Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Great Wall of Fire

I have no idea whether I will be able to view this post once we get back into China, we are spending a lovely warm family in France. But I have been doing some internet research for a paper that I want to write and in China I keep encountering the Firewall.

So I found this site and this one and I hope it will work for me when we fly back into China.

We are going back on 1 Jan 2007 for a new year and a new life. Wish us luck for all our adventures ahead!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

photos and phone update

There is one photo online of Lae and Sophie in playing in Sandra and Etienne's appartment in Paris, and it can be found by following the link here

Now that we are in Armentieres, I am using Fab's dad's phone and it is:
+33 60 624 30 1913

Our adress also is ...

Sophie Thibault
66, Boulevard Faidherbe
Armentieres, 59280

if not, my italian mobile NOW works too (only when i do not need to use it)

random update: Gilles, Damienne Sophie and me went to church last Sunday and even though it is an old unheated stone church, we made sure we were all bundled up and enjoyed ourselves immersed in the glowing Christmas spirit.

Yesterday Sophie met her other baby cousins - Alice and Faustine at the "gouter des bebes chez Mamie" The grandmother of Fabien oganised a gouter for her last petits arrieres (great grandchildren) who will probably be sleeping when everyone has the big family meeting this Saturday. It was a cuteness overdose!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Merry Christmas

This is probably my last post for 2006. I wish I could give you some insightful reflections or words of wisdom. But I don't really have any except the sincerest wishes to you that I hope 2006 was as joyful or at least as interesting as it was for us, and for a great year ahead.

We are going North to Armentieres in 30 minutes. Click the sidebar under the heading "keep in touch" for our phone number there.

Love always

Sharon, Fabien and Sophie

Thursday, December 14, 2006

we are in France

We are in Gilles and Damienne's lovely home in Treuzy. It is a small town in the countryside near Fontainbleu and surrounded by fresh green countryside. There is roaring fire in the living room and Sophie is asleep in her bedroom. I am posting this quickly whilst Damienne makes dinner, and I cannot wait to taste it (if you haven't had one of her dinners you haven't really lived).

Sophie and I just spent two great nights at Sandra and Etienne's home in Paris. Sophie got to play with the adorable Laetitia and me and Sandra got to go to the quai branley museum. No photos I can upload (unless Sandra can blog it) because my camera cable is in Beijing.

Being in France amongst all our family and friends is so nice after all the stress of appartment hunting in Beijing. Two LifeSaving people were Denis and my Mommy, without them we would have had a really difficult time house hunting.

Finally we did find an appartment; and it is unfurnished; so I will need lots of Appartment Therapy!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Happy Birthday to me

I am 29 years oid today. Funny I don't feel all that old, but I am reaching the end of my twenties. What have I learnt at the end of close to 3 decades on earth? Not very much at all.

Being a parent I think has been my single biggest challenge so far. My perspectives have changed, including my goals. When I was in my teens, I wanted to end hunger and poverty all whilst employing environmentally sustainable methods (*can you hear the violins in the background?). When I was working, I wanted a career that would soar to the same dizzying heights as my Manolo Blahniks. When I became a parent, my next goal is just surviving into the next week without my kid doing herself Actual Bodily Harm.

Okay, so I would like to return to work at some point, and it would be nice if we could work green technology into the equation. But from a completely selfish, short-termist viewpoint, if I were to be absolutely honest with myself, then all that really really matters to me right now is sitting in my arms as I type this. And every day is a special day because of her.

By the way - thanks for your comments and emails from my last post. We are much better now, and we are going back to France tommorrow. I have decided to just be less stressed about the appartment and que sera sera...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Where's my happy baby gone?

The search for the appartment grinds on, but the part that makes me completely depressed is that my daughter is being traumatised by all this moving around.

Sophie learnt to smile at around 6 weeks, and never stopped doing it since. Friends who knew her in Turin all remarked upon how calm and happy she is. Even random strangers on the street would invariably be enchanted by her easy grins.

But all that seem to have stopped this week. She doesn't have the words to express her confusion, but she keeps looking around the different appartments and people and wants to hang around me all the time.

But it is a terrible decision for me. Whether to take her with me to view appartments where she misses her naps and gets cranky, or leave her alone with my mother (whom she doesn't know very well) and then she becomes frightened and starts crying whenever she can't find me.

At such time I feel like I really need to look at videos like this one so that I can remember that I have a very happy baby who just needs some time to settle but will eventually come back!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

fun with finger puppets

This is an old video of Sophie which I took some time ago. But she just looks so darn cute on our red sofa mouthing her IKEA finger puppets.

As the slogan goes - you don't have to be rich to be clever. And those little puppets are such clever fun. A really thoughtful gift from Iliaria.

