September 2005 Archives



I've been having weird dreams lately.

The night before last I dreamed, amongst other things, that I was stuck in a maze, and the robot guy from Terminator 2 was coming to kill me. Only he wasn't wearing that police officer outfit, he was wearing a monks habit with a large ankh hanging around his neck (large as in, practically the size of his torso). The guy from the Dead Zone was with him, and wearing the same clothes. There were others, dressed in the same manner, coming from all directions. I remember standing there, cornered in this maze, knowing that I was going to die. Normally I would use my special super dream powers to do a flip and jump on top of the maze and try to escape that way, but I was surrounded. I stood there saying, "I'm dreaming, I'm dreaming, it's only a dream, get me out of here get me out of here get me out of here"... and I woke up gasping for breath and covered in sweat.

I probably need to stop taking this pain medication before I go to bed. And maybe stop watching so much tv.



Doctors visit = off work for the rest of the week too. That also means no knitting on Thursday night :( I am sick of feeling sorry for myself. Bah! At least I have some stuff to watch and I can relax. Knit knit purl purl. Zen.

But I am going to the Congrès next week and no stupid sore ankle is going to stop me. Grrr.

It's not just a house... it's our home!


I know that there are quite a few readers of this blog who rarely, if ever, leave comments. But occasionally they come out of the woodwork and show themselves ;)

A couple of weeks ago, after I posted about wanting to get hold of a copy of The Castle, I received an email. The writer started off by saying that she has been quietly reading my blog for a while now, and has enjoyed the antics of Symphony, because she has two mischievious Burmese of her own. She then, almost apologetically, not wanting to sound as if she was doing a sales pitch, "yuk!", said that she and her husband own an online dvd store in Australia, and I could always buy a copy of The Castle from their store if I wanted. She went on to say that she is always amused to see how far abroad they send copies of Kath & Kim, "you can pick a homesick Aussie a mile away".

I did a little research, found their prices very reasonable, and made my order. Sitting here at home for the last week, foot up and immobilised, I've been really looking forward to receiving my international package.

This morning the intercom buzzed. I hobbled over to the plastic box and called, "oui?" No response. Muttering about the obnoxious little shits that usually play with the intercom outside, but not wanting to miss the caller, in case it was important, I pulled on a shoe, grabbed a crutch and shuffled to the elevator.

I got upstairs and literally bumped into a delivery man as I was coming out of the elevator, who asked my name and asked me to sign a paper for a delivery. I'm think I practically grabbed the package from his hands with glee when I spied the Australia Post logo on the top corner. I tottered back to the elevator and down to the apartment, where I ripped open the package.

To my delight, I received not only the copies of The Castle, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and set of Black Adder that I ordered, but some extra Australian goodies had been tucked in as a surprise! A Crunchie and a Cherry Ripe! I blinked with delight (and pulled Symphony away from chewing on the wrappers), and found a card attached to The Castle :

Dear Katia
We hope you enjoy these!
(straight to the pool room, indeed)
Kind Regards,
Diane (& the rest of us)
(an aussie lass, a kiwi and 2 burmese)

I am extremely touched that she kept an eye out for my order, and have gotten all teary again as I write this - the internet is an amazing place, and there are some generous people out there. Thankyou Diane :)

So whilst Symphony is busy chewing on the plastic from the dvds, I'm set to have a morning of Australiana. I think I'll start with The Castle and munch on a Cherry Ripe. Do you know how long it's been since I've had one of these!?

(If you're a homesick Aussie with a multi-zone dvd player (or an Aussie looking for somewhere to buy your dvds online), I highly recommend dvdorchard for your dvd needs!)

Skipping and strawberry juice

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Tonight Sylvain and I realised that the cupboards were bare, and that we really should consider going to the supermarket. I thought that my foot would handle it, and I really need to get the walking thing happening again, so I grabbed a crutch under my left arm, put on my rain jacket and we made the 800m walk to the supermarket.

It's been a week since I've stepped outside. A whole week! No wonder I was starting to smell a little musty.

