That was a fun reading. Light and thoughtful, loving and self-ironic. An introspective and retrospective view into inter and intra-generational relationships. An ode to youthful playful souls even when the replaced knees and pacemakers demand otherwise.
On a warm autumn day, in a town on the Mediterranean, I let my kid choose where she wanted to have lunch. Her choice led us to a place were locals go. Tables next to each other. Waiters saluting clients with a non-chalance of old friends. This kind of place.
We were given a table in the middle of the room and soon enough a couple was sat next to us.
She was beaming with elegance, her hair just out of a hairdresser’s. White blouse, dark skirt. Let’s call her Mathilde. He was dressed as if in a hurry. A hurry to see her, I thought. Let’s call him Henry. They both seemed to have been born in the middle of last century.
They ordered the plat du jour and wine. Henry immediately became chatty with the lady at the table next to them. He told her the story of his life in 5 minutes: he is retired, daughter lives in another country, he and the lady having lunch with him is not his wife and they just “see each other”. He would be good on Twitter, I thought, with such a talent for conciseness.
The lady at the next table offered them her unfinished bottle of wine. I also wanted to offer something, in exchange for more stories. I offered them our untouched basket of bread. They accepted it with the joy of 5 year olds on Christmas eve.
As we switched our attention to our plates, their dialogue unfolded:
– Oh, darling, your back hurts again?, Henry asked with a compassion level 100, as she tried to find a comfortable posture in her chair.
– Oh, it’s fine, Mathilde tried to reassure him.
– Well, you know the remedy. You come to my place. You undress. I give you a massage on your back, his hands demonstrating circular movements, as if around her delicate shoulders.
Mathilde blushed and directed his blue eyes with her green eyes to my daughter, as if saying: « Shsh, there are kids around ». Henry’s blue eyes responded: “Well, sooner or later, she will find out. What’s there to hide?!”
– Well, you felt good after our last time…, his sweet smile enveloping her.
We left the place with the feeling of having watched a good movie from the 50s. Their illuminated faces – a lovely memory of an autumn love story. Ageless. Priceless.
P.S. I remembered this story in the times of this pandemic… I truly hope they are well and their love continues to brighten their days.
That’s some tale. I “walked” for miles and miles on the English coast line with this amazing couple – Moth and Ray. The reading made me straighten my back, lower my shoulders and relearn acceptance.
This couple in their 50s lost their home, family business and all income and walked into their next stage with their 8 kg each backpacks. On top of that, Moth was diagnosed with some incurable disease… . They endure, overcome, cry, despair, get up, and move on.
I read some of the reviews after I read the book. Some saw it as a diary, others as a coast guide and national geographic type of writing. Some focused on the homeliness side of the story only. Others on the iterations… It has it, indeed, a little bit of each. As with any reading, we will find there only what we have inside already…
My favourite quote from the book: “A new season had crept into me, a softer season of acceptance.”
While teleworking, I discovered that routine is queen. Yet, I remember that it is a constitutional monarchy. Dancing and crying and hugging and feeling sad are not under her rule. I can do any or all of that, if I feel like. No permission from the queen-routine required.
At the first walk-around-the-block since this started: « Mom, I have an impression I am walking with a toddler…». I was beyond myself from the sun and air and river view. Never in my life the view of a swimming water rat excited me to levels I never knew. I promise, my child, I’ll grow swiftly back into your mom.
As we cannot go and greet the spring, the way we used to, we turn to art. Thank you Conny Famm for your “State of soul”.
My shopping patterns changed. I cancelled orders. That’s a first for me. Instead, I redirected the money to a local initiative of chefs cooking for hospitals’ staff in the region – Des repas pour les anges gardiens. And in my home country through Diaconia http://www.diaconia.md.
The fight for internal resources – the one and only laptop in the house – ended with a gentlemen agreement.
I “went” to a ballet performance. « LAC » by Jean-Christophe Maillot at Monte Carlo Opera, courtesy of Monaco plus.
I seriously upgraded my emoji use skills. From novice to intermediate. I am still very far from the emoji-master in my house. I’ve got something to aspire to.
We welcomed a new precious member into our family and thank him for reminding us of the gift of life. We wish him a happy and long life! And we promise to be more conscious of what we do to mother Earth and how we treat each other.
When I was little, year 2000 seemed stellar years away. And now I say “Hello 2020!”
As I finish this year in my kitchen with crème patissière under my nails, I choose a moment of solitude to write down a few thanks to the passing year.
Thank you 2019,
for my new motherhood experiences. It is a 3D of past, present and future. Kids are unattainable teachers. We just have to open our hearts.
for a magic encounter with a new painter – Conny Famm from Sweden at his “Nordic Grace” exhibition. His “State of soul” is divine.
for my privileged and intimate friendships, which are untouched by distance. You know who are.
for my great professional relationships, which evolved into friendships. You know who you are.
for a new and growing sorority of spirits, regardless of our genders and age. We know who we are.
for many brilliant books I read this year.
for “Angel” by MyiaGi, my song of the year.
for a few small traditions I helped create, which continue to benefit those who need it most.
for my Grandmother’s traditions I sacredly follow on our special family occasions. It is my way to keep her in our hearts. Some of them fill our stomachs just fine, which she also loved doing for us, just like this cheese pie.
for the patience of my hubby when he fights his unspoken “You bought again so many!?, as he knows that I will support all forms of women’s entrepreneurship.
for new wisdoms I discovered and share with my daugthers. Here is a selection of my favourites:
- The story you tell yourself is by far more important than the story other people tell you.
