Saturday, 29 March 2008

Random thoughts on womanhood and motherhood

There have been many life experiences of which I am justifiably (or not) proud. I ran a successful consulting business for many years. I competed in a triathlon last year. I chased dolphins while sea kayaking off Vancouver Island. I dislocated a shoulder mountain biking in Alberta (that one was high on the oooh…ahhhh scale especially in the physiotherapists’ office). I have travelled from western Europe to western Canada with a pre-schooler numerous times (don't knock it if you've never done it).

However, none elicited the sense of accomplishment and extension beyond my normal comfort zone as that which I did yesterday. I correctly assembled an IKEA bookshelf by myself in under an hour. I am woman. Hear me roar!

When I was 6 months pregnant with J, C2 and I bought a glider chair and ottoman for the nursery. In the last almost 5 years, that chair has rocked J to sleep, quieted his tears, heard thousands of stories read aloud, and witnessed too-many-to-count cuddles and kisses. One of the first words J said while gesturing urgently to it with a book was ‘chair-chair-chair’.

Alas, at nearly 5-years old, chair-chair-chair no longer comfortably fits us together. He squirms, can’t get comfortable and ends up poking me in the ribs. So yesterday, in an effort to convince him that he would be happier with his new Playmobil castle in that corner of his room, he hesitantly agreed to move chair-chair-chair to the guest room being occupied by his grandma for the next 3 months.

His uncertainty at this decision grew as the day wore on. ‘This will be the saddest night ever mummy’, he forlornly told me as he climbed into bed in spite of my promises of new book shelves and a kid-size bean bag chair. I am mother. Feel my guilt!

Sunday, 16 March 2008

The Dinner Party

I love food. It’s as simple as that and a good thing that I train for triathlons given my epicurean curiosity and pleasure-seeking palate. God bless the Canadian Prairies but they remain, unfortunately, something of a gastronomical wasteland. Europe on the other hand…ah Europe… The boulangeries, the boucheries, the marchés, the auberges, the vineyards, the endless restaurant opportunities. I could carry on ad infinitum but that is fodder for other blogs. This one is all about the dinner party.

C2 and I love to cook almost as much as we love to eat and thankfully most of our friends are comparable foodies. I adore the whole process - the menu planning, the wine pairings, the table setting, the cooking, and of course, the eating. I could, mind you, probably live without the washing up part. We’ve hosted many, some better than others, last evening’s was superb.

We invited Marc and Nat to meet our great friends, Kirk aka “Le Sommelier” and Melissa aka“Mrs. Jamie Oliver”. It’s always a bit dicey when you invite couples to meet for the first time, but this evening was entertaining from start to finish. It began with C2 and Marc getting tipsy on Trappist beer (given to us by friends living in Belgium) even before the appetizers were served and only got better from there.
The food was great, the company wonderful. Here’s the menu and play list for your viewing and listening pleasure:
On the Table
Flammekuche savoyard pizza
Crudités and dar vida flat breads with herbed goat cheese


Teriyaki grilled Salmon
Steamed Asian Vegetables scented with freshly grated ginger
Jasmine Rice


Roquette & Endive Salad with shaved Parmesan, toasted Pinenuts and aged Balsamic Vinegar

Tomme de Savoie, Mellun Brie, Chevre cremier, Gruyère, and Roquefort with baguette


Plum, Raspberry and Almond crumble
Lemon Chocolate cake

Play list
Mark Knofler and Emmylou Harris - “All the Roadrunning”
St. Germain - “Tourist”
Michael Bublé - “It’s Time”
Soundtrack from “High Fidelity”

We did go a little later than usual.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Joyeuse Pâques

Courtesy of my local swiss grocery store. Funny, I don't recall seeing these guys side-by-side in my Safeway Easter flyer.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

A Little More on the Subject of Friendship

I know that friendship seems to have become a recurrent theme through my postings but it is one of the great joys in my life. The friendships I have made since arriving in Geneva buoyed our transition and raised this amazing expatriate experience to a new level.

In Canada, I left behind a network of loving and loyal friends who valiantly nurture our long-distance connection. I am incredibly grateful for their effort. My relationship, thankfully, with my immediate family is extraordinary. I would have chosen every one of them as friends even if they weren’t family!

Among the many thrills that living in Europe has given me is the now close proximity to my oldest friend, Sheila, who has lived in London for the better part of 20 years. We met at age 14, grade nine, at Riverdale High School in Montreal.

As best friends, we shared adolescence, high school, braces, university, first loves, first jobs, marriage, children, wanderlust, braces again, and great distances for almost 30 years. After she met and married her lovely English man, we still managed to communicate regularly and visit every couple of years. Now we exchange visits every couple of months!

She was in Geneva this week for a few brief but blissful days. We had a leisurely laughter-filled lunch with Nat on Thursday at Geneva’s elegant Hôtel les Armures. Over cabillaud, crème brûlée, and conversation, we marveled at the forks and turns of life that brought all three of us to that table.