cheese course which arrives between the main meal and dessert. This is the best way to sample French cheeses – they’ve been selected by French people so they must be good.
I took Tom to Custines on Friday to see where I spent seven months of my life. Custines isn’t exciting (although there is a new kebab restaurant and cycle paths!) and it isn’t big but in my eyes it is beautiful. Tom made comparisons to Bridgetown where he grew up as Custines is located at the bottom of sweeping valleys and green hills. Bridgetown is slightly bigger but still, a fair comparison. I didn’t manage to bump into any of my old students except for one who I pretended I didn’t see because he was a rude brat and he wouldn’t have wanted to speak to me anyway. The saddest thing I saw was that my dodgy Champion supermarket had been taken over by the bigger Carrefour chain and it is now open during lunchtimes AND Sunday mornings! That is an outrage! That is family time and church time not shopping time! How dare Carrefour bring consumerism to Custines. Unimpressed.
Friday evening and Saturday Tom and I spent with Melany (one of my ex-students (she was 12 when I first knew her and now she is reading Great Expectations and has a better level of English than me…) and her family. We felt so welcome in their home and were fed like royalty. Melany was the only one who could speak english so I am losing my voice from speaking lots of French and translating for Tom. That said, Tom did remarkably well and impressed our guests with his effort at speaking French. I was just as impressed – he had conversations on his own and managed to understand a few things. Such a clever boy.
It was a fantastic weekend and I was sad to leave. We have new friends with Melany’s family now so we will hopefully go back and visit again at the end of the year to show everyone how much Tom’s french has improved.
Place Stanislas in Nancy
5. Tom Speaks French
I have already talked about this… Tom spoke french. It was impressive. Hooray for him!
6. Parcel in the Post
My parents sent me a parcel which was very exciting because a. I love getting mail and b. it had stuff in it. They sent me a copy of the local Post newspaper, two tubes of pawpaw gel which is the cure for everything and very much needed in these evil cold French temperatures, 2 pairs of socks to make sock creatures with, my delicious magazine which had arrived in the mail and my incomplete sock creature who I left at home. It’s amazing how exciting receiving socks in the mail can be.
- Please make me into something beautiful
Phew! Well I think that is enough for today. I have to go and catch a train to Saint Germain now to meet my friend Pip. We’re going to have lunch and explore. We do this often and usually end up buying things. It’s great! Tom starts his French classes this afternoon and is supposed to be studying but has spent the morning grooming himself to look beautiful for class.
For more photos, please visit my flickr site.