Don't worry dear reader: future blogs will not have French words in them and today's should really be called 'little things.'
Forty two-and-a-half years out of the womb and five weeks with my favourite man and child in a new country and I'm finally starting to understand the importance of little things. It's a torturous process that needs constant updating and reminding especially during the dozen-or-so times a day when the urge to droop and feel sorry for myself by conjuring up the aching pangs of homesickness is waiting in the wings, telling me that it's the safest way, the easiest way.
Stuff that. My best buddy Jill wrote to me from her own personal Peu Choses Challenge in Adelaide telling me that she strove to find some joy every day. With a serious brain injury taking a year to heal and her world suddenly becoming as small as a short visit to the shop and an afternoon in bed to get over it, noticing and appreciating the tiny wins has been vital. It was ironic that I too felt as though my world had shrunk - tiny routes to LC's work, the shop and home as the language barrier, confusing directions and lack of confidence melded into a churning gut and a big case of The Sads.
Despite the Oprah-influenced idea, it stuck with me. Why was I feeling so afraid? Why was I so worried about Sapphire and her own ability to settle in and cope? Why was I thinking so negatively about everything?
"I like that idea," I typed back to her. "I'm going to find my joy every day too." And it's been surprisingly simple. Easy, even:
The coffee made by Love Chunks from our brand new, better-than-Mrs-Krups sixty six percent off-the-retail-price Geneva-sourced DeLonghi every morning.
Attending the second get-together of LC's older, wealthier and worldlier workmates and - admittedly with the aid of some good Gamay wine - not worrying about my innate dagginess and lack of sophistication and actually enjoying myself.
Buzzing in the postman and receiving a Care Package from Australia full of Asian spices, vegemite memorabilia, obscure French word cards and several books in English.
Completing three French lessons so far and discovering that Sapphire and I are testing each other and actually retaining it. "You're my best students," our teacher said, "Because you practice and you're taking this seriously." If I had a tail, it'd have been thumping loudly against the chair leg.
Finding our way to the local farmers' market this morning and asking an old lady for directions. With an 'Excuse moi' and a 'Bonjour' and a bit of pointing to our nanna carts and 'marche' she could indicate the beautiful old building nearby. "Voila," she smiled. The produce inside was worth the bumbling around and we had a bowl of fresh raspberries for breakfast.
Another joy - they actually do say 'voila'. All the time. Here's your meal: voila!
Our tea chests arrived. Almost unrecognisable, torn and filthy and scattered with broken glass from several picture frames that died in transit but full of our photos, ornaments, treasures and extra clothes. All we need now are a few hooks in the wall for our home to be filled with faces and memories.
Finding a doctor, a hairdresser and a vet without deferring to official UN lists or the expat websites. All within comfortable walking distance.
Knowing that Milly arrives next week. Her brand new bed, blankets, lead, dry food, frozen bones and 'toilet mats' are already waiting. Whizzing on the balcony will be an interesting training opportunity, not something to dread.
Most of all, hearing the shared laughter and chatter of Sapphire and her new-found friend N as they play Wii, drag their scooters outside for a spin and generally get to know each other.
I know that IKEA will eventually deliver the (lost/forgotten) furniture we paid for over three weeks ago. School will start for Sapph in September after an unforgettable summer with her fascinating mother. At school she'll not only lap up the mental stimulation and knowledge but also make friends and I'll be able to read more than just 'sortie' and 'interdit' on menus and street signs.
Voila - there it is. Finding my joy, one step at a time.....