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A day in my life (last week)

I wake up with the sun shining brightly in my face. There was a point in my life that I hated that, and I probably will again in the summer, but for now it doesn’t make sense to close the shutters every night just to open them back up in the morning. I have two large windows and the shutters are the “modern” rolling (read:squeeky) kind. It’s a few minutes before 9am which means I got to sleep in, but it also means the kids have been on their ipads for around 2 hours now, yikes. My eyes have barely adjusted to the light as I shout “Ok guys, time is up” The kids come barrelling into my room for 30 seconds of cuddling before they start to wrestle right on top of me, this is why I now wear pajamas to sleep. I wonder for a moment if we sound like elephants to the poor souls in the apartment below us. The first two weeks here I tried my best to make the kids conscious of all the noise the floor made as they ran around, but I gave up. Six months of nagging sounds like a lot less sanity than introducing myself and apologizing for the noise. My neighbours so far have been elusive. I hear there is a girl who lives below us who is Kaylee’s age, but we have yet to see her. They wrestle each other for a minute as I try to pretend I’m getting some weird form of Swedish massage.  They quickly demand that I make them breakfast. “Go pour some cereal” doesn’t work here like it does back in Canada, they can’t stand the taste of the milk. We’ve tried six different brands now but none seem to have worked. I wonder if I could just quietly replace dairy milk with almond milk, would they notice? I bet it would taste ok, I don’t drink dairy milk in Canada, I just haven’t bought any almond milk here yet.  Kaleb has been trying new tastes and asks if he can make us eggs, sunny side up, I agree. The first thing I do as I climb out of bed is throw on slippers and a sweater and crank up the heat, it’s cold in the morning and I’m still not used to living with radiators, five throughout the apartment all of which have their own temperature settings, none of which I can seem to set with any sort of regularity. I miss setting the heat to 19.5 degrees and never thinking about it again. Kaleb screams something about being a chef.  He does a great job, he just needs me to turn on the pan, check the heat, crack the egg, check for doneness, use the spatula, plate the eggs and carry the plates to the table, he’ll grab the forks. Thanks for breakfast, Kaleb.

I ask the kids to clear the dishes as I go get dressed. Dressing myself starts with my new knee brace, that mountain climb somehow managed to completely ruin my knee and it is painful everyday, too early to tell yet if that brace helps. Finding the brace was a treat. There are pharmacies all over the place here, and I have made myself look like a fool in a lot of them. Everything is kept behind the counter, right down to Advil. The children’s Advil I packed turned out to be baby Advil, about 1.5 doses for my kids, my mistake. I had to go in one day and ask for children’s Advil. It doesn’t sound intimidating, but I got asked about dosing, syrups vs chewables vs tablets (I think) and container size. Why on earth can’t you just keep this stuff on the shelf? I know most of these words, I swear, but using them unexpectedly on the fly with a native speaker is something I’ve never done before. Luckily, I have learned saying to people that I am still learning french makes people a lot more patient than just saying that my french is terrible. Plus there was that time we needed nail polish remover. No, not fungal cream, not a manicure set, no, not nail polish, yes, dissolvant! Inside the third pharmacy that day I decided they must keep them behind the counter, since I hadn’t seen anything even close in any stores yet. I brushed up on any words I thought I might need for the conversation. I went to the counter and asked if they had any braces for knees. The dude looked at me in a way I could tell I’d already made a huge mistake. Ok, Do you have any wraps for knees? Umm, do you have any sleeves for knees? No luck. Ok, let’s try this. My knee hurts, what do you have that can help? Once his eyes lit up I knew I was getting somewhere. He led me over to a shelf filled with brown paper bags and pulled one down, he reached inside and pulled out a wrapped bunch of herbs. Wet it, he says, put it on your knee, wrap a towel around it and watch a movie. Ummm… no, thank you. Wait, he says, smell it. Yep, that smells like a leafy A535, I get it. Merci, Bon Journee. This was going to happen, my knee killed me with every step and I lived in a fourth floor apartment, I wasn’t climbing those stairs again without a brace. I walked a few blocks away and tried again. This pharmacy had a slightly larger storefront but still nothing that was going to help me. I walked to the counter and was greeted by a lady twice my age, she had such a kind face. Do you have sleeves for knees? No. Umm, do you have a brace for a knee? No. Alright, do you have any products for the knee? She turned and disappeared behind a wall for only a few moments. Oh look, an identical bundle of the dried, leafy, smelly stuff. She looked displeased that I was wasting her time so we left. Whatever, this is exactly why I have an amazon account out here, even if I do have to wait three days and go pick up my package at the post office. 60 seconds later I had one ordered. I only had to stop 8 times on the stairs up to our apartment that day. So I get dressed in my limited wardrobe that has become even more limited by my slightly bulky, but badly needed brace. I’m sure walking around on it up and down the stars and around town for a week after I hurt it hasn’t helped anything.

