Welcome to my first foray into the world of blogging. I hope it will be something that develops and improves with my writing style. It is my experiences of foreign cultures, many similar to my own and some completely alien as I live an expat life and throw in the odd journey or two along the way.

Friday, 27 January 2012


 I wrote last week about the challenges I had to face this week. Some went well, some didn't happen at all and then there were challenges that popped out at me!

First up was getting on with everyday life without my other half. Having done this numerous times before I thought I would have this nailed. But having to cope with it 3 weeks after having arrived in a new country, with all of our "life", bar what we fitted into 6 suitcases, in a warehouse somewhere in the UK, and hundreds of miles away from friends and family was a lot harder than I imagined. It has led to some lows this week and brings out the "snappy mum" in me. This is where the smallest things that the kids do, which would normally be dealt with calmly lead to me shouting and sounding like a crazed banshee. Not helpful for anybody! But we have all managed to make it through the week unscathed.

Getting the headlights swapped over for left-hand-drive ones is the first step of 8 required to get the car registered here. Luckily the husband of the estate agent lady that we've made friends with here knew a guy who sells Volvo parts just in the next village along. And amazingly enough he had lights for our age of car! There was just the simple problem of how to get back to the house (4 miles away uphill) whilst he had the car for 2 hours. I normally hate having to depend on others and have never been good at asking for help but I tried it on Tuesday when I asked our lovely Dutch neighbours if they wouldn't mind picking me up and taking me back. They were of course delighted to help. This week really proved how much nicer life can be when people help out with just little things.

The main challenge I faced this week was my confidence with the language and that was going to be tested on Friday at the course for parent volunteers to help with school cross-country skiing groups. I knew I had to get skis but wasn't sure where the best place to hire them would be. The headmaster caught me at school drop-off on Monday to ask for my height and shoe size as he was going to get me skis and boots from the central store. He also warned me that there wasn't much snow at the training area and therefore the course might not happen. I didn't know what I wanted to hope for. No snow, meant I didn't need to get out of my comfort zone and yet I wouldn't be able to help out on the school trip. In the end, the course was cancelled but the head said I could still go to help out, I just wouldn't be qualified to take a group. So at least I will still see the boys try a new sport and help with the translation!
Another unforeseen challenge was something that should have been a breeze - changing the brake light. I it is something I have done before. I had spare bulbs, I had the instruction manual. It was all in english so no problem with understanding. However the bits that were meant to twist and remove just refused to budge! Having spent half an hour on it on Wednesday I was determined to give it another go on Thursday. Perhaps it was the sunshine, or perhaps it was the screwdriver I found that helped the cover to come off - either way I succeeded. Definitely the small things that give most satisfaction!

Next week holds the bitter sweet pleasure of hubby back for 2 nights. It will be lovely to see him but then there's the same mini-grieving process to go through when I drop him off at the airport. It's also the school trip to Beille for the ski de fond (cross country skiing). On top of that the forecast is predicting 3cm of snow on Sunday so my youngest should be entertained on his birthday!

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