We had to stop a few times, mostly because I had high expectations of my ability to walk correctly and I got a bit cranky when I couldn't, but we managed to get there and back without too many dramas. I may need to go back to the doc tomorrow anyway, just to make sure that things are ok. I really thought that I'd be walking properly again by now, but obviously I have no idea about these sorts of things, and I really should have learned frompast experiences, butiwannawalkandjumprightNOW (and an oompa loompa wouldn't go astray either, daddy).

But all really is well when the fridge is filled with pago strawberry juice!

OC roundup


I would never have normally gotten addicted to a show like this, but circumstances being what they are (ie. I have nothing else to do), and watching the first 4 episodes with a few girlfriends on Saturday night (along with hilarious commentary from said girlfriends), meant that I descended quickly into a full-blown case of addiction.

It is possible to watch the entire first season of The OC in less than 48 hours (27 episodes, around 40 minutes each). This is why the California song was getting annoying. I'm sure I could've gotten through it quicker if my husband hadn't wanted to watch other things on tv occasionally, and if I hadn't had to do those annoying necessities in life, like sleeping, for instance.

Anyway. It rocked my socks. Filled with classic lines. Cried like a baby at the end, then had to go and look up the first few episodes in the episode guide for Season 2. Can't wait to see it.

"How can you live like this? Your t-shirts are touching your sweaters?"

My boss called yesterday when I was in the middle of watching it, so I hit pause and answered the phone, but I literally had a 3 second mind blank as to what to say, before the words started to tumble out again.

Hello? I speak French. I'm sure I used to.

Hobble bobble


I was invaded by bunch of lovely ladies on Saturday (who were attempting to rescue me from my descent into boredom-induced insanity), and we had a fabulous knitfest, punctuated by white choc coated Oreos, Tim Tams, and Baby Einstein. A very nice distraction.

Now I'm sitting here with my foot up, surrounded by dvds - some amazon orders that have arrived over the weekend, and some that have been lent by friends (including the entire first season of the OC, to which I'm now way addicted, although that "California" song is starting to get annoying) - my knitting, and neopets.

I did fluff up my foot a little whilst hobbling around on Saturday night - I thought I was super-powerful and healing really well, but my ankle had other ideas and collapsed a little. But I've been very well-behaved and have put my foot up since. I'm still aiming to go back to work on Thursday, so I think that I will need to start practicing the whole walking thing tomorrow. I'm also still aiming to go to the Congrès next week. It's going to be a week of 18 hour days and lots of running around. Obviously I won't be able to do the latter, but I'm determined not to let the team down. It's the hardest week of the year, and I feel bad about not being 100% operative.

Last night Sylvain hugged me and said that he didn't want me to go. "I have to live with you when we're 90. I don't want you to be cranky and sore because you didn't heal properly now. Your collegues won't be there in 5 years time, even, so you should be thinking about us."

Convincing argument, he really is the sweetest thing ever, but we'll just have to see. He's right, one day I won't be working there, but I can't shake that guilty feeling.

But right now I have more important things to worry about - like, how to stop Symphony attacking my knitting needles as she's sitting on my lap. And to help me think, I'm going to put in the next episode of The OC.

I could get used to this


"Check it out guys, this is insanely great! It's got a 28.8 bps modem!"

Friday morning. Still no packages, so I'm watching Hackers for the second time this week. Classic of classics. The soundtrack is wicked too.

Lying in bed this morning with my laptop on my lap and a cat sleeping between my feet, I realised that I'm managing to ignore those guilty feelings about not being at work whilst everyone is slaving away. I've done lots of updates on TNC. I'm neopetting like a mad thing. I've managed to finish one knitting project, and am advancing very well on another. I'm even thinking about baking. I may need to go back to work before I really hurt myself with this domesticity ;)

My foot has turned kindof grey and yellow now, which is really not an attractive look (and no, Antipo, I will not be posting any pictures. You're just gross :p).

