The Marmite has arrived, and with it a whole lot of goodies for the kids. In a strange turn of events Louis loves Marmite and Elena would rather have her baguette untainted. I’m hoping the stuff will help both Louis and I with our iron intake, and the vitamins can’t hurt either, right? But I have one little jar and I don’t want to use it all up too fast.

Marmite and fresh baguette

I have been missing home quite a bit this week actually. I’ve avoided looking at all the Easter camp photos because just a few years ago we were there and loving it. And there are all those friends and many of my ex-students (some of whom are now leaders – argh, the mind boggles) hanging out and having deep-and-meaningfuls over their hot cross buns. And this year I haven’t had a single hot cross bun.

I am lucky enough to get the occasional deep and meaningful because, though my French is patchy I have quite a few Anglophone friends here. One or two are even New Zealanders.

One family of these NZers are even moving back to Christchurch (in all likelihood) around the same time as we will be. Moving BACK, in my experience, is even harder than moving to some place new and unknown, so it will be great to have friends going through the same transition.

And yet, this moving back is still over a year away, and not something I should really be thinking about. I’m actually loving being in France and I’m not in a hurry to shorten our time here. But I do miss people and aspects of my culture that are just so easy and relaxed compared with the french.

And then there’s the weather. It’s meant to get down to zero tonight… and I’ll be out in it cause I’m going to writers’ group. On the upside, I’ll be glad to have my hair (freshly cut and coloured this morning) down on my shoulders, keeping my neck warm (with the help of my thick red/orange scarf, methinks). On the downside, I like to read on the train, and it’s hard to turn the pages of my book with gloves on – though perhaps it will be warm enough to remove my gloves on the train.

Meanwhile, back in good old Aotearoa they’re having the longest summer ever. What?? I’ve dreamed my whole life of having a barbecue for my birthday party but April 12 is always too cold for it and Dad ends up out in the cold, barbecuing alone, while me and my friends hang out inside. Though, now I think of it, perhaps Dad preferred to be outside, away from all the squealing, giggling girls. (It’s a stereotype, and I’m sorry for it, but we were too innocent/ignorant to challenge it.) It’s meant to be spring here in France, teasing us with barbecue-worthy evenings, not terrorizing us with occasional snow flurries.

This year, for my birthday, I will not be relying on good weather at all. I am once again hosting a fashion swap. I’m all a-buzz with excitement at the prospect, but I’ll explain what exactly a ‘fashion swap’ means in a later blog post, no doubt, when I tell you about my birthday party – one week today.

And there’s one other thing I’m a-buzz with excitement about: we’ve booked our tickets to London. I’ve never been and we’re finally going, in May. I have a plan – there has to be a way – to see Les Miserables in the West End.

Les Miserables

I am determined. It shall be.