I’m in a stupor. And you would too if you had just spent (maybe ‘survived’ is a better word) five days with four high-energy kids. Love those kids, but I also love coming home. Having been ill with a nasty cold and cough the week before, I was already feeling rundown before I even got to Lille.
Highlights were taking the kids to my favorite tea salon in the Old Town of Lille for hot chocolate topped with whipped cream; discovering a really good independent DVD store where I bought one of my favorite movies, Dead Man directed by Jim Jarmusch. We watched it later that day and to my surprise the kids liked it (they no longer run out of the room shrieking in horror because a film is in black and white.) On another day we also rewatched, with some of their friends, the excellent Alice in Wonderland with Mia Wasikowska, directed by Tim Burton. If you haven’t seen this film, I highly recommend it (for kids and adults alike). Two other favorites are The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Saving Mr. Banks with Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.
One rainy morning the eldest boy (15) and I closeted ourselves in the kitchen and made home-made lasagna from scratch. He did all the work, I sat and supervised. Aside from the bechamel sauce which was a bit lumpy, it turned out well. Later, I took the 4 year old to McDonald’s (his choice, not mine) where he insisted on placing the order himself. His little head barely reaching the counter, he recited “Je veux un hamburger, des frites, un grand Coca et un jouet.” (I want a hamburger, fries, a large Coke, and a toy.) “S’il vous plait,” I prompted. “S’il vous plait.” he added. (I also told him to say “Je voudrais” instead of “Je veux” (“I would like” instead of “I want”), but that didn’t stick.
And, lastly, helping the 12-year old girl with a poem she had to write for school. Not easy! The theme had to be travel and the discovery of islands. Six stanzas.
“Je plane au-dessus des îles qui scintillent les couleurs de la mer…” (I hover over islands that sparkle the colors of the sea) I suggested. Then when I proposed the words “vert clair” (light green) in the second line to rhyme with “mer”, this apparently was not allowed. “Why not?” I said. “Because the first and third lines have to rhyme with each other, and the second and fourth lines. Plus we need to use linking verbs (or something) and it has to be written in the present subjunctive form.” Huh? Suddenly all my inspiration drained away. I hate rules, especially when you’re trying to be creative.
I never made it to Ghent, Belgium because the weather was cold and rainy.
I’m back home now, in an exhausted stupor. I have one day to relax before going back to work tomorrow. And there’s only one thing to do when you’re in this state. Watch what’s called ‘real estate porn’. You sit in front of the screen, comatose, glass of wine at your side, and chill. No effort required. Here are a few of my favorites.