Thursday 27 April, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — claire @ 11:53 am

It’s no secret that Jim, on his own, would happily pursue permanent employment options outside Australia. In his particular field there is a hell of alot more going on overseas than at home. Although in his current Post Doc position the money is crap, any permanent position in the Eu or USA would instantly pay better and faire better against the Aussie dollar. But alas he is encumbered and as much as I cant believe my luck to have had this opportunity to live in another culture, to live in Europe, I say No to settling permanently away from my family, friends and mother tongue. HOWEVER!! Since confirming the date we are to bid France adieu I’ve had mixed emotions about returning home. I’ve always known when the time came I would be torn between excitement and sadness, its still 6months away so I needn’t fret now. The problem is I love to travel, I always have and I’ve always assumed I always would travel. But Im older now and I know we cant have it all all of the time and I worry that as time marches on and with it comes more and more responsibility. Responsibility we very much want, but with that the opportunity to travel will diminish and in later years will I regret passing on opportunities that were offered while still relatively young. But then I worry that if I choose not to head home just yet my regrets will be that I didn’t choose to maximise precious time with the people that are most important to me, my family, my mother.
Its these mixed emotions that led me to seriously think about our options and what I realise bothers me most is if we head home now that will most likely be it, we will never live in another country again. And although I sometimes talk like 36 is ancient, its not, I may be closer to 40 than 30 but Im not there yet and I know the more I take with me in way of life experiences as I age the more able I’ll be to embrace the accumulating years. So with all this playing on my mind, the end result was Jim got thrown a bone, or should I say thrown a country, just the one. I was very considered in my choice of country including what locations and as well requested no permanent positions, 1yr at most. He wasted no time in identifying a suitable position and applying and they wasted no time in responding and he has a phone interview tomorrow!! When Jim rang me from work to inform me my first response was absolute excitement, surely that has to be indicative that I am willing to do this?!

Clues as to which country it is were given in the previous post but clearly more are needed if someone as well travelled and sharp as Sally cant work it out. So here is the mother of all clues……As I mentioned for the most part they speak English, but in certain parts our French will come in handy!!! Having said that though the French say they can barely understand their French and laugh uproariously when they hear it spoke, regardless of fluency. I swear you cant win with them. And Sally Im pretty sure you’ve travelled there and if I remember right may have suffered an accident that left you shackled to a bar!!

Monday 24 April, 2006

blog neglect

Filed under: Uncategorized — claire @ 12:21 pm

Wow, it’s been a seriously long time since we have posted! Our excuses are events that left us unable to attend to anything superfluous, followed by a much needed trip to Italy, entertaining a EU house guest and Orthodox Easter. Christos Anesti!

I will try and post pictures soon, but my blogging muscles are seriously atrophied and will take time to strengthen. However just this past week the weather is finally displaying signs of Spring and with that has come a renewed vigour and enthusiasm to lengthen my daily list of things to do.

In brief I can share that Jim and I are making plans to head home to Australia in October, not for a holiday but to settle! Take note I say Australia* as there can be no promise Jim will score a job in Melbourne, in fact one promising prospect is in Adelaide!! I can cope with the idea of Adelaide as it’s not that far from Melbourne and Mum reckons it’s a very managable drive for her. Though it would sadden me not to have ready access to my two new friends, Harry & Grace…..yes for those of you who don’t know Heidi & John had their twins!! I confess to some tears and a pain in my heart at not being able to see my dear friend & her bubs, but I figure they’ll still be babies when I get my hands on them. I suspect it will take both Heidi and John to wrestle them off me once I do get my hands on them, but then again juggling twins may take it’s toll on them and they might happily relinquish them to me for a spell. Heidi and John aren’t the only ones to be blessed with twins, Sofia and Joey had their girls, Isabella & Michaela earlier in the month, we’ll ask permission to post the photos they sent, adorable!!!

*Shhh, just quietly I have granted permission for 1 country outside Australia to be applied to, Jim acted quickly before I could change my mind. I was specific on the country and no its not New Zealand, a little further than that but not as far as Europe, its not the USA and for the most part they speak English. If you cant work it out from all those clues I’d have to risk insulting you and suggest you’re a wee bit challenged!!

Thursday 23 March, 2006

Anyone for raquette?