Sigh - I miss all my friends in Turin. The thought of having to start all over again getting to know people is just depressing me somewhat. I am sure this bleak mood will pass once we find a place to live.

Take a deep breath

I hate appartment searching. We have been to at least 15 appartments in the last 2 days and we haven't found anything we really liked. Sophie is a little distressed because her environment is completely different and she gets quite upset when we leave her every day to search for an appartment. Thank goodness my mom is here to help take care of her.

Anyway, I am posting this in a really foul mood. We are so jet lagged that we can't really sleep at night, and each day house hunting starts at 8:30am. It doesn't help that Fabien has to also go to work at the same time.

I am feeling like an idiot because 5 mins ago I picked up the phone and it was Fab's China boss speaking (in French) and although I understood him perfectly, the language center of my brain just froze and I kinda sputtered incoherently. I must have sounded like an alien because he very tentatively asked if i spoke English?!! What a marvellous first impression...

AND to top it all off ...

I just managed to spill an entire bottle of carefully pumped breastmilk on the kitchen floor.

Anyone who has ever had to pump milk by hand will know how pissed off I am about that.

This is a good time to breathe as deeply as possible of the dry and polluted air. And go surf some of my friends blogs and chill out. I am sure we will find the right place to live in for the next 2 years. I am sure everything is going to be fine.

God will provide.

Monday, December 04, 2006

First Post from China

We have arrived in China. After 9 hours in a completely full plane from Paris to Beijing.

When doing a Big Move, the best way to not become sentimental and miss your friends is to:

(1) have no fixed plans untill the last minute;

(2) stay awake late all the week before you move; and

(3) travel with your baby.

We basically didn't sleep the whole night flight (although Sophie managed some shut eye in her bassinet). I wanted to murder the crew memeber who woke me up for breakfast after I had finally dropped off. Why do they always do this?! I know there are stickers which you can put on your seat which say "don't wake me for meals" but how come they always fall off the fabric/ don't exist on Air France?

Oh yeah - in all that rush I left my mobile phone charger still plugged into the home socket at home. So you cannot phone me on my mobile after all... Email access is good though.

Friday, December 01, 2006

of course

of course i should be packing. or at least if i want to muck about online, i should upload photos from my camera to clear some space. But of course i am not doing any of that. It would be far to organised and sensible.

In a way, I am glad to move

There is a diaspora of our stuff. Some comes to China in hand luggage (mostly clothes), Furniture is either given away/ sold and goes in a container to France, and books and Sophie's kitchen (she has a dedicated blender and pressure cooker for sterilising her stuff) will be packed for airmail within the 300 kg limit.

My house is a mess and frenzy of packing. In a way I like this activity. It gives me no time to feel sad because I am just running pillar to post.

I am also pretty happy to move because then we can look for a specific baby-proof house. Right now we have too many enticing things just at a crawling kid's height. I hated packing before, but now when you have to turn around every 2 minutes to see whether your kid is eating the houseplant or trying to electrocute herself then it is just impossible. Thank you Thank you Amber and Gina for looking after Sophie whilst I _try_ to pack.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I have a driving licence (i think)


I passed my driving test this morning. After a night where Sophie was awake all night teething and probably feeling the general stress in this house.

However as there is a strike of driving examiners, I have no idea when the paperwork will be processed. The nice jolly examiner who looked like Bobo Natale (Italian version of Santa) explained rather mournfully that though I have passed, but I don't have a licence untill (probably) the strike is over.

Anyways I am feeling pretty good. That is one more thing struck off the "to do" list, and I can concentrate on the packing for real.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Stuff that keeps me up at night

My goodness.

I had no idea that you needed to pay about 4000 euros a semester for 2 hours a day of playschool for a 12 month old child. A quick online search reveals the varied wonders of a comprehensive Montessori school.

A high teacher- child ratio, small class size, airy and bright classrooms, swimming pool on the grounds, lovely gardens and sandboxes, pediatrican on call. The philosophy that very young children teach themselves, so there is no structured time table and your child chooses his or her own activity.

After hours extras like ... Ballet class! Ice Skating lessons! Music/ Art appreciation!

All for kids about 12 months old!

ARRRGGH somebody shoot me now.

The part that kills me and keeps me up at night is that I wonder whether any of this is necessary. And if it is not necessary, why do I am I too scared to say "this is just too friging expensive and Sophie doesn't need it". That irrational parental guilt factor is just crap.

She does eat actually

I have been trying to wean Sophie with limited success. Untill I figured out what the problem was - she wants to feed herself. But when she attempts to do this, most of the pureed carrot or whatever tends to end up in her hair and on the floor. So it is (like all things child-rearing) a delicate balance between what mummy wants and what baby wants.

With this compromise, we're doing much better now with Sophie's favourites: fresh pear (Decana only), peach, mashed peas, ricotta, and potatoes. Sophie isn't a fan of carrots, bananas, spinach or rice.