What to do


Waiting for 3 packages in the mail.
The only thing worse than receiving no packages in the mail is receiving nothing at all.
All that hobbling up and down the stairs for nothing.
Maybe the mailman hasn't passed yet...
If I had known I was going to fluff up my ankle, I would have put my order from Australia (The Castle, Priscilla & Black Adder) in Express post.
Maybe I should have ordered the Young Ones too.
Because there are only so many times that (even) I can watch Robin Hood : Prince of Thieves.
Thank goodness for cable tv.
I have watched more episodes of Dexters Laboratory than I ever thought possible.
I may go mad if I watch another episode of Scoobydoo.
Neopets is cool.
I am a 1337 R3st0ck3r.
I still haven't won the Brucey B slots jackpot.
Knit knit knit knit.
My crutches have given me a big blister on my right hand.
I should probably stop crawling around the apartment. I'm getting carpet burn on my knees.
I'm pretty sure I could eat spaghetti bolognaise every day for the rest of my life.
And be happy about it.

Knit one, purl one, across the world


I'm still feeling terribly sorry for myself. My foot is this weird grey-blue colour and looks a bit freaky. My anti-inflammatory medication is wreaking havoc on my stomach and I woke up at three this morning, unable to get back to sleep. Lying down made me feel like I was going to vomit, and so I spent the rest of the night leaning against the couch, drifting in and out of sleep. Sylvain thinks that it's not entirely the fault of the medication, and could have something to do with the glass of red wine I mixed with it at dinner... Hmmm.

But it's not all bad.

Sylvain bought all the necessary ingredients for me to make my favourite comfort food, bolognaise sauce, and that will keep me happy for the next few days. He also stocked up the supplies of strawberry juice. Mmmm.

Amazon is my friend. Hopefully I'll get my orders in time to spend the last few days of my isolation with entertainment (because if I have to spend all week watching daytime tv I'll go insane).

A wacky friend of mine rang up a few minutes ago to say hello and tell me how sorry she was about my miserable state of affairs. From Australia. On her mobile phone. At a pub. At their Wednesday night knitting group. The phone was passed around as various people said hello. I could hear much laughter and cackling in the background, as everyone yelled out what they were in the midst of knitting. Fabulous, charming Aussie accents. Good medicine.

With that, the cat on my lap, and the internet, I don't feel quite so alone and sorry for myself. I'm knitting along with them, in spirit.

Indeed, this quiet time could be just what I need.



So, the xray went ok - it's not broken! - but my foot is still black and blue and I can't put any weight on it, let alone walk properly. So the doctor has put me on a stop-work until next Thursday. That's over a week away.


Normally I'd gleefully snuggle up with my cat, books, knitting, a few dvds and a blankie, and try to make the most of it, but it just falls at a really bad time. Things are really busy at my place of employ, and it's only going to get busier in the next couple of weeks, culminating in a week-long Congrès at the beginning of October. So I'm not there to help in the preparations and I'm feeling very very very guilty.


I really regret not having looked after my ankle better when I first hurt it ten years ago. My stupid teenage self was just too stubborn to want to use crutches and abandoned them far too early, and my ankle has been weak ever since. I'm so darn unco.


There are people all over the world in a far worse situation than I am. Just excuse me whilst I sit here and mope about how silly I am.



Intellectually, I know that I should say, "je suis tombée", not "j'ai tombé".

Intellectually, I know how to pronounce "luge" so that I almost-but-not-quite produce a whistling sound with my mouth rather than an anglo "oo".

I've been here long enough to know these things.

So why do I keep doing it?

Words of wisdom


Symphony keeps stealing the pillows that I'm using to put my foot up. I just kicked her off for the nth time, so now she's sitting in a huff, with her back at me. But at least she keeps my spot warm.

Even though my crutches are cool (they're blue! they have reflectors on the handles!), I'd just like to say that it is not a good idea to hobble around on them without a bra.


A taste of home


Sylvain left for work this morning, and checked the mailbox on the way. He ran back down the stairs to throw the package on the bed, with a grin, "enjoy!"

I opened the package, a special order that I had placed a few weeks ago. Since one of the items had to come from England, it took a little extra time to arrive. I'm glad that it arrived today - being housebound for a few days, the distraction is most welcome.

There were only two things in the package : The Lost Boys (aka la Génération Perdue) and The Cooks Companion, by Stephanie Alexander.