I go to make coffee with my Aeropress, I love that thing. There is a coffee machine and a french press in the apartment but I haven’t used either of them yet. As I grind my beans in my hand operated mill I glance at the table and notice places with egg goop all over them, I ask the kids again to clear the table. I boil water in a pot on the stove. There is an electric kettle that is much faster and more convenient, but 80% of the time I use it, it trips the breaker and I lose power to the apartment, which means I have to go around resetting things afterwards, so I’ve long since packed it up and retired it at the very back of the highest shelf. I don’t like boiling water in a pot on the stove, but I’m not going to buy a kettle. I also hate my pots and pans, but it’s only for six months. I don’t have a single butter knife in the apartment, I’ll just have to live without. We only have three bowls, whatever, there’s only three of us and nobody eats cereal anymore. I will however, be buying a cheese grater. Turns out I can’t live without one of those. Coffee is made, complete with the gorgonzola flavoured milk that is only tolerable in my coffee, surprisingly enough. I glance at the sink and notice plates with egg goop and pieces of egg white on them, I inform the kids that this morning, they get to clean the kitchen. Kaleb doesn’t mind, for some reason the kitchen is his favourite chore, but Kaylee groans and protests.

After breakfast is cleaned up I mentally go through everything we need to get done today. If we want to make it to Monkeybrains Market we’ll have to leave soon, the merchants typically start closing up around 11. Tonight we’re having Pizza pinwheels for dinner. I got super tired of listening to the kids complain about every single meal I made, so I opened a new pepperplate account, imported some recipes and told them they could each pick a dinner a week, so long as they ate my dinners on the other days. Kaleb had picked pizza pinwheels. We bake everything in our microwave/toasteroven/convection oven combo. It’s tiny and weird, but we make do. I would need to pick up some pre-made pizza dough, cheese, sauce and maybe some meat. As the kids get dressed we talk yet again about what to do when we change. Pajamas go on the bed, I’ll change them every few days. Socks and underwear go straight into the laundry machine, and pants and shirts are looked over for marks, spots, spills and smells. Some=Laundry None=Hung on the back of the chair. I’m starting to think I should get it engraved on a plaque and hang it on the wall, though I’m not sure that would help, I do know that laundry is a giant pain my ass. My machine is tiny so I have to do loads often, and there is no dryer, so I hang everything so it can get nice and crunchy, despite going through fabric softener like a maniac.

Kids are dressed, my purse has extra bags, my wallet, phone and keys. Keys are important, my apartment door locks automatically when it’s closed, like a hotel room, and I’ve already locked myself out once. Thankfully my landlord gave me two sets and Kyla was at home with the other set when it happened. The markets only take cash, so I always have to have a bit on hand, unlike in Calgary when I almost never had cash on me. We head down our narrow, twisting staircase and I only have to stop because of knee pain like, five times. Again I wonder how the neighbours picture us, the kids have a habit of running down the stairs chuckling, I don’t know why, but they do and the staircase echoes like a canyon. By the time I’ve reached the front door the kids have checked the mail, hit each other a few times and have grown bored of waiting, they argue about who opens Theodore (get it?). I’m embarrassed to say that the first time we left the place it took us a minute to figure out how to open the door. I don’t know if we’ve seen a doorknob since we left the airport.

