Sunday, February 20, 2011

A holiday.

Sunday 12th.

It's just generally odd, going on holiday with your employers. Awkward in so many ways; not just when they argue, but sleeping in the living room and being the last to get up, being "off work" but unable to refuse to play with the kids, and particularly having to explain that you can't afford to snowboard all week. Fun times in the French Alps with the au pair family!

Valloire, as well as being where my brother's p7 class came on a school trip, is a small resort, favourite among French families and oldies; the only people who look vaguely my age are the staff. Many more skiers than snowboarders, the French being, apparently, traditional in their sporting habits- I was told by a 20something French guy last week, after waiting for him to stop laughing, that snowboarding is "a man thing." Drinking beer and watching the rugby? Yes, them too.

Anyway while the boys had skiing lessons this morning I got myself a 4 hour pass and went off adventuring on my own, only realising on the lift up that I'm terrible with maps (it's hard tell which direction a piste goes in!) and usually rely on Cat, my snow-buddy back home. But I managed, and wasn't too bad for the first day snowboarding in a year, I hardly fell at all until a skier went and tripped me up spectacularly, ouch. The weather's great, sunny and warm, but isn't doing much good to the slopes. Or my big red face: I wore factor 50 suncream, plus green-tinted barrier cream with spf 15; still I look like a tomato.

I won't be snowboarding tomorrow or Tuesday, maybe a bit of sledging with whichever child I'm left with, so hopefully by Wednesday my body will be ready for a full day. In the meantime I'll try to find a bar with wifi and post this, and maybe even talk to someone. By the time we go back to Paris I'll be so starved of normal conversation I'll be babbling!

Thursday 17th.

So only one day left, the week hasn't been too bad at all. We've all relaxed into it a bit, got used to having only cottage cheese and honey for pudding and living in the one apartment together.
I've resorted to smuggling chocolate in my jacket pocket to eat when the kids are in bed. I know it sounds ridiculous but these kids are so healthy, and I'd feel bad starting the inevitable...

Maman, Papa, why can Mairi eat chocolate and not us, it's not fair
    (Because Mairi's an adult.)
No she's not.
        Yes I am, and I can eat whatever I like.
But chocolate's not good for you it will make holes in your teeth and they'll fall out and you'll have to go to the dentist.
        Mmhmm, well never mind eh.
I want some!
        Well you can't have any.
But why?
        Because your mum and dad say so.
Then you can't have any.
        No, I don't have to do what they say, but you do.
But why?
        Because you're 4 and 5.
        -Yes 5 and eleven months I know.
But it's not fair!
        No it's not fair, tough.
What is 'tough'?

I improvised myself some crash pants today, which worked fairly well considering it was mainly just socks, stuffed into back pockets and inside my leggings! Wish I'd thought of it earlier- my bum is seriously injured, flowery bruises blooming all over, and knees, elbows, shins, somehow even thighs too.

Sunday 20th.

Back in Paris, after a lovely night's sleep in my own bed, (even if I did dream I was in The Wire) I still woke up at 7.30 just as if the boys were shouting in the next room! But happily rolled over and went back to sleep. The joys of living alone!

Over the week I did 17 hours of snowboarding, which cost a bit too much really, but it's such a small resort there was nothing else to do bar sitting in the flat watching films, and that's just a waste of being in the Alps! Didn't venture off the blues and greens because I'm a wimp and get scared when people go too fast, and even more scared when little children skiers try to squeeze through behind me where I can't see them and nearly kill us both. Next time though!

For now it's back to city life, catching up with friends, museums and a bit of painting. xx

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Better late than never...

I can hear!!
After my second visit to the doctors in 3 weeks, I am free of ear infection and free of earwax! Lovely I know. Right now I'm enjoying hearing both treble and bass listening to Basement Jaxx, but later I know I'll wish I'd waited until after work to stop being deaf- swimming pool changing rooms apres-lesson are quite loud enough.

Seeing as I've experienced so much French medical care I'll take you though it:
Forget the usual reception-waiting room-Doctor calls you through down the corridor routine. In Paris, find the Doctor's name on a plaque on the door of the third floor of an apartment building like any other, follow the signs to someone's living room with magazines on the coffee table, wait until your Doctor finds you and takes you to their cosy office with nice chairs and massive desk, and proceeds to diagnose you swiftly without asking many questions, and give you three times as many prescriptions as you'd think you need. Very thorough. I got nasal spray, sachets to drink and the biggest antibiotics I've even seen, and was referred to an ear-specialist the following week with another prescription for ear drops- if I want them. As if! Here's hoping the securite social is as efficient in giving me some of my money back- all of that set me back 105 euro... a week's wage.

I suppose I've been quite busy again, catching up with everyone, getting to know a few new places including the Bacardi Mojito Lab at Bastille- a very cool place with computers for tabletops and every kind of mojito you couldn't imagine- served with blackcurrant jelly 'caviar', candyfloss on top, or smoked, with ginger, or cinnamon, or in a ball of ice, the menu was incredible. The barman could have done with a bit of juggling practise to match the guys shown on TV screens, but still impressive.
I also have been to a friend's flat in the 16th which I didn't realise was such a posh area until we walked past 4 countries' embassies on the same street. Enjoyed multiple pastries and coffees with the girls, (we're a bit obsessed with 'eclair chocolat' and 'chasson aux pommes' from Paul at the moment) watched a tap class I'm going to join tomorrow, and booked flights home for a week in March. This is no ordinary holiday though- I'll be bringing the 3 year old with me for a language immersion type trip! I hope no-one thinks he's mine, cute as he is- I have been out of the country for a while, but not that long!

Highlight of the week was getting haggis on Burns' Night! Knowing we were working at night Laura and I went to Wos Bar in the afternoon because we knew they had some, but it was defrosting. Had to make do with a half pint and a free shot for wearing our tartan skirts, and Scottish chat. After a fairly sleepy afternoon (!) I worked until 10pm but the soup we'd had for tea just hadn't filled me up, so I made my way back to the pub afterwards. I sat at the bar, perfectly alone, drinking my orange juice and eating my haggis out of a wee bowl with a teaspoon. A bit sad yes, but definitely worth it!

I've started reading A Tale of Two Cities, watching The Wire, continued to practise my poor french. Film-wise it's Hitchcock season, ticked off Marnie, Rear Window, Notorious and Psycho, which were all excellent. Got my trainers out in preparation for going for a run, and thought about how much snowboarding is going to hurt in a couple of weeks, but just can't make myself go that little bit further and actually DO the exercise.

One things that's been annoying me is Sundays. I never remember to get food in on Saturday, especially if I've been working, and then spend Sunday hunting for milk and biscuits. By the evening I've given up and decide to eat out, then no-where's open save for the American diner! I've been wishing someone would write a list of food shops and pharmacies and restaurants open on Sundays, but no-one has so I'll have to do my own research and make one. Remind me later.

To work now, then 3 whole days off to enjoy, with my sister coming to visit. A good excuse to go out for tea and pretend I'm on holiday. With so many plans made and things to look forward to spring will be here soon, hurray! My little purple flowers in my window box are shivering but look lovely.