The Cooks Companion is a book that I've wanted for a very long time, ever since the first edition was released in 1996. Charlie told me about the new release when she was here at the beginning of the year, and it reinspired my decision to get hold of a copy.

This edition is amazing. It contains hundreds of classic recipes (scones, crumble, sauces, how to roast the perfect chicken), as well as heaps of "new australian" recipes (loukoumathes, goat cheese soufflé, beef donburi) - there are nearly 1,000 recipes in all. It is filled with explanations, conversions, descriptions, advice. Did you know that 1 Australian cup equals 250 ml, the British cup equals 284 ml, and the American cup equals 237ml ? I did not know that. But now I do.

The book is organised by ingredient, beginning with Abalone and ending with Zucchini and Squash, and there is at least one recipe for each ingredient. For example, there are 19 recipes based on chocolate, a gazillion side-notes with variations of these recipes and little tips and tricks, as well as a list of related recipes that can be found in other parts of the book that use chocolate too. The accompanying commentary is fascinating - it's based on Australian seasons, produce and availability, pure cream "is more difficult to find in Victoria than in other states", and that might bother some people on an international level, but that makes it even more interesting for me.

There are no photos for the recipes (the book is already 1,126 pages long - it would easily be twice the size if they added pictures), but there are many "australiana" photographs interspersed throughout the volume - when I flicked the page to see a flock of sheep in a wood-posted sheepyard, with a dog and a ute in the background, I literally felt my heart jump with that feeling of "home".

We already own a Petit Larousse de la Cuisine, a fabulous French cookbook that similarly examines ingredients and cooking styles from a French perspective. But now we have the best of both worlds.

Like Nigellas books, The Cooks Companion is a book that I will be able to read as well as use. I am excited. And today, it is going to provide a couple of hours of wonderful reading. Then I might watch The Lost Boys ;)

Adventures of an Aussie Lass


The last few days have been... adventurous...

Thursday night : stiching and bitching
Knitting is great. Girlfriends are great. It's even better when you combine the two together. We knitted up a storm, drank lots of coffee, talked a lot, and I'm looking forward to making this a regular event. Although there is something a little wrong about a bunch of anglo girls knitting in a Starbucks... in Paris...

Friday night : a glimpse into Katias teenage years
With the arrival of my latest order, Sylvain and I sat down to watch Waynes World. This movie was a defining movie for me in my teenage years. Although we didn't watch it quite as much as Robin Hood : Prince of Thieves, I'm pretty sure that Charlie and I watched it at least 100 times. So whilst he knew the movie, Sylvain had only ever seen it in French, and at the end of the movie, after "If you're gonna spew, spew into this", "Game on!", "Psycho Hose Beast" and "Who's Anthony? Who's Anthony? My drummer. Ok!", Sylvain looked at me and said, "I understand you a lot better now". I still say Psycho Hose Beast. Sometimes there are no other words that fit.

Saturday : Neo-Mania
After a quick IM conversation, "what are you doing today? nothing? me neither! my husband has left me for the day!", a fellow Neopets addict came over, armed with her laptop, for a Neopets Play Date. We sat at the coffee table, eating grilled cheese on toast, drinking strawberry juice, watching Harry Potter 2 & 3, hooked up to the wifi, and neopetted. "Yes! I just got a high score on Hasee Bounce!" It's less geeky to be a geek in a group than a geek by yourself. Or so we tell ourselves.

Saturday night : Footloose
The fellow Neopets addict and I decided to meet up with her and her husband for Pho and to see a movie. Fell over on the way there. In the middle of a busy road. Saved bag before saved myself (gotta have ones priorities right). Realised left ankle, my weak one, after a "netball incident" ten years ago, was twisted. Badly. Hurt so much that there were vomitty feelings and light-headedness. Stubbornly ignored friends logical pleas that we should go home, and decided to trek on instead. Ate yummy pho. Downed a few painkillers. Watched a movie. Got out of the cinema too late to get home on the regular train and decided to stay at friends place. Sat down in her kitchen, removed shoe and sock and realised that ankle was the size of a canteloupe. Panicked slightly. Downed a few more painkillers and iced foot. Watched mtv, ate popcorn and pretended foot was ok. Slept.

