vendredi 29 juin 2012


I was kindof expecting to be hit with waves of nostalgia when we got back to France.  Aside from the usual bumps in the road that you hit when you move internationally with an infant, and then stay with relatives, and then house sit instead of finding your own apartment, and then move back in with relatives again, and have to start all over again from scratch and find new friends/doctors/banks/mechanics/grocery stores it was a pretty easy year.  I didn't find myself missing France much at all.  And then, when we got back a few weeks ago, it didn't feel like we'd ever left.  The only giant pang of sadness I felt was walking through the market in one of my favorite parts of town.

How did I go a year without buying fresh olives scooped into baggies?  Without saying bonjour to the hunched-over grey haired granny selling lavender sachets? Without buying giant ruby beets, and slow-roasted chickens stuffed with bell peppers and potatoes?  Without reasonably priced goat cheese, except the stuff at Costco, which gives Josh a stomach ache? 

I'm not sure.

Maybe it was the ease of driving everywhere, of having a beautiful American kitchen, or a bathroom with no sewage smell backing up from the shower drain.  Maybe it was wall-to-wall carpet.  Or grass.  Or canned sweet potatoes.  

Or maybe, like one of my friends pointed out when I told her that I didn't feel sad about not living in Aix any more, it's just that we're not meant to be there right now.  I like that answer, although I think I would like easier access to French food.  So would Bout-Chouette: we held her up to look in the display case of a bakery while we waited to buy our baguette.  She took a good, long look at the pastries...and then started clapping.


One of the biggest sacrifices you make when you live in more than one place is that you'll always love something that's somewhere else.  On one of our strolls through town (which were few; I spent 90% of our time in France studying), we passed the old apartment of friends of ours.  They weren't there any more--Josh was supposed to be making a sad face in the photo.

But I guess the smile works, too; when we get back to the US, we'll be living down the block from them.  I'd say that's almost worth missing out on the goat cheese.

mercredi 27 juin 2012's been a looooong time since I posted anything on this blog. My life was pretty much consumed by baby, and I didn't want this to be a blog about babies or parenting, since I have about zero insights on that. And its original purpose was to fill our friends in on what was going on in our life overseas, but we moved back to the US. So...not much to blog about. But, we're back!  Back in Europe for a few weeks for school stuff.  And back to blogging because dogs.

Our first day back in "The Olde Countree" was, in my mind, infinitely blogworthy, and overcame a year of blogging inertia. Because...we ate frankfurters in Frankfurt. !!!!!  I could be dramatic and say this was a dream come true, but that would A) be not true, and B) make my dreams look pretty lame. I CAN say, though, that after a VERY disappointing first trip to Germany, when we saw the European equivalent of Trenton, New Jersey, I was hoping for a visit to a beautiful city that would redeem my mental image of the motherland. And boy did I get what I was asking for. We got to Germany (a looooong layover on our way to France, with enough time to leave the airport for a few hours) on a national holiday, and were greeted by a brass band as we got near Frankfurt's main square.

Not bad, huh?  We very quickly put mega miles on our new stroller.  Lil' Miss Bout-Chouette did a GREAT job on the flight over, but after only 3 hours of sleep, she pretty much disintegrated into a puddle of screaming mush every time the stroller stopped.  So, we saw a lot of Frankfurt.
We also found a place for traditional food--Frankfurters, sauerkraut, and apple wine (which was just hard cider with a fancy name).
Somebody decided it was time for her first hot dog...

...which she definitely liked.  No apple wine for babies, but the sauerkraut was also a hit.  This trip is full of culinary firsts--she had her first taste of pizza at Pizza Capri in Aix, which, I would posit, is the best pizza in the world, hands down.  She ate enough of my slice that I had to get another one.

And, we were planning to hold off on sweets until after her first birthday, but we kindof blew that.  She had her first glace (not counting when I let her lick a spoon that had lightly touched some vanilla ice cream a few months ago); lavender flavor, in Place Richelme.  We want to make sure her tastebuds know that she's a petite aixoise.

 Here she is with her sunglasses and camera, ready to take on le soleil.

And, a shot during dinner in the airport on our way to Spain.  Rockin' the disposable bib, placemat, and sippy cup (although the sippy cups are totally re-usable.  Just to set the record straight so I'm not encouraging unnecessary throwing out of sippy cups).  And, what does a baby eat for her last meal in France?  Roquefort and Walnut tortellini, and poulet rôti.  It was good to be back, even for just a quick visit!