What I’m learning from my kids

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I know the concept of what my children have taught me is pretty overdone. I mean, a lot of it goes without saying, right? Love, of course. Patience … not yet, but I’m working on it. Imagination and finding a sense of humour in life, without a doubt. But maybe more superficially then all that, I’ve been thinking about some things that my children have taught me on a practical level, in ways that have actually helped me in day to day life. And it’s stuff that is very specific to their personalities. Continue reading

Book reviews: April picks

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I have decided that April is the absolute most beautiful time for Geneva. I might be a little biased, because we arrived in Geneva in April (more than two years ago now!) and we were a little shell-shocked by the stress and Geneva blew us away by being just stunningly beautiful. But every year, I love this season more and more. It’s so lushly green it feels a little tropical. Yes, there’s a lot of rain, but it means everything is growing like crazy. I’ll just be walking down my street and can’t get over how insanely gorgeous everything is. Suffice to say I’m still in love with my adopted home. Continue reading

Travel Suisse: Zurich

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I can’t believe we have lived in Switzerland for over two years, and I’ve only just visited Zurich. It seems like such an obvious place to visit. I know many people think of Zurich and Switzerland to be essentially the same thing. And it’s so close – well, everything in Switzerland is, it’s not a very big country.

But there are factors involved in not visiting this city yet. The first and foremost being cost. If Switzerland is crazy expensive, then Zurich is hella-crazy expensive, so we’ve always avoided it a bit for that. Also, there is the language barrier. Not that it matters in such a tourist-friendly city (I wouldn’t be surprised if more Swiss in Zurich spoke English than in Geneva), but our grasp of French often keeps us turning towards our large French neighbour to the west. Continue reading

Book recommendations: March picks

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Seven Ages of Paris, by Alistair Horne

This is such a beautiful book, looking deep into the history of Paris through the ages, from Philippe Auguste in the 12th century, who essentially founded Paris as the major centre of French life, all the way through Henry IV, Louis XIV, the French Revolution, Napoleon, la Belle Epoque, the Occupation and the Resistance, and post-war life under de Gaulle. It’s a fascinating read, especially if you are a Francophile, which I will admit I am turning into. Continue reading

Strawberry Dreams

I haven’t really made an attempts to hide that I have found this winter … tiresome? It’s been long, and gloomy, and the kids have been an extreme handful. But there is light at the end of the tunnel, for me, all of a sudden, with an abundance of strawberries. Spring is here, my friends.

Strawberries are such a decisive treat, aren’t they? People either seem to love them or really dislike them. But I think that mainly has to do with where and when you get them. There are some really good strawberries out there. You know, the small, sweet, juicy ones that come available late spring in Canada and are only around for a week or so. The giant hothouse ones you can get year round, not so much. They don’t really taste like much of anything and are kind of mealy. They don’t do much for me at all. People seem often very adamant about how and when strawberries are good.

I met a woman from Scandinavia who informed me that nothing on the planet was as tasty as Norwegian strawberries, which are only available for two weeks out of the year. I expressed my enthusiasm at trying them, and she gave me a disparaging look. “You can’t get them here,” she said. “You have to be in Norway to eat them. There aren’t enough to ship out anywhere.” She seemed offended at the thought of her Norwegian strawberries going anywhere else. Apparently people make pilgrimages to eat these things. I had no idea, but I appreciate learning these things. Maybe one day I too will make a Norwegian strawberry pilgrimage. Continue reading

Book recommendations: February picks

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You know how there’s “porn” for everything? Usually found on instagram – fashion porn, book porn, food porn, just regular porn porn I guess – the photos of lifestyle stuff that gets you hot. Well, I think I’ve topped all of this with grocery porn. Has #groceryporn become a thing yet? Are the hipsters all over it? I’ll have to ask my sister.

I wanted to take a photo of my grocery bag the other day. Since moving to Europe, the ideal grocery bag looks like this: some delicious cheeses, a bottle of red wine, a bit of chocolate, strawberries and of course the ubiquitous baguette peeking out of the top. And I had every single one of those things in my bag. It made me inordinately happy. Sometimes, you just have to enjoy the small things. Of course, I didn’t take a picture of my groceries because that would be insane. Continue reading

Celebrating Valentine’s the European way

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I had been discussing the other day the ways that living in Europe has changed me. Initially, I pretty much thought, not at all. I didn’t think I live any differently than I used to. But on reflection, there are some little things I think I’ve started to do, little ways I’ve changed my life, that reflect a more European lifestyle. And actually they are things that I’m not sure I could go back from. At the very least, I’d try really hard to maintain these elements no matter where I go – bringing Europe with me. Continue reading