Sunday morning : Footlooser
Woke up to realise foot was still the size of a canteloupe. Decided to call SOS Medecin, who came, poked (squeal!), decided I must get an x-ray tomorrow, then declared me unfit for work for the next few days. At least. Various husbands braved the long lines in the pharmacy to get me millions of painkillers, ice packs, ankle supports and crutches. Yes. Crutches. When I do something, I do it properly.

Sunday afternoon : Car fun
After a delicious Viet-Chinese-related lunch, we jumped into the car to go home. Stopped the car 5 minutes later, to discover that the radiator had cracked. In our new second-hand car. Thank goodness we have a guarantee, although A Person Who Will Not Be Named cleverly left the phone number of the Car Assistance at home. So various husbands MacGyver-ed all afternoon, and managed to patch the radiator up a little using chewing gum, a piece of string and a few twigs, whilst she and I sat in the back of the car, knitted and ate M&Ms. Cos it's not as if we would have been able to do anything useful. With my crutches, it's not even as if I could stand there and look pretty. After 4 hours of hard work, including a visit from the police, "you're in a no-parking zone, move the car now!" and a frantic déplacement of the vehicle, we jumped in the car and drove home. We had to stop about 6 times (including a rather hair-raising pitstop at the roundabout at Alésia), popping the bonnet and refilling the radiator with coolant. But we did get home in one piece.

Good times.

Lucky I have at least the next three days off, foot in the air, to recover from it all.



I'd like to dispel, once and for all, a terrible myth.

Coffee is generally crap in Paris.

I don't know how the French have managed to keep up appearances for so long, but they do look terribly brave in the face of the the disgusting tar that they serve up in place of coffee here. Brasseries, cafés - the average place will give you a coffee that burns your gullet and makes your lips purse. It's not the fact that it being stronger than I'm used to or anything either - I love the sort of strong coffee that holds my teaspoon up in the cup - it's just bad. It might be romantic and fabulous to sit in a café in Paris, but unless you're willing to pay the price in the more expensive cafés and restaurants, it doesn't often taste romantic and fabulous.

I'm not the only one who thinks so either - Pim gives a good explanation of why coffee is generally crap in Paris.

This is why I like to go to Starbucks. Despite my misgivings about the chain itself (I was inspired to write this after a comment by a woman I admire greatly), at least the coffee tastes good. My favourite coffee house, however, for relatively cheap coffee and given the fact that it is quite close to my work, is Malongo, on the rue Saint André-des-Arts. I often find myself buying their freshly ground coffee to enjoy at home. Mmmmm. Coffee...

From Summer to Autumn


Long-time readers of this blog (and those who know me well) will be well aware of the fact that I like bags. A lot. My theory is that when the spirit moves me to get a new bag, who am I to argue?

I had gone shopping a few weeks ago, and came across a few different bags that I liked. I am still totally enamoured by the superfantastic goodness that is the classic black Sequoia bag, but I balked a little at the 200€ price tag. Maybe if I get a surprise pay rise or bonus or when pigs fly. I found a very nice one that I liked in an Esprit store, but since I am far from being a spontaneous shopper - I have a tendency to let potential purchases float around in my head for a while - I left it and decided to think about it.

Yesterday I had an IM conversation with a girlfriend that went a little like this :
Her : "what are you doing after work?"
Me : "um, was thinking about going to Rue de Rennes? maybe?"
Her : "OOoooooh, to get That Bag?"
Me : "hehe, maybe.'
Her : "let's meet at 6!"

So last night I found myself in the Esprit store on the Rue de Rennes. A quick look around the store revealed that there were none of the bags on display (I've lost items before by taking too long to think about it, I really should make up my mind faster), but thankfully a panicky interrogation of the shop assistant revealed that there was one left in the back of the store.

And voilà. I have found my bag-related Autumn Happiness. We quickly made our way up to the Starbucks at Montparnasse (I love shopping with girlfriends) and gossiped over Café Caramel Frappucinos, whilst I transferred my belongings from my pink handbag into my new brown sac à main.

