Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Nothing Says Valentine's Day like Chocolate-covered Tomatos

I was luxuriating in a few extra minutes of sleep this morning, it being Wednesday and, therefore, no school in Swiss-Romande when I heard out of one ear, J scamper downstairs. Angus was purring on my chest, and Murphy snoring at my side, when I roused, shooed them off of the bed and made my way to the kitchen in search of my first coffee of the day.

What greeted me in the kitchen was the sight of J fully engrossed in making a treat for a friend due later that day. He was dipping the last cherry tomato into a stainless steel bowl of melted white chocolate (it was good of him to remember his chum only liked white chocolate) and then carefully placed it on a tray equally carefully lined with parchment paper to harden.

My mouth fell open...

Me: "Uh uh, what are you doing"

J: "We didn't have any strawberries like we made on the weekend so I made tomatos. It's a Valentine's Day treat for Spencer"

Me: "Uh uh, how did you melt the chocolate"

J: "On the stove over hot water, I turned the stove back off but I can't get the little red light to go off"

Me: "Uh uh"

J: "And look I started scrambled eggs too and cut up an apple, but I'm being careful with this pokey knife"

Did I mention he's 5? Mighty Mom, what does it say in your parenting manual about this one?

Friday, 13 February 2009

London Calling

Coincident with the sadness of witnessing the inevitability of an expatriate friend relocating to the USA, has been the joy of being a mere one-hour flight to my oldest and still-dearest friend, Sheila. J and I returned a couple of days ago from one of our regular jaunts to jolly old London.

A one-hour flight or 10-hour drive to London might seem far to some but when you have spent the last almost 20 years half a world away, our proximity has been a blessing for the last three years that we have been in Geneva.

Friendships are a funny thing, some wax, some wane, and some even run out of steam. My intercontinental friendship with Sheila has certainly been tested by time, distance, and seat sales. However, with the exception of a little high school drama, our friendship has buoyed and sustained me for years.

Watching our children develop a bond now has been profound. They play together like old friends, as familiar with the stretches between playdates as their mothers. They are beginning to share memories and common inside jokes.

It may be inevitable that we will have to answer the call to venture elsewhere leaving this grand place, and the wanderlust in me doesn't hate the idea, but having gotten used to reconnecting with Sheila every couple of months, I do hate the idea of increasing the space between us again. "Tant pis" oh well as they say in Swiss-Romande, at least now we have e-mail, SMS and Facebook, and until the inevitable, we still have EasyJet.

Take me to the nearest pub or perish!

Related Posts: A Little More on the Subject of Friendship and La Vie est Belle

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Heaven is Ski Week 2009

We just returned from our annual ski week in Les Gets, France with the Mighty Family (names changed to protect their privacy). This trip was tinged bittersweet with the knowledge that our friends are soon moving to the USA. Perhaps because of this, the weather gods were on our side this year, delivering utterly spectacular weather and piles upon piles of snow, and perhaps equally important, delivering me from my previous week's winter doldrums. The sun never stopped shining and the temperature hovered between -5 and -1c making for perfect snow conditions.

Ecole du Ski Français, Mighty Mouse in pale blue, J in green

This was also the first year that J was capable of consistently skiing the steeper red runs between our chalet and ski school. So around 9:00 every morning, the 7 of us walked out our back door, put on our skiis and glided down to the lift for the 30 minute ski to the other side of the mountain to ski school. We adults then had the rest of the morning to explore the broad terrain of Les Gets and Morzine, heaven!

As always, the apres-ski was grand, wonderful meals including our annual visit to our favorite fondue restaurant in the village, much champagne and fine wine, tired kids, happy dogs, and lots of laughs.

Six half-days is a long time in ski school for the kids but their level of skiing improved immensely. Emma the Brave was skiing black runs with ease while Mouse and J skiied all reds aggressively and more importantly with fun, hooting and hollering the whole way down. By the final day of testing, Emma earned her 3ème Etoile while the two little ones proudly earned their 1ère Etoile.

It will be hard to imagine our annual ski week without the Mighty family, it would indeed be strange renting our perfect side-by-side chalets without them on one side. Perhaps we will have to start new traditions. Their leaving is one of the down sides of the expatriate experience, having to say good-bye to good friends. However, C2 and I wouldn't have traded the last 3 years of friendship with them for the world. I think it's safe to say J wouldn't have either.

Related Posts: Life was Pretty Good at 1172 Meters Too and Heaven is at 2002 Meters