Pique-nique de Pâque dans le Parc

Hello all. We finally have our own Internet connection, so now maybe posting regularly could be a reality. Of course I am very busy with study and my “crazy projects” so I’ll just have to see what happens. Unfortunately we only have dial-up, so I now have to come to terms with being back in the slow lane after hitching a high speed ride with my brother for several months while we were staying at my Mum’s house. Thanks for that by the way mon frère.

We’ve settled into the new house nicely in the main. The wiring is a bit dodgy and the light bulbs seem to blow far too often and the plumbing has needed a bit of a look at as well as a couple of other little things. But other than these small issues, it is quite a nice house a good price. Two bedroom and two story, although I think I have already mentioned that. Nice small back yard with some big trees and some big trees out the front too.

Over the summer, which hasn’t been too hot, though the temperature did bump up a wee bit, the house has stayed very cool indeed. This is in part because of the house being made from proper solid brick instead of the paper thin varieties of plaster board and thin brick veneers that most houses these days seem to be made from. So the house has retained a cool, fresher air than one of those houses. It’s quite a relief when one gets back in from a warm day to meet that natural coolness. We’ll have to see if the house keeps warm in the winter though, that can sometimes be a problem with these houses where they feel like an ice box in winter and need constant heating.

I’ve especially been enjoying having an upstairs mini-balcony just off the main bedroom. We have developed a tendency to sleep with the main door open and the screen door locked. It’s quite nice to fall asleep hearing the wind in the branches, very relaxing. Some might say Zen.

Anyway, I might just pop up a few details of what’s been going on recently. The most obvious for today is of course Easter (la Fête de Pâque) and we actually went out and spent it with other human beings. French human beings.

The French Benevolent Association of SA held a pique-nique at Hazelwood Park, a lovely park over in the east of Adelaide. This was of course full of francophonic type people as well as francophilic type people. As much as I would love to count myself in the former group, we all mostly fit into the latter. Despite this, the pique-nique was very enjoyable. We got there with our rather French assortment of goodies (well I thought so anyway) consisting of crusty bread, a brie from Normandy called St Siméon (seems to be somewhat similar to a coulommier, but that may not be quite right), some salad and some muffins and stuff. My Mum had come with Joseph and my foster sister Erin, and Annmarie’s Mum and Brother Justin had come along as well. We all tried to keep with the French and Easter themes.

The day was very nice, warm and bright so everyone had a good time. There was an Easter egg hunt pour les enfants, Willow and Gabriel enjoyed that very much. We enjoyed being amongst the French speakers but were a bit shy about trying to speak to too many people earlier in the day. Some of the members of the Association came around and chatted-in English-but we mostly kept to ourselves unfortunately.

Later when we had all eaten and packed up our stuff, we played some football (European, not Aussie) and then we started thinking of heading off. Willow had wanted to get some phone numbers of some of the French children and I went along to hold the pen and tell her our number so she could write it. After she had swapped numbers with one of the other families, I dove in and started a chat in French.

Considering my skill level and volume of real experience, I think it went quite well. I went through the basics of introduction and greeting. Was introduced to another, described my Family and my current state of French studies and how much Annmarie had studied. I even added that that we had stayed in Paris for a couple of months last year. This was my only downfall in maintaining the conversation.

I just completely misheard, “Est-ce que vous l’aimez?” after saying we had stayed in Paris. This translates into “Did you like it?”. Seeing that I was trying to decipher it, she rephrased to “Est-ce que vous amiez Paris?” or something like that, referring to Paris directly, but I was already lost. She put it in English and the penny dropped and I had one of those moments of “Oh! l’aimez!” and then we continued in French again.

Overall I was quite pleased with my efforts, I was even complemented on my French-and quite forgot to reply with my trained light-hearted rejoinder to downplay the compliment, apparently very common in France. I went through all the basics that we have covered in my Uni course and then added some more. Describing other people, describing the past and other places. It was quite exciting to converse in another language. I could feel my brain rebelling against the fluency concept though and desperately wanting to slow down and translate. Having a person there waiting for an answer does help to spur on the brain though.

