Lucy wants a Christmas tree

14 December 2009

… and so do I. Our plan was to buy one today, at Ikea. They sell sapins and do some sort of environmental thing too, which I didn’t fully understand (you see, their website here is still all in French) and so I thought that Ikea might be the place to buy the tree. Unfortunately, they had all sold out! I did ask a guy at Accueil and he informed me that they had all sold days ago. Ahh, c’est dommage! Lucy was very worried: May be all the Christmas trees in Lyon had sold out? Will we have to do without one? No, we will just keep on looking. We saw a Christmas tree plantation some weeks ago, we might return there to get the perfect tree. You see, we are very picky with our Christmas trees. We tend to chose carefully. Lucy was disappointed not to be able to decorate the tree today, but instead we made some more Christmas biscuits: Zimtsterne – cinnamon stars. They are a German classic for Christmas and very yummy. These biscuits are made from a dough containing whipped eggwhite, icing sugar and lots of ground  nuts, some cinnamon and vanilla. Unfortunately the dough was very sticky and I had run out of nuts to make it less sticky, so my first batch ended up being funny shaped sticky biscuits that had been sweared at in the making quite a bit. They still turned out to be delicious, despite looking somehow disfigured. With the second batch, I had lost the will to swear and battle and just cheated by adding flour to the normally flour-free recipe. This helped me to produce perfect star shapes and the biscuits turned out to be just a tasty as the first batch. I have now learned my lesson: Instead of battling and swearing just add a little flour and things work out fine. I will try to apply this philsophy to difficult situations in my life to see if it’s transferrable.

Lucy had a friend staying for a sleepover on Friday night. They had a lovely time and Lucy was really sad when Sophie had to go home on Saturday afternoon. As a remedy, she suggested having Raclette for dinner, which of course we had –  Anything to keep the kids happy. What a great suggestion this was: We had a lovely dinner and it somehow felt very festive. Next Sunday we are having our Christmas dinner. Unfortunately, we haven’t really got anybody to invite – all the people we know round here will have left for the Christmas holidays. But never mind, we will have our nutroast, roast vegetables, gravy and brussels sprouts, and we will get our Christmas crackers out too. That’s one of the advantages of my current lifestyle: I have the time to celebrate Christmas for weeks, to cook and bake and have a good time with the children. I cherish it, but at the same time I am acutely aware that I have now been out of work for six months! And, as  I could gather from talking to people, I might not be working any time soon either, the French seem to be a bit more protective of their job market than the English. But that’s something not worth worrying about at present, I guess. We are still settling. The most revealing indicator of us not having fully settled is probably that Rolf, after working in this country for four months, still hasn’t got a social security number, and thus we (like a number of other people who arrived around roughly the same time) have no basic health insurance, i.e. carte vitale. But he has been paying tax alright. We are also supposed to be covered , from the first of December,  by a private supplementary insurance, but we have not had confirmation yet that this is all happening. So I hope and pray that we stay healthy, as I feel in a bit of a grey zone at present. At the same time, we have had a phone call from school last Friday from the school nurse enquiring about Lucy’s eczema and possible allergies. Apparently they want to investigate now whether Lucy has any allergies that trigger her eczema. I am not sure how this is going to work without a health insurance. But may be this is also heaven sent and they can do something to speed things up? Not sure. I don’t know how this country works yet, all I know is that anything to do with official agencies is happening at the pace of a snail in a plaster cast.

Talking about health – Linus has been sick for two weeks now with a nasty bug that is going around the school. Children have stomach ache, headaches, loss of appetite and they feel awfully tired. Luckily, he seems to have recovered. He has started eating again and is looking forward to going back to school tomorrow. It’s been a long time and I think he is missing his mates and the gossip. I hope he has some lessons, because apparently a lot of teachers are of with flu at the moment. Swine flu is making the rounds here. Apparently his English teacher even had to be admitted to hospital because of the flu. I hope this is just gossip and that the teacher is actually doing well.

We had the first snow today. The temperature here is around zero, crispy Christmas cold. Lucy was glued to the window for a good while just watching. She is hoping that there will be much more snow during the night. I am not too worried about snow in Lyon, I am sure that the public services are much better equipped and organised to deal with it than the authorities in Ascot. (That doesn’t say much, though. Everybody who was in Ascot during those two or three days where we had snow round January/ February time this year will know what I am talking about 🙂  ).

Anyway, enough for today. If you feel like joining us spontaniously for our Christmas lunch on Sunday, feel free to pop in.  (We would appreciate a short warning though to give me time to polish the family silver … 🙂 )

Take care my dears and enjoy life!

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