- There is no truth in suffering.
- Patience is a virtue few have, and those who have it gain it all.
- What others say or do is about them. If you internalise it, you make it about you.
- There are two basic emotions: fear and faith. The choice is yours.
- Your behaviours demonstrate your values. Choose what you show to the world.
- Age does not register with those who are busy with good deeds.
- People who say that they will do it and then actually do it are rare. Be one of rare ones.
Thank you, 2019! Hello and welcome, 2020!
for my dearest people who make me feel at home, regardless of the time which passed since our last encounter. You know who you are.
for my first eight-pairs-of-hands-baking experience with orphan girls in the care of Diaconia and a chance to share with them a baking atmosphere I had with my grandmother.
for my daughter’s enthusiasm and support: “Mom, you were such a pro, juggling the parallel teams at baking!”.
for Diaconia’s wonderful team of people whose dedication I admire from the bottom of my heart. Check them out at http://www.diaconia.md.
for allowing young musicians to express themselves under the street lights in Stefan cel Mare park:
for the betterment if your zoo. We can be critical of many things we saw there, yet we choose to appreciate how much it evolved since its establishment 40 years ago
for my school, which celebrated 50 year recently. It was a moment of joy to retrace my steps to and from the school, with my daughter this time around.
for a great number of professionals I met and who do the best they can and aspire to do better, regardless of the circumstances. You know who you are.
and, last but not least, for your splendid autumn colours which stand to remind us of the unique beauty of nature this time of the year.
Dachstein, Alsace, October
for such a wonderful immersion into Dali’s artistic journey at Grimaldi Forum
for the wonders of jewelry making by Chaumet
for the new turtles nursery for Samy and Avril at the Oceanographic Museum, which we always enjoy visiting
for our first visit to the zoo, which only got 3/10 from my kid, who knows everything about how enclosures should look like and she is serious about it. Some enclosures are beautiful nonetheless. The zoo is home to 250 animals and all of them were donated, which makes it unique
for the return of the unhindered view on the Casino in all its green splendor
for the best tarte au chocolat at Costa. The lady there also vows to the excellency of chocolate éclaire. Something to try next time 🙂
for an excuisite chocolate ice cream by Marcolini, enjoyed in a true schoolgirl spirit on the stairs of the Opera. It brought back a dear childhood rebelion memory: to eat ice cream in the middle of winter and on the stairs of the bus station
for the discovery of Gaia, an ode to Greek cuisine in the heart of Monaco. I loved the food’s magic power to take you to the Hellen land and then bring you back to Cote d’Azur. We enjoyed the watermelon and feta salad, the cheese pie with truffles and the fish in salt crust. Wine lovers will find there a fine selection of Greek and French wines (to the extent I can judge). Service is personalised and well syncronised on a very busy night
for an amazing view from Le Meridien, which was very generous with us and exceeded our expectations
for the mind-blowing taste of Munegu – a cake born from a blend of panettone and fougasse – from Mada One by Marcel Ravin, to share and enjoy with the loved ones upon return
for such a warm welcome on my bday with my family
for the fun in water
for your blend of tradition and excellency in hospitality
for a picture perfect design with nature at its center
and last and not least, for decadent desserts and … the coffee which took me by surprise – it was hot! A first in France 🙂
The last city break we took inspired me to put together some tips for trips with kids. These might be valid sometimes for the “big babies” of the family (we all know who they are 🙂 ).
So, here are my tips:
– limit the number of visits per day and plan breaks every 2-3 hours, depending on the age of the child;
– look for sensorial-friendly activities. Luckily, museums these days integrate in their displays lots of interactive features for a more fulfilling experience.
– alternate landmarks with visits to zoos, amusement parks or public parks, where local kids play.
– with some commitment, you can find nature spots even in busiest of cities. Your urban kid and your urban self will be thankful for a day spent among trees and other creatures.
– let the kid sleep longer in the morning. They will be rested and eager to explore through the day. That’s also the perfect time to plan for the day.
– consider whether you need to book a hotel room with breakfast or rent an apartment with a kitchenette. Choose what serves better your own morning rhythm.
– book hotels with pools for a “chillaxing” (my kid’s favourite word from “chill” and “relax”) experience in the evening, after long walks. It will also serve you well in rainy weather.
– allow some TV time, if you have no TV at home (which is our case) or stick to your usual TV time-allowed at home.
– complete each day by asking the kid what she enjoyed most during the day. She is your most valuable customer, so – ask for feedback.
– enjoy every moment and look at places through your kid’s eyes. You might be surprised by what you experience even in familiar places.