Tuesday, 14 February 2012

My French Life in Melbourne

It's Monday evening; the day after the weekend, another Monday.  C2 left at 6:00 this morning for Perth, J went to school and I worked at Child Wise; pretty sure Murphy spent the day sleeping, without the fleas finally.  It was a good weekend.  J's first week of Year 3 French was pretty intense and he was exhausted and spent much of it catching up on rest.

J and his bestie Jules

My route to work is through a part of South Melbourne called Albert Lake.  Albert Lake is also the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix track and I get to drive on it to and from Child Wise.  The Grand Prix is in a few weeks so it's been great fun watching the set up during my commute....when I'm not stopping to let black swans cross the road, they have the right of way.

My route to work along Albert Lake...that's not actually me; can you tell?
One of the great joys of living in Melbourne is our continued close attachment to all things French.  I speak French much of the time at J's school, most Melbourne home decorating shops are obsessed with Paris, there are more French bistros than in Paris (a barely minor exaggeration), and we are blessed with a marvelous French creperie "Le Petit Français Crêperie" in Toorak Rd.  Our usual group of mixed Australian-French, all-French expats, Australians-who-speak-French, and the rest of us French-for-a Reasons, about 20 of us in all, went there for a meal on Friday night.  Several crepes completes, crepes aux sucres, good conversation laced liberally with French, lyrical French music, and one $73 parking ticket later, we headed home sated.

Saturday afternoon, J headed out for a sleepover birthday party.  C2 and I cracked open a bottle of champagne, and indulged in a prosciutto and melon apero, followed later by seared tuna with avocado and mango, and a showing of the Australian classic films "The Castle" and "Kenny".  We slept with one eye open all night waiting for the telephone call from our sleepover-phobic son begging to come home; but the little fella toughed it out.  I was proud.

My mum has booked her annual 3-month journey to visit with us.  We're very excited and very blessed.  J is counting the days.  When asked by his English teacher today to write his interests and hobbies , the first item on his list:  Grandma!  Too sweet.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Home work

School started back last week.  J began Year 3.  It's very strange to have the first day of school on February 2 but we're getting used to it.  I haven't blogged much of late as I've been preoccupied with my new obsession, HBO's True Blood.  I'm new to the show and I've 4 seasons to catch up with.

Also keeping me busy?  For the first time in her nearly fourteen years, my poor Murphy is suffering the indignity of fleas.  She's suffering the indignity, I've been suffering the requisite daily vaccuming, washing all bedding, pillows, blankets, and bleaching of floors.  My house is clean but smells like a pool.  Don't know where she picked them up from but a dog beach we took her to shortly after our return from Canada is high on my list of suspects.  Apparently, it's a very common occurrence in Australia but my poor girl is mighty uncomfortable.  Still, ewwww....

J raced at a school swimming carnival today.   Swimming carnivals or organized competitions are very popular in this swimming-mad nation.  Considering, he's only been swimming proper strokes for a couple of months, he finished with a rather impressive booty of ribbons including a first in 50m freestyle, a second in 50m butterfly, and a third in 50m backstroke.  Comes by it naturally from me, clearly.

Yesterday, I finally went to Melbourne's massive and iconic Queen Victoria market with my friend Emilie.  She goes every week so knows the lay of the land so to speak.  My quest was for armfuls of late summer basil as it is pesto-making time of the year.  My mission was successful and after school today, J and I prepared to make a batch of our favorite stuff.

Unfortunately, my North American food processor didn't like the transformer we have, so we, horrors!, had to make it the old-fashioned way with a mortar and pestle.  My Italian ancestors would have been impressed.  However, before, you are all too amazed, we made enough for dinner, and are borrowing my mate Kerry's food processor tomorrow to make the rest.  Too much damn work!

Didn't end up too bad eh?  These beautifully dried basil leaves are waiting their destiny with the food processor tomorrow!  Apologies for the poor quality of the photographs, don't blame C2, these were taken with my phone.

We had a terrific weekend, C2 was home for four whole days and we "profitez'ed" by getting out for some mountain biking with J in the Dandenongs region of Melbourne.  That was followed by an amazing adults-only meal with our new friends, Kellie and Paul, at Da Noi, a Sicilian/Sardinian restaurant on trendy Toorak Road.  It was a six-course fixed menu based on the chef's whim of the day.  Old sheep would not normally be one of my preferred epicurean adventures but it was sublime and will be a memorable anecdote for some time!

Sunday was slow, late breakfast, lots of newspaper reading, many coffees.  A perfect end to the week.