Unfashionable as true pour-your-heart-out all-the-feels blogs are these days, as I’m coming to the end of my séjour here (can’t believe I have only one week left, and 2 weeks before starting work!), I thought I’d nonetheless take a chance to reflect for posterity on the latest excerpt in my life.
It’s been a funny old blip from ‘real life’ spending the time since the Diploma finished out in a village near-ish Marseille, looking after three young boys through school and summer holidays, and improving my tan and spoken French along the way (and getting much lazier with grammar, but hey). It’s been fun exploring another region of a wonderful, different country.
Overwhelmingly, I’ve been so thankful for how God has provided these months. Contrary to the beliefs of some, I am not always as gungho about leaving as keen-ness for Erasmus and aupairing might imply – there’s always the fear that old friends will forget you and new friends will not be forthcoming. Or that everyone will think I’m stupid if I ask them to repeat things several times. Especially worrying this time round was the thought of “What if it all goes terribly wrong and the family are horrible?”. And “What if there’s nobody to make friends with and I’m alone all summer?”.
Very thankfully, these fears were unfounded – though looking after three small boys is about as much of a handful as you’d expect (/more), the family has been absolutely lovely, and I’ve very much enjoyed nights in on the sofa with the ravishingly young and beautiful* Joëlle watching (the admittedly sometimes melodramatic) Nashville, as well as weekend meals and spending time together with the extended family.
And while I’ve had plenty of time to relax and to justify my purchase of a Kindle, I’ve also been blessed to have made some friends – and even if it sounds self-evident, having someone to hang out with and chat to at the beach and to go and explore the region with makes everything so much better.
And the cherry on the top – though Marseille was just a little bit far away to frequent often mid-week, I found myself most Sundays in the lovely and welcoming église 1o2 (which I may have picked, after checking mission statements and beliefs, over another likely looking candidate merely on the basis of it having a better website, but that did seem to work out :P ), where I had the joy of meeting with brothers and sisters in Christ and worshipping with them.
(*she didn’t like it when I called her ‘au-pair mother’ a couple of posts back… ;) )
Things I’ve learned?
- Driving on the right in a left-hand-drive isn’t actually that complicated.
- Childcare is an incredibly time-consuming endeavour if you actually care about the children.
- Straw hats bought for 1€ at market are apt to tear easily.
- Re-use Arial clothes-washing-tablets tubs as re-sealable sick boxes for car journeys.
- Cuddles while reading a bed-time story are the best.
- Out-right bribery, while evil in principle, is also sometimes highly necessary…
- Micro-scootering works for getting from A to Z but might get you some strange looks.
- While Dairy Milk (along with trains unlikely to strike at the drop of a hat, comparative lack of queues in supermarkets, and Scottish accents) is lacking here, Cote D’Or milk chocolate with caramelised almonds and sea salt is just about the best chocolate on the planet.
- Blonde beer is surprisingly quite alright tasting.
Well, congrats to anyone who got this far! Normal recipes will resume imminently, unless interrupted by the next chapter of starting ‘proper’ work (though surely a legal traineeship can’t be as tiring as full time childcare? Right???).
In the meantime, here’s a recipe that I’ve had in draft form for over a year but never posted for some reason… I have eaten a fair few pink grapefruits recently and can attest that the messiness unfortunately does hold true.
I have a history of being a bit of a messy eater [future Sarah: I think at this stage I was thinking of a particular picture of me decorating my face with chocolate cake for the first time. But that picture is not to hand, and given the fact that it has not been forthcoming for the past year I'm just going to go ahead and post this without it]. Messy eating as an adult, however, may have hit a new high last Saturday with this, the grilled pink grapefruit. Not gonna lie, the juice was everywhere. Still, this simple recipe was pretty tasty. Maybe eating with a proper grapefruit spoon rather than a semi-blunt grapefruit knife would have helped; on the other hand, I kinda doubt it. Wear an apron, tie hair back if applicable, and have copious amounts of kitchen roll to hand and you’ll be fine. Probably.
1 grapefruit, washed and halved
2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp ground ginger / 1cm root ginger, peeled then grated with a zester
- Place halves, skin down, onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
- Sprinkle over the ginger and drizzle over the honey.
- Place in a pre-heated grill, about 3-4 inches away from the heat source, and grill for 5-10 minutes until thoroughly grilled but not burnt.