Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bastille Day and French-Anglo communication

Baby kindly cooperated and stayed put so that I could go to the barbeque organized by one of my colleagues. It was a joyous mix of French and Anglo cultures and foods. Everyone seemed to enjoy my Tollhouse cookies (imported chocolate chips, brown sugar and baking soda) whether they were discovering the taste for the first time or having a nostalgic moment. Good salsa dips (hey, Crystal!), taboulé salads, rose wine (not for me), chocolate pies. My husband made more of an effort to speak English with my coworkers and I think down deep he enjoys practicing. He’s starting to see that the British-American way of teasing is not mean and sarcastic though this can remain a big point of debate between us! The French do tease, too, but I suppose they don’t see it the same way as we do.

Still not sure in fact if I mortally offended the mid-wife doing the preparation courses at the hospital last week. I asked her about that famous maternity list of what to bring in your suitcase and when she didn’t know what the “gigoteuse” was (the sleeper thingie), I said (jokingly!), well, if you don’t know either that reassures me. Then she said something like don’t make fun of me, but I couldn’t tell if she was joking back or not! So I covered by saying, well, you see, I’m not French, and this baby stuff is an entirely new language, which she agreed with. If she’s on duty when I go in for the big day I may just have to make sure we’re on good terms or she might take revenge on me…

Anyway, yesterday went to the in-laws for lunch. This was real Bastille Day and we were blessed with something resembling summer weather. Bluer skies than we’ve had in a while and some nearly hot parts of the day. Father-in-law was whacking down an unruly bush that bothered him. Don’t know if my parents-in-law really know how to relax. Their work is always two steps away from their front door and when there’s a fairly quiet period they still keep busy with home repairs and cleaning and gardening. I feel colossally lazy next to them. How to ever explain to them that I spend a good deal of my team reading and writing emails and perusing web sites, watching TV, reading books and, oh, yeah, a bit of cleaning in there, too. It would just amount to nothing for them. But it’s my life.

We watched a bit of the Tour de France on TV as we ate. The parents-in-law don’t really watch any sports except this one, and mostly just to see the lush landscapes the cyclists are whizzing by. It’s kind of lulling, with the quiet commentary and the lush green images. Great for helping you get in napping mode. And after coming home late from the BBQ I needed a little nap. As the husband and I were so tired we came on home and rested then had crêpes for dinner. Not exactly Bastille Day food, but it hit the spot. We basically just used anything in the fridge as filling, turkey slices, hot dog sausages, spinach, mashed potatoes. And a few dessert crêpes, but I tried to be “good” and just used a bit of jam and pineapple slices on mine. Still watching out for my sugar since it was a bit high last month.

Now I’m just hanging out here doing some random cleaning and organizing (again). Chat-chat’s more back to his normal self, including those charming habits of scratching at the door and tearing up bits of linoleum (really not good). He’s slowly eating again and jumps in our laps again for a cuddle. To think I was crying my eyes out a few days ago for him.

More later…

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