Filed under: Uncategorized — jim @ 8:40 pm

Crunch, crunch, crunch. No its not the sound of a disgrunted tennis player disputing a line call, its the sound one makes when they go snow shoe walking – called raquette in French. We spent a week skiing in the Savoie region at La Plagne ski area in late Feb. We were lucky to find accomodation actually, given it was the peak season when all of France (and much of Great Britain) goes to the alps. It was absolutely beautiful, high up in a quiet village opposite the ski resort with fantastic weather to boot.


We decided to give skiing a break for one morning and give raquette a go. We headed off to a small village in fantastic morning sunshine, strapped on the shoes to our hiking boots and headed off.


Each time we took a step we made a loud crunching sound. The sound was strangely calming amongst the peace and quiet. It was amazing where you could go with these things strapped to your feet. Had we not had them on we would have sunk to our knees in snow.

Thursday 16 March, 2006

weather & stuff

Filed under: Uncategorized — claire @ 3:43 pm

Yesterday we finally had a nice day, sun shinning and a reasonably comfortable temperature, we were well over due for it! It was so nice I gave a lesson outside using a soccer ball as a tool. This young lassie will be moving to Australia next year for 6months and I have it my head that she must learn important phrases and questions like how to ask the teacher if she can go to the toilet and what to do when one of the kids yells throw it to me!! throw it to me!! in the play ground. Do 10 year old girls play ball? At the moment Im trying to work out how to explain to her the difference between May I? and Can I?, my French doesn’t extend that far. Her father speaks excellent English so I think I will have to handball that job to him. I’m also worried she’s going to look the wrong way when she’s crossing the road, so we might have to cover that one lesson, without the assistance of Hector the Cat sadly. Was anyone else visited at primary school by Hector the giant yellow and blue cat who taught road safety?

Anyway it’s the weather I was talking about, so nice yesterday and crap again today. I am of course completely powerless to do anything about it but being so fed up I felt I had to do something. So in a widely optimistic move I have unpacked all my summer clothes and packed away all my winter clothes! So that should do it and Im confident my actions will not just benefit me but the whole of Lille as the Gods acknowledge my gesture and bring forth Spring.

Jim was recently interviewed for a local paper and today received a copy of the article in the mail. The mail came when Jim was at work but I knew who it was from so went ahead and opened it, I’m mildly disturbed by this. I never imagined I would be the type of wife who would open her husbands mail!!! I rang him at work immediately and much discussion followed about the last line of article, a quote by Jim that translates to I love living in France, the life in Australia is more stressful. We do love France and will be forever grateful for the opportunity to have lived here and in Germany, however we are both also grateful the experience has highlighted to us how much we love the lifestyle in Australia. Australia is home and as Dorothy said, there is no place like home. The interview was over the phone and the quote came from Jims response to two separate questions, one about how he likes living in France and the other as to which country has a more stressful work environment. In the article Jim talks about the importance of scientific experimentation, it’s fun to see Jim in Print, the copy they sent is a photocopy otherwise I would of taken a photo to show you.

Everyone seems very excited about the Commonwealth Games, and everyone has asked us if we watched the opening ceremony over here. Are you kidding, the French telecast the opening ceremony of the COMMONWEALTH Games!!

Tuesday 14 March, 2006

whatever works

Filed under: Uncategorized — claire @ 2:45 pm

Yesterday evening as I was preparing to leave the home of one of the children I teach English to, I met with his father. I rarely see the parents as the children are always in the care of a nanny when I am about, both parents work. In fact I have never meet the mother and the father only once when he first interviewed me. As it was a rare occurrence we took the opportunity to talk, he is a very friendly man as well as generous, he seems very disappointed I haven’t billed him for every learning tool, including pens and paper, I use in the lessons. The conversation was fairly normal, we discussed his children’s progress, I also teach his daughter on a different day, and some general chit chat. What was strange about the conversation was initially he spoke in English and I spoke in French, as I assume like me he was wanting to improve his foreign language and as well be polite. But then after awhile he went back to French and eventually I went back to English. When we both spoke in our native tongue the conversation was much more free flowing and in depth, as when you learn a new language your comprehension improves much faster than your verbal skills. For me speaking French past a basic level requires some running of sentences in my head first and a bit of stop starting, it is not effortless. So there we were both happily chatting in our native tongues but completely understanding each other. An unusual means of communication but effective and fun! I will add a caveat, if the person is a very rapid speaker and not fully engaged with me then I’m struggling somewhat again!

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