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.