We head out towards the general direction of monkey brains market. The kids either don’t know or don’t mind that I can’t exactly remember the way, my guess is they have no idea. The roads here don’t run parallel and perpendicular to each other. If I had to liken them to any shape, I’d say close to a spiderweb, with a few centres instead of just one. It would be easier if I kept a mental log of which street lead where, but I’m finding that still difficult. It’s in that general direction, and finding new shops along the way has the potential to solve some problems we’re facing getting set up in our new home, so that general direction is the way we go. There are dogs everywhere we go, I’d say about 45% of them are on leash, the others just walk alongside their owners, and a few randoms just seem to do their own thing with no obvious owner around, but they wear collars and look fed so we assume they aren’t strays. About 95% of the dogs around here look on edge, they don’t look relaxed and happy to be out for a walk. Sometimes my kids will ask to “say hello” to a dog, but only if I’ve scoped it out and decides it doesn’t look totally freaked out, which isn’t that often. As a by product of all the dogs around here, there is dog crap EVERYWHERE. I don’t know why in the world people don’t pick up after their dogs, it seems so awful to me, but it’s a fact of life here, on almost every block there is dog crap somewhere on the ground. To counter that, every single morning men come by in tiny water trucks and hose down the street and sidewalks (where they exist). It seemed really weird to me at first that they would rinse the roads every morning, but as time goes by I’m starting to understand why. Beer and wine is splashed on the streets with all the public drinking, and most apartments around us just put their garbage, in bags, outside of the front door, leaking and all. So dog crap, alcohol and garbage slime is washed away down the street drains early every morning, readying the roads to be dirtied again. I understand now why I’ve heard so many visitors say Calgary is such a “clean” city. As we walk we do so in the middle of the street, if a car comes by, we do as the locals do and move out of the way at the very last moment, squeezing into the narrow space between the buildings and the road. When we first got here I had eight heart attack like events per day about my kids being so close to the traffic, and not paying attention enough to when cars are there or not, today we are a little more used to walking in the street, we understand the rhythm a little better and if we happen to misstep or don’t hear a car behind us, we understand a honking car does not equal an angry person here, it is a polite way of saying ‘excuse me’.

As we make our way through tiny streets, guessing which corner to turn at I realize I’ve gone a little too far in the wrong direction, I tell the kids I have to send a message and I pull up google maps on my phone. I don’t care if we take too long, the kids need to use their legs and it’s the difference between 5 minutes and 10-15. Ok, so go in that general direction. I’m not trying to memorize street names because my brain doesn’t function with the foreign names yet, and I’m not keeping my phone out because I’d rather look around and maybe get to know the area. Eventually I’m pretty sure at the end of this road we should turn left but when we get to the end of the road we find ourselves at the market. I wanted to come in on the other end, but that’s ok, we made it anyways.