So, the rest of today has been eating Easter chocolate (Lindt and Haighs mostly, we do like nice chocolate) and generally getting ready for tomorrow when Annmarie’s brother is turning up with his four kids, so there will be much activity then.

As said before, I am looking to keep this blog up-to-date™ from now on.


Not gone yet

Well, it’s been months since I last wrote to my blog and much has happened. I’m just getting ready for a new academic year so not much time to post up everything that has been happening. If anyone does still read this blog, we are planning to get dialup again soon so we can have some small level of connection to the world, then I promise I’ll start posting again.

A slight delay

Well, today was fun. Sorta. We were all ready to move into the new house. We had packed up our stuff (clothes, kitchen-ware, food – the stuff that was out and being used during our temporary stay), 0rganised some the boxes of stored effects ready to be moved, reserved a rental trailer (a pretty huge one at that) and generally got ready to go. I went down to the real estate agent’s office to settle our deposits and collect the keys.

Just before getting there I called Annmarie to let her know that I was just about there when I was informed that there was a problem and we wouldn’t be able to move in for another three weeks. Luckily Annmarie had been able to cancel the trailer without any problems and she was on her way into town. We went to see the Agent and he told us that although the property had been advertised with a set move in date, the tenants actually had a lease till the end of October. It seems they had elected to move out sooner, but something must have gone wrong with their plans and they couldn’t get out earlier. So we agreed to push back our acquisition till the 31st.

It’s quite annoying as we spent some time getting stuff ready and the preparation was quite an interruption to my studies, but I imagine that if I were in their position I would appreciate being given the extra time to find somewhere to go myself. At least we know we have this place when it does come available and we don’t have to worry about the looking any more. We just have to put the boxes back away for a while.

Final destination for now

Well, after too long a search (almost 4-months), we have found somewhere to rent. This has been a rather difficult thing to find as we are a low income family since I am now a full-time student, but we have found a two bedroom flat in roughly the area we were hoping for. It’s very close to the city so we can easily walk there and back, there are an abundance of shops and restaurants around and we are in walking distance of the Adelaide Alliance Française and the Glenelg tram. Glenelg is a rather nice beach spot that we like and my Mum lives very near by to the Glenelg stop. The Glenelg tram route also runs very regularly compared to bus services so it’s actually quite handy. Another handy part of being near the city is that my University is located in the city also, so I’ll be able to walk to and from Uni very easily. Overall it seems to be an ideal spot. The place is quite nice too. It’s a cosy two floor, two bedroom town house in a group of five. It has it’s own small yard (both front and back) and it’s reasonably modern.

It’ll be good getting back to living in a permanent housing arrangement. We’ve spent a bit too long living in cramped quarters. The Paris flats were are very small and since getting back and staying with my Mum and brother we are all squashed in too much. So having our own space will be good and I’m sure Mum will appreciate getting her house back.

I’d like to add more on about what’s going on, but as Annmarie has just pointed out, I need to get on to my studies as I have assignments that need to be completed very soon.

New Fridge!!

Well after about three months on the road, I have finally had a non-Australian hair cut. Good thing too, my hair was starting to look decidedly ragged and mopish, not the thing for job seeking at all. Since I have also re-acquired my suits etc., and have had them dry cleaned, I now look quite … err … spiffy. Other than that, things are mostly not too bad. We have decided that the pathetic quality of our fridge requires us to replace it with a model more suited to a small family trying to live healthily on a modest budget in one of the least healthy countries in the world (they think that chips are vegetables, they have obsessive sweet tooths (or is that sweet teeth??) and they deep fry everything, we were told that Edinburgh has the dubious distinction of being the home of the deep fried mars bar). The new fridge is on order and will be delivered on Saturday. So only three more days till abundant fruit and legumes at hand in the kitchen.

Well once again, it is quite late here so I guess I’ll leave it here and it’s off to bed. It’s been good to hear now and then from people back in Oz, so keep any communications coming.