Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving week and weird pains

I made my Thanksgiving meal two days after. I've had to adapt my traditions while in France. Strangely, the French still haven't made it an official holiday here! I always feel a pinch in my heart as I trod off to work (or school this year) when I know my fellow Americans are preparing (or waiting for) scrumptious meals. So my tradition has become calling or writing my family and getting them to tell me what they're eating. My mouth generally waters just to hear words like honey-roasted ham and Sister Shubert's rolls (delicious yeasty rolls).

So on my side of the pond I made French-fried onion coated chicken filets (using the can of imported fried onions from mom: crush the fried onions, add an egg, coat chicken, bake at 400°F 20 minutes), potatoes, green beans and a pineapple cobbler thingey (again using a mix my mom had sent me). It was yummy and did make me feel linked to my country. I taught Juliette to say Happy Thanksgiving and tried to explain what the holiday meant, in three-year old terms. I think I understand why immigrants can be so tied to their home country's traditions. It's a way to keep their identity alive, to affirm their origins.

In other news I've been suffering from some excruciating joint pain. A few weeks ago Juliette was diagnosed with Fifth's Disease, which is a virus which causes a strange red rash on the arms, legs and cheeks. She was so bright red I thought I had burned her in the bath and we took her to the ER. The overworked doc from Romania ('cause there aren't enough French docs, it seems), said it was viral and a fever might rear its ugly head soon. But she was fine and the rash finally subsided.

But last Sunday it was my turn to get the rash and when I woke the next morning I felt like I was about 75 due to my creaky joints. If this is old age, it's not fun, people. Then during gym class I tripped (on my own foot!) and fell down and of course used my wrists to break the fall. (The fall was not due to the joint pain buy my eternal clumsiness. I broke my pinky in middle school trying to catch a football with all my fingers pointing out.) During the night I couldn't feel my fingers and the pain was intense. I figured I had a hairline fracture or something, and hauled myself to the ER the next morning, but the x-ray showed nothing. The pain continued, especially in the night, and my GP confirmed that all this was due to the virus, in fact. In adults joint pain is quite common. Reading a few forums on the Internet showed me that some people suffer from this pain quite a long time after the inital virus. As in years. I really hope that's not the case for me!

In other news, school is as intense as ever. Lots of exams coming up and a French paper which I must finalize. Two people in my class are seriously thinking of stopping. We're all rather frazzled and tired. This program tries to cram two years of courses into one. We have on average 38 hours a week of lessons, then you need to do some exercises and not fall behind on studying when you're at home. A night off for me is when I study on the couch instead of at the table. Last night I had such a raging a headache that I really did take the night off though. And it was nice.

Sometimes I find myself wishing this school year would hurry up and finish. But then I realize that also means Juliette's three-year old self will be finishing, too. And I already feel like I haven't gotten to appreciate my time with her this year. Sometimes she's the last little one at the after-school care when I pick her up at 6:10. I try to cherish my time with her, but I'm sometimes distracted by all I must do home and house-work-wise. But I do love the cute things she says, and I'll note a few before I forget.:
"Peek it on" instead of "keep it on" regarding her little undershirts. She's a bit obsessed with them. And also her cardigans 'cause she's learning to button things.
"Can we do Christmas when we get home?" because they're starting to make ornaments at school.
"Mommy, we're gonna take you to the doctor," when I showed her my own rash.
"The moon is broken," when she saw a quarter moon one night.

She does say a lot more things in French now, which is normal since she's hearing so much at school. Sometimes she'll go on in French mode with me and I try to get her to go back to English. Other nights she's more spontaneously English. I guess I can't force it.

In other words, we're just doing the best we can on all fronts, taking it one step at a time. What more can you do?

Warm Thanksgiving wishes to you all!


Anonymous said...

Hi Mil!

Nice post. Juliette is so cute! The moon is broken? So adorable and wise! I hope you feel better soon!

Lindle said...

You really are having some serious challenges, girl. These are not normal mountains to scale: a baby getting ill at the same time you have a major assignment, your own pain and visits to the ER, the workload of your schooling--the long hours--the stress of holidays and family far away--my goodness. You are a trooper. And you deserve those "nights off." We love you and wish we could help you more to get through this. I'm sending you stuffing!

Crystal said...

Wow that's a lot going on and I feel for you. As someone who suffered through years of rheumatoid arthritis as a kid, I know all about bad joint pain and how it affects your life. I can only hope that you'll be able to rest up a bit and feel better over the holidays.

Sending hugs to you and that adorable (and super smart!) JuJu :) xx

Jenenz said...

I hope that nasty virus has left your body! Joint pain is hard to ignore. Red rash and pain go away!

I'm glad you got a chance to celebrate and cook in the spirit of Thanksgiving. Dinner sounded yummy, especially with the fried onions!

You're hanging in there and doing a great job. The broken moon will soon be full again, shining bright in the night sky. Keep on shining!