We will keep trying though!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Temporary Address in China

Nothing insightful to say in this post, just more bloody admin. Brain dead right now from all the planning and organising. Fabien Sharon and Sophie will leave Turin for Beijing on 3 December 3:55 PM, arriving in Beijing on 4 December 11:50 AM.

Sharon and Sophie will be in France from 12 to 28 December, Belgium from 28 to 30 December, and back to France from 30 to 31 December. (Just to make it more complicated, Fabien has a different schedule, which I won't go into because it changes by the minute)

Phone numbers - mostly landlines:
From 15 to 21 December at Fabien's godparents in Treuzy Levally : +33 16 42 90 747
From 22 to 28 December at Fabien's parents home in Lille: +33 32 03 08 848
SMS at other times: +39 34 89 15 81 87

We are back on a plane to Beijing on 1 Jan 2007.

If you would like to send anything to us from now to Janurary 2007, please send it to this address:
Sharon/Fabien/Sophie Thibault
c/o Denis Zhu
Palm Springs Tower 6, Apt#3105
No. 8 Chaoyang Gongyuan Nanlu
Beiijing 100026

I may have only intermittent internet access from the end of this week, so please bear with me, but I will try to update this blog whenever I can (albeit without pictures), to try to record and share this busy and exciting time in our life.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

We love weekends

We have another 2 weekends left in Turin, and then we are out of here. It feels so surreal. Where did all that time go? I have a daughter? REALLY? How did the wookie get so big?

Time creeps up on you so insidiously.

It is why I have lately become a maniac with that camera. Because these moments are so precious I am terrified that if blink this itty bitty baby will suddenly become a pimply teenager, and I might have missed that transistion. At least I will have this blog to record these memories. Thank you God for technology.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

15 seconds of fame

The nice grandfatherly figure holding Sophie is Tony Wheeler .

He's a sweet chap in real life, and he was in town to promote his autobiography. When he was holding Sophie, the flashbulbs of the parparazzi popped, and both of them just sat there and enjoyed the attention for a bit.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Schedule (reloaded)

I am a headless chook these days. There seems to be a million things to do and I really should get on with doing it instead of just talking about it here. Anyway, this is the Schedule for the moment. It is not that much different from the last week's post, except my LAST DAY in Torino is 3 December instead of 21 December. The laundry list is:

  1. Driving Exam on 29 Nov. The strike in Turin is still on, so I have to go to take the test in another town near the Motorizezione which I have never been to with completely unfamiliar roads - just because I like a challenge you know...

  2. Beijing is confirmed on 3 December for a week long house hunting trip. My last day in Turin is 2 Dec. I am trying to meet with everyone before I leave, so please email me to slot lunch/ coffee/ dinner in between my driving classes.

  3. 12 December Sharon and Sophie arrive in France. Stay 2 days at Sandra and Etienne's place. Then to Treuzy Levallay for a few days with Fab's family.

  4. 17 December Fabien will fly back to Turin to ship our stuff either in a container to France or in the 300 kg worth of airmail to China.

  5. 22 December be in Lille for BIG family reunion (50 people!), then Christmas with nuclear family. 26 December in Belgium with Fab's cousin Matthieu, 31 Dec in Lille with Fab's friends.

  6. 1 Jan 2007 - we take the plane to Beijing, and Fabien goes to work in Beijing from 2 Jan.


In other news, the upside of meeting lots of new people (even if just for the moment) is that you will stay in touch one way or another. This blog for instance lets people peek into my chaotic world just long enough for you to step back and go "whew I'm glad I aint there!" .

I am optimistic enough to believe that you don't really ever lose the friends you've already made, and you just need to juggle stuff around so as to see each other again. Albeit later.

So Amanda if you are reading this: I _am_ taking you up on your offer to stay at your house in Nepal. Even if it is not constructed yet.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Another great weekend!

I have known Dan for more than 10 years. We hadn't spoken for more than 5 years, but then we met again in London at my best friend Eddie's house, and then it was like we never were apart for a day. So I asked him to come visit to see Fabien and Sophie, and introduce me to his lovely Spanish wife Amaia. They came over this weekend and we had a rocking time.

But that's not the purpose of this post. It was supposed to have been a reflection on friendship and change. But I think I am a bit too sleep deprived to make any profound discourse on that right now.

Huxley said we practice Alchemy in reverse. To touch the pure gold of experience with words seems to turn it into pure dross. We experience Shakespearean levels of emotion, but (unless you are Shakespeare) can only express it in cumbersome language and mush.

I feel somewhat spaced out. Overwhelmed by the amount of trivial detail involved in the impending move to Beijing, and not having fully accepted the emotional impact of saying goodbye to all the friends we've met and made here.

It is somewhat comforting to have met Dan again to remind me that there are friendships which survive grand displacements in time and geography.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Zubin and Sophie

I tell me daughter that you have to at least be dating before you can

1) Play with each other's toys:

2) Feel up each other's diapers

But me and Sophie will be gutted to leave Turin now that we have friends here. I actually think that Sophie and Zubin are aware of each other. Okay so maybe the dating thing is far fetched. But they seem to be happy to engage in parallel play, and are curious enough to try pulling each others hair and poking each other in the eye.

How do you know Antonio wants to have 2 kids?

By the way this is a kind blog

this is the link explaining what a kind blog is.. I whole-heartedly support this concept.

Especially in the face of this little storm in the tea-cup in Singapore - the wee shu min affair. Which I think is sad, but so very much Singapore. Fabien read the thing and said "and that's it?!!" Sheesh

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday love

Sophie Loooves anything that makes noise, Many mornings we wake up to the sounds of our future jazz musician and her improvs:

Although she could also be a future vet:

Thanks very much for Sirus the doggie Yvonne!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Crazy Planner at Work again

I have been silent as regards the details of our China move because there just has been too many variables to do any real planning. As the dates rapidly approach, I thought I'd better announce a quick heads-up of the current tentative schedule as follows (all usual disclaimers apply):

  1. Next Friday, 25 November - Probable driving practical exam (uncertain due to an ongoing driving examiner's strike). Whatever happens, I have to pass it the first time because there is no chance to retake it (I can't schedule a re-test in).

  2. We probably fly to Beijing on 3 December for a house hunting trip. I will try to meet up with my parents there (Mom - you can confirm your tickets now!). Fabien remains in Beijing for the next 2 weeks.

  3. 12 December Sharon and Sophie try to be in France. Exact location unknown. The idea is to try to meet up with friends from the "Northern parts" (e.g. Joan in London, Sandra in Paris). Christabel - if you can be here from Milan that would be great, but if not, I will see you in either Beijing or Osaka...

  4. 17 December come back to Torino to ship our stuff either in a container to France or in the 300 kgs airmail to China, and move into a serviced appartment when we are done. Tearful goodbye to all my wonderful and fantastic friends in Turin Be strong ! Deep Breath! It will be soooo hard.... (*sigh*)

  5. 22 December be in Lille for BIG family reunion (50 people!), then Christmas with nuclear family. 26 December in Belgium with Fab's cousin Matthieu, 31 Dec in Lille with Fab's friends.

  6. 1 Jan 2007 - we take the plane to Beijing, and Fabien goes to work in Beijing from 2 Jan.


I feel tired just thinking about it all. It is so hard to take it all in.
All this moving around is simultaneously exhausting and energizing.

I try to take comfort from the fact that this is part of our Awfully Big Adventure that Fabien and me agreed on so long ago as our Life Plan (yeah - we talked about all that as part of Marriage Preparation!)... As Hannibal - remember him? says "I love it when the plan comes together"

Keep reading for more updates. and kisses always.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

i jinxed it

It is official - talking/blogging about something jinxes it!

I was just announcing proudly that Sophie was signaling to go to the bathroom and today she STOPPED doing it. And is back to pooping and peeing in her diaper.

Ditto for that sleeping through the night thing. The moment I blogged about it, she decided to start waking up again. At bloody 3 am. Just to let us know who is in charge.


i wonder if it has something to do with all that spinach we've been feeding her (the little popeye seems to like it) ? Seems like she's having trouble digesting or something.

Anyone with any useful ideas please don't hesistate to suggest it.


This shopping thing is growing on me.

My friend Elaine thinks I shop in a testosterone charged manner. Basically I have a mental list of what I want to get, then I look at a store directory and pick out the stores which are most likely to have what I want and just go and look for targeted objects. Either they have it within the budget (and so I buy it) or they don't (so I leave). It's a simple decision tree, which leaves no room for this "browsing" nonsense (a euphemism for time-wasting in my book).

Serravalle may have come close to converting me. Close, but no cigar, simply because we are moving to China, and we only get 300 kg air freight.

Anyway for the serious shopping news (because Mini asked!) ...

I met Peter at the Bodum shop - they have great kitchen toys! I also liked the Furla (bought a document bag and a handbag - about 100 euros each) and Petite Bateau (bought 30 euros of miscellaneous winter wear for Sophie). I saw a dress at Roberto Cavalli that was nice (110 euro at half price) , and got a pair of trainers at the Nike store (a 130 euro pair at half price). Almost got some champagne flutes at Villeroy and Boch (29 euro) , and some pretty flats at Ferragamo (200 euro) - but they didn't fit (sigh). Then that 300kg limit was bugging me.

There's a Toys R Us too, but I was running out of time. I couldn't be bothered to stand in line for Prada, where the discounts are supposed to be so good that they need to limit the number of people in the store.

Peter - What did you get?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Mr. Mom for the weekend

This weekend I left Fabien with Sophie for 6 hours to go to Serravalle . It was liberating but I actually strangely missed them both after a while. Fabien got to play house-husband, taking care of the baby, doing the grocery shopping and making dinner before I got back.

He very proudly announced when I got into the door that she had signed to him for "milk", and he also had managed to get her to poop in the sink. Feels great that the baby-signing and infant pottying seems to be working out pretty well.

It was a bit wierd because most weekends are spent en famille doing stuff like walking in the park and looking at animals:

Sophie likes dogs. Alot. She probably thinks that a donkey is just a larger version of a dog. We haven't been able to sign "dog" yet, because I can never remember the ASL version of it, and I haven't figured out a good substitute sign.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Love Thursday -- Love Hot Chocolate

This weekend was cold. So we got bundled up and went in search of hot chocolate. Fabien had to drag me away from my driving book which I was trying to memorise before the driving exam on Monday (anyone want to know why we use double white lines when a single white line will do?). Anyway hot chocolate is usually a good way to motivate me to get out of the house.

We went across the river from our house to the grand madre. I stopped to snap a photo of the river at sunset - pretty huh?

and this is the cafe near the grand madre. I can't remember the name, but you can sit on long bar-top style tables facing the street. like this:

And this is the perfect cuppa! Mounds of decadent cream. There goes the waistline...

Watch that little hand reach out for the hot chocolate. Sophie loves hot chocolate too. She keeps looking at the hot chocolate instead of the camera. But check out her cute little gloves!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Why we call her "boo boo"

Remember Boo from Monsters Inc?

We think Sophie looks a little like that - What do you reckon?

Jean Nie commented that the photos of Sophie look great - is she always such an easy subject? And the answer is - Nope! You have to be a combination of lucky and trigger happy... for example, I was trying to get a photo of her and Mila (our cleaning lady who adores her). As long as she is reasonably well rested, she's a happy camper. The only problem with that is that she won't keep still for long enough for a photo.

See what I mean? Took 3 shots to get here...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Photos from Veronica's party

I am so late, and this is last week's news, but in my defense, I was studying!

Everyone else has put up these photos but me, so I tried to put up photos which i haven't seen yet on Gina's or Peter's site.

We were trying to get a photo of Sophie and Zubin "devouring" the books. But those didn't turn out too good. But (Gina will like this) I did get Sophie biting into the appropriately titled "mangia mangia" board book.

We did get more photos but they aren't great. I think I am out-growing my idiot-proof camera, and want something with a bit more controls to play with so I can take better photos. Or I can finally learn how to photoshop, since Peter has kindly offered to show me one of these days. Also we didn't take that many photos because we were busy attacking (with both hands) the absolutely delicious goodies that everyone brought.


Sophie and Zubin on playdate

okay, I checked my i-photo to blog the photos of our weekend but then realised that i hadn't uploaded them yet.

So here are instead the photos from last week at Gina's house- the Sophie and Zubin date (heavily chaperoned by their moms). Sorry guys you can go on private dates once you can ummm... maybe walk without assistance?

Monday, November 06, 2006

An ode to Balanced living

Before meeting my 35-hour-working-week husband, I used to think staying overnight in the office was okay. I used to get a kick from working with the peaks and troughs of law firm life (or lack thereof). I remember (through a haze... ) when I would change clothes and brush my teeth in the office and soldier on without sleeping for 2 days. The best part is that I used to think that this was normal, because I was brainwashed enough to think that if you want to do something well, you needed to obsess over each and every tiny detail without need for sleep/food/rest.

Now I know what a load of bollocks that is.

This weekend, I studied for my driving theory exam. Although Fabien had to (occasionally) tear me away from my book to eat/take a walk/do something useful, I had a reasonably pleasant weekend.

In between studying, we went for Veronica's baby shower, walks in the park, and met our friends (more pictures to follow). I am no longer addicted to doing something at the expense of EVERYTHING else.

And I still PASSED my driving theory exam at 8 am this morning. (Shilpa - you can have all my books now) Even though I needed Gina to drive me back home cos my stupid driving instructor drove me to the exam center and LEFT me there to find my own way back !!

Anyway now I need to book the practical driving test.

Wish me luck! (and a more balanced life)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

happy love thursday No.2

It is Love Thursday and this is what we love - family baths.

Not that I would (or even could) inflict a photo of that on you, but when we settle down in a permanent home, I dream about constructing a wooden ofuro .

This is despite the fact that I know there will probably come a time when our kiddo will be embarrassed about bathing with her parents. When she doesn't find mummy's incarnation of the cuddle monster, and papa's squeeky sock puppets particularly amusing. Where a simple raspberry sound and tickle will no longer elicit a torrent of giggles. When peek-a-boo loses its thrill, and our old digital camera cord is no longer a source of endless wonder.

Thank goodness that time is not now.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy Halloween

This was a christening present from Dan, and we were going to save it to make christmas cards this year. BUT it was sooo cute, I couldn't resist a couple of photos.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Oh yes - Mini's Meme...

Sorry - we are late on this post. I realised I had promised to do it (and did!) but saved it but never got back round to publishing it. Suddenly thought about it when writing my Love Thursday tag, so here goes...

10 things about me, 10 years ago:

1) I was wearing a school uniform which was grey, ugly and almost waterproof ( now I wear the standard mommy uniform of jeans covered with dog fur, scummy t-shirt which can be washed easily)
2) I was utterly and completely convinced that I would grow up to be a lawyer (hahahahaha)
3) I was a Christian. I still am a Christian who thinks God is loving and wonderful but I agree with Karen- "his PR people need to up their game".
4) Beverly Hills 90210 and ER was on TV - The OC and Grey's anatomy is kinda like that.
5) We were still watching Eddie Murphy Beverly Hills Cop - now we watch him reinvented as a talking donkey in Shrek
6) I carried a pager which I lost regularly. I now have a mobile phone, which I have not lost ever since I stopped working as a lawyer (at some subconcious level, I just didn't want to be contacted)
7) I listened to a lot of U2. They are alive and rocking.
8) I also listened to Miles Davies and Leslie Cheung. They are dead.
9) I thought the institution of marriage was going the way of the dodo.
10) And I would not have children....

Monday, October 30, 2006

Date Night Instructions

We love weekends. Long langourous lunches. Visiting friends, walking in the park. This Saturday was our date night - making for an extra special weekend.

Here is how it works:

- Leave wookie with trusted babysitter
- Get gussied up
- walk (not drive) to restaurant, so that you can share a bottle (or 2) of wine instead of those sucky little small carafes.
- Have an apperetivo with friends with anything white, light and sparkly
- Then go out to dinner in your own little two person universe
- Let people compliment you on what a cute couple you are (even if they are just hoping for a tip)
- Open a kitty on the table. Anyone who mentions the kiddo/household mundania has to put a euro in. Do whatever you like with the money afterwards (buy dessert, give to charity, buy another bottle of wine - list is limited only by your imagination)
- Talk instead about anything abstract - tribal art, philosophy of friendship, economics of cows, and how they all relate to sex (only after half the aforementioned nice bottle of wine)
- Linger over coffee and desert
- Walk the long way back holding hands, and stopping to kiss at traffic crossings (even if there are no cars)

No photos. (We were too busy being young and passionate).

The floating, dreamy squishy feeling lasts all the way into the week.

Even a dreary rainy Monday morning can't do anything to quench it.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Tagging for next Love Thursday

This is as a follow up to my previous post.

I decided that Love Thursday is a great concept, and I wanna tag other people with it just like a meme. It's spelt out in more detail on this flickr group

So here goes -

mini, ~e~, Juney, Nisha, Peter and Gina - You've been tagged! Your mission if you choose to accept it, is to come up with a story and photo by next Thursday to celebrate Love in all forms.

Big kisses and many warm and fuzzy things.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Love Thursday

It is Love Thursday and Love is all around . Rather than whining about the lousy photo that I took (note to Rhys - the background is too bright). I'm done cussing my computer, I'll just be glad for the technology that allows me to capture and share moments like these.

So that is the photo, and this is the Love Thursday Story ...

Fabien and I almost never fight, but we did this weekend. And I wouldn't normally be publishing dirty laundry on a post, but this had such a happy/funny ending that it deserves to be recorded and shared. All of Saturday we were violently disagreeing about how much crying was acceptable in getting our daughter to sleep through the night.

Arguing outside the home guarantees a minimum level of civility because the urge to yell at each other is surpressed by fear of creating a scene (we're kinda English like that). So we walked around and looked at ducks in the Valentino Park. Which would have been quite a pleasant way to enjoy some late afternoon sun if we had less emotive topic to discuss.

We finally arrived at a kind of unhappy compromise tabling the various levels of crying and corresponding actions (you have to be a parent to understand that this required about the same level bargaining as the Oslo Accords), and resolved to put our plan into action that very night.

But it wasn't even necessary.

Perhaps it was all that fresh air or perhaps it was the excitement of duck feeding. Who knows? Who cares. From Saturday night onwards (*drumroll*) our kid is sleeping through the night without even waking once. From 7 pm to 6 am... She must have understood all our discussion from her baby bjorn and decided that her parents were fighting over nothing. Nothing at all.

So bedtime can continue to have happy tummy tickles, nose nuzzles and snuggles, just like in this photo.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

We are going Off Line for a while

My poor little Apple ibook is sick.

I need to take her to the doctor at the Apple Store.

Full Blogging service will resume when we either (1) give in to temptation and buy a new macbook or (2) the IT service restores the computer to full health.

It is a pretty old machine (2 years) which we got for our wedding in Singapore (on our wedding wish list) together with the i-pod (which still works fine).


Friday, October 20, 2006

Thank you Peter!

Peter has kindly shed some light on the technical issues involved in getting photos edited with photoshop. I will be trying them out today and if the results are fit for human consumption I can put them on this blog.

I guess I will have the time to work on this, because winter is coming, and we are spending more time indoors. Autumnal air has taken a decidedly wet and chilly tinge, and so it is time for baby winter clothes! I love having a little girl because I can dress her up in pink hat.

but then I needed to buy matching pink boots to go with them, soooo i went shopping, and of course you never only buy one thing from the store ...

Monday, October 16, 2006

Hello, Technical Assistance?

My lovely friend Josephine did this for Sophie. She's the talented mummy of Baby Lisa and Lil Sharlyn By the way, on a housekeeping point - all the little baby friends (and their mums!) of Sophie are blogrolled at our other website - chez thibault

Anyway, Josephine gave me a whole bunch of instructions to use adobe photoshop as an editing tool. Which I am sooo trying to figure out, having downloaded the 30 day trial version online.

But it is a diff version from the one in her instructions, and man I suck so big time. I can't even figure out how to start! Can someone brave and more technologically literate gimme a leg-up?!!

Well - strike out "photo editor" as one of my career options!!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Feeling the stress

I am getting distressed with our impending move to China. Apart from the zillion admin issues to deal with (get vaccinations for Sophie and me, get driving licence, pack etc..) We need to start saying goodbye to all our friends as well. Instead of a great big leaving party where we end up talking to people like 5 minutes each, I am trying to spend quality time with individual friends. But it is exhausting. Maybe I will just give up and meet everyone once in a big party - but that requires planning and organizing, which is a palaver...

Maybe Sophie has been picking up on all this stress vibe from me.

She has been napping atrociously this past few days. Usually her morning and noon naps happen automatically when I put her in bed (i.e. with no protest crying) but she has been making grumpy noises in her bed for the past 15 minutes now, and seems like she will go into full scale wailing soon. Maybe she misses her Papa (like I do).

Anyway, when we are feeling the heat, all the more we need silly photos like this one.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Visiting Veronica at home

Sophie and I went to see Veronica at home for a couple of first kisses. I cooked for Gina the same stuff she did for me when I came back from the hospital with Sophie. Chicken and black fungus, and milk-prouducing fish and papaya soup. What I was surprised was that Mama Stefania (Demetrio's mother - she is in the background of this photo) actually liked some of this chinese stuff!!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

more career angsting

Working as an international attorney is not about being an expert in two systems of law or customary international law or the CISG. It's about being dynamic in a world composed of nations beset on all fronts by illusory boundaries that are defined by mental constructs called laws. Most importantly it's about being creative. The practice of international law requires an attorney to confront issues that have yet to be addressed. quote from transnational law blog

This is me trying to psyche myself up to go apply for jobs. I don't know what is wrong with me, but I am completely under-motivated. I guess I just don't feel like I am going to achieve a good work/life balance because all my previous experience as a fee-earning lawyer does not bring to mind any semblance of balance. The idea that I have to devote even more time to work if I have to retrain as a corporate lawyer is just making me avoid answering headhunter phonecalls altogether.

It is hard because I have already established family life as my priority for now, and I feel like I am being disloyal to a Stepford wife ideal (yeah, I am quite extremist like that) which I already internalised.

There is another traitorous part of my that is itching to go back into the fray. The rush of bloodlust and fear, the caffeine and nicotine fueled nights interspersed with periods of sheer painful drudgery. Intoxicating cycles of highs and lows which suit my maniac-depressive fugues.

ARRGGHHH... There is no locum market in Beijing. A quiet disputes market and a booming corporate market. So really the answer (from a recruitment perspective) is pretty obvious. I just feel like if I am waiting to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight. Wearing Prada.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

My most amazing friend

I am so so happy for Gina and Demetrio. Their baby Veronica is so small and cute, and was born at the same weight as me - 2.5 kilos.

Anyway, Gina was walking around and smiling at the camera mere minutes before the big push. We were talking on the phone just after her water broke and she sounded so damn chirpy! After the birth, she was up and talking on the phone and uploading photos and just generally being all healthy and active.

If you don't believe me, look at these photos

It was just awesome.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

5 months today!

Dear Sophie,

I cannot believe 5 months have passed since you showed up to change our lives completely. For the better I might add. It is a great change, and your Papa and I welcome it but we try to keep some semblance of our own "normal" lives intact too.

Only when I see little Veronica I remember that you too were once so adorable and tiny. You are still adorable, but now you are my 7 kilo baby mammoth!

Anyways, I just want to record some of the beautiful things you have shown us this month ..

1) Your developing sense of humour
- you get the joke now. With exaggerated sneezing and threats to tickle you to death, your good friend uncle Demetrio can make you giggle till you get the hiccups.

2) Your increasing awareness of cause-effect relationships
- this month, you have learnt that you have the power to affect both things and people. Your experiments in the laws of gravity include the discovery that dropping your toys means somebody has to pick them up for you.

3) I swear that you do understand the REALLY important things
- I am begining to relax a little because you haven't bitten me at all (despite regularly baring at me your 2 front teeth) I think you got the idea that I was serious when I threatened instant weaning if you ever sank your fangs into my boob.

4) good foundation for toilet training
- You are now consistently pooping when held over the toilet sink, and now we need to figure out how to get you to tell me when you need to pee.

Every month I think that you are at your cutest and most fun, and the next month you continue to surprise me by being even cuter. So keep those surprises coming honey, because me and your dad are just generally nuts about you, and so is the rest of the neighbourhood.

With a billion tummy kisses and belly laughs

Your Momma

Oh yeah - html update: I finally cracked and got a snugglepie account so that I could use the ticker code. My main objection actually was that I refused to be associated with a website called "snugglepie". It just sounded so uncool. But then it appears that most tickers and counters for childrens birthdays all have pretty fuzzy names anyways.

This was one that I wanted to get, but thought maybe it might traumatise her later when she reads this blog:

Monday, October 09, 2006

Commercial break

The first couple of days whenever Fabien goes away for work is always a bit hard because the routine feels a bit out of kilter. Sophie and I amuse ourselves with silly girly photos to capture her moments growing up (in the space of 2 weeks!) when her papa is away...

My little French madmoiselle models jacadi petit fleurs collection - a towel is all she needs to look utterly and completely smooch-worthy.

Aint I the proud parent!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Congratulations Gina!

With each new baby the world is reborn. Gina and Demetrio just welcomed little Veronica at about 5:45pm today.

Check their photos

She is a real real cutie and Gina had a miraculously easy labour. We are so so so happy for them!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

A returning social Life

Having a baby changes your everyday routine. Drastically. How do you know when life has kind of returned to normal? When she leaves you alone to have a good saturday lunch. This means, enough time to cook it, and eat it whilst it's still hot.

This is what we had last saturday. Baked trout parcel with potato and fennel, served with a champagne sauce. Lovely crisp Tattinger (can't remember year) to wash it all down.

Our social life has been on an upward curve since Sophie turned 3 months. We have gone out a couple of nights this month without Sophie, or just chucked her into bed in Gina's house (where she obligingly passes out). But we still have to more or less stick to her majesty's schedule.

This weekend we are going to hang out with Gina, and then Fabien disappears to China for 2 weeks.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Eileen was here

Eileen came to Turin for Sophie's tea party and it was great to catch up with her. She stayed with Gina which was great because that way, my old friend from Singapore could meet my new friend from Turin.

She's left me lots of great books that I've been wanting to read for the longest time like "The World is Flat" (although I think Thomas Friedman is a bit of a zionist). And bought a Beatrix Potter collection of rag books for Sophie.

It's nice to see my friends here because we are leaving for Beijing in Jan 2007. Yep it's confirmed (with much nostalgia) - we go to France for Christmas, and then leave from there to go to Beijing.

I don't have our contact details yet for Beijing, but will put it up once I get there.

Sunday, October 01, 2006


As explained in my earlier post , Baby toys are entirely for Mummy's benefit.

Sophie is becoming pretty easy to look after, because she has figured out how to play by herself. So I can just leave her under the gymini or with Dumbo for up to an hour, and check my email and read the Economist or something before she wants my attention. It's great!

We love those presents!

Big thank you again for those cool presents from all our friends! Fab and I are getting kinda jealous because Sophie has a great travelling toiletries kit from Neal's Yard (courtesy of Eileen), wonderful toys (long list of friends, but notably Michy, Chiara and Gina) and great clothes for winter (yup, the winter collection started already!)

Take a look at Sophie enjoying her new elephant toy,

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Another beautiful baby party

There's another party today. Why are there all these people in the appartment? It's Sophie's beautiful baby party! She got lots of kisses, and fantastic presents (again!).

Big thank you again for those cool presents from all our friends! Fab and I are getting kinda jealous because Sophie has a great travelling toiletries kit from Neal's Yard (courtesy of Eileen), wonderful toys (long list of friends, but notably Michy, Chiara and Gina) and great clothes for winter (yup, the winter collection started already!) After the party, we tried out some of the cool presents, like her great shoes - check them out! Even the box is nice - Thank you Jacopo!