I tell the kids that I will buy them absolutely any fruits and vegetables they would like and we make our way through. As we pass by tables people look me in the eye and say things, I hope they are offering me a good deal, I hope that my smile and silence isn’t somehow insulting but I don’t recognize any of those words, and they speak very fast, I don’t check with Kaylee anymore, she doesn’t know what they say either. Kaleb spots the clementines from six tables away, we pick out eight and not for a moment do I wonder if they’ll get eaten. Produce here doesn’t seem to last as long, actually nothing does. I’ve read in a few places that Europe has different rules about food preservatives and treatment, I don’t fully understand if/how that would affect produce, but I don’t mind. The clementines come from our neighbour to the west, Spain, and are the most delicious orange any of us have ever eaten, if I don’t ration we’d eat all eight before nightfall. I hand the bag over to the person working the table, this transaction is easy, they ask me if I want a bag and let me know how much I owe them, all those words I can easily deal with. I’ve brought two tote bags and another shopping bag, I try to make the two smaller bags light so the kids can carry them longer, but I typically end up with all three bags on my shoulders before too long. I don’t mind. Kaylee picks out lettuce and the vegetables she wants to put in the salads for the next few days. She’s decided to be the salad maker for the family. It’s awesome because despite feigning interest in cuisine, she’s never really done much around the kitchen. Kaleb on the other hand, is the ultimate kitchen helper, that kid knew his way around a chef’s blade before he could print. Yes, I am that parent. As Kaylee picks out salad fixings I try to understand the cured meats table. I love cured meats and really want to buy something, but I’ve had one or two different samples three times a week for two weeks now and it’s only my Canadian politeness that keeps me from sitting them out almost right away. I don’t get it, what am I eating? They aren’t labeled with the meat type and flavourings, that I could understand, I think. The woman working the cured meats table barely looks at me anymore. I bet she thinks I come to the market to lunch on samples, I want to give you money, I swear. I catch back up with Kaylee and she has an arm full of produce. Despite filling one of my shopping bags, we pay around 4-5 Euros for all of it. It’s all fresh, crisp and super yummy.

The kids no longer want to see the monkey brains truck (which actually contain sheep brains) and all of it’s oddities, Cow tongue, something lung, brains and other things I haven’t quite been able to translate. It’s just as well because it’s very busy today and I would hate to line up just to peek and have the kids say “ewww”. I make my way past the spice table, I have bought from here many times and the man working the tables offers me a nod, I nod back but pass right by, he’s too nice to the kids and gives them a scoop so they can smell every single blend he has, if I need spices, I’ll come back when the kids are back at school and buy them then. We make our way to the butcher, I tell the kids to look around the tables and not touch anything. I hang out and watch and listen to people buying meat. None of it is precut or labeled and I have yet to navigate the method in which one buys meat from this guy. I listen and watch for a few minutes, try to hear these foreign words in such a way I could at least repeat them, or see somebody buy a familiar cut so I could at least say I want the same thing, but no luck. Kaylee asked a week ago if we could have steaks for dinner, I said yes but since then have come to learn that going out and buying a steak isn’t as simple as I expected. One day. The kids have spotted a table selling Calissons, I explain to them that it is a locally made candy, contains candied fruit and tell them if they’d like, I can buy them some. We’ve been meaning to try them for a while, they are the pride of our city. I let the kids grab a piece from the sample plate and wait for their eyes to light up. Kaleb’s Canadian politeness is drowning under his gag reflex as he reaches for my hand. He spits the candy out, half chewed and covered in spit right into my palm. I no longer want to sample. I look at Kaylee and can tell she’s tough enough to swallow it, but won’t be sampling them again any time soon. The merchant at this table eyeballs me with utter distain. I shrug, as if to say “I guess it’s a good thing you have samples” and walk away to ditch the candy goo and wipe my hand.

We stop by the cheese truck to pick up cheese for our pizza dinner, I know from experience this guy will sell me anything, but doesn’t like my accent or the slow manner in which I order things, I don’t mind, I understand I sound funny, and can appreciate his frustration in me ordering at a snail’s pace. Maybe in five months time he’ll comment on how far I’ve come. I know what I want but don’t see if on any of the labels. I double check every piece of cheese to see if it even looks like mozza or cheddar, or something I’d want on a pizza. I have yet to find more than three cheeses with a name I recognize. It’s not like I never ate cheese in Canada, in fact I would often buy five or six different kids on a single shopping trip, but they aren’t the same here, and if they are similar, they certainly aren’t named the same. I don’t know how to buy french cheese at all. I see nothing appropriate for pizza and order a new cheese to try out at home, I buy something new from this guy every time in an attempt to familiarize myself with the cheeses, I likely butcher the name as I order and he wraps it up for me. He never says a word to me but again, I don’t mind. There’s plenty more we could shop around for but I know I’m going to need cheese on the way home, so we head out.

