After a hiatus of nearly two months, our life is slowly getting back to something resembling normality. We have found a small house (but have still to sign the contract), and should be able to move in by early June. Until then we will have to stay in our tiny appartement in Les Ulis, and the dogs and cats have to remain in South Africa a bit longer. But they are very well taken care of, so they should not mind that much. We do, though… .
So – what has been happening the last 8 weeks? The day we flew to France, the Lufthansa Co-pilots decided to go on strike, so quite a few flights within Europe were cancelled. We were lucky to get onto another flight, and only arrived in Paris with a few hours delay. No comparison to the delays flight passengers have been experiencing the last week. The grandparents were already waiting impatiently to see their grandchild again.
We had left Cape Town at 30°C, only to arrive in Paris at temperatures just above freezing. Quite a change – and we were not exactly prepared for that (there is simply no need for very warm clothing in the Cape), but thankfully, a huge box of winter clothes for Katharina was sent by one of my best friends. She was warm, at least. Our “previous” life was left behind rather quickly, as we adjusted to the new life with fresh baguettes, great cheese, fresh produce markets and afternoon strolls in the park.
After two weeks in Gif-sur-Yvette, a lovely little village on the banks of the river Yvette, we moved east, to Vigneux-sur-Seine. Quite a contrast – the town is part of the Paris Banlieus, and characterised by high-rises. The upper part of town is still small houses, but the people and their demeanour were very different from Gif. The house we stayed in was quite nice, but after two weeks, we moved again – only to end up in an appartement block. This time in Les Ulis, a very young, modern community south of Orsay. There are plenty of green spaces around – small and large, where there are always people around enjoying the outdoors.
The day after we installed ourselves in Les Ulis, I went off to Japan – covering 3 continents in less than 4 weeks is quite an achievement. Being German, I thought us to be pretty organised and quite efficient – but this is trumped by the Japanese. I’ve never seen order, organising and efficiency like this – everything works like clockwork. The trip being a business trip, I had little spare time, but nevertheless managed to experience the culture and country. I only came back from the trip less than 4 weeks, but it also seems to be a lifetime away.
The last few weeks have been spent on work, finding a house (finally, with success), and I even managed to knit a few more socks and fingerless gloves. Currently, I have a 4th set of socks on the needles – three more to go, then on to slippers, and then a set of gloves, bonnet and scarf for a friend. I have also decided that, before next autumn (which is only 6 months away), I have to knit gloves and bonnets/beanies and scarfs for all three of us. And paw-warmers for all the pets – they will need it!
Since last weekend, spring is finally in full bloom – and I just love the walk through the woods to get to the university. The birds are singing, flowers of many different colours are out, and I realise that I not only need to brush up on my French (which has gotten marginally better the last few weeks), but also my knowledge of the European flora. Field guides, here I come… .
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