And so begins Autumn.

the passing of a handbag

Despite the fact that the days are getting shorter, night falls far quicker than it used to - I think it's off to a good start.

Thanks for the pics, Aimee ;)

Tell 'im he's dreamin'


After finding out that someone has been taping Kath & Kim for me, and getting all excited about that, I decided to look for a copy of The Castle on DVD. After a little hunting, I found that is selling it - the only thing that I was disappointed to find was that many of the jokes have been cut out and/or changed in order to be more appealing to the American audience (fair enough, I suppose, considering it is an American version). So the search goes on.

As an aside, I was highly amused to read many of the comments that people had about this movie. The one that I laughed at the most was the one which went, "Australians DO seem to have a talent for making AWFUL movies and this is one of them... What is particularly disturbing is that his daughter is a qualified hairdresser and he acts as as if she has a PhD in Quantum Physics... I give this mvie 5 stars because after watching the dimwits in it one will feel as if he has the IQ of Albert Einstein compared to these losers."

That was obviously someone who missed the whole point of the movie, but perhaps one must understand the many layers of Australian culture to find this movie funny. I am sure Sylvain would think it hilarious, albeit probably on a different level to me.

But anyway. The hunt goes on.

This is going straight to the pool room.



So last week, we sold Pikachu, and on Saturday morning Sylvain picked up his new baby.

On Friday night we settled in bed and started to talk about the car. Sylvain was excited, but nervous about spending the money. We managed to buy it for less than what we sold Pikachu, so it's all good, but it's normal to be nervous about large purchases.

"It's an investment," I reassured him. "I think you made a wise choice. You'll have fun with it. And in two years, this car will be worth more than what Pikachu would be worth."

Sylvain nodded, happy.

"But you know," I said, slyly. "Since this is your 'toy', I won't feel guilty about buying clothes now."

He looked at me, "clothes aren't an investment. You change them every season."

I opened my mouth, but he put up his hand, "don't say it. Neither are shoes."

I scrunched up my nose, laughing, "ok, so what about cosmetics? And skin care products?"

"Well", he thought carefully. "I suppose that is an investment."

"That's exactly right" I poked him. "They make me beautiful!"

"No," he looked at me, smiling. "They keep you beautiful".

Well, there was a great big Katia puddle on the floor after that little comment.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again. This one's a keeper.

Monday moping

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I'm tired. And my stress levels are way above the healthy level and rising.

Now, where did I put my Zen? Maybe I should knit a bag for it and then I wouldn't lose it anymore.

I'd like to switch the ten ink cartridges in my printer around just to see what happens. Although that prolly wouldn't help things, so maybe it's not such a good idea.

But I'm sure it would have hilarious results.

September Birthday Bash


What do you get when you have seven (count 'em with me, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) anglo girls all in one place? Pure insanity at a very loud volume.

On Saturday, we intended to hit the Champ de Mars and have a chic sort of picnic to celebrate a number of birthdays under the Eiffel Tower (why? just cos we can!), but the skies were not happy, so we imported the festivities indoors at our apartment. There were husbands involved at the beginning, but after partaking in the goodness of blueberry pie and chocolate birthday cake, they soon fled back to their respective abodes (and mine hid in the study, along with the cat). Afterwards, there was stitching & bitching, corny movies (the original Buffy, anyone?), crazy neighbours, reeses peanut butter cups & rice crispy concoctions (I am learning a lot more about American culture than I ever thought I would), flying shoes, a very late night and a long sleep-in (although Symphony didn't help matters by pouncing enthusiastically on toes and fingers).

These sorts of adventures can do a helluva lot of good to a lassie, and I'm excited that we're going to actually all mobilise and organise a regular knitting group. Nothing like moral support to encourage you to finish projects.

Needless to say, I am resting my eardrums today.

But most of all, I'm lucky to have found such a nice circle of friends here now. They're good value for money, I'm telling you. Thankyou Mr. Internet!

Never too old


I have had one of the hardest working weeks ever (hence the meagre blogging offerings). By Thursday, I was so exhausted that I spent the last two days of the week working entirely on adrenalin. Coffee was my friend.

In theory, I would be sleeping all weekend in order to recover from the past week and prepare for the busy week ahead.

But no, that would be logical.

Instead, I'm in for a weekend of picnicking, slumber party fun (too old? rubbish!), cooking frenzies and knitting.

Cos if you're going to wear yourself out, you may as well do it properly.


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Someone used my mug.

Not happy, Jan.

That time of the year


Taxes = Katia passes out.

We'll get it paid, but it looks like there won't be the required 3,000-odd euros spare for a trip to Australia this Christmas :( *sigh*

Cheap and easy


Best cat toy ever : Pipe cleaners. Light and easy for the cat to toss around. Even better if you have a Burmese cat who plays Fetch and brings them back for you to throw. Hours of entertainment for 1.50 euros a packet!

This also means that I should, in theory, not lose quite so many hairbands to the claws of the aforementioned Burmese.

Sponge-Bob Square Pants


One of the best moments during the time my parents were here was when Sylvain called me, for the first time ever, by my childhood nickname.

As opposed to my sisters nickname - all close friends and family call her "Charlie" as a matter of course - only my parents call me this nickname. My dad does it far more often than my mum, and there are different variations of this name, depending on the circumstances.

It just bowled me over flat to hear this nickname coming out of Sylvains mouth, as he was asking my opinion on something whilst the four of us were driving back to Paris from Charentes-Maritimes. Mum, dad and I went completely silent for about five seconds, as we processed what he'd said, then all three of us burst into laughter.

"What?" said Sylvain.

"It's just..." I pause, and wipe the tears from my cheeks. Mum and dad were still chuckling. "It's really sweet to hear you say that," I grin at him and he winks at me.

I sometimes forget that English is Sylvains second language. I don't hear the accent any more (although when I listen properly, I am still totally charmed by it!), and whilst he still makes little mistakes, I just accept it as part of who he is. But from his perspective, he is still listening, learning. It's only natural that when he hears a new word over and over again - like my parents calling me by my childhood nickname for weeks on end - that he would pick it up.

He picked up other words from my dad too - some good, some, well, not-so-good. I walked into the bedroom the other day to find him having a conversation with Symphony, "come here, ratbag!", then later that night he asked me, "where's bratcat?" I suppose it's no worse than when he used to say, "come here, mitten!" (a derivative from the way I would call her "kitten mittens"), or "where's minniemoo?" (who knows where that one came from).

On Thursday night, after mum and dad left, he hugged me and called me by my childhood nickname. My two worlds are truly coming together into one great big mixed up AussieLassFrenchmanBurmese Land. I think I like this.

Allô la lune, ici la terre


"Oui? Allô?"

"Is that Dominique?" someone shrieks in my ear.

"No..." I start, but she interrupts before I can say anything more.

"Is Dominique there?"

"Uh, no, I think you've got a wrong number." I manage to say.

"This is the right number. Get me Dominique." She insists.

"Uh," I'm not really sure how to convince this lady that I know my own phone number.

"Look, I just got off work. Tell Dominique to call me." She becomes flustered, hurried. I can hear the beep of the train doors closing in the background.

"No, really, you must have rung the wrong number," I assure her.

"Listen, I know what number I rang. Tell Dominique to call me right away," she yells at me.

"No, really, You Have Rung The Wrong Number." I enunciate my words calmly, clearly.

"Boff. You don't know what you're talking about," by now, she sounds very insulted.

"Ah bah oui," I'm tired of this game. How am I supposed to convince her that there is no Dominique here? She doesn't give me time to say anything more...

Beep beep beep

So just don't say goodbye


I hate the departure lounge of airports. I hate goodbyes.

Last night was hard, and it was hard saying goodbye without being sure when I will see them next, but it was not as hard as the last time, when I said goodbye to Charlie, and not as hard as the time before that, when we left Australia, and not as hard as the time before that, when mum, dad and Charlie left after our wedding.

Perhaps I'm getting used to this. Perhaps not.

Sylvain thinks it's easier because we are both feeling more at home here. It's not so hard to let people go when we've got plans, more friends, and other exciting things going on.

It doesn't make it better, it just makes it easier.


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