Which road did I come from? Which one did I mean to come from? Bah, whatever, home is thataway, and we need to check out the shops anyways. We walk by a fromagerie I haven’t been in yet. It’s isn’t bustling so it’s way less intimidating. I hate going into a busy shop, everybody (understandably) wants you to order fast and move along, and often I need time to look at the products, read labels etc. before I’m ready. I take a look at every single cheese in there, I think I recognize a few names, and I have definitely eaten a few already, but nothing I’d put on a pizza. I ask if she has any mozzarella, she says no. As I’m trying to figure out the proper tense and grammar to use to ask what cheese would be good on a pizza, others come in and quickly order. I’m intimidated so I walk out. I’m pretty sure Monoprix is right around the corner and they have a huge fridge full of cheese with no attendant where I can take my time and google things. Off we go. The kids, by this time are getting right sick of shopping. they don’t complain, they don’t whine, and they don’t ask to be finished, they just start to laugh loudly as they play pushing games with one another. I let it happen, they’ve been troopers so far. As we head into the monoprix I explain that it wouldn’t be appropriate to push or be loud inside the store, and ask them for their help looking for pizza cheese. We head to the cheese fridge and I look over everything, the kids help by pointing at every single cheese and ask “Is that it? Is that it? Is that it” I realize they need to amuse themselves, but I need to focus on cheese.  I tell them I’ll handle it and to just give me a minute. Enter loud laughter and pushing. It only goes on for a minute before we start to get looks so once again I explain that we are in an entirely different culture and we don’t yet know what’s acceptable. What if, in France, it’s ok to hit other people’s kids upside the head if they are acting inappropriately? Yes, I would get mad and ask them not to, but by that time you’d already be hit. I know it’s a large threat, but it works, and they go sit quietly on some nearby steps. I see some cheddar, but it’s sliced and long rectangular shaped (hmm, looks perfect to put on a baguette). As I’m googling cheeses and trying to figure out what the hell to do, I hear my kids again. they are wrestling on the floor. I grab some baguette cheddar, some emmental and head for my kids. This time I am a little more stern. Stop. Be quiet. Now, let’s take a look at this sign and see if we can figure out where we might find pizza sauce. Nope, but we head upstairs anyways. Of course, we take the tiny elevator because my knee is currently housing the devil of all injuries.

 

Upstairs I find pasta sauces and canned tomatoes. I’ve made my own pizza sauce before, but I don’t have the right ingredients at home, flashback to the nod I gave the spice merchant as I pass by everything I would need. The kids return to their game of “Is it this one?” I grab something that looks Italian and decide if I put it on super lightly, it won’t matter. Tomato sauce is tomato sauce. Back down the tiny elevator and back towards the cheese fridge, I forgot that the pre made dough was right beside it and the kids protest having to double back. As we get into line I rearrange the goods in my bags to make room for what I’m about to buy, my kids play the pushing game again, but they aren’t being overly loud, and aren’t taking up much space, so I let it slide, I don’t want to nag and they’ve been shopping and walking for around 2 hours now. We’re about 3 or 4 people from the till when I hear, in a very harsh and angry voice some rapid french words. What I did distinguish was something along the lines of “Arret de pousser, en ce moment” I lean forward to my children, who haven’t seemed to notice that they were being scolded by a stranger and explain the situation. They freeze in fear. We move one place in line and Kaylee asks if they can wait outside the store. I’m in eye’s shot of the door and I agree. I take a look back at the older lady behind me and she’s looking like I’m the one who needs a smack upside the head. Ok, I too just want to go home now. I pay, bag my stuff and go outside. The kids are looking at me in fear, like they are about to get beat for the first time. I kneel down and explain how I didn’t exactly think anybody was right in that situation, them for playing around in line, nor the woman for scolding them, nor I for letting it slide. I also explain how I understand they are tired and sick of shopping, but that’s no reason to horse around in a place that we are obviously expected to behave. Homeward bound and I let the kids skip and play the entire way.

Hauling three big bags of food up four flights of twisty stairs is hell on my knee. The kids are already in the apartment when I take my second floor break. It hurts, so bad. When did I get old? Why does my body hate me?The kids are kind enough to back track and each grab a bag to haul up the stairs. The two bags of food are put away by the time I make it to the apartment and I can’t help but feel like my kids are the best that ever lived. Kaleb asks if I need a foot rub (Yes, I do get them, they last about 10 seconds but make me feel like a queen anyways). I decline, I’m boiling hot, I rip off my jeans in exchange for yoga capris and turn down all the radiators again. I put away the rest of the food. The kids do a couple lessons on DuoLingo in exchange for some ipad time. I don’t think Dulingo helps much, but it helps me feel good about two weeks out of school for some reason. I make another coffee with my aeropress and sit down at the kitchen table, I’m tired and sore. God, I love this coffee.

The coffee goes down fast and I chase it with a giant glass of water, when we first got here I didn’t drink enough water and suffered from it, now I try to remember to drink, I’ve always struggled with drinking enough water. I sit on the most comfortable couch ever and curl up in a blanket. In the battle between caffeine and fatigue, the coffee losses. I wake up 28 minutes later with a bladder so full it practically hurts. I’ve been JICing for years, and this is life’s revenge. Every time we flush the toilet we have to wiggle the button a little bit or the flush goes on until the end of time. Only I have gotten used to this so far. I tell the kids their time is up, I’ll start on dinner if they start on some homework.

The kids have a TON of homework. We are certainly not used to this. We always considered after school time our own time to chase hobbies, participate in sports and follow other interests. Through the course of the two week break, Kaleb sat down for about 90 minutes worth of homework and Kaylee has spent about 4 hours working on assignments. Granted, my kids are a little slower than the other kids will be because of the language barrier and a lack of understanding certain things, but to us, it is a lot. I spend about one minute in the kitchen for every fifteen minutes at the table helping with homework or explaining tasks, or doing my own google-fu to try to figure out what the hell this assignment is about. All work is done in ink, black for the most part, blue for other things, pencils are only allowed to be used on Fridays. I don’t get it either. I totally timed this right and by the time the kids are allowed to re shelf their homework, I actually start on dinner. My Pasta sauce, weird cheese, no meats pizza pinwheels.

Kaylee works on chopping veggies and Kaleb put on a french TV show while he sweeps (He doesn’t really sweep so much as he pushes the broom around and stares at the TV). I can’t stand the shows I’m familiar with being on. At first I thought watching the Simpsons or Big Bang Theory in french would be fun, maybe even useful but I absolutely can not stand the voices. It’s not like they try to match Marge Simpson at all, and I can’t focus on the words, just the weird voices.  I blast through prepping dinner, despite having to awkwardly cut up cheese because I forgot all about buying a grater,  and put it in my weird toaster oven thing. I’ve heard the convection setting on these things is supposed to be some sort of miracle but I guess the holy ghost doesn’t live here, because every time I’ve tried it things come out colder and weirder than the regular oven setting, so I use that. I do a quick tidy of the apartment and draft a postcard while I’m waiting for dinner. I help Kaylee finish up the salad and pour a glass of wine. Yuck. again. Why is there so much bad wine around here, and why do I keep buying it?!? I really ought to switch to beer, I’ve always liked beer better but I was excited about all the local wines out here. Every glass I’ve had in a restaurant has been great, every bottle I’ve bought on my own has been awful. I keep taking pictures of the restaurant wine and not finding them anywhere. I pour the wine down the kitchen sink and pull the pizza out of the toaster oven. I would try the wine again tomorrow with lunch and decide the same thing, only then I’d pour out the entire bottle and add the empty bottle to my collection beside the garbage can. So many bottles, I think only maybe two glasses drank.

We serve the pizza and salad with water. I watch as Kaleb takes the first bite and my heart sinks. Kaleb picked this dinner and I really did want to make it ok for him, I wanted to be able to make my kids requests, we have a deal, I’ll make your foods, you eat mine. Turns out I’ve made some sort of monstrosity dressed up as pizza pinwheels. At least the dough is tasty. I make the kids eat one, we chuck the rest out and feast on salad, yogurt and toast for dinner instead. I feel defeated. I take a few minutes to go through our pepperplate list and realize how many recipes there are with ingredients I haven’t seen, or don’t know where to buy. I hate winging meals with a passion. If I don’t have a plan, I don’t shop properly, I get stressed out deciding what to cook, and my kids always try to convince me to do something else. But maybe a meal plan isn’t quite the way to go yet either. We talk about the food we’ve seen, and what can be made out of it. Too bad we can’t live on those clementines and baguettes.

The kids argue about who showered first last time, and whose turn it is today. I end the argument quickly when I say while one of them is in the shower, the other is doing homework with my help. Kaylee runs into the bathroom and closes the door before Kaleb even has a chance to speak. Kaleb thinks he was told to make twenty books. We talk a bit about what he may have been told instead but the kid is sure, he has to make twenty books. Not just write them, but bind them and everything. I ask if he has any written instructions, he says no. I tell him we aren’t making twenty books and we settle on reading one of the books he brought home from school. It was about a princess who acted a fool, and wasn’t very graceful so the king kicked her out of the castle and sent her to refining school. As she’s on her way to refining school, a photocopied page falls out of the book. It’s a home reading assignment, much like the ones he has to do in Canada, just a little more book report like. Could this be what the teacher meant? No, No, She said he had to make twenty books. I’m not helping you make twenty books, why don’t we just do this book report instead.

As Kaleb showers, Kaylee cries. We’ve both tried our best at a homework assignment and couldn’t do it. It doesn’t help that Kaylee was given a photocopied page with no instructions, just “This is your homework” She doesn’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, and she’s scared of her teacher. Teachers here grab kids by the wrist and march them handcuff style into the corner and yell at them, this add to her fear. She’s worried, I have a few moments where I believe I’ve torn apart my family just to torture everybody and we put the homework away. It’s now thirty minutes past bedtime but I put on an episode of AFV anyways. We need a good laugh and there’s no school tomorrow. The kids wear the same PJs as last night and I’m still in my yoga pants. We chuckle a bit then head to bed. Kaylee reads her Kobo as I snuggle Kaleb and tell him how proud I am of him. He asks if tomorrow we can have a lazy day. No, If we don’t go but food we don’t eat. Besides, we still have one more park to scope out. Maybe this one will have green space, maybe this one will have other kids to play with. Maybe tomorrow nobody will be frustrated.

Lights out.

I collapse on the couch and wish I had some beer. Or some wine that wasn’t awful. Or a Manhattan. I put Big Bang Theory from Netflix onto my laptop and hook it up to the TV with the HDMI cord I was lucky enough to think to bring. The show is in english, the credits are in french. I zone out until I’m sleepy and I crawl into my rock hard bed with flat, crappy pillows and dream. I dream that I’m in Calgary getting ready to come to France, like I do every night. I dream about packing, about organizing toiletries and picking clothes to bring and about actually remembering my most favourite ever sports bra. At some point in the night the kids take turns coming into my room and telling me all about the creepy noises they heard. I heard them too, loud neighbours, creaking pipes, car horns. I walk them back to bed and tell them not to worry, we just aren’t used to them yet. We sleep.

I’d like to dedicate this post to Diana P. who is living vicariously through me, even on days we are doing